Posts tagged Kevin Smith

On the Subject of Comic Book Men and Nerds

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I’ve written about it elsewhere, but I hate comic book fans. I’ve never been a part of a group of people that hated the thing they loved so much. I’ll be the first to admit that not every comic is great but I usually manage to find something to enjoy out of every one that I read. I’m glad that after all of the funny books I’ve read that I’m still able to find that in the medium. That doesn’t seem to be the case for most fans which is depressing.

Recently AMC (the same network that runs The Walking Dead…more on that later), picked up Comic Book Men from Kevin Smith. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of Smith’s work. I’ve seen all his movies — even Cop Out — and I listen to many a podcast. While his book, My Boring-Ass Life, was partially responsible for me starting a blog in the first place, I’m by no means a fanboy. I’ve tried most of the podcasts on the SModcast network but there are several, including Jay and Silent Bob Get Old and Plus One, that I just don’t care for. (For the record, I now only listen to Hollywood Babble-On, SModcast, I Sell Comics, and Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!.) Anyway, the point is, I checked out the show and I liked it.

Then I went online to see how others reacted to it and I found a couple reviews from large comic sites bashing it. After reading through them, my initial theory of self-hating comic fans seems to still be true. I’m also puzzled by what these people expected Comic Book Men to be about. Smith has said several times that the show is based on the Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave! podcast. If you’ve ever listened to it, you can easily see how the show matches up to it perfectly. The personalities that come through on the podcast each week are the same that are on the show. The dynamic works. Based on the reviews I’ve read, it looks like these sites expected the show to come in and put comics on the map and totally change the negative fanboy stereotype that has stuck with comics for so long. That’s not what the show is about at all. Yes, it’s set in a comic book store and they’re talking about comic book stuff, but the show is about this group of guys that are friends. They joke around and make fun of each other and sometimes people come in with interesting stuff.

That brings me to the next problem that people seemed to have. Comic Book Men features a weird assortment of people coming in to try to sell comics, sketches, and other nerd items to the store. These writers thought that it was unreal or unbelievable or some other nonsense. Here’s the thing. If you think that that strange fat bald guy that was in the second episode trying to sell 3D comics shows up to a comic book store every week in a suit and tie, you’re a friggin’ idiot. The network sent a call out for people to come in with interesting stuff. It is staged. Otherwise it would be a bunch of losers walking into the store with beat up copies of the Death of Superman.

AMC put that together along with the other adventures that the crew has gone on in these first few episodes because working in a comic book store (or any retail environment really) can be incredibly boring. If they set out to make a show about what it would be like to work in a comic book store it would be canceled before it even made it on air. It would consist of a bunch of guys standing around, reading comics, and ringing a register. That sounds riveting, right? It’s got Emmy written all over it.

In case you want further proof of the masochistic nature of the comic book fan, check out this recent post from Blog@Newsarama. The post links to two different sources of people that continue to buy funny books and don’t know why. One of them freely admits that he doesn’t even like the stuff he’s buying but he does it anyway!

James Knows…Comics: Batman: Cacophony by Kevin Smith

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Sometimes two great tastes don’t taste great together. What works with peanut butter and jelly doesn’t work for everything. This was the case for me with Kevin Smith and Batman. I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan and I f-ing love Batman so when I heard that Kevin Smith was writing a Batman story I had to go change my Spider-Man underpants. Smith’s previous comic work on Daredevil and Green Arrow were both great so I was looking forward to what he could do with Batman.

I don’t know if it was the time away from comics or the tremendous exposure I’ve had to Smith lately through the various pieces of the SModcast network but this book just didn’t do it for me. Not only that, but this was one of the worst Batman stories I read. I understand Smith’s devotion to the character and I know how much artist Walt Flanagan put into the story but this was just not a good story. I think Batman was alright in the story but the Joker was where I was lost. It didn’t feel like the Joker. It felt like Kevin Smith in a Joker suit. It was clearly his voice throughout the book so the Joker’s dialogue is filled with poop jokes and thinly veiled gay innuendo.

The art by Flanagan is just OK and adds nothing really to the book. It felt average at best. I want to like it more because I like Flanagan but this was just blah.

