Weinberg vs. Kevin Smith on the Value of Film Criticism

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Weinberg vs. Kevin Smith on the Value of Film Criticism

For the record, I am a big fan of Kevin Smith's films. Aside from his two most recent offerings (Cop Out and Red State), I'd call Kevin Smith one of the most original and consistently funny voices in the indie film world. I say this as a professional film critic who has reviewed virtually all of his movies, and I offer these honest pieces of praise despite the fact that Kevin Smith himself has become an insufferable crybaby over the last several years.

After his latest anti-film critic tirade at the 2012 Comic-Con, I went on Twitter and openly challenged Mr. Smith to a debate about the value of film criticism. He ignored me. So here's the next best thing.

Below (scroll down) you'll find a nine-minute rant from Kevin Smith in which he is his typically glib, self-effacing, and very entertaining self. I invite you to watch it and then read my specific responses below.

1:15 -- "Every dopey movie has its place." -- Wrong. Some (even many) movies are churned out of the machine with little to nothing in the way of actual care or quality control. Smith cites Juwanna Mann as a lambasted film that he enjoyed, which is great, but what about Epic Movie, Ringmaster, or The Love Guru? Are all films simply deserving of blind praise, simply because they are completed films? This is a push towards conformity that would be scary if it came from anyone other than an indepedent filmmaker who hawks his wares like a used car salesman on speed. "Every f*ckin' movie counts," says Smith. This is one of the most childish things I've ever heard regarding film.

2:13 -- Smith is amazed to learn that Roger Corman started out as a film critic, and this (sort of) makes him reconsider his position for a few seconds. Forgive me for being nasty here, but if a 41-year-old man has just now learned that Roger Corman was once a film critic, I daresay that his knowledge of film criticism is woefully malnourished. I'd also point out that Francois Truffaut, Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Schrader, and Rod Lurie are film critics turned filmmakers, but that would only serve to underline one of Mr. Smith's more insidious -- and erroneous -- claims...

2:30 -- "If you use film criticism to become a filmmaker, then that's OK, but if you actually choose it for a career, and you love it, you're a passive observer who adds nothing to the equation." -- That sure seems to be what Mr. Smith is saying here, so let's clear this up right now, once and for all: FILM CRITICS ARE NOT FAILED FILMMAKERS. Speaking only for myself and a few dozen friends, I can say without fear of contradiction that this is the job we want. We love movies, we're good writers, and we have people who enjoy reading our opinions. Perhaps one day I will finish this witless screenplay I've written, but I do not fancy myself a screenwriter, a director, or any sort of filmmaker. They have their skill sets, and I have mine. Seems that if you want to use the position of film critic to become a director, Smith digs you, but if you actually love your job writing about film, you're a greedy stooge who cannot be trusted.

3:20 -- And here's where Smith tells his adoring audience that ANYTHING THEY MAKE with an iPhone and YouTube qualifies as a film worth watching. But let's take that a step further. What would happen if 2,000 Kevin Smith fans made short films using iPhones and YouTube? You'd need some smart people to help you know which ones were worth watching. Hey, that'd be the film critics. As a person who has sat through hundreds of short films from first-time filmmakers, here's the ugly truth: 80% of them are terrible. I say that with sincere respect for the people who made them, but facts are facts. Not every single piece of filmed entertainment is worthy of your limited life hours.

3:50 -- "If you could make a movie that could save somebody's life, why would you want to sit around and write about someone else's shit?" (paraphrasing) Well, Kevin, it's because I'm not a filmmaker, and I have no real desire to be, but if I found a film that could somehow "save somebody's life," I'd be writing about it every three hours. This is how it works. My colleagues do this all the time.

4:30 -- Right about here is where it struck me how sadly egocentric Kevin Smith's viewpoint is. He's convinced himself that film critics exist to do harm, and if a film finds any success, it's despite our collective efforts to impede the film. Except for this: I know for a fact that my reviews and vocal support of specific films have helped them to A) get into film festivals, B) gain attention from a distributor, C) find its way to a satisfied audience. I have personally helped films get to their audience, and I have helped talented filmmakers to sell their product. That makes me feel proud, and no amount of Kevin Smith's aimless venom will convince me that my colleagues and I are passive, petulant observers.

