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Cop Out

tn_copoutBruce(disclaimer: I started writing this review before everybody was writing about RED STATE playing at Sundance, and before you guys all discussed Kevin Smith to death. But I still decided to finish it because the tortoise vs. the hare, etc.)

Kevin Smith has been in the news lately for not wanting to be in the news. He’s done a few interviews about how he refuses to do interviews, and sights like /film have been kissing his ass for basically saying that sights like /film can kiss his ass. He has been doing promotion for his new movie RED STATE by going around saying that he will refuse to do any promotion for his new movie RED STATE.

Smith’s “if you’re not with my flicks you’re against my flicks so go fuck yourself” attitude goes back to the piss poor reviews he got for his last movie, COP OUT. Since it stars the actor Bruce Willis I was planning to break my non-Kevin-Smith-watching streak and pay to see it in the theater. But before I got to it I read that Smith was mad about negative reviews and wasn’t gonna allow critics screenings of his “flicks” anymore. He felt criticism of COP OUT was unfair since he wasn’t so much trying to make a high quality movie as something that could be compared to (and this is a quote) “a retarded kid who was getting a couple chuckles from the normies by singing AFTERNOON DELIGHT.” And of course then he went to my favorite knucklehead standby, asking “Was it called Schindler’s Cop Out?” Because you know how it’s not fair to have standards of quality for comedies or action movies, only movies about the Holocaust.

(And anyway the way the answer is yes, in some territories it was released as Schindler’s Cop Out.)

All this of course read to me as “Dear Vern, please treat this new Bruce movie like DISNEY’S THE KID and THE WHOLE 9-10 YARDSes and skip it, signed, Kevin Smith.” And I followed that imagined advice.

Bruce Willis refused to pose for the poster to Cop Out
Bruce Willis refused to pose for the poster to Cop Out

That was a year ago or whatever, and to this day I haven’t heard anything positive about the movie. Now I watched it, and I gotta be honest… I didn’t think it was all that bad! I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to you fellas (partly ’cause I read that you already saw and hated it) and I have already forgotten most of it. But I gotta admit I got some laughs and I didn’t cringe as much as I did in the more personal Kevin Smith movies where he’s pouring his heart out or just making all his characters talk to each about Star Wars and dicks in the same type of rhythm and wording. I guess it’s kind of an asshole thing to say, but since I don’t really like Kevin Smith movies I was pleasantly surprised that this one felt more like an okay James Belushi movie from the ’80s. That’s more my speed I guess.

Sorry to give backhanded compliments here. I’m just being honest. Personally I prefer Smith’s movies that he later disowns to the ones that get Criterion editions. I actually thought ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO was the best of the ones I’ve seen. It looked like it was shot by professional camera operators, it was pretty funny and likable and had a good performance by Elizabeth Banks. Poor abandoned Superman Brandon Routh got to be funny it too. There was a key emotional moment (if I remember right it involved her falling in love with her friend while having sex with him on camera) that just rang completely false, but it didn’t feel like it sunk the whole movie the way those types of things did for me in CHASING AMY.

But that movie didn’t do very well and then he said in interviews that his heart wasn’t in it anymore. I guess I need his heart not to be in it for it to align with my tastes. Or to have Bruce Willis in it.

In COP OUT Bruce is the straight man and Tracey Morgan basically plays his insane 30 ROCK character if he was for some reason allowed to carry a gun and enforce the law. I guess in a way this is kind of a step down from the racial politics of BEVERLY HILLS COP (which, I’m sorry to report, did not hold up at all when I watched it a couple years ago) because in that one the black guy was a con man who outsmarted everybody else, in this one he’s like a mildly retarded lunatic who only achieves anything by accident, and has no clue what’s going on.

But on second thought he’s far more dignified than the characters in BAD BOYS, never calls himself a “negro,” makes fun of gays or threatens to rape anybody. So in a way this is an important movie for race relations. And there’s something to be said for the fact that it’s a white cop-black cop movie where no jokes or comments are made about their race. I respect that.

"But, really? All you’ve done is make fun of something that wasn’t doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats a some fun laughs. " --Kevin Smith
“But, really? All you’ve done is make fun of something that wasn’t doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats some fun laughs. ” –Kevin Smith

In the tradition of Daft Punk’s score for TRON LEGACY, the best thing about COP OUT is the score by Harold “Axel F Theme” Faltermeyer. It’s that type of bouncy keyboards and drum machines sound every smart-ass cop movie from the ’80s had. Well, the good kind, before LETHAL WEAPON came along and added white-blues guitar noodling and smooth jazz porn sax to the mix. Using this style of music seriously adds alot to the movie. I like it. There’s also an odd selection of iconic late ’80s rap songs by the likes of Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Eric B and Rakim. Oh yeah, and the end credits is a new retro-’80s type song by Patti Labelle!

I’m not gonna pretend all the humor works, or is as good as it could be. I did personally think the opening was funny where Morgan’s version of a “bad cop” interrogation is to randomly cobble together quotes from HEAT, SCARFACE and TRAINING DAY, and eventually devolve into nonsense like “yes they deserve to die and I hope they burn in hey-ell!” and “these are not the droids you’re looking for!” But it kind of kills it to add cutaways of Bruce noting what the different quotes come from. To be fair, I wouldn’t have known one of them was from THE COLOR PURPLE. But it’s still poor comedic form to spoon feed the “cats” in the audience like that.

Bruce is in a weird place to be doing a movie like this. Remember, he started out doing comedy, then became the funny wiseass action guy, which evolved into the stone-faced action guy, now he’s the stone-faced action guy in comedies. Not the best use of his talents, but he does the job well.

I don’t even think the plot is that bad. It’s the formula with a gentle amount of quirk. As usual Bruce plays a guy who fucked up his family life in the past. His ex-wife is remarried to a rich guy (Jason Lee from the ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS saga) who wants to pay for Bruce’s daughter’s dream wedding. Out of pride Bruce can’t let that happen, so he decides to sell his rare baseball card, which ends up getting stolen by a meth head (Seann William Scott) who trades it for drugs. So while suspended from the force (if I remember right) Bruce and Tracy Morgan are trying to take down this drug dealer, but mainly because they need to get the baseball card back.

And I like that the vicious druglord keeps the card, doesn’t sell it, because he collects baseball memorabilia. That in itself might not be a positive thing if it did not also mean that he has a batting cage where he tortures those who fail him by hitting balls at them. But it does, so I’m for it.

Like alot of cop movies there’s another pair of cops that are kind of the asshole rivals that give them shit all the time. They’re played by Kevin Pollack and Adam Brody. At first they seem like the typical version of this type of character, but they throw in these little nerdy touches here and there that make them different. I like the part where the young guy asks Pollack if he remembered to take his pills. He sounds like his mother. They don’t play it too broad or do a bunch of corny riffing on it. I was honestly impressed.

