If you went to film school when I did there were three directors who you wanted to be: Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and/or Kevin Smith. Argue all you want, but I saw enough knock-off films and read enough knock-off scripts in college to prove it. These three all have a very identifiable, imitable, style that makes you appreciate how good the original is when you see someone else do it poorly.
The knock-offs are either a crime story with cool guys in black suits, a movie about people being awkward in tweed jackets and vintage dresses, or the most crass dialogue about Batman’s genitalia you would ever want to hear. They inspired a generation.
The first Kevin Smith film I saw was Dogma when it was released on VHS. I discovered it mainly because I was a fan of Chris Rock, and it’s one of the all time, hardest I’ve ever laughed at a movie. The language was deliciously crude. I was 13 and watching it was like sneaking downstairs late at night and listening to a great stand-up comedy album that you’re not allowed to. You put it on quietly and try to stifle the sound of your laughter so that your parents won’t hear. When I found out the characters of Jay & Silent Bob appeared in other films I tracked down every other movie I could find. I was hooked.
I found Kevin Smith to be a huge inspiration. He taught me that you could be irreverently funny while still being meaningful and having purpose. Or that you could have a serious conversation about the most trivial aspects of comic book and pop culture. I was confused and saddened by the recent bittersweet news that he would be retiring from filmmaking after the release of Clerks 3.
So I write this as a humble plea to Mr. Smith. My very own ‘Why the World Needs Superman’ if you will. Here are the 5 reasons Kevin Smith should not retire…