Sundance Pundit Poll: How Much Do You Care About Red State?

Between taking to the web to pull a Tyler Perry, announcing a public auction for distribution rights, and issuing his own press release publicizing a protest of the protest of his film, Kevin Smith's done all he could to wring every ounce of publicity out of his Sundance entry, Red State. (What is this, Slamdance?) But how much does anyone care, really?

Movieline queried our expert panel of film critics and bloggers on the ground in Park City, some of whom raced to the Sundance press office at the crack of dawn in hopes of nabbing one of only 25 press tickets made available for the Red State premiere: Do you refuse to engage with Kevin Smith's publicity agenda, or is Red State now a must-see?


David Poland, @DavidPoland

Movie City News

Red State is, by Kevin's request, a "So what?" However, editors who don't care about anything filmic but the hype will bite hard on the bait. In the end, it's a Kevin Smith film and critic-proof anyway.

Someday, Kevin will grow a skin 1/100th as thick as his self-promotional skills and deal with criticism like a grown up. Or not.

He is an icon. But he's not an important enough filmmaker to be worth all this drama.


Katey Rich, @kateyrich

Managing Editor, Cinema Blend

I was one of the dozens of people lined up outside the press office at 7:30 a.m. to get a Red State ticket, and though I hated that this meant he was winning his crusade against critics, I admit I'll be excited to be there. One way or another, all that insanity means it'll be a story, no matter how good the movie actually turns out to be.


Ed Douglas, @EDouglasWW

Associate Editor, Coming Soon

Sadly (for those who tire of Kevin Smith's quest for attention), it's now THE must-see of this year's Sundance. Kevin Smith has openly challenged the critics and it's the critics' turn to show that they can (and will) see his return to indie hopefully with an open mind and without judgments clouded by the negativity propagated by Smith's reaction to the reviews of Cop Out.


Peter Howell, @peterhowellfilm

Film Critic, Toronto Star

What? Kevin Smith hyping a movie? I am shocked, SHOCKED to discover this!

But it's okay. He's getting ink by pretending he doesn't want it. I'll play along ... but whether it's a must-see depends what else is showing Sunday.


Jenni Miller, @jennimiller76

Contributing Writer, Cinematical

I am really interested in Red State based on the premise and cast, but the whole hubbub around the movie is too exhausting to even contemplate. While I would certainly like to attend a screening of Red State, I am not particularly interested in fighting my way into one tooth and nail. If that means I see it when it comes out in theaters or on DVD, so be it. I'm somewhat impressed that the movie has caught the attention of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church -- don't they have some funerals to picket? Why waste their ire on such heathens such as us?


Alonso Duralde, @Aduralde

DVD Editor, Movieline

For me, it was always a must-see, since I'm an admitted fan of Smith's work. I think it's interesting that he's actually gaming the Sundance system in a way we really haven't seen a lot of filmmakers do, and it's getting him tons of publicity for a movie that almost no one has seen yet. For all the harrumphing that may go on around his methods this year, don't be surprised to see other people attempt something similar at future fests.


Ray Pride, @raypride

Movie City News

Kevin Smith has weighed in at length via Twitter and his "Smodcasts" on Red State, what I'm really hoping is happening here has little to do with the critical crap-on of Cop-Out. Rather, I'd hope that he's made a brave, earnest attack on latter-day false prophets via the horror genre. We'll find out in a few hours just how much his religious-themed horror film follows the activities of the "God Hates America" hate-zealots who are apparently picketing the Eccles Theater. If Kevin Smith were able to buy the services of the leader of that miniscule, overexposed cult to bring their services to Utah, he is

truly a Harvey Boy.


Alex Billington, @firstshowing

I think Smith's decision regarding press screenings is his own personal issue and doesn't change my interest in it. I think it's a must see simply because I'm curious to see how Smith has changed up his style for a horror flick. I'm also intrigued by the plot regarding the religious aspects and seeing Michael Parks as the villain. I think it's worth seeing at the first screening mostly to be there to watch it unfold, good or bad, that's what I love being a part of the most.


Fred Topel, @fredtopel

Entertainment Correspondent, Screen Junkies

I prefer not to comment on this subject. However, I would be happy to talk about not talking about it.


Catch up with Movieline's Sundance Pundit Poll #1: What Are Your Three Must-Sees? and follow us on Twitter as we report from the trenches.


  • Andrew says:

    I wouldn't be surprised if there was some collusion between Westboro and Kevin Smith. Westboro are trolls of the "highest" caliber. Their whole ultra-religious shtick is just an elaborate ruse to incite anger and possible violence so they can get rich off personal injury lawsuits. Smith has ample experience dealing with their kind after Dogma and his "run in" with William Donohue. Plus he's probably seen Matinee.

  • ILDC says:

    This movie looks like it will be either a trainwreck or a masterpiece. Or maybe somewhere in between. I just hope it's not average.

  • Martini Shark says:

    Wait, what happened here? Why did Smith not just get himself kicked off an airplane due to his girth for the 12th time, and springboard his PR off of that?

  • The Winchester says:

    My prediction: Festival buzz will be very high, that will taper off upon actual release. And while it will be amazing for a Kevin Smith film, and every bit of press will say that, it will still only be just alright.
    My hope: That Kevin Smith has finally decided to grow outward and take some risks, instead of relying on the defensive "Well, I'm just not a good filmmaker" line he's said so much he's actually believing.

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