Willis (left), seen crushing the soul of director Kevin Smith
Willis (left), shown crushing the soul of director Kevin Smith

I finally got around to watching this movie after listening to this interview with Smith on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, where Smith says that he always dreamed of meeting Bruce Willis but he turned out to be a total dick and it was “soul crushing.” If Bruce was being unfriendly I gotta wonder if he was just staying in character. The whole movie he has to glare bitterly at his partner the way one would imagine one would glare bitterly at Smith if one was annoyed that a professional director doesn’t know the names of different lenses (apparently Smith tells a story about that). The character is a dick, and the original title of the movie was “A COUPLE OF DICKS.”

In fact, you gotta admit that Bruce’s whole persona is a dick, going back to David Addison on Moonlighting. He always plays the lovable asshole, the wiseass who insults everybody around him, and it’s grating to the people in his life. As my buddy Mr. Armageddon pointed out when I was talking to him about it, “it’s not like you’re surprised that John McClane is divorced.” And you’re not surprised that in part 3 all the other cops despise him. Even though to us he’s awesome.

Smith's soul was first crushed by Willis in this terrible scene from LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, a role Willis fought to have Smith play and then had him rewrite all his own dialogue to almost ruin the movie
Smith’s soul was first crushed by Willis when he appeared in this terrible scene from LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. It’s a role Willis fought to have Smith play and even rewrite.

Of course that’s no excuse for being a pain in the ass to work with. I’d like to think it’s not true, that he’s a nice guy, but I wasn’t there.

So that’s a personal beef, you can’t really have much of an opinion on that from the outside, but Smith’s deal with critics and writers is another story. In his sudden war against the press I think Smith is pulling an M. Night Shyamalan (although I don’t think he ever showed the same knack for filmatism that Shyamalan used to). Shyamalan had done very well reviewed movies, some nominated for Oscars, until people hated THE VILLAGE, so in his next movie LADY IN THE WATER he’s so mad he makes the only person that gets killed be an asshole film critic. That’s called “being a baby,” and Smith is guilty too. He thinks critics are too hard on him, but from where I’m standing it seems like they gave him a free ride for about a decade because they thought he was a nice relatable guy. At least the internet people did. Even JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK was well received on the internet, how do you explain that shit? How are you not grateful for that?

Smith's soul was crushed yet again in this seemingly friendly interview on the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD dvd
Smith’s soul was crushed yet again in this seemingly friendly interview on the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD dvd

I mean I’ve been on the internet talking about movies since ’99, and it was years before the tide turned against him. And this is surprising in a world built mostly on negativity.

I guess I have some sympathy for his vendetta. He seems to be on the internet twittering and bloggering all day, so he probly just gets shit thrown at him 24-7 and soaks it into his brain. Negative Nellies grow on the internet like bacteria. It doesn’t matter if you’re Stanley Kubrick, they’re gonna tell you you don’t know what you’re doing, and Kevin Smith is really, really not Stanley Kubrick, so I can only imagine what he gets on his message boards.

If that’s a motive for his war against the press then he’s lumping the writers who do articles and reviews with the talkbackers who just call you a cocksucker in all caps (or all lower case). Admittedly there’s a blurring of the line between those two. Anybody can start a websight. I can prove it, because I started one, and what the fuck do I know? What he’s maybe missing though is that he’s exactly the same thing. The reason those guys used to worship him is because he proved that anybody could make a movie, you didn’t have to have a ridiculous amount of money, or a film school degree, or know any actors, or have a sense of visuals. They loved CLERKS because they saw themselves in it, they loved him because they thought he was just like them. If this guy who calls everybody “cats” and wears a giant trenchcoat can sell his black and white home movie for a bunch of money and have it played in real theaters and buy a comic book shop and make action dolls then shit, maybe you can do something you dreamed of too, right? That was his whole appeal, I thought.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s most of the people on The Ain’t It Cool News considered CHASING AMY a mature, good movie, and Smith a great writer of dialogue. They thought he was gonna do a great job writing a Superman movie. They trusted his seal of approval on the Daredevil movie. He was one of them. It was one of the early examples of that “he’s a geek like us” attitude that they get a pass and it’s assumed everything they do is gonna be awesome because they know all about what happens in issue number 76 of Super X-Squad Rescue Force: Negative Zone Green Power Wars and Swords: Revelations #2 of 3 alternate scratch ‘n sniff cover B. (some comic book titles simulated)

Picture for a second that you’re a reviewer or columnist or somebody who has always related to Kevin Smith for those reasons. He was the guy who made fun of other people, not you. He talked shit about Tim Burton for not liking his Superman script, about Prince for being a weirdo, now about Bruce Willis for alleged dickishness, and about producers and marketers in the movie industry, faceless bad guys we can all agree to be against ’cause they don’t get it like you and your buddy Kevin Smith do. But then all the sudden he turns on you. He’s talking shit about your profession or hobby, calling you a parasite, bragging about how he doesn’t need you and how (this is my favorite) he has more Twitter followers than you.

I think there are alot of those guys out there feeling betrayed, so it makes sense that there’s a wave of anti-Kevin Smith sentiment now. He went out of his way to get that. He’s no longer “one of us” when he’s telling his guys that they suck.

Don’t take this too harsh, but in my opinion alot of the people writing about movies right now are kind of like Kevin Smiths or sub-Kevin Smiths of film criticism. They’re doing it because they had the gumption and made the effort to do it, and that’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing a good job of it. I got alot of picky personal objections to the way people are doing it, both on the internet and in print (and shit, on podcasts too). It’s not really my business other than as a person who reads these websights and what not myself and wishes there were more great ones out there. But I can see how for Mr. Smith some dumb bandwagon-jumping gossip columnist with no brain for film analysis writing bad reviews of his movies without backing up their points well could be frustrating.

I might be a Kevin Smith too (I have the same book publisher, after all) but at the very least I aspire to more. I think film criticism can, should be and is more than some “plot summary, 2 stars, wait for the DVD” type bullshit. It can make you think about a movie in new ways, make connections you wouldn’t have thought of, point out beautiful things in a movie you’ve seen a hundred times but never noticed before, point you to a movie or a genre or a director you always ignored before. Now, because of the internet, it can even sometimes turn into a discussion with the people that made the movie or the people who fuck similar animals to the ones that are fucked in the movie, if the movie is the documentary ZOO and the review is the one I wrote on The Ain’t It Cool News. So I’m gonna say that yes, good film criticism is gonna be a hell of a lot more worthwhile to the world than Kevin Smith’s 500 randomly selected Twitter followers saying in one-hundred-however-many-characters whether or not they liked his “flick” (which he offered as a superior alternative to screening his movies for critics).