4:50 -- "It's not enough to comment anymore; you gotta do. Deeds not words." -- Cute Megaforce reference, Kev, but without professional film critics, you're left to the advertisers and the IMDb commenters. I've written thousands of film reviews. some that are fun and others that end up "important" in some small way. I "do" plenty, thanks.

5:50 -- And now we come to the weirdest and most consistent part of Mr. Smith's argument: that film critics don't "have to pay" to see movies. His ugly argument seems to be that critics are "meaner" to a movie if they're seeing it for free, which is not only insipid but insulting as well. I saw Dark Shadows "for free," and I'm thrilled if I convinced one person to avoid that piece of junk. I also saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter "for free," and practically begged my fellow horror geeks to go see it. I also saw micro-budget indies Marianne and Midnight Son "for free," and both directors thanked me for helping them land distribution deals. (Not just me; luckily there are other excellent horror sites who support "nobody" filmmakers.) I don't make films, but I have helped at least a dozen movies land video distribution. How many has Kevin Smith helped?

6:30 -- A blustery rant about how, let me make sure I get this right, "Weinberg's opinion of Smith's art is only valid if money changes hands." He's been on this one for years, and man it's really distasteful. I paid to see Clerks, which I still love. I paid to see Mallrats, which I've never liked. I saw Chasing Amy and Jersey Girl for free, and I like both of those, but I didn't like Dogma, despite also seeing that one for free. So where's the logic now? I have no idea, really. I've also purchased more than my share of Kevin Smith DVDs (the man gives great commentary), so does that mean my opinion of Clerks and Chasing Amy is now DOUBLY IMPORTANT? Meh, I give up. It's also in this rant that Smith's disgust for film critics becomes clear: "Who are you? I don't know what you do." Well, Kevin, we're the people who cover films all year for less money than you make in a month.

8:00 -- Todd McCarthy's positive review of Red State "matters" to Smith, but none of the negative ones do. This is how ostriches behave.

9:00 -- After admitting that he loves weed and "sucking" certain things, Smith closes with "I don't put out negativity out there, and I don't want negativity around me." Sounds sweet on paper, but his ignorant attack on the art of film criticism (yes, I said "art") has been nothing BUT smug and petulant negativity. I still like a lot Smith's films, and you'll never convince me that he's not a funny orator, but his simple-minded assault on film critics has got to stop.

The man has his own damn "review" show, after all. Perhaps it's not that film critics desperately want to be filmmakers; maybe it's that Kevin Smith desperately wants to be a film critic.

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More about Red State

DickJuly 17, 2012 7:46 PM

anti-critic rants are pretty much 100% anti-intellectual posturing designed to protect an "artist"'s fragile-ass ego. Kevin Smith is a talented guy but he's also a complete moron and nothing outside of his films deserves a second glance.

mikechumpchangeJuly 17, 2012 8:46 PM

Smith's used self depreciating humor for years to hide an incredibly thin skin under a layer of bluster. As much as I love the View Askew universe and enjoyed the Q&A DVD's and podcasts he put out, I'm completely turned off by him sticking his fingers in his ears and shouting "I'm not listening" whenever he encounters a criticism. I went to one of his Boston Q&A's last year, and while it was entertaining, I found his offhand comment that he has a million followers on Twitter and he's just going to create content for them really pandering and self defeating if he considers himself any sort of artist.

barenjager1966July 17, 2012 9:39 PM

I see a critics review of a movie as their personal opinion. They like it or they don't. I watch movies that I am interested in seeing, not because it has a big "must see" tagged to it by someone. I'll watch almost anything once so I can get my opinion on it and be a little informed if someone asks about it. I like Kevin Smith movies and some of his Q&A dvd's, although some of his "stories" on them can be a little drawn out. I too liked Jersey Girl even though most critics said it was a "bomb" but I also liked Gigli(I know, not Kevin Smith), it was entertaining. And isn't that what most movies are suppose to be? Entertainment

Kurt HalfyardJuly 17, 2012 10:04 PM

Well said, Scott.

