For nearly two hours in the New Jersey sun, Smith welcomed each of the attendees individually. Some get handshakes, others hugs. A few ask for autographs. He playfully mocked the absent buddy by giving the camera the middle finger. But everyone took a selfie.
That could partly be because Smith was planted right in front of the entrance to the tiny Red Bank 2; at Vulgarthon, Smith was literally unavoidable. More likely though, it's because he was the man everyone was there to see. August 2, was the 20th anniversary of the original Vulgarthon, held on the same day in the same location in After nearly dying of a massive heart attack earlier this year, it seemed like the right time to look back. I quickly became obsessed. At VulgarthonKevin Smith gave one man credit for his directing career — not necessarily for his success, but for making him believe there was even a chance that he could make a movie.
His name is Vincent Pereira.
A vulgarian for all seasons: revisiting kevin smith’s jersey trilogy at vulgarthon
Pereira also directed a movie of his own, a drama about violent teenagers called A Better Place. Working at the convenience store later immortalized in ClerksSmith and Pereira would swap J. It was Pereira, Smith said, who was the first person he ever met who vowed to become a filmmaker when he grew up. Pereira, in other words, turned directing from a pipe dream into an accessible goal — something that Kevin Smith did for his audience, whether intentionally or not.
You could just be a dude who worked a crappy retail job and liked to talk about Star Wars.
Kevin Smith was to his fans what Vincent Pereira was to him. He had a similar impact on my life. I never wanted to be a director, but seeing a guy with similar interests and insecurities, who grew up two towns over from me, made Smith an inspiring figure.
He hired a guy I knew to run it, and so I wound up contributing columns for several years. Later, when I applied for a grad school seminar in film criticism taught by J. Hoberman — the same guy whose reviews Smith was obsessed with in the years he spent developing Clerks — my application was filled with Movie Poop Shoot pieces. I got a spot in the seminar, then an internship at the Village Voicestarted freelancing, and then wound up working steadily in a dying field for a dozen years and counting.
Movies directed by kevin smith
Back when I was just a hardcore fan, I would have ranked both Clerks and Chasing Amy among my favorite films. So watching his early movies in a theater again was a surreal experience. Like the superheroes he adores, Kevin Smith has a famous origin story that his acolytes love to tell and retell. He went to Vancouver Film School but never graduated; instead, he returned home to work at the local Quick Stop convenience store and raise money for his debut feature, Clerks.
He got the money by running up massive credit card bills and selling his comic-book collection. But to this day, Smith has never directed his own comic-book movie.
He has made his own movies into comic books, though. That includes turning Clerks into a miniseries from Oni Press and giving his two most famous characters, Jay and Silent Bob, their own graphic novel, Chasing Dogma. More importantly, he structured his films like comics from the Marvel Universe; each ran parallel stories with different casts, but existed within the same physical space and occasionally referenced events from one another.
This was inmore than a decade before Marvel brought the idea of a shared cinematic universe into the mainstream minus the jokes about corpse sex. With MallratsSmith also popularized the idea of giving Stan Lee a winking, self-referential cameo. Universal, the studio releasing the film, was baffled by the concept. Stan Lee plays himself in Mallrats as a folksy sage. Today it seems as though Lee served as something of a life coach to Smith as well. In the years after he made the movies featured at Vulgarthon, Smith has transformed himself into Stan Lee: A man who made several era-defining works and occasionally generates new material but now mostly makes a living marketing himself and his well-established brand to fans through the internet.
Brodie was meant as an affectionate tribute to a certain kind of geek: Awkward, aggressive, and deeply passionate.
New jersey trilogy
In a scene set at a hockey rink, Smith was trying to direct Adams and co-star Ben Affleck by shouting from a monitor located on the other side of the building. When Smith returned home after shooting wrapped, an argument ensued. Smith claimed he was so devastated by the criticism that he nearly quit the film until he was talked down by his producer, Scott Mosier. His greatest strength is writing, and particularly his distinctive, pop-culture-focused dialogue.
InSmith did an interview with The New York Times about the movie he had watched more than any other.
He has landed a few high-profile writing gigs that never made it to the screen, but how did he not become a busy for-hire screenwriter? Where is the great Kevin Smith-written rom-com? Born 20 years earlier, it would have been almost impossible for Smith to scrounge the tools to make a feature in Leonardo, New Jersey. Born 20 years later, he probably would have gone straight to being a YouTube star while cutting out the part where he toiled away for decades in independent film.
He is a man of his moment, and today his films are most valuable as documents of that moment; the last couple years before everyone made little home movies of their crappy day-to-day existence. The main thing I found myself wondering watching the Jersey Trilogy again is where the Kevin Smith who made them went.
What happened to the guy who wrote deeply personal stories rooted in his own life and obsessions? Most of the B-plot in Chasing Amy is about a comic-book artist reckoning with sudden commercial success. Holden is an obvious Smith analog, as he works through his own feelings about moving from the tiny, immediate Clerks to the bigger, broader Mallrats.
Instead, Holden creates a comic about his life called Chasing Amy. In the scene above, Smith essentially plays the role of his own fictional life coach. After Chasing AmySmith made movies about religious zealots, amateur pornographers, music publicists, dudes who turn human beings into walruses, and Canadians.
To be sure, Kevin Smith has gotten very good at cranking out Bluntman and Chronics. And according to a New York Magazine profile fromhe is a happy man for the first time in his life.
As evidenced by the big smiles on the sold-out crowd at the Red Bank 2, he knows exactly how to make his fans happy too: By performing, podcasting, taking pictures, and telling stories. There's no shame in any of that. I would love to take my picture with that Kevin Smith. Matt Singer Published: August 7, Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Filed Under: Kevin Smith. : LongformMovie News. Back To Top.