- Posted by Johanna on July 22, 2006 at 2:51 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
I’m always fascinated by how professionals interact with critics, especially when it’s unhealthy. (To be optimistic, sub the phrase “an opportunity to learn valuable lessons” in for that last word.) Case in point: Kevin Smith. He’s got a movie opening this weekend, and apparently, the press screenings have provided much material for drama.
This Chicago Tribune reporter discusses how Smith can’t not read his press.
He tracks down every review and every story about him, whether written by a nationally known writer or some anonymous schmo on a Web site. Not only does he read the test-screening reviews posted on Ain’t It Cool News but, until recently at least, also has perused the Talkback section. This is kind of masochistic-verging-on-nutso behavior because Talkbacks tend to fill up with obnoxious comments no matter the topic.
Smith also apparently has a long memory.
Almost three years later, when I e-mailed him for comment for a news story I was writing — as I occasionally used to do before my review — he responded by asking if I’d first take back my “Jay and Silent Bob” review.
An LA Weekly reviewer was asked to leave a press screening.
In truth, this teacup tempest had begun to brew the week before, when a different publicist (one I’ve known for years) phoned to coerce/threaten me into assigning someone other than myself to review your film. “Kevin reads everything that’s written about him,” she told me, before going on to explain that apparently certain things I’d written in the past had led you to feel I had some kind of personal bias against your work. I was perplexed: True, movies are like their directors’ children, and when I reviewed your last film, the nauseatingly saccharine Jersey Girl(2004), I went so far as to say, “The blame for this cosmically self-indulgent disaster lies with Kevin Smith, who directs like a proud father who can’t stop showing you pictures of his kids. And here’s the thing: The brats are ugly.” Still, I was hardly that film’s harshest detractor and, what’s more, I’m on record as having been a fan of yours in the past.
When finally invited back, that critic calls Clerks II “the best thing you’ve done in years — the funniest and the most genuine” in his open letter to the filmmaker.