I guess most of those things are much more likely to occur in a positive review than a negative one. Maybe that’s why it becomes a chore to read reviews from somebody who has become so jaded they hardly seem to enjoy movies anymore. I don’t like people who dwell on the negative either. But sometimes movies are shitty. Sometimes you gotta tell it like it is, don’t you?

So I resent the concept of critics as worthless parasites. We’re more like the good parasites (isn’t there a bird that rides around on a rhino or something?). Yeah, there needs to be a movie for us to write about, but the movie and the culture of watching movies benefits when we’re doing it right.

And I mean, how the fuck does a guy grow up a movie nerd and not ever get into reading the reviews of the new Martin Scorsese, or looking up what Pauline Kael said about some movie you liked, or checking those “Cult Movies” books out at the prison library, or watching Siskel and Ebert? I gotta call bullshit on that one. If you’re really such a movie nerd and a writer then it just doesn’t make any sense that you would have no respect for talking about, analyzing, writing about movies. I don’t buy it.

You make movies, and you really don’t think it’s worthwhile to write about movies? Then maybe you’re not making movies that are worthwhile to write about, that’s the problem. It’s not us, it’s you.

Good call on Harold Faltermeyer though.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

83 Responses to “Cop Out”

  1. I was fine with Cop Out too. Give me generic Bruce Willis holding a gun making some one-liners, and I’m happier than 16 Blocks, Last Man Standing, Whole 9 Yards. I’m not saying it’s not Hamlet. I’m saying it’s not Die Hard but I still like it. Hope that’s okay.

    Thank you for the intelligent analysis of the Smith phenomenon. I wonder about the people who feel betrayed though. I like hearing Smith’s thoughts, altough the Tweets get a bit too much for me to follow. If he doesn’t want to screen for press, I’ll go see the movie on my own. If he doesn’t want to do interviews, I’ll miss talking to him but that’s his decision. The man’s a father, probably approaching his ’40s now. If he wants to spend a little more time offline, I can’t take it personally.

    I know, I know, it’s not that simple when he responds to every negative hater on Twitter. That’s more part of the phenomenon I don’t understand. I would personally let Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back stand as the definitive statement on internet haters and let it go, but that was just about talkback forums. Maybe he needs to do a sequel about Twitter and podcasting.

  2. You know I’m the only guy here who admitted to seriously liking this movie, but the Faltermeyer score didn’t work for me. It just sounded like someone, trying to sound like 80’s Faltermeyer, bot not getting it right or maybe even just sound different enough to not get sued, which made everything worse.
    Also I loved the Pollak and Brody characters, just because they seems to be the asshole cops at first, but soon it becomes clear that they only tease Bruce and his partner because they know each other for so long and know how far they can go, before it becomes an ugly, personal attack. Hell, they even give them a chance to clear everything up, instead of arresting them, when it looks like they entered the dark side of the law!
    But my favourite element of COP OUT is that it is pretty much a “part 3” in a buddy cop movie series, although there are no parts 1 & 2! When the movie starts, they are already partners for a few years, they know each other’s families and we see them dealing with them. Usually we had witnessed Bruce’s daughter grow up during the series and probably saw Tracy Morgan meet and marry his wife in part 1 or part 2.
    Also that is maybe the second time ever, that I laughed about Seann William Scott, so COP OUT gets some extra points for this alone.

  3. I doesn’t surprise me that Bruce would get along with Smith just fine until he had to be directed by him. Bruce is nothing if not a professional and I imagine it must be tedious to work with a director who seems to know less about his job than you do, especially when you’re the one who got him the job in the first place. It’s like when you’re good buddies with the class clown until you volunteer to be his partner on a project together and you end up having to carry his ass. You both get the same shitty grade but he doesn’t care because, hey, he’s just the class clown.

    Wow, that was a pretty good analogy right there. I’m pretty fucking proud of myself in my opinion.

  4. Well, Bruce may have a reputation in the industry pre-Smith. Joel Silver said he was too difficult to work with so Silver bailed out of the Die Hard sequels. That’s Joel Silver, one tough badass of a producer, saying he can’t work with Bruce. And I’m sure if you asked the producers of Moonlighting, it wasn’t all Cybill’s fault.

    I LOVE Bruce. I will see ANYTHING Bruce does (though I haven’t caught Breakfast of Champions or Hip Hop Project yet, but there are still some Nic Cage movies I have to see too.) Part of it is that I know Bruce’s cool, everyman persona might not be how he actually is, but whenever we need to see it, he turns it on. I’ve been lucky enough to get to meet Bruce several times and I must have had animated hearts circling my head. Also, the story of BWT (Bruce Willis Time) on Smith’s 3rd Evening With DVD sounds like a cool display of integrity, but imagine you’re a grip waiting to go home to your family.

    So Majestyk is right. I love Bruce. I get along with him as a viewer. That should be the extend of our relationship.

  5. I really find it depressing that there seems to be a Kevin Smith backlash. I think Chasing Amy, Clearks and (especially) Mallrats really funny movies. What I like about Clerks is that it was an indie comedy. But not like indie comedies of that time and since, Clerks is a legitimately funny indie comedy. There are VERY few of those.

  6. Vern,

    I know this wasn’t really the topic of your article, but any thoughts on the action in COP OUT. I think they are worth discussing because they are straightforward and don’t overdo the shakycam, manic editing, & extreme close-ups like so many modern action movies, but they still aren’t any good.

  7. Dan, that’s because Kevin Smith isn’t any good at directing.

  8. Right, I’m just saying I’m curious to hear Vern sound off on it, especially since he didn’t hate COP OUT with the same fiery passion that the rest of us did. Vern’s good at articulating the difference between a good action scene and a bad one, so I was wondering what he thought did or didn’t work about the action in COP OUT.

  9. Dan – that’s a good point, I should’ve gotten into that issue. There were none of the usual modern issues we complain about, but there was no excitement. To be honest I don’t even specifically remember what the action scenes were other than a chase where I believe Morgan was on a bicycle or something.

    I think we could say this about some of the lesser ’80s action movies too – there aren’t distracting stylistic tricks getting in the way of the excitement, there’s just not enough excitement in the first place.

  10. FTopel, can you tell me more about the BWT story? I’ve tried searching for it, but nothing came up.

  11. Here is a fun fact for you all.

    “”It was Steven Seagal’s Heart of Justice. I played a hooker with a heart of gold, which you do in a Steven Seagal movie. I made $2,000. Now my [TV] husband sleeps with them.” — Julianna Margulies on the role that got her a SAG card.

    For those trying to figure it out, Heart of Justice was apparently the original name of Out for Justice. Heart of wouldn’t have made as much sense.

