Remember when Kevin Smith’s Westboro Baptist Church-inspired horror flick ‘Red State’ barely cracked $1 million dollars? Since portraying roughly half the nation as potential religious whack jobs worked out so well for him, he’s decided to up the ante by pitting humanity and Satan against a giant raging “Christzilla” figure. As usual, the “daring” filmmaker failed to disclose any plans to ridicule Islam.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Smith shared details about that project and updates on other movies in the works, and also revealed how he’s going to approach his film career going forward, in an extensive Facebook post on Monday.
The filmmaker wrote that he’ll soon start writing a movie about mankind teaming up with Hell to fight a rapturing giant Jesus.
Here’s what Smith said on his Facebook page:
“[R]ight now, the aim is to shoot CLERKS III this May — so this HELENA HANDBAG picture would still be a ways off anyway. But why sit around commenting on other people’s lives and art on the internet when I can try to make some NEW art instead? As for the title: If you heard the podcast, you know Scott suggested CHRISTZILLA in place of HOLY CHRIST! – the title of the fake movie in the original podcast. I asked the audience to offer up their suggestions at #BeatChristzilla and they were all really fun! But I’m going with the title HELENA HANDBAG – which comes directly from the plot of the flick (it’s kind of a nod to David Lynch’s unproduced ONE SALIVA BUBBLE screenplay, too — which was also about the end of the world and also carried a title that didn’t really prepare you for what the movie was about). So I’m off to write HELENA HANDBAG.
“Clerks III” followed by another attempt to get under the skin of religious folks? Perhaps in a few years “Clerks IV: Dante’s Inferno” can fuse Kevin Smith’s two primary go-to career options. Jay and Silent Bob can travel to the depths of Hell to save Brian O’Halloran.
For younger moviegoers, it is hard to explain how time has exposed Smith’s incredibly limited range as a writer and director. 1994’s “Clerks” was a truly inspired effort, and “Chasing Amy” solidified his reputation at the time as a witty guy with his finger firmly planted on the pulse of American pop-culture. People started copying his style, and instead of searching out new intellectual landscapes to explore he stayed in the same arena of thought with the usual creative teams. With each iteration, the “Kevin Smith” brand became more stale. Smith, however, doesn’t quite see it that way:
JERSEY GIRL, ZACK & MIRI, COP OUT – while I love them all, these are movies anybody could make. Like ’em or hate ’em, nobody else but me could’ve (or would’ve) ever made CLERKS. Or CHASING AMY. Or DOGMA. Or RED STATE. Or CLERKS II. Or MALLRATS. Or JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.
- Mall Rats — a funny movie about slackers. No one but Smith would have done that? The 90s would disagree.
- Chasing Amy — a sharply written romantic comedy involving Lesbians? No one but Smith would make that? The growing Netflix section on gay and lesbian movies says otherwise.
- Dogma — a critique on the Catholic Church. No one but Smith would make that? Okay.
- Red State — a horror flick that blasts fundamentalist Christians. No one but Smith would make that? Gotcha.
Does Kevin Smith use the caps lock button to convince himself that his assertions are true, or does he think that talking loudly convinces the rest of us of the veracity of his claims? Will the sequel to “Helena Handbag” be called “Islamabad Burka”? Don’t count on it.
If Kevin Smith wants a movie that no one else would make, perhaps he could write a film that pits Giant Muhammed against Mothra. Giant Muhammed could also have a harem of topless women the size of The Sacred Mosque Al-Masjid Al-Haram. But Smith won’t go there because it’s easier to needle Christians with “Christzilla” than it is to make a film that lands on the radar of the world’s nuttiest Islamic clerics. Just ask Mark Basseley Youssef (formerly Nakoula Basseley Nakoula), the director of “Innocence of Muslims.” He’s the guy the Obama administration couldn’t act fast enough to pull out of his home for a perp walk. Crime? Daring to criticize Islam.
Kevin Smith is an intelligent guy with some good instincts. He was way ahead of the game when it came to podcasting and the format plays to his strengths. However, his role as screenwriter and filmmaker has suffered from years of staying inside his comfort zone. Worse, he still thinks that making jokes at the expense of devout followers of Jesus is edgy. It’s not. It’s just sad and, on some level, cowardly considering many of the real threats to the creative freedoms he enjoys as a citizen of the United States.