Particularly salient point on call Smith out on the 'hate' towards film critics because they ---sometimes--- hate a film and write that down. Usually the most resonating film criticism is when a critic loves, and Smith throws that baby out with the bath water. And rightfully should be taken to task for his own bias spreading of hate (and yes, ignorance).

I still like many of Smith's films. Yes, even Red State.

CatJuly 17, 2012 11:01 PM

All I could think about while I was watching this was Spoilers, I don't understand how that's not the same thing. I mean, I understand how its not the same thing, but you know what I mean. This, as did Jamie Kennedy's Heckler, pained me. Where is the love for the films we have championed to the box office and the indie names that wouldn't have made it if not for film festival coverage and rave reviews? I still don't see everything for free and I don't get paid for what I do. I love film, TV and writing. I get to write about two things I know and truly enjoy and it doesn't matter if I don't get a paycheck. I get to share my admiration for the writers, directors and cinematographers that I appreciate. This is truly a passion project for me that I fit in to my crazy life, around family time, a new baby and a full-time job because I enjoy it just as much as Mr. Smith enjoys making movies. I don't particularly like the term "critic", I don't judge anything any more harshly than I would sitting in my own living room commenting to my husband about it. This is how people feel about these films, whether they have an audience to share it with or not. For every film I didn't enjoy, there is a reviewer who did. I agree that I have enjoyed most of Kevin Smith's films and his being so close minded and one sided won't change my mind on that, but we aren't all out to get you or your colleagues Mr. Smith, I promise.

CashBaileyJuly 18, 2012 12:17 AM

I've been a huge Kevin Smith fan for a long time, and it's unfortunate that Smith decided to fall on his sword over COP OUT, probably the most flat, boring, unfunny 'action/comedy' ever released by a major studio.

He needs to make HIT SOMEBODY then retire like he's been promising.

MarsHottentotJuly 18, 2012 12:39 AM

2:13 -- Smith is amazed to learn that Roger Corman started out as a film critic, and this (sort of) makes him reconsider his position for a few seconds. Forgive me for being nasty here, but if a 41-year-old man has just now learned that Roger Corman was once a film critic, I daresay that his knowledge of film criticism is woefully malnourished. I'd also point out that Francois Truffaut, Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Schrader, and Rod Lurie are film critics turned filmmakers, but that would only serve to underline one of Mr. Smith's more insidious -- and erroneous -- claims...

Well, he'd know that if they made B-Movies or wrote comic books (which he also writes and gets critically savaged for).

Sean "The Butcher" SmithsonJuly 18, 2012 1:02 AM

I can hear the corpse of Andre Bazin clapping all the way from here.

@jhubanksJuly 18, 2012 1:04 AM

We can add Jean-Luc Godard to the list those whose entree to filmmaking was film criticism. Perhaps he and the rest of his cohort at Cahiers du Cinema (among them Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Claude Chabrol) should be exhumed and posthumously charged to answer whether they "chose" and "loved" their first career, lest the entire French New Wave be rendered naught.

Niels MatthijsJuly 18, 2012 4:03 AM

Interesting discussion where I feel the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Film is both technical and emotional and there are very few film critics that succeed in combining both elements together in a worthwhile review. I know I can't do it, my knowledge of the technical aspects are actually making a film are way too limited, so I just focus on the emotional side of film fandom.

Watching Smith, it's clear that he dislikes criticism of his own work, even when he tries to sell it differently. The man has a way with words, but can't really hide behind them when his statements are so simplistic.