  12. About connections : When I think about Kevin Smith , I always remember the time when I first watched Clerks. We rented 2 movies that night , Clerks and La Haine. Both black and white , both by young directors , both from different , distant realities , about young people and their problems , both foreign. I was honestly thinking that Kassovitz
    was the far superior director , with something meaningful to say , but now I look back and I don’t really like a lot of his movies after La Haine . I liked Assassin , but not on the same level , and I don’t know what to say about Babylon A.D. , that movie is full of problems , and maybe not all by Kassovitz . Looking back , he’s the bigger disappointment , not Smith . Smith’s movies are full of pop references and dick jokes , and that’s it , right now just as before . Sometimes I’m in the mood , sometimes not , and the last one I saw was Dogma . I skipped Clerks 2 because it seemed kind of forced , and I’m in no hurry to catch up . For me he always was average , but I also know people who loved him and are pissed by his recent offerings . To each his own I guess .

  13. Vern,

    I know what you mean. Although, it’s been to long since I’ve seen COP OUT to quote specifics, but whereas many recent action movies could be accused over being over-dynamic, COP OUT wasn’t dynamic enough. You could complain that maybe there wasn’t enough clever content in the action scenes (interesting settings, spectacular car crashes, novel setups and gimmicks, clever ways of killing people, etc), but I’m more of a formalist when it comes to action movies myself. I don’t think great content is need if you have a great director at the helm. I just watched THE KILLER the other night, and there are plenty of scenes where nothing “special” is happening, it’s just a bunch of dudes shooting back and forth at each other, but the way Woo filmed it makes it seem dynamic and balletic.

    Whereas I seem to recall COP OUT, despite not shaking the camera around too much or over-editing or any of that, being poorly staged. It wasn’t incoherent, but I felt like Smith often failed to set up the geography properly, so it just seemed like people were shooting in random directions and not at each other.

    The biggest flaw I clearly remember is in the car chase through the cemetery. It’s supposed to be an exciting, presumably “high speed chase” but the cars look like they are going about 10 miles an hour. Like they are going for a leisurely, scenic ride in the evening. Smith and co just didn’t know how to shoot the cars to make them look like they were going fast. I don’t know if it was a matter of not showing enough stationary background objects for contrast, or the angles or camera movements or what, but damn.

  14. I thought Cop-Out was fun. I liked how the soundtrack was so obviously derivative of 48 hours and Beverly Hills Cop. I also thought Tracy Morgan and Bruce made for a good team. Sean William Scott being a jerk is also always solid. I guess you could read what I just wrote as sarcasm, but it’s not. I thought this was fun.

  15. I heard from Harold Becker, direct of MERCURY RISING, that the first day he was on set Bruce announced to the crew: “Everybody remember – I’m the only one here who can’t get fired.”

    He told it as a “what a jerk” anecdote, but I think Bruce was probably just joking around. I mean, it’s a pretty funny thing to say, and most likely also true. Anyway, whether Bruce was mean to Smith or not has really got nothing to do with how the movie turned out. Otherwise how would you explain Bruce’s movies that are actually worth watching? Long as he wasn’t demanding changes that made the movie bad…and again, evidence would indicate that Bruce never does that (except when he insisted on casting Smith in LFODH.)

  16. On Bruce Willis : Yeah , I know he’s got a reputation for being a little difficult to work with , but that is also true for a lot of action star, like Wesley Snipes , that we recently discussed in the Game of Death 2011, or Van Damme , who refused to work with all the others in The Expendables. But I don’t know , Bruce sometimes seems like a nice guy (or maybe it’s the team he’s working with ) . He seems like a team player , having worked with big , star filled casts like in The Expendables or the Ocean’s guys , both times in smaller roles or cameos . He’s a supporter of new and young directors like Tarantino , at the time ( is it true that he worked for way less money than usual on Pulp Fiction , or something similar ? ), and Rodriguez , working with them a couple of times . He can’t be all that bad , right ?

  17. …Holy shit in a basket, Vern, that’s one hell of a detailed exploration of an issue that I personally had no idea existed until a couple of days ago. I almost feel dirty now for saying I’ve enjoyed every film of his that I’ve watched (haven’t seen “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” or “Cop Out”, though).

    I mean, is this an American thing, a nerd thing, a comic book geek thing, what? Is this some kind of an example of “geek elitism” I hear so much about but never actually see in practice? Is this a common occurrence for you guys? Does it happen with any semi-famous or talented director who picks up a “cult” following after the sheen wears off? Is it the same as the “Lucas Effect”? Did it happen before the days of twitter and facebook? Did Scorcese and Spielberg get slammed in the cult magazines or whatever they had in those days? Did Hitchcock and Wells?

    You gotta help me understand this one guys, because to me this whole pointless debate makes about as much sense as those magazines that slam celebrities like Victoria Beckham for being a “size zero” on one page and advertise designer dresses for waifs and diet pills on the next, and has just about as much maturity to it. Seriously… I can’t think of a British equivalent to this kind of thing. Jonathan Ross, maybe, but that guy made an elderly man cry on national radio, so I hardly think the backlash against him was unwarranted. Plus it lasted about a week and just died off.

    So Smith p-ssed some people off on twitter, I get that. Why does anybody care? Is there a large subsection of the American population that has taken this fat bearded comic-book guy to heart so much that they feel betrayed by him and have to rant about it on the Internet? What the fuck does it matter? To anybody? Why don’t people say “oh, that was an asshole move” and just forget about it a week later and move on to the next thing – because from the impression I’m getting here, the Smith thing has been building up for much longer than that?

  18. Paul— It’s an internet film community thing, I kinda doubt the Smith controversy is taking up many column inches in the US mainsteam media. It’s mainly due to the fact that he took to the internet in a big way and has been using it to engage his fans since the get-go. If you can credit Smith with anything, it’s that he saw the potential of the web pretty much at it’s inception and has done more to leverage it than any other director.

  19. I hadn’t ever really considered it until I read your point, but I agree about preferring the Kevin Smith films that Kevin Smith isn’t proud of. Not that I particularly enjoyed Cop Out, but I do think Zack and Miri is much better than his other stuff. I really admire your attitude towards film reviewing, Vern. It’s entertaining but always thoughtful and fair, which I think this piece really captures.

  20. Paul- I don’t know man, Americans just tend to be really vocal about things that annoy them. We’re just like that. As for Smith, he’s always made a point of making sure that a huge part of being a fan of his was the supplemental stuff: the Podcasts, the Q and A’s and the site and Twitter and whatever. So when he goes off the deep end, the Internet is going to notice, especially the guys who’ve always stood by him for his entire career and are shocked when he starts throwing year long hissy fits.

  21. Great review Vern. Hey, now that you mention it, you haven’t had a TELL’S IT LIKE IT IS lately.

  22. I dunno, for some reason I still find JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK an extremely funny movie. Granted, it’s got this very particular “needed to be there at the talkbacks in the 90’s” type of humor and vernacular, but hey, so do many of Vern’s reviews.

