Long maligned by critics after his initial successes, the would-be auteur has charted his own path to success by giving his loyal fans more of the same
Do not pity Kevin Smith. Ignore your initial instinct to feel sorry for the writer-director of Yoga Hosers, a film about teenage convenience store workers who fight monstrous talking Aryan sausages bent on world domination, which Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus describes as undisciplined, unfunny, and bereft of evident purpose.
The critical drubbing that accompanies the release of a Kevin Smith film is almost de rigueur now, but there was a time when Smith had something resembling cultural cachet. In 2016, hes a carnival barker for an increasingly small audience. Yoga Hosers will certainly not be challenging any box office records this weekend, but that doesnt seem to be the point. The director who burst on the scene with the borderline transgressive black-and-white cult classic Clerks is less an auteur and more a brand a lesser Chris Hardwick, shilling T-shirts and oversized hockey jerseys.
Is that such a tragic fate, though? The current cinematic landscape is littered with would-be Soderberghs and Spielbergs who burn brightly at the start of their careers and find themselves crashing against the gates of studio after studio. The fate of Josh Trank, who hit big with Chronicle and fell back to earth when he directed the latest Fantastic Four film, is well on its way to a place in Hollywoods pantheon of cautionary tales. Cop Car director Jon Watts was plucked from obscurity by Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures to direct the next Spider-Man reboot.
The shortlist of directors being considered for the Captain Marvel movie is mostly unknowns. These people could either end up blackballing themselves like Trank or hitting the jackpot like Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow. Such is the nature of the modern film industry theres no room for minor successes. But when Kevin Smith went from Jersey wunderkind to Hollywood made man, indie directors could comfortably ply their trade making low-budget pictures designed for niche audiences.
Smiths first studio film, Mallrats, was engineered to appeal to the teen audience the industry craves. Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannon Doherty was recruited to star and the soundtrack was loaded with popular bands of the time such as Bush and Elastica. It was a major departure from Clerks, with its grimy settings and amateur actors. Clerks was closer to a 1970s downtown New York art film than anything resembling a mainstream commercial product. It documented the all-too-real disappointments of lower-middle-class life in a small town. Mallrats, on the other hand, featured Smith as his alter-ego Silent Bob, flying around a set, and a scene where a man eats pretzels covered in human excrement.
Read more: www.theguardian.com