Then again Scott, I'm surprised to read your comment saying that you feel thrilled when you convince people to avoid a film like Dark Shadows? The way I see it, the job of a film critic should be to inform people about a certain film, then let the people themselves decide whether they would be interested in watching said film. That's different from putting your taste forward (because that's what it is really) and hoping to convince others of your own taste in film. I actually liked Dark Shadows, I think it's one of the best Burton films out there. I know there are others like me, so it is actually beyond me why you would be thrilled if you had convinced me not to see the film. That doesn't sound very nice, especially not to me.

That's not to say film critics can't share their own taste, part of the fun is that people start to see you as someone who they can rely on, taste-wise. At that point a critic's review becomes more than just informative. But that's a personal relationship that a critic shares with his fans, it's dangerous to believe that you as a film critic can decide for everyone else what movies they should see (and more importantly, what movies they should ignore). Most people reading your reviews won't know who you are and what you stand for though, for those people your review is just a thumbs up or thumbs down, unaware of how your taste relates with theirs (which is why I think a site like Rotten Tomatoes is pretty useless).

If 2000 people shoot a vid on their iPhone I too believe that 80% of those vids is complete and utter crap. But my 80% might differ a whole lot from your 80%. Some of the brightest and strongest reviews I've read are completely contradictory to my own taste, which is a weird sensation. While the writing is often awesome, the message is a complete failure when it comes to informing me about whether I should watch a certain film. Just take James' Dark Knight gracing the top of our review column right now. It almost makes me excited about watching TDKR, even though I know I'll be fighting my sleep around halfway through.

Walking the line between taste and critical reflection is difficult, because different people weigh things differently. I see it as a worthwhile goal to strive for that balance, but I also realize that it's virtually impossible to accomplish. In that sense I can understand some filmmakers, especially the ones that truly believe in their film and see it burned by a large group of film critics (see what I wrote about Chernobyl Diaries). While critics have the power to make directors, they also have the power to break directors. The question is whether this is justified when personal taste is often the underlying differentiator.

It's the reason why I stick to posting only positive reviews on Twitch. Some people may be disappointed after trying out some of my recommendations, but that's far less worse than me discouraging someone from what could just as well be his favorite film ever.

jamesbrummelJuly 18, 2012 4:13 AM

He wasn't so anti critic when Janet Maslin was fellating him.

videopatJuly 18, 2012 2:08 PM

Fully agree with Smith's sentiment on this one, and I haven't enjoyed a Kevin Smith movie since JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.

Weinberg's arguments are just as defensive and 'egocentric' as Smith's.

"I 'do' plenty, thanks"

Chill, Scott ... chill.

DavyJuly 18, 2012 2:20 PM

Let's not forget about Jean-Luc Godard as a film critic turned filmmaker.

JeffJuly 18, 2012 3:07 PM

He's not debating you because he no longer cares.

He doesn't care what a critic thinks of his film. He's gonna make what he wants to make and that's that. If you don't like the film, then you didn't like it. He doesn't need, require, or want the subsequent feedback. It offers him nothing as a filmmaker.

What if there was a critic of film critics? Would you give a shit what he/she had to say to you about any of your reviews? Would you take it to heart and try to improve? And if so, why? It's just this person's opinion. What makes him/her right and your initial style wrong?

Also, with all due respect, his point is that EVERYONE is a critic now (maybe always was). There's really no difference content wise between a film critic's criticism and the average joe telling him what they thought of his film on twitter. Why should he value a film critic's opinion over absolutely anyone else's? Because you're paid to offer it? So what?

I graduated from film school. I took many classes relating to film theory and specific genres. Maybe I can appreciate a film (or particular aspects) moreso than an average audience member. Maybe. But my opinion of a film is no more acceptable or useful than anyone else's.

That's his point.

MarsHottentotJuly 18, 2012 6:21 PM

Godard, Truffaut, Bogdanovich, Schrader, Lurie were all filmmakers.

Kevin Smith does not make films. He makes movies.

I think there's a difference. Films are meant to provoke thought and conversation, movies exist only to entertain the broadest group of people possible. Films, being that they're generally asking questions and, sometimes, giving answers are open to discussion because they invite it. Movies are practically beyond criticism as their only goal is to keep you from thinking about your bills for a few hours through spectacle.