    It’s probably the only film I can quote verbatim forwards and backwards, and I don’t even like DOGMA, CHASING AMY or CLERKS that much.

  23. On a related note: snooch to the nooch!

  24. While working on SURROGATES, I spent some time on-set with Bruce. He was…I think the best word would be “stoic”. Didn’t laugh much, but he wasn’t a creep either, just kept to himself, hung out with his girlfriend, made calls on his cel phone, ect. Every so often he’d sort’ve half-grin (you know what I mean) at something. Shot his scenes with no complaints or attitude, seemed like a professional.

    A brief word on this notion that Kevin Smith has no visual sense: this is, frankly, not true. He may not have a very elaborate visual sense, but he knows how to frame a shot, where to point the camera, when to use a long shot and when to use a medium close up, ect. (He can get across the narrative and dramatic content of a scene without resorting to just a lot of closeups, which is virtually a lost art now) He knows what to film in order to tell a story. Many people cannot do even this. You may not believe me, but trust me. A friend of mine used to work for an independent distributor in the late 90s / early 2000s. Part of his job was watching screeners submitted to the company in the hopes that they would release these indie movies people had made and were now trying to get seen. And I ASSURE you–there are hundreds, probably thousands, of unreleased feature films out there, which the general public never sees, and for good reason; THEY are by people (although you sometimes wonder) who have NO VISUAL SENSE. I’d watch these screeners with my friend and–I mean, there’d be films where the shot is on the back of someone’s head for an entire scene and the other characters are offscreen; scenes where the characters were out of focus but the wall behind them was crystal clear, misframed shots where the “actors” would have half their heads out of frame….On of my favorites was one where two guys are talking in a room, they walk over to the door, exit through the door and close it behind them; then the shot just holds on the door while they keep talking in the hallway. The fact that CLERKS was not one of these unreleased epics says something about it’s director’s evident talent.

    And I’ve met Smith too, and he was a nice guy. He may have changed, but back then, he was a genuinely good person.

  25. When MIA’s last album came out, critics pointed out the unspoken social contract between an artist and the public- “as long as you keep coming out with good stuff, we’ll deal with all your bullshit. But this album breaks the contract”. That’s the way I feel about Cop Out.

    I used to be a Kevin Smith defender, loved me some Jay and Silent Bob, even appreciated his sappy stuff like Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri, etc.. But Cop-Out is unbelievably bad. This is a movie that’s doing Parkour jokes about 2 years too late and patting itself on the back for it. The “infidelity” subplot is so tedious but only surprising in how obvious it is. And I’ll go on record as saying the shootout at the end is the worst one I’ve ever seen. Seriously, if someone on this board can name a more poorly staged, less exciting shootout, I’ll be happy.

    And the score didn’t work for me either. So what if they got Harold Faltermeyer to do the score? It doesn’t even match the movie, b/c nothing else is in the style of 80s movies. It’d be like if i was making an MMA movie set today or some shit and then asked Bill Conti to approximate his Rocky score over it.

  26. billydeethrilliams

    February 1st, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I could kill Kevin Smith. No problem.

  27. I’ve always been a fan of Kevin Smith movies, bizarrely Mallrats being one of my favourites. I liked the fact he creates his own little world within the real world and yet spoke very funnily and wittily about life and shit. Of course with all that, his use of dialogue being one of his strengths, its also one of his flaws. Everyone in every Kevin Smith flick sounds the fucking same!

    Having seen the man live at the Edinburgh film festival for his “An hour With” shows, he was funny, frank, witty and honest. A flip side to this coin also. When you slag off actors,directors, producers publicly and you work in the biz, sooner or later your going to go to far or come off like a whining little bitch. Much like a lot of the dialogue in his movies. I think this appears to be the case now. Bruce may be hard to work with but you really shouldnt go against a big gun who initially did you a favour. Mr Willis isn’t Hayden Christinsen. Keep that shit to yourself, be a pro and learn a lesson. I will check out this film and look forward to it. It really did go under the rader over here in the UK. The last Smith film I recall was the sequal to Clerks which I enjoyed. Ah well.

  28. Didn’t Bruce Willis show up in the talk backs in AICN calling himself Walter B? Would a real dick movie celebrity “subject themselves” to do that? I mean it’s not like Sly Stallone doing the extensive interviews on AICN, but hey, in my book, showing up in the talkbacks is an anti-dick move. You don’t have to do that. And if you do that, you’ve got a healthy ego (“healthy” as in not too inflated or deflated or fragile).

    Here you go, found it, search for Walter B in this link:


    Oh wait! I didn’t even notice, the article in question is Vern complaining about the PG-13 rating for Die Hard 4, and Bruce, complaining back to Vern, LOL:

    I am pleased to see Vern, and everyone who responded to Vern’s rant
    exhibit such emotion over DH4. But as someone who worked on the picture, and has seen a cut of it, I would suggest that all the yakkin’ over the PG-13 issue hang onto their weapons for now.
    This episode if Die Hard is as good, if not better than the first Movie. And I was there for that one too. In a Summer filled with CG/fantasy driven films, Live Free or Die Hard is an in-your-face, hard-ass Action movie that will satisfy Vern, and anyone else who is a fan of the Die Hard series.
    All PG-13 means is that you cannot say f*ck more than twice. Other than that, the Mythology of Die Hard lives….I could not have been more pleased with how DH4 turned out. It’ll be out soon enough, and I wanna hear what Vern has to say after he sees LForDie Hard….
    Set your pre-judgement aside for another 7 weeks and then decide.

    Yes, that really was Bruce Willis yakkin’ in an AICN talk back under a Vern article, too funny:


    It’s all about ego. Someone with a healthy ego can go into comment forums and freely chat things up, and not take all the crap you see there too seriously. Dish it out and take it. Someone who is a dick, as in cold and aloof, is not going to do that, no way. So Bruce Willis is clearly not as Smith describes him.

    But someone like Smith, he wears his ego on his sleeve, and is apparently getting crushed, because the problem with comment forums is once you let the trolls get to you, its like blood in the water, the piranhas aren’t going to stop until you are bone.

    So my prediction is: Smith, for his recent glass ego actions, is going to get eviscerated, simply eviscerated. It’s just starting. He’s not out in M. Night Shyamalan territory yet of pure betrayal, but I guess when Smith directs “The Last Airbender 2”, we’ll know he has arrived.

  29. Smith is like a mini George Lucas. Clerks was like his Star Wars. Everything else he has directed since has been turd.

    I mean no offence to Lucas in that comment. I don’t think he is the douche bag everyone else does.

    His first film was pretty funny. Everything else has just been about the same ever since.

