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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Clerk Review (Kevin Smith Documentary)

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PLOT: Filmmaker Malcolm Ingram explores Kevin Smith’s career, from Clerks to Tusk and his famous SModcast.

REVISION: I love Kevin Smith. I have great respect for man as a filmmaker, pop culture icon, storyteller, and genuinely kind human being. Before I interviewed him for the first time, he had already had an impact on my life. When I attended film school, of all the classic monologues I could have chosen to do in acting class, I convinced my stage partners to take on Employees other Chasing amy. For me, it was always about the dialogue and the characters within the world that Mr. Smith created that were so engaging. And all these years later, my respect for him has only grown. Now, filmmaker Malcolm Ingram offers fans an inside look at why so many have been inspired by Mr. Smith’s work.

Employee begins to appropriately explore public and critical reception to Kevin Smith’s celebrated indie classic Employees. The documentary maneuvers through his successes, his failures, as well as his journey to be more than just the guy who makes funny movies. The film continues its frustration with the disappointing box office of Mallrats. Delves into personal history explored in Chasing amy. His unique take on horror with features like Red state, Canine, and Yoga Hosers take center stage sometimes. However, the deepest moments examine his near fatal heart attack and how he found his way back to health. Additionally, we hear stories from many of the actors, friends, and filmmakers he has worked with over the years.

The film introduces us to a dedicated young man who found inspiration in the Richard Linklater classic. Lazy. And this led to the movie that caused quite a stir in Hollywood. Employees took this city by storm, and generated buzz with its premiere at Sundance. And finally, it was bought by Miramax and became a surprise hit playing on just over 50 screens in theaters. The success was enough to put the filmmaker in the spotlight. It was satisfying as a viewer to see Smith and company remember Employees, Mallrats, Chasing amyand all the early movies that helped create a pop culture legend. dogma followed, prompting protests from religious fanatics and, of course, turning Alanis Morrisette into God. It was also interesting to hear Smith’s version of movies like Girl sweater, Policeman Out of, and Zack and Miri make a porno, long after the dust has cleared.

What is the most impressive thing about Employee is that it simply allows Kevin Smith and the people who know him to tell their story. It was nice to hear Richard Linklater talk about how Lazy inspired the crude black-and-white comedy Clerks. However, one of the most charming elements in the film comes from Smith’s mother, Grace Smith, his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, and their daughter, Harley Quinn Smith. It is clear that he is surrounded by love and support, and it almost made me cry when Harley spoke about his father’s heart attack. However, all of the included interviews are entertaining. Jason Mewes always brings a bit of gritty humor to the occasion. Even Justin Long brings a couple of great stories about a human walrus. But some of the most profound and moving accounts come from Smith’s relationship with his partner Scott Mosier.

Reviewing these movies, their many Comic-Con stories, and the inclusion of Stan Lee create a fun and fast-paced look into Kevin Smith’s fascinating career. My only complaint is that there was not enough time to delve into each topic. It would have been worth delving into some of the most challenging periods of his life. I could easily make a documentary just on several of these topics. And frankly, it would have been nice to hear more about the many roles Smith has taken on as an actor. Fortunately, his passion for speaking to an audience is on full display. If you have never had the opportunity to see your commitments on stage, I highly recommend that you do so. Kevin Smith helped bring his admiration for comics, movies, and all things pop culture to fans in a way that reminded us that it’s really okay to be a fan. It should be something we celebrate.

Malcolm Ingram’s Employee covers a lot of ground. It’s an enlightening look at the man who captured the hearts of independent film lovers and remains relevant as a filmmaker, a modern pop culture icon, a comic book writer, and just about everything in between. Ultimately, it offers a personal look at Kevin Smith’s life and career, one that will satisfy anyone familiar with the term “Snoochie Boochies.” Interviews with Brian J. Quinn (Impractical Jokers), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), and Brian O’Halloran (Clerks) help tell this charming story. If you appreciate the work of Mr. Smith, you will love this. Frankly, even if he doesn’t, it will likely give you a little insight into his humor, his humanity, as well as his impressive career. Perhaps the last thing I want to say about it is that I am personally grateful for Kevin Smith and all that he has accomplished. The documentary Employee opens today, and worth a look if you need a little humor and heart in your life.


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