Kevin Smith's New Goal: Bar All Critics From Free Screenings


Famously contrarian film critic Armond White recently got a lot of attention when Noah Baumbach's camp tried to keep him out of a Greenberg screening, but Kevin Smith has been pulling that stunt on critics he dislikes for quite a while. Scott Foundas and Dave Poland have been among the pundits who were barred from press screenings of Smith's movies after having panned prior flicks (or, in Poland's case, cracking wise about Smith's meaty calves), but now, Smith aims to go one better: He's announced plans to keep all critics out of his press screenings.

That is, unless they pay to see the films like an average moviegoer might. Smith began Tweeting his manifesto last night, and Devin Faraci at CHUD helpfully began to assemble Smith's fragmented, reverse-chronological Tweets into something coherent, which goes as follows:

Sometimes, it's important to turn off the chatter. Film fandom's become a nasty bloodsport where cartoonishly rooting for failure gets the hit count up on the ol' brand-new blog. And if a schmuck like me pays you some attention, score! MORE EYES, MEANS MORE ADVERT $. But when you pull your eye away from the microscope, you can see that shit you're studying so closely is, in reality, tiny as fuck. 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 #CopOut like it was JenniferJasonLeigh in LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN. Watching them beat the shit out of it was sad.

Like, it's called Cop Out; that sound like a very ambitious title to you? You REALLY wanna shit in the mouth of a flick that so OBVIOUSLY strived for nothing more than laughs. Was it called "Schindler's Cop Out"? Writing a nasty review for Cop Out is akin to bullying a retarded kid who was getting a couple chuckles from the normies by singing AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Suddenly, bully-dudes are doing the bad impression of him, using the "retart" voice. The crowd shifts uncomfortably. And you may impress a couple of low IQ-ers who're like "Yeah, man! Way to destroy that singing retart!" But, really? All you've done is make fun of something that wasn't doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats a some fun laughs. #YesIcomparedMyFlickToARetardedKid

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 & 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 & 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. Fuck this AnimalFarm bullshit.

Of course, if Smith really wanted to "turn off the chatter," might we suggest not reading his own reviews? He may think the critics are hard on him now, but just wait until he makes them spend the money they're barely getting paid these days. I don't anticipate a kinder outcome.



  • RoyBatty says:

    There's condensing something and then shorting it to such an extent that it bears no real semblance to the issue at hand. RE: Armond White vs the world.
    This wasn't just about White getting disinvited. There's also a very big issue with the fact that White has a long antagonistic history with Baumbach's family and shouldn't be allowed to review his films in the first place.

  • M. Escape says:

    Schindler's Cop Out... lol!
    I'm with Kevin. It seems weird to give critics special free screenings. But in my mind, a critic has never done me a service. I end up watching what I want regardless if it's been panned. I mean, maybe I am in the mood for something cheesy, unoriginal, or just dumb laughs? Some critics try to make me feel bad for wanting to be entertained at times when I'm stressed out, tired, and don't have the emotional stamina for "art".
    So to me, critics don't provide a service, they give opinions. I'm sorry that they don't make much money doing that, but hey... I 'm not making any money on posting this comment, so they have that over me 😀 I don't get ANY free screenings either.
    Not that I'm against critics, just logically, it does seem like the system is backwards.

  • RoyBatty says:

    "So to me, critics don't provide a service, they give opinions."
    I think Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro and Kathryn Bigelow will tell you to look at their mantle's for proof that that isn't true. Besides, critics are there for those of us who don't have the time, money or both to wasted on crap films. Sure, I've seen some films critics have raved about that left me feeling only "meh."
    But, I have never watched something on DVD or cable that got crucified by critics and felt they were wrong. In those cases, I am always thankful I didn't waste the dough and time when it was in theaters. So, yes, they provide a service. It's just a matter of finding those whose judgeship you trust.
    What's funny about Smith's bitchin, is that the critics loved CLERKS, DOGMA and CHASING AMY. Many even liked JAY & SILENT BOB and CLERKS II. So he didn't mind when they were putting butts in the seat, but now that he keeps stumbling (ZACK AND MIRI was a great idea terribly rendered) he doesn't like them pointing out his flaws I guess.

  • HwoodHills says:

    Personally I don't get critics. When your gig is watching numerous movies per week then writing about them in depth, how long can one last before they become immune to the experience?
    Your average movie-goer sees (in the theaters) maybe 4-6 movies per year. How many does a professional reviewer see? Factoring in a MINIMUM of 1 per week, that's 52. (And it's probably closer to 100 or more.)
    So how can the common man's "public viewing" experience last before it loses the magic? Or when watched in a room with a bunch of other stone-faced reviewers who're so used to it? (They're usually held in rooms with only a small number of other reviewers who're also immune to the experience.)
    I think Smith is crying in his beer here making no mention that perhaps his "Too Fat Too Fly" internet wave might have been ill-timed and could have had a bad effect, but he is right to question the logic of reviewers.
    The simple truth is that good reviews don't have nearly the impact that bad reviews do. If people see a star that makes them laugh in a trailer that looks fun, people'll show up opening weekend. But for traffic after an opening weekend when up against a tent-pole? Bad reviews can doom you.
    I'm speaking generally here. There are always exceptions to the rule.
    But if Smith's so hot on this topic he should seriously consider the fact that with the internet being as powerful as it is now, a GREAT many movies have reviews written about them during them test screenings and such (even after you promise not to write anything about them after viewing it.)
    Yeah, that works.
    More than one or two flicks have benefited greatly from that buzz.
    It's not an easy question to answer.
    Maybe the lesson to be learned here is not to complain on the web so soon after you get bad reviews.
    But otherwise?...He's right for questioning the "arbiters of taste."

  • Mr. Sex says:

    "I think Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro and Kathryn Bigelow will tell you to look at their mantle's for proof that that isn't true."
    Eh, whoa! You forgot Fisher Stevens.
    Never forget the Fish.

  • smith fan says:

    I love Kevin Smith, but he's way off base here. COP OUT got hammered by the critics because it didn't succeed on its own terms, not because it wasn't SCHINDLER'S LIST. I can't say whether I agree with them or not because I didn't see it, but it's totally kosher to slam a comedy if it isn't funny, and apparently these folks thought COP OUT didn't deliver.

  • Martini Shark says:

    He can try but I'll show him! I'll just shave my goatee' and borrow my brother's ID and slip by the door-checkers. Then I'll . . . WHOAH , that almost worked, Kevin! You ALMOST got me to watch one of your train wrecks! Good play.

  • [...] with movie reviewers, oscillating between crediting them with helping launch his career and questioning their legitimacy. Back when "Cop Out" was released, Smith took to Twitter for an impassioned tirade against critics, [...]

  • [...] with film reviewers, oscillating between crediting them with assisting launch his career and questioning their legitimacy. Back when “Cop Out” was released, Smith took to Twitter for an ardent harangue [...]