  30. BR Baraka- I also remember reading a story some six years back about how he was talking with his fans on his website’s forum. I remember his statement included something like “I have engaged in a dialogue with Baby Schnooks and Brucie’s Little Mommy”, which made me laugh.

    I know Bruce has a slightly difficult reputation. One actor – who I wont name, so lets just say he’s most famous for playing Fraiser’s dad and has the same surname as Steve Guttenberg’s character in the POLICE ACADEMY movies- was really upset that Bruce recorded all the dialogue in their big conversation scene quicky on his own, pissed off and left him to record the actual scene with his stunt double. I can see how he would gradually build up a list of casual enemies with that kind of behaviour. But maybe I’m naive, but it’s things like the above and the general tone I hear from fans who have met him that leads me to believe he’s not a total a-hole.

    I also want to know more about this BWT thing.

  31. Ace, I cannot condone in the slightest. Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, etc are not turds at all. I miss being in college in the second half of the 90s.

  32. Wait a minute, what exactly is wrong with that Lethal Panther II’s shootout? It’s kind of fun and not really embarrassing at all.

  33. good God, where do I even begin?

    first off let me say that I’m pretty ambivalent towards Smith, I don’t hate him or anything, he seems like a nice guy, but I’ve only seen like two of his movies, both of which I only thought were ok

    anyway I think Smith’s biggest strength is also his albatross, the fact that he really is a true blue nerd like all of us and I think he’s buying into all the bullshit on the internet too much

    which the internet, let’s not kid ourselves here, is mostly bullshit, particularly in this case what I like to call “internet movie nerds” or “internet movie nerd culture”

    ya know what I’m talking about, think Aint It Cool, think 4chan’s /tv/ board, think most of imdb

    the problem with all these nerds is that they’re waaaaaaaaaay too fucking cynical, they don’t seem to get any real enjoyment from movies anymore, they hate almost everything, where they really get their jollies is making fun and talking shit about movies on these sites instead of movies themselves

    as the years have gone by, I’ve distanced myself more and more from all that, I only rarely hop by AICN these days for example

    and what made me a fan of Vern was that he was like a shining beacon in the middle of all this, he’s not afraid to like a movie that the general nerd consensus is negative (like Indy 4) or is he afraid to say a movie that’s making gangbusters in theaters is crap (like Transformers)

    so that’s what I think is going on with Smith, I think he has pretty much the same attitude as the talkbackers on AICN (who ironically, mostly hate his guts)

  34. also the catalyst for me when I realized that most internet movie nerds were full of shit was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the whole “raping my childhood” nonsense

    you don’t fuck with the master boys and girls

  35. actually Avatar was a second catalyst and how nerds went from nigh worshiping James Cameron to “he’s a pretentious douche and he was always overrated!” bullshit

  36. I think I stopped reading AICN talkbacks during the run up to Inglorious Basterds, when the ridiculous QT hate was in full swing. There’s only so many times I can read the same tired arguments. I was over there the other day for the first time in months and was surprised to find everybody hates Judd Apatow now – when the hell did that happen? It’s always strange to me when I can specifically remember a movie being loved by everyone when it was released (like Superbad or knocked up), only to find a couple of years later everybody hates it and claims they always did.

    The James Cameron thing was definitely a good example, for a while there everyone in the talkbacks had come to the conclusion that T2 was an awful movie. I felt like I was living in a fucking twilight zone episode.

  37. I’ll add to my comment above by throwing in with the Kevin Smith fans–I think he’s made a lot of very good films, and even the worst ones are the product of a unique and distinctive artist’s voice. If he were a novelist, he’d be getting showered with praise in the New York Times Review Of Books even when he didn’t deserve it.

    I honestly think Chasing Amy was one of the best films of 1997 (and that was the year of miracles that also gave us Titanic, Boogie Nights, Face Off, Good Will Hunting, The Ice Storm, Jackie Brown, Kundun, LA Confidential, and The Sweet Hereafter) and Clerks one of the best films of the early 90s indie films. He’s done some fine work as a producer, most notably Vincent Pereria’s amazing indie horror drama A BETTER PLACE, and MALLRATS and DOGMA and JERSEY GIRL are all good films–not great, but no worse then a lot of the 80s teensploitation films that are venerated now. (in most cases they’re a helluva lot better.) Even the ones I don’t like that much, like JAY AND BOB STRIKE BACK and ZACK AND MIRI, have their good qualities. I haven’t seen COP OUT and I look foward eagerly to RED STATE.

    I get the feeling that much of the vehemance Smith has attracted over the years (some of which can be seen in these very comments) comes simply from that fact that he, like Lucas, is so visible to the fanboy audience and is thus simply an easy target. (Griff makes a good point that something similar happened to James Cameron as well.) I’m sure if Gillian Armstrong or Ken Loach were on their radar in the same way you’d get similar sorts of nasty, inferiority-complex “I’m a verbal bully so the big tough kids will laugh and not pick on me too”-kind of comments about how they made one good movie and everything else sucked, ect ect.

  38. Mode7: Negativity is easy. It’s a character weakness to engage in it. Throw in anonymity, in comment forums, and mindless negativity rules. It’s the easy way out, the lowest common denominator. It’s just background noise for you to squelch and ignore.

    The point is to never take it seriously. The problem is, Kevin Smith is obviously beginning to take it seriously. Big mistake.

    I’ve never in my life been in a position where so much negativity is thrown my way, so I’ll give Smith the benefit of the doubt and say it could be hard not to bite. But regardless of how hard it is to not bite, you still just cannot do that. You just can’t react to it. Ever.

    Because once you do, you’ve validated the negativity. You’re caught in a feedback loop. It only increases now, because now you’ve signaled that the mindless negativity has real probative value. Otherwise, there would be nothing to respond to. When you react to negativity, you empower it.

    And this is the trap Smith is now getting into. It’s a one way trip. It only increases now, until he is forgotten and thrown in the slag heap. Smith is now doomed, because he reacted to it and now it will never let up. Smith is on his way to Shyamalan land in terms of becoming persona non grata in the world of geek fandom.

  39. Excellent read, that, Vern- thanks!

  40. So much to like in this review–which also seems to be a “Tells It Like It Is” entry.

    But am I the only one who would watch the hell out of a movie where some selection of Marvel Mutants are given Green Lantern power rings in order to invade the Negative Zone on a rescue mission??!

  41. CJ – thanks for the link, but I gotta side with Sternshein – I’d be SO happy if Copout had an action scene half as good as that one. Some of the camera work in that scene is actually borderline-great and there’s some cool shots I’ve never seen before. The end of Copout looks like shit I filmed with friends with my camcorder in middle school. I wonder how Bruce felt shooting that scene, like “I went from surfing a Harrier Jet to this bullshit”

    And yes, I’m a little afraid Kevin Smith is going to show up here and talk shit to me.