Even with all this I’m still planning on picking up the duo’s next Batman book, The Widening Gyre. I don’t know if I’m a glutton for punishment or I’m just a loyal fanboy.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Don’t You Forget About Me Unless You’re the Jock

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Even though I own a lot of DVDs, there are several movies that I haven’t seen. These range in quality from “classics” like The Abyss and Deliverance to crap like Evan Almighty. For whatever reason I just haven’t seen them. For the longest time, one of those movies was The Breakfast Club. When this came out during conversation, people would always freak out like I just told them they’re adopted and their real parents were Superman and a rock. I fixed this situation this week.

Some time ago, Kevin Smith posted an announcement of sorts on his Twitter page. He would be moderated a panel of the cast from The Breakfast Club at the 25th Anniversary showing of the film at the Film Society at Lincoln Center in NYC. I bought my tickets immediately. Then I had to wait for about a month.

Finally, the day arrived. On Monday Monica and I trekked down to the city. The showing was supposed to begin at 7 PM, but we couldn’t pick up our tickets until 6. The tickets were general admission so instead of going out to get a bite to eat and then returning, we hung out and got seats right away. Then we waited some more amid the crowd of people that f-ing loved John Hughes. Seriously, these people were insane about these movies. It was rather refreshing to be surrounded by such a fanbase of people that cared so much about this filmmaker and specifically this film. The only comparable experience was when I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show last year.

After what felt like forever, the show started up. There was a brief introduction from people from the Film Society and then the show began. This was the first time watching The Breakfast Club. I both loved and hated this experience. As I mentioned, the crowd loved this film. As a result, they laughed and cheered at almost every other line thus making the rest of the movie tough to hear. The film itself was great. I really liked it although I think I would have dug it more had I seen it when I was a teenager. It’s just one of those things that I would have appreciated a lot more if I had seen it in that time of my life just like The Goonies which I saw when I was 20.

Once the movie wrapped up, Kevin Smith came on stage. First off, the guy is big. I’ve been listening to SModcasts and he’s said he’s gained weight, but damn. He is big. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, Smith owns it on stage and he’s still just as hilarious. He introduced the cast of the film…except for Emilio Estevez. For some reason he wasn’t in attendance. When asked, the reasons given ranged from “He’s making Mighty Ducks 5” to “He got fat.” Smith definitely loves The Breakfast Club, so he was in total fanboy mode asking the casts a variety of questions. There was some interesting trivia that was tossed out too. Apparently the guy that played the janitor didn’t know that Martin Sheen was Emilio’s dad.

Also, did something happen to Judd Nelson? He had this very stilted way of speaking where he would pause after every other word.

Also, Also, Molly Ringwald is pretty hot.

Even in my Dreams I Love Free Food

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During our first night of our trip, I had a dream that I helped Kevin Smith open a bagel place. It seemed to be a big deal, but I don’t remember seeing him there. I walked up to the deli and there was a line stretching out the door and around the block. People moved out of the way when they saw that I was coming though. I seemed to be important. I was with a couple other people and we just walked right in and up to the counter. The deli guy was happy to see us and took our order. Our money was no good there so our food didn’t cost a thing. Compliments of the house. I must have done something pretty instrumental for all of them to be there. I was just excited to get some free food.

Movie Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

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Last night I had the pleasure of seeing an advance screening of Kevin Smith’s latest film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The film, due out for theatrical release on Halloween, stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks in the title roles. They’re lifelong friends and current roommates who are flat broke and do what any sane people would do when faced with no other options: Make an adult film. Seems simple enough, right? Throughout the film, we’re shown how Zack and Miri, who have been friends since the 1st grade just belong together. It’s this little bit of romance that gives the film so much heart which somehow shines through all of the dick jokes.

Oh yeah. There are dick jokes. And quite a lot of them actually. I mean, the title of the film has the word “Porno” in it. What were you expecting? There’s a ton of raunchy humor in this movie, but it’s not done in a tasteless or unfunny manner that you’d expect from some of the current low-brow films that are out there (*cough*Epic Movie*cough*). I’d put this on about the same level as Knocked Up or Superbad on the language front. (more…)

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