Savaging Transformers movies is a waste of time if you're focusing on plot and acting - no one is going to see a Transformers movies for those elements. They're going to be dazzled by effects. You wanna recommend or dissuade an audience on that criteria, that's fine, otherwise it's just a bunch of film geeks sharing a laugh. Which I love to do, no lie but, really, it's just preaching to the choir.

A good example - I read reviews of Smith's last studio pic, Cop Out just because I knew it was going to be pilloried and knew there'd be some funny stuff to read, not because I was genuinely curious as to whether or not it was actually good - the trailer told me that already.

I guess Kevin Smith is saying that his work is of the same basic cloth - populist entertainment for the common man who doesn't need nor want enlightenment from his cinematic experience - just escapism?

I dunno but, didn't he retire a few months ago?

HCWFJuly 18, 2012 6:51 PM

I have actually lost some respect for TWITCH after reading this temper-tantrum of an article. You placed yourself on top of a "personal soap box" high above your audience in what I am now considering a lame attempt to vindicate your existence. Get a blog or Reddit account. I for one do not visit this unique website for extreme personal bias and vendettas. I want movie reviews whether I agree with writer or not and film news about subjects that are interesting to me.
It would be disheartening to this revelation bear truth. "TWITCH has become an insufferable crybaby over the last several years."

HCWFJuly 18, 2012 6:52 PM

I have actually lost some respect for TWITCH after reading this temper-tantrum of an article. You placed yourself on top of a "personal soap box" high above your audience in what I am now considering a lame attempt to vindicate your existence. Get a blog or Reddit account. I for one do not visit this unique website for extreme personal bias and vendettas. I want movie reviews whether I agree with writer or not and film news about subjects that are interesting to me.

The PunisherJuly 18, 2012 8:54 PM

I ask with the upmost sincerity. Can you read? Then look to the top of the page where the post is titled under the category "RANDOM GEEK TALK" with the tags COMEDY and USA & CANADA. Now, with that out of the way, you can get off your soapbox and realize every writer on the internet isn't out to fulfill your random whims. To be honest, I don't think anybody here cares what you want. But thank you for sharing. Freedom of speech and all that. Hey if you want people to know how terrible Twitch is, maybe you should get yourself a blog...or a Reddit. Yeah that'll show em.

hiroaki.jJuly 18, 2012 10:44 PM

I honestly mean no offense when I say this, but that kind of delineation strikes me as vaguely semantic art house snobbery. "Movies" is more common in the United States, and "films" in Europe, but they're both colloquialisms and pretty antiquated as terms these days as how much film stock do we see projected anymore? Less and less every day. The local theater co-op still does film projection where I live (regardless of source), but the megaplex is all digital, and even the blu-ray copy of "TGTB&TU" I watched last night is technically a digital encode of filmic elements.

I digress, but all I really mean to impart is that in my view cinema is a spectrum and when you put it in boxes based on terms that are unrelated to the mediums qualitative attributes (such as genre or director) you're injecting artifice between yourself and the content. IMO anyhow.

The PunisherJuly 18, 2012 11:08 PM

I'll try to skip past the first two paragraphs of your comment because honestly I agree that Kevin Smith doesn't have to care. No one is required to care about anything. But if you do disparage a guy's entire profession to a large audience, I think the person on the other end of that monologue might have a reason to care. Your second paragraph is equally harmless. Although I will say that if you ever paid attention to film criticism you would know that they critique (and police and praise) each other pretty often. It's around the end of that paragraph that this post starts to fall apart. What if you and the person's opinion overlapped? In other words, what if you saw in your work what the other person did? Perhaps it would have some use then.

Is a lot of film criticism opinion? Yes, but that opinion should be (talking about best practices now) based on what is on the screen. And standards, while never definitive among a group, can reach some sort of consensus or general acceptance. All this to say a filmmaker, or anyone for that matter, can learn a lot about film this way. That however is not my problem with the post. My problem is your summary of Kevin Smith's point.

