Skip to content

Podthoughts: SMoviemakers

Vital stats:
Format: Kevin Smith interviews the makers of films he likes
Episode duration: 50m-2h30m
Frequency: erratic

Finally, someone has given Richard Kelly a chance to explain himself. Actually, wait a second — he had a chance to explain himself, back on the Donnie Darko DVD commentary track. Or at least he had a chance to explain the movie — and to my great dismay, he did, with a sweaty, near-schizophrenic detail and consistency. But Kelly’s appearance on SMoviemakers [RSS] [iTunes] happened years later, after the world had already sneered his follow-up, the chaotically paranoid Southland Tales, into an early grave. Say what you will about the coherence of Kelly’s movies; they’re something, or at least they aspire to that state. My memories of Donnie Darko remain as hauntingly askew as the film itself, and as for Southland Tales, well, J. Hoberman and Manohla Dargis don’t win themselves over. I never would have expected a guy like Kevin Smith to lend Kelly a sympathetic ear, but so he does on the debut episode of this, his filmmaker-on-filmmaker interview podcast. And in a certain maligned-auteur-on-maligned-auteur way, the invitation makes perfect sense.

Whenever I bring up the maligning of Kevin Smith, I ask myself whether I’ve done my share of that maligning. Alongside many cinephiles of my generation, I thrilled to Clerks and everything it revealed about the potential of micro-budget independent filmmaking in the nineties. But like several other of the subsequent movement’s leading lights, Smith has arguably proven damp cinematic powder. Even a picture like Chasing Amy, regarded as one of his strongest efforts, falls victim to both a half-hearted interest in craft and an unpalatably thorough seediness. Smith himself admits, as a born writer and talker, to never finding film a particularly good fit. With the advent of podcasting, which made possible his flagship program SModcast and its countless spin-offs, he may at last have found his medium. SMoviemakers goes up a level by sitting him down with other directors, and ones he admires, thus harnessing his considerable drive as a film fan and his experience (even if he disclaims real skill) as a filmmaker.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *