What do you think of when you think of Kevin Smith? I've noticed over the years that, unlike Tarantino, or even the Coens, moviegoers and film nerds alike are really split on how they feel about Mr. Smith. You've got some people who think he's an above average filmmaker and some who think he's a great writer but a well below average director. There's some who won't even watch his movies because he's a no-good, potty-mouthed hellion, and then there's some people, like myself, who absolutely adore and aspire to be more like the Jay and Silent Bob creator. No matter what your attitude towards Kevin, I'll bet all I've got (which isn't really much, but that's beside the point) that you've got some kind of opinion on the matter. In honor of all the love and hate he is notorious for receiving, as well as his new movie Yoga Hosers, coming soon, I decided to watch and rank each of the Smith films. Give it a look and, if you see something you don't recognize, give it a watch, maybe you'll realize what you've been missing.
11. COP OUT
It's kind of ironic that the most marketed movie on this list happens to be at the very bottom. The combination of a script that wasn't written entirely by Kevin and the childish antics of Bruce Willis on and off the set, led to a problem-film that just couldn't be fixed. The only redeeming quality in this mess of a picture was the lovable and charming performance by Tracy Morgan; he's about the only watchable part of the entire flick.
10. JERSEY GIRL
While a very heartfelt and endearing try, that's all Jersey Girl turned out to be; a pretty good try. There are some laughs, some touching moments, and a great performance by George Carlin, but there wasn't really too much else. Even though I can't call Jersey Girl wasn't a complete failure, it wasn't even close to the rest of Kevin's catalogue.
9. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK
DISCLAIMER: just because the lovable duo's first starring role is ranked this low, doesn't mean this movie wasn't absolutely hilarious. Strike Back lacked a lot of the story and heart that inhabits most of Kevin's pictures, but I let it slide because, well, it's just so damn funny. Seriously, can you even imagine how fun this movie probably was to make?
Even though it was a little more cartoon-y than I like em, and even though Jason London isn't the most likable antagonist you'll come across, Mallrats definitely had it's moments. Michael Rooker and Ben Affleck made for some great villains, while Ethan Suplee had me in stitches, staring at that mind puzzle all day, and let's not forget Kevin Smith himself zip-lining onto the stage as Fat Batman.
To say Tusk wasn't exactly well-received by moviegoers would be an understatement; a lot of people just hated it. I, on the other hand, seriously enjoyed diving into Kevin's darker side. A twisted tale of a podcaster being turned in to some kind of human-walrus by a crazy Canadian? Count me in. There were some stomach churning moments in Tusk, especially towards the end, but Smith really took us on one hell of a ride. Tusk easily goes down as one of the better horror-comedies of the last ten years.
6. RED STATE
If we can't agree on anything else, can we all just agree on this one thing? Michael Parks is absolutely fantastic. His turn as the head of a southern-cult church was one of the better acting performances I've seen in a very, very long time. Between Parks' charisma and Kevin Smith's notion to make a film that had some profound things to say, as well as some giant middle fingers to deliver, Red State turned out to be a well orchestrated religious thriller that no one saw coming.
5. CLERKS II
Come on, was there anyone out there who didn't wanna see everyone's favorite employees return to service the public once again? Smith, along with stars Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, and Jason Mewes, showed that they could master the art of nostalgia while still managing to stay relevant. With some help from Rosario Dawson, a flash mob musical, 731 cameos, and an impromptu donkey show, Clerks II proved that a sequel can truly be a thing of beauty.
4. ZACK AND MIRI
You ever want a movie that perfectly conveys the complications of the friend zone? Well then, Zack and Miri is your flick. What made this movie so great was the astounding chemistry Kevin created between his characters. Not only were Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogan great together, but the supporting cast (including Craig Robinson and Jeff Anderson) all brought a little more life to the party. Mixing that chemistry with some hilarious jokes, fantastic performances, and the very real monetary desperation that plagues so many of us, Smith was able to bring us one of the best and most underrated comedies of the late 2000's.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as fallen angels trying to win their way back into heaven with only Chris Rock standing in their way? This movie won it's way into my heart very quickly. It's clear that Smith has some issues with the way today's church does things, (as we all do from time to time) but I was delighted by his ability to point them out in such a fun and original way, all while keeping true to his unique style. From the opening credits to the final shot, this was a Kevin Smith movie through and through.
All of us have been, or are currently, a twenty-something wondering what we should do with our lives. Most of us, at one time or another, have been stuck in a dead-end job that seemed like it would never end. This almost biographical tale of two friends working in the local convenience store will forever go down as one of Sundance's biggest surprises, as well the platform for Kevin Smith's incredible career. Between the rioting smokers, foul language, hockey on the roof, and all kinds of messy, messy relationships, we all felt right at home in that black-and-white Quick Stop.
1. CHASING AMY
Some movies on this list had touching moments, some had plenty of grit, most had a lot of laughs, but only this perfectly combined all three. Ben Affleck and Jason Lee put together a wonderfully believable bromance while Joey Lauren Adams really pulled at our hearts and forced us to think about our relationships and where we stood on the tough issues. Through Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith taught us what a modern-day forbidden love can really look like, as well as the effects that a real relationship can have on even the best of friends. He even showed us that Silent Bob can be one of the most profound SOB's on the planet. There's a lot to learn from this film but, most importantly, we all learned that writer and director Kevin Smith is truly a master of words.