Kevin Smith Has Made His Peace With Movie Critics

Kevin Smith movie critics

Lots of filmmakers get frustrated by negative reviews, but few have been as vocally vitriolic about them as Kevin Smith. Following the critical drubbing of 2010’s Cop Out, Smith declared that the entire system was “upside down” and declared he wouldn’t screen his films for critics anymore. And he meant it — he stuck to that plan with his next film, Red State.

But as his latest film Tusk makes the rounds, it looks like he’s finally softened his stance against film critics. Rather than blast the haters, he professes to being “delighted” that anyone likes it at all. Hit the jump to read why he’s had a change of heart.

Smith recently hinted at his updated opinion when he retweeted Variety‘s positive review of Tusk. Speaking with Buzzfeed, the director described the moment as “a big breakthrough.” He continued:

It was such a crazy emotional moment where I got a little wet-eyed, just by virtue of the fact that for so long, I was so fucking angry. It was nice to let go of that. I’m too fucking old to fight or care anymore. I’m old now enough to know some people are going to like it and some people are not going to like it. And that’s way easier to say with something like Tusk, because yeah, some people are not going to like it. I’m more shocked that anybody likes it. I’m delighted.

That’s an entirely different tune than the one he was singing two years ago. Here’s part of his anti-critic Twitter rant, for comparison.

You wanna enjoy movies again? Stop reading about them & just go to the movies. It’s improved film/movie appreciation immensely for me. Seriously: so many critics lined-up to pull a sad & embarrassing train on Cop Out like it was Jennifer Jason Leigh in Last Exit to Brooklyn Watching them beat the shit out of it was sad. […]

It was just ridiculous to watch. That was it for me. Realized whole system’s upside down: so we let a bunch of people see it for free and they shit all over it? Meanwhile, people who’d REALLY like to see the flick for free are made to pay? Bullshit: from now on, any flick I’m ever involved with, I conduct critics screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week. Like, why am I giving an arbitrary 500 people power over what I do at all, let alone for free? Next flick, I’d rather pick 500 randoms from Twitter feed and let THEM see it for free in advance, then post THEIR opinions, good AND bad. Same difference. Why’s their opinion more valid? It’s a backwards system. People are free to talk shit about ANY of my flicks, so long as they paid to see it.

There’s no doubt it’s easier to love critics when your movie’s getting lots of praise, as Tusk is right now. So yeah, it’s possible Smith will go back to hating on the system the next time a film of his gets panned. (If there is a next time, that is, which we hope there won’t be. Contrary to popular belief, people who write about movies do not want to have a bad time.)

But Smith’s explanation seems genuine and heartfelt. At the very least, he’s not trying to fight the system anymore. A24 is opening Tusk via the traditional release model, advance press screenings and all, on September 19.

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