Kevin Smith: I’ll make ‘Christzilla’ — but my courage ends at Muhammad vs. Mothra

Kevin Smith Mothra

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.

Kevin Smith doesn't want to end up like Mark Basseley Youssef (Nakoula Basseley Nakoula), the director of "Innocence of Muslims," so he sticks to mocking Christians.
Kevin Smith doesn’t want to end up like Mark Basseley Youssef (Nakoula Basseley Nakoula), the director of “Innocence of Muslims,” so he sticks to mocking Christians.

Related: Red State’s Kevin Smith Plays Silent Bob on Radical Islam

Related: Red State Teaser Trailer Hits Christians because Teasing Muslims Terrifies Kevin Smith

Red State Teaser Trailer Hits Christians because Teasing Muslims Terrifies Kevin Smith.

If Kevin Smith had any artistic courage his horror movie would have addressed the kind of fundamentalism that's responsible for honor killings. That would have irritated the kind of people who issue fatwas and death threats, so it didn't happen. Note: They're not Christian.

The Red State Teaser Trailer has dropped. If you haven’t been following its progress, you should watch it with this in mind:  Kevin Smith is more of a danger to toilets than Middle America’s Christians are to the nation.  He may want you to believe that all “Red States” are filled with Westboro Baptist Church Fred Phelps fans itching to torture teenagers (You know, that guy who ran for public office as a Blue State Democrat multiple times), but historically Kevin’s butt has been more of threat to the structural integrity of buildings than the stooges who inspired his latest movie:

“I broke a toilet. That’s how heavy I am,” said Smith. “I can’t take all the credit — that was an old toilet and a very waterlogged wall — but my size took that toilet down. I cannot cognitively reframe it and be like, ‘It wasn’t me — it was the toilet.’ It was definitely me. And that’s a wake-up call!”

Do you want to know what else was a wake up call for millions of Americans?  September 11th, 2001.  And since then there’s been a number of terrorist plots thwarted, all of which served as a reminder:  the real monsters out there aren’t fundamentalist Christians.  The real monsters are extremists of another faith, but Kevin Smith would rather not focus on them because:

  • He doesn’t want fatwas and death threats thrust upon him like the creators of South Park, gays, Jews, women, non-muslims, and…the actress from the Harry Potter flicks who dared to have a non-muslim boyfriend.
  • Liberal movie critics like Roger Ebert are more inclined to give rave reviews when a fellow liberal is going after crazy Christians and other “red state” stereotypes.  And Kevin needs a hit right about now.  Exhibit A: Cop Out.

A common refrain as of late is that Kevin is going back to his “indie roots” with Red State (i.e., a euphemism for “on the cheap because we had to”?).  However, it should be noted that a number of famous horror flicks that were made on shoestring budgets came from promising upstarts and artists who couldn’t get buy in from producers who fund Ben Stiller sell outs. In Red State’s case, the director in question is returning to his indie roots because box office performance (or underperformance) has brought him full circle.

What irks me about Kevin and his liberal friends—like Ben Affleck—is that they go out of their way to take shots at conservatives. The last time I checked, conservatives watched movies too. So why couldn’t Smith simply come up with a title that didn’t paint at least half of America as having an affinity for Fred Phelps’ mindset?

As mentioned, Kevin needs some critical acclaim.  He’s taking the Billie Joe Armstrong route, which is to douse his work in ideological pheromones that a number of critics won’t be able to resist. It may be a smart move in the short run, but the long term effects are rather damaging.  If Kevin wanted to do something outside the box he’d have made a horror flick that centered around the kind of guys with a thing for honor killings… but once again that would require him to have a shred of artistic courage.