  42. Great piece Vern. Inspiring stuff. Keep up the good work.

  43. I think Kevin Smith’s devolution into curmedgerry (if that’s a word) is a cautionary tale. I think a lot of people liked him because he was this sort of trickster who managed to find his way into the studio system and the studios didn’t really know what to do with him, and yet somehow he managed to keep on making movies. He he did what he wanted and didn’t seem to take himself too seriously. If you ever hear him speak about the movie making business, he usually positions himself as the straight man in a world full of crazies.

    His recent bout with cynicism has probably been brought about by too much internet. The guy needs to get off the message boards and start reading up on film craft (it would be nice if his films looked better than a tv sitcom). The lesson I take from Smith’s break with reality is that sometimes whenever someone writes something idiotic on the internet, instead of responding maybe I should just close the browser and go for a walk.

  44. When I said up there that Kassovitz was the better director , that was my opinion , and I still think that his movie compared to Smith’s offering is the better one , even if the following movies are a not as good . I also said that Smith is average , but at least he knows how to shoot a scene and keep that damn camera steady. I was curious to see something different from him , not only comedy , because maybe he can direct action better than many action directors working today , or horror , or drama and suspence . Enough with the dick jokes already! Well , my wish was granted with that Red State trailer , and what do you know ? It’s the most shaky , quick-cut thing that I’ve seen from him. Granted , I’ve skipped a lot of his movies recently,including this action oriented one , and that’s just the trailer , I will wait for the full movie to pass judgement . But things are not looking good.

  45. Sabreman: It would be so awesome if they actually made a movie version of Super X-Squad Rescue Force: Negative Zone Green Power Wars and Swords!

    But only the original SX-SRF:NZGPW&S. SX-SRF:NZGPW&S-Redemption was absolute shit.

    I wish I had a real comment for this thread, it’s a fascinating analysis of this weird and sad phenomenon of fanboy sacrificial cannibalism. Kevin Smith is finding out the hard way that the internets is srs bizns.

  46. For all his faults (and they are legion), Smith has brought me many, many hours of entertainment over the years, from his movies to his various supplemental features to his comic books. For that, I’ll stand by him through this little midlife crisis of his. And though the herd will turn on him, I’m betting I won’t be alone when the dust clears. Nerds have short memories. Fans don’t.

  47. BR – heh, I remember the “Walter B” thing. I, like Griff, rarely visit the AICN talkbacks any more, although I still enjoy some of the articles.

    Brendan and Mode 7 – guess that’s the best answer I’m going to get, although it still seems like a uniquely American thing to me. And come to think of it, I think my gossip column analogy is probably the best one. Another example that occurs to me is Diana Spencer, who went from being almost universally vilified to practically canonized into sainthood when she died. The odd thing is that I think a lot of the “nerds” who feed this stuff would look down on anybody (mostly women) who got involved with the whole Princess Di thing. Dunno what that says about human nature, beyond perhaps the fact that people can demonstrate a total lack of self-awareness and empathy regardless of where they come from.

    I guess the point that confuses me the most is why Kevin Smith, of all people, gets this kind of treatment. I mean, my opinion of his films is probably higher than most on this site, but I’ll freely admit he ain’t the next Hitchcock or Wells. Which makes it all the more baffling to me that he’s the centre of this kind of shitstorm when others like – for example – Spielberg, Kubrick and Wayne – have largely avoided it, even when they’ve had moments where one could say they “deserved” it.

  48. I love Kevin Smith movies from Clerks to Clerks 2 but I haven’t seen anything he did without Jay and Silent Bob and I don’t care. Also like his comic books even the latest Batman he did that everybody hates.

  49. HEY KIDS, IT’S KEVIN SMITH! (applause).

  50. The Sophisticated Panda

    February 1st, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Something about the fact that Kevin Smith’s new distribution model is kicking off with “Red State” bothers me. I don’t believe in pre-censoring or restricting ideas in films, books, tv, etc., but I do feel a little uncomfortable about Smith using his hype machine to pretty much encourage the Westboro Baptist Church to protest his screenings.

    I realize there’s a catch 22 when it comes shining a light on people like Phelps versus giving them publicity, but I feel like he picked a really easy target that already receives heaps of scorn by the media. Pretty much anywhere Phelps and his half dozen goons show up is guaranteed to get local media coverage. To piggyback on that kind of press with movie screenings is a little . . . well, I think it’s tasteless- but not in a fun way like the donkey-has-sex-with-a-belly-dancer “Bachelor Party” scene that Smith loves so much.

    Am I overreacting?

    PS: On a side note, this is the first comment that I’ve ever left on your site, Vern. I was introduced to your essays about a year and a half ago when I had just given two weeks notice at my job. I handled “sensitive” files and the big boss didn’t want me to have any access to them during my last two weeks, so I had nothing to do. To look busy, I printed out your back catalog of reviews and made it seem like I was studying some really important documents. Nothing like hearing someone in my scary top secret office say “Who left an ‘Orca’ review on the printer?!?”

  51. That’s a good point, Sophisticated Panda. Obviously Smith disagrees with Phelps, but obviously making a movie only brings them more attention, including to people who never heard about them before. It’s not like a low budget horror movie is going to influence anybody that’s about to join his church. Memorializing them in a movie only keeps them around in our lives longer.

  52. Majestyk – fans vs nerds, good comparison. Although kinda depressing that these kinds of labels are “needed”.

    Vern – I think Panda had it right when he said it’s a “catch 22”. Germany’s always had the problem of racist neo-Nazis and hate propaganda. It’s been dealt with in various ways, all with their own drawbacks:

    – Make fun of them to trivialise them – for example comic sketches where the Nazis get their arms caught in elevator doors when they salute (you guys should look and see if that one’s on YouTube by the way, that shit’s hilarious) – can end up seriously backfiring. If they do gain legitimacy to a subset of people, those people will only see one side of the story because there’s no serious opposition.

    – Take them seriously, you end up legitimizing them and possibly demonizing them. Again, possibly acting to spur recruitment and, as you put it, “keeping them around in our lives longer”.

    – Refuse to acknowledge their existence, and you also discourage potentially influential people within society who might otherwise resist their influence. Again, the drawbacks are pretty obvious.

    I guess the point is, unfortunately, that human nature being what it is, there will always be extremists who will demonize gays, blacks, Jews, any other minority (or even less vocal majority) and the only way you can fight them in the long-term is by giving people a better alternative.

  53. HEY KIDS, IT’S VERN! (applause).

    ok, I’ll stop with that joke now

  54. Okay, since there’s some RED STATE talk here, I’ve started a fun game on my blog called RED STATE PREDICTIONS:


    Please everyone join in, here or on my blog, and we’ll see how accurate we are. I think the prediction I am most confidant in is:

    “…some other “controversy” surrounding the film or Smith’s personal life will pop up around the time of the film’s official release. Maybe a cast member will become infamous after impregnating one of the Obama daughters, or maybe a Taco Bell employee will refuse to sell Smith a Cheesy Gordita Crunch because it’s no longer technically on the menu. Whatever the issue, Smith won’t necessarily start the controversy, but he will sound off on it loudly and frequently.”

