Kevin Smith Gets Critical
by Josh Grossberg Jul 19, 2006, 2:00 PM PT, EOnline
Kevin Smith is giving a big thumbs-down to ABC’s Good Morning America’s mustachioed movie reviewer, Joel Siegel, after the latter reportedly stormed out of a New York press screening of Clerks II, upset about its lewd content.
According to the New York Post, Siegel stood up about 40 minutes into a preview showing earlier this week disgusted by a scene in which the characters conduct a frank discussion about hiring a woman to get down and dirty with a donkey for a party. The newpaper said Siegel loudly proclaimed, “Time to go!” to his fellow media types and then stomped toward the exits.
“First movie I’ve walked out of in 30 [expletive] years!” the Post quotes him saying of the sequel, which follows the continuing misadventures of two convenient store slackers 10 years after audiences discovered them in the 1994 indie sensation Clerks.
“It was so foul and mean and repulsive. I finally realized I could not say anything positive,” he said to the Post. “I wasn’t ready for this kind of smut…I hope he doesn’t make any more movies.”
And with that Smith, who wrote and directed Clerks II and reprises his role as Silent Bob, became anything but quiet on his blog at SilentBobSpeaks.com, unleashing an expletive-filled rant over Siegel’s remarks.
“As Paul Thomas Anderson once said of the man, getting a bad review from Siegel is like a badge of honor,” Smith writes, adding that he was as “delighted by this news as I was with the eight-minute standing ovation Clerks II received” at the Cannes Film Festival.
Smith says he doesn’t blame Siegel for feeling “revolted” by the donkey show–the Associated Press, for example, said of the scene in question, “Smith leaps brazenly into the abyss…It goes too far for too long and Smith just does not know when to rein it in (if you’ll pardon the pun)“–but the filmmaker takes exception to Siegel making a “big stink about walking out” and disrupting the screening of other members of the press.
“How about a little common f–king courtesy?,” Smith writes. “Never mind the fact that when you’re paid to watch movies for a living and the only tasks required of you are to a) sit through said movies and b) write your thoughts about them before your deadline, walking out before a movie’s over is pretty unprofessional.”
He concludes by saying that he really, truly doesn’t hate Siegel and was happy to learn the critic survived a recent bout with cancer, but still labeled his behavior “unconscionable” and “unethical.”
Siegel was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Siegel’s antics aside, early reviews for the sequel, which opens Friday, have been wildly mixed. The review aggregating site RottenTomatoes.com gives the film a 63 percent “fresh” rating based on eight reviews, five of which were positive and three “rotten.”
Finally. Something more interesting than the possible existence of Suri Cruise to discuss.
While I think that Joel Siegel had every right to walk out of the screening (although how can you give a fair review of film if you stop watching before the end), he was unprofessional to create a scene while he was leaving.
All this seems to prove is that movie critics are an almost impossible group to please.
And if you don’t believe me, read this article by A.O Scott of the New York Times.