Someone needs to look at the statistics to see how many people each blogger out there represents, because there are a lot of Americans who feel the same way I do about Kevin:

  • Smith is a witty writer who once inspired a generation of young filmmakers with Clerks and Chasing Amy.  He helped bring comics into the mainstream (which may be a bad thing if you’re a nerd’s nerd).
  • Somewhere along the line it was established that quick wit isn’t synonymous with directing talent…and Smith turned into a bit of a whiner who couldn’t see how he came across to anyone outside his own cultish fan base. Insulated by rabid fans who tune in to smodcasts and visit SModcastle, he’s oblivious to how he alienates those who generally like his work but didn’t drink the Kool Aid.
  • As any foundering Hollywood type from the 90’s does when fame wanes, he ups the liberalism ante to stop the slide or pick up traction with a new audience.  It seldom works.  Just ask Janeane Garofalo.

I remember the good old days, when Kevin’s pals played hockey on roofs to Soul Asylum… and the politics didn’t poison anyone’s perception of his work. I wish that feeling could be recaptured, but just as Kevin can’t unbreak a toilet seat, we can’t turn back time.

Here’s hoping Kevin one day dials back on the liberal pot shots and returns to what he’s good at. If he does, I’ll be sending my disposable income his way. Until then, I hope Red States give Red State a stink palm.

Kevin was inspired to write about "Red State" Christians who use chokers to torture teenagers. Too bad he wasn't inspired to write about Sharia Law followers who chop off heads in real life.

PS: I once met Jason Mewes in a Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Santa Monica when it first opened. He was a super nice guy. Snoogens.

Kevin Smith’s Red State Rolls. Making Green By Disparaging Half the Nation? Michael Moore Q.E.D.

John Goodman's career includes playing right wing nut job stereotypes really, really, well. Congrats to Kevin Smith for landing him. However, Smith isn't The Coen I think I'll hold on to my chips instead of placing bets on this one.

Kevin Smith’s Red State is under way.  If you’re not familiar with it, all you need to know is that it’s his horror flick inspired by Westboro Baptist Church, its preacher Fred Phelps, and the urban liberal-elitist belief that anyone with religious convictions from a “red” state is an empathetic blood brother with fundamentalist whack jobs.

As far as casting goes, Smith couldn’t have done a better job when it came to landing John Goodman. Anyone who has seen The Big Lebowski knows what he’s capable of. Ditto for his work in O Brother, Where Art Thou? I’d say to forget about The Flintstones, but it seems as though Goodman’s life’s work has prepared him for Red State:

  • Vietnam Vet (Conservatives are crazy war mongers)
  • Klan member (Conservatives are racists)
  • Cave man (Conservatives are neanderthals)

Kevin Smith will undoubtedly mine Goodman for a number of tropes.  I’ll be looking forward to the movie, if for no other reason than to comment on them.  I still need to see Robert Rodriguez’s Machete for that very reason…

In the coming months, I’ll probably tune in to a few of Smith’s Smodcasts to hear how production is going.  And, even when he isn’t talking about the movie, I’m sure he’ll provide material to supplement upcoming blogs.  For instance:

“The theater is the very first podcasting theater on the planet, and if you had told me a year ago that we were ever going to be involved in that I would have been like, “Nah!” I’m so proud of that “world’s first podcasting theater” thing. It’s like, there’s not many things that you can say you did first. Even with making the flicks,  people were doing that years before  we ever did that. Even with doing a podcast, people were doing that years before we ever did that. Nobody was ever stupid enough to open a theater for something that is given out for free on the internet.”

Since Kevin is proud of his firsts, I should point out his glaring oversight: He’s also the first person to make a movie in which he openly disparages half the nation with the title, content, and marketing. No one has been stupid enough to do that, either. Congrats, Kevin.  You obviously didn’t get that advice from the President, who is awkwardly attempting to woo Americans, but who knows how it will all pan out. Oddly enough, because you live in the United States…it just might work!  Just ask Michael Moore.

Kevin was the first to have a podcasting theater. He's also the first to openly disparage half the nation with the title, content, and marketing of a film. Somewhere, Michael Moore is really jealous.