It is important to remember the context of the speech and I understand that in a forum, like a Comic-Con Q&A, it is not necessarily possible or desired that Kevin build a coherent point but his point is not the one you are making or at least it is far from the only one. Early in the speech, he admits that "everything deserves to be analyzed" but that you can "be entertained or go out and try to be entertaining." That logic is incredibly broken. If the audience followed Smith's advice, he would have no audience. Plus I vouch from the many reviews and OTHER forms of criticism (essays, articles, books) that it can be very entertaining.

Then he goes on to mention Roger Corman as a person who "slightly" changed his perception of film criticism only because he only used it as a stepping stone to actually making films. Apparently it's a fine thing to do until the "real" thing. Someone should tell that to screenwriter William Goldman (not to mention countless other filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard) who wrote film criticism way AFTER he was a revered filmmaker in the industry. Apparently if you "know so much" and can "do it better" (what!?) then you should just make films. Film criticism has nothing to do with whether you think you can do better than the filmmaker(s). Do you think you're better at cooking when you find the food terrible (or great!) at a restaurant?

Not to mention his aside that "it's not enough to comment anymore, you gotta do". As a filmmaker who has gone on record as saying that he is more writer than director in the writer/director hyphenate category, he should be more appreciative of what a writer does and how much effort goes into the job. Cue turning around and contradicting himself by saying "..I like film critics". Of course only when they say *nice* things. This is the kind of soft and back pedaling that Smith uses to equivocate on the topic. Of course his real beef is that critics don't pay for tickets.

He wraps it up with an anecdote about reading Todd McCarthy’s review of his last film Red State because Todd reviewed his first film years ago "when [Kevin] cared about that sort of thing". Of course it was a good review and that was all he needed. WTH? So should McCarthy work now or what? What is he saying about a man's career that has spanned decades? "Oh I appreciate the positive things you said but you're a worthless parasite? “It’s that kind of cognitive dissonance that confuses the stuffing out of me.

Finally to the point you bring up, yes everyone is a critic (theoretically) just like everyone is a basketball player. That doesn't mean everyone is particularly good at it. I have seen things in professional ball that will never happen in any YMCA court I have every played in. Just like another activity, there are those perform at the highest level. Film criticism, professionally or otherwise, requires certain skills; Writing ability and knowledge of the cinema (and the arts in general) would be two at the top of my list. That's what makes a difference between the critic's criticism and the “average” Joe.

In conclusion, your and Kevin Smith's view of film criticism is sorrowfully narrow. The idea that all that matters is whether a person liked or disliked something is not even childish, (poor kids get the brunt of everything) it’s just plain stupid. To paraphrase a great critic I read often (Jim Emerson), if whether or not a critic liked the film is the most important/interesting part of what they have to say, then he/she probably isn’t a very good critic. To quote Paul Brunick: “No one's opinion is more objectively right than any other, but there's no question that some are better argued, better supported and ultimately more interesting.” That’s my point and I believe it is Mr. Weinberg’s as well.

MarsHottentotJuly 19, 2012 1:00 AM

"art house snobbery"

You say it like it's a bad thing!

HCWFJuly 19, 2012 5:02 AM

@THE PUNISHER, I should have known my place. Sorry for being such a fool. I am below dirt. Such scum as myself should be blinded and crippled for expressing any and all opinions. I got ahead of myself. What can I say? Will you keyboard warrior me another good lashing?

JeffJuly 19, 2012 11:12 AM

First off, thanks for replying and in doing so in a very articulate, well-mannered way.

Also, looking back over my post, for the vast majority of it, I am only clearing up what Smith is trying to state. Not giving my own point of view, except at the end.

Re: my first two paragraphs, which you only briefly touch upon, was in direct reponse to Smith's "ignoring" Weinberg's debate request. Weiberg wants to debate someone who no longer really cares about the topic. He's over it. You may argue he's not over it due to his comic-con rant, but we can agree to disagree on that one. It's as if Weinberg is trying to explain his point of view to a guy that has already turned around and walked away.