  55. to promote Red State, Kevin Smith will mud wrestle a bunch of women and pull their tops off while Rubberband Man plays in the background like John Candy in Stripes

  56. Smith refuses to do any pre-fight interviews, and instead hurls pro-wrestling-style insults at the women via Twitter in the weeks preceding the match.

  57. Everyone I saw this with hated it except me, although it’s definitely flawed. To me, the flick felt like a good first draft to a potentially great movie. Sure, it peters out at the end and the action is lackluster but Bruce and Tracey really made a good team. If anything the interrogation scene is worth the price of admission alone.

  58. the sight of all those naked breasts will then cause Smith to have a heart attack and die like Blue in Old School

    Will Ferrell will sing “dust in the wind” at his funeral

  59. however, the whole death thing will turn out just to be a joke, everyone will go “oh that Kevin, always a prankster”

    to celebrate fooling everybody, Smith will then grab a ladder and spy on a group of half naked sorority sisters having a pillow fight

  60. Smith then goes on to become a U.S. Senator.

  61. Smith then helps humanity win the war against Skynet and the terminators

  62. Smith then realizes that he is the cause of all this because he is the singularity

    he then allows to jet engine to crash on him

  63. Smith records a hilarious, three hour monologue about his was against Skynet, which is released on DVD as A POST-APOCALYPTIC EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH.

  64. Dan, I’ve managed to send this message back in time to warn you of a grave future. Skynet has taken over the world, and deadly robots known as Terminators stalk the barren landscape, picking off survivors. This horrendous future is set in motion by a post you will write on Outlawvern.com, which sets off a chain of events that lead to robo-Armageddon. In this post, you will accidentally write the word “was” instead of the word “war.”

    Please take every precaution to ensure that this mistake does not occur. I only hope that I have calibrated my Time Browser correctly and that this post arrives before 11:19am PST.

  65. Dans of the present and/or future! Check your email!

  66. I have. And I’m interested. But I need to scour your list a little more because there may be one or two other things I’m interested in.

  67. Excellent. Take your time.

    Of course, future you already knows what movies you’re going to order. It would save a lot of time if he would just tell you.

  68. At the end of it all, Kevin Smith will teach us that love truly is the fifth element

  69. I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species.

  70. I always was kind surprised that McClane was divorced though, dick or not. I was of the opinion that after saving her life and thwarting a massive robbery and then saving everyone at the airport and on all those other planes then maybe Holly would feel obliged to stay with him regardless. Unless she wasn’t really aware of what happened in Die Hard 2 as she was on an aircraft. You also pretty much nailed the shit out of this one Vern.

  71. I thoroughly enjoyed both DISNEY’S THE KID and THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.

  72. Yeah THE WHOLE NINE YARDS isn’t too shabby as I recall, probably a one time deal though. THE WHOLE TEN YARDS *is* awful. To give you an idea the funniest part is when Kevin Pollak’s character pronounces “soap opera” as “soup opera”. Seriously, that’s the funniest part. And I laughed hard. What, after 90 minutes of sitting through THE WHOLE TEN YARDS it would seem funny to you too

  73. the only thing I know about THE WHOLE NINE YARDS is Amanda Peet’s awesome nude scene that I downloaded from a certain site for certain purposes (I’m sure you can guess har har har)

  74. When I saw this movie I found it more entertaining to write the word “dicks” on my hand over and over again than to look at the screen (joke here about the act being my recreation of the Kevin Smith scriptwriting process HO HO).

    Then I made a video recreation/”review” for youtube.

    So I guess I wasn’t a fan.

    Bruce seemed bored, the jokes were flat, the soundtrack was literal and obvious and–


    All the standard issues things people trot out I guess. I was bored.

  75. Oh I did wonder if Tracy Morgan shooting a dozen people while Willis does little in the finale was supposed to be some sort of joking subversion of audience expectation or something.

    I watched one of Smith’s spoken-word deals just to hear the bits about Space Harrier: Die Hard Edition, then didn’t turn it off when he had passed beyond. He’s a really engaging speaker! Though it would be nice if he cut down on the aggressive I AM A FAT REPULSIVE SLOB comments and the phrase “and shit” (and shit).

  76. Dear Present Paul:


    Yours, Future Paul.

  77. BWT story in short: When Smith got on the set of Die Hard, he asked when they’d start and a grip told him they were on BWT. Smith figured out it’s Bruce Willis Time. Bruce strolls in like a party, looks at the pages, or maybe does a scene with Smith and says, “No, no, no, this is all wrong. Why is McClane letting this guy talk down to him.” Or whatever the problem was. He wanted the scene rewritten.

    Got on the phone with the studio, and all Smith heard was, from Bruce, “Uh huh. Uh huh. Let me ask you. Who’s your second choice to play John McClane?” The scene was rewritten and shot the next day. But it was an example of Bruce protecting the film and the franchise, probably the only one where he’d have THAT much clout. I mean, he probably couldn’t pull that line on Surrogates, but they CAN’T replace him on Die Hard.

    So it was a positive story, that things take longer with Bruce but it’s for the best.

  78. BR, thank you, THANK YOU, for articulating the negativity trap. I tell you, I feel so lonely in this world of online reporters sometimes, being the one who actually likes to celebrate movies and movie stars.

    The action in Cop Out: Smith called in David Ellis, legendary 2nd unit director of Matrix Reloaded (freeway scene) and all. I agree, it still doesn’t work. Ellis is great, I get what they were trying with the cemetery chase, but it’s dead. So I took Cop Out as a comedy about the genre without the good action it was meant to have.

  79. That’s a great story. Kudos to Bruce for putting Rothman in his place.

  80. Apart from the atrocity known as the “MAD Cartoon” (I’ve seen 3 minutes of it – it should be delegalized by a new Geneva convention), “Cop Out” is the only “film” in recent time that is actually antifunny. It actually sucks good humor out of you. I’ve just turned off and deleted the Xvid of it about 20 minutes in. The opening alone was the most moronic and revolting thing I’ve seen in months. “Apocalyptically unfunny” sums it up well: http://www.justpressplay.net/reviews/6802-cop-out.html

    I’ve never seen any movie by that morbidly fat individual Smith so far, and now I’m even happier to know that I haven’t, and that I haven’t let “Cop Out” interrupt the streak.

    Were you tortured by someone playing “Cop Out” and not letting you turn it off? Cure it with a dose of “The Other Guys”.

  81. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

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