Critics challenging or praising each other's work isn't the point I was trying to make. I think you may have missed this. I'm sure they challenge and praise each other all the time. In fact, I have read debate between critics that results when they call each other out specifically. That's irrelevant, however. I'm saying, what if there were a group of professional critics paid to write articles criticizing the work of film critics. Let's say there are 500 of them scattered across the nation? What if you were praised by one but scolded by another for the exact same style choice. Who would you listen to? And why? And in all honesty, would you really care? Smith is saying he doesn't. To him, it is just one more opinion of his work whether good or bad.

Can criticism be entertaining? Of course. It can also be enlightening. But Smith doesn't care. It doesn't influence him one way of the other. Thus, he gets nothing from it. If you do, by all means, continue reading it. His point that everything deserves to be analyzed is sincere. But he allows this analysis no influence over his work/future work. Whether that is a very limited stance is up to you. But it works for him.

"it's not enough to comment anymore, you gotta do". I'm gonna ignore this because I didn't touch upon it and I don't agree with. Not every film critic wants/needs to be a filmmaker. BUT when a professional critic criticizes a film by saying that it is not the movie they expected or wanted it to be instead of basing their opinion on what it is, Smith's point is then go make the movie YOU want to see. Make it better than mine. You have that power. And there is a lot of professional criticism that is nothing more than this particular argument.

Professional criticism does require a set of skills. Whether most demonstrate those or not is debateable.

The Todd McCarthy thing? I think that was just Smith closing the book on caring what a film critic thinks by going out on top. Hypocritical? Perhaps.

I don't give too much regard to Jim Emerson. I'm only slightly familiar with his work, but from what I have experienced, if a particular aspect of a film doesn't fit a certain set of limited perimeters, it is wrong. His video criticism of THE DARK KNIGHT springs to mind and his criticism of Nolan's understanding of line of sight was very ignorant. That's like saying Tarentino isn't a good screenwriter because he doesn't follow the conventional 3 act structure.

Anyway, that's it. I encourage you to respond, but I think I'm done. Thanks for the discussion.

SamJuly 19, 2012 12:14 PM

I don't think he meant every movie has merit, but just that if someone likes juwanna Mann who am I to say their wrong? Which is a problem I have with a lot of film reviews, depending on who wrote them they often come off as smug and give a "if you disagree with MY opinion YOUR wrong" vibe. Far too many people rely on reviews but he's saying if you see a movie you think looks good vote with your wallet and go see it. I don't need confirmation from some stranger to decide whether or not I enjoyed a movie. Don't get me wrong, film critics have a place in this world, there are many times that a review has introduced me to a movie I hadn't heard of but for mainstream movies I completely ignore them. Some guy giving TDKR some random grade won't make me want to see it any more or less, I can decide for myself thank you very much. This whole post to me sounds like you can dish it out but you can't take it. Sure you can tear apart something SOMEONE loved and cared enough to make but when someone says you don't have that right you get whiny and complain that HE is whining.

hiroaki.jJuly 19, 2012 2:12 PM

es no bueno.

MarsHottentotJuly 19, 2012 7:03 PM

Enjoy "That's My Boy"!

hiroaki.jJuly 19, 2012 10:15 PM

You don't know a thing about my taste in films.

Warren PeaceJuly 20, 2012 1:03 AM

"I don't make films, but I have helped at least a dozen movies land video distribution. How many has Kevin Smith helped?"

Smith spends a good chunk of the comic-con speech answering this. He's releasing several films from first-time filmmakers via his distribution company.

kyeramugJuly 21, 2012 5:27 AM

This entire article reads to me like a defensive rant. The tone feels like "I know you are but what am I?" Face it, Mr. Film Critic. You. Don't. Make. Movies. And as boorish as you believe Mr. Smith to be: the impetus, indeed, the very crux of his entire 9 minute rant does not change the fact that he is correct and you will never create the very art you longingly admire. Keep on reviewin, brother!

wsright987July 22, 2012 10:17 AM

Came here to say this. Thanks.