I thought I'd do something a little different for Fridays. I thought to myself "Self, you dish dish out the Big F.U. every day, weekends excluded. Even you need a weekend break. Well, why don't you do something different on Fridays?" But what? What could I do that wouldn't tarnish this image I have? So, I thought. And thought. And thought. And then, it struck me while in the bathroom (why do all my great ideas come to be when I'm on the toilet?). Instead of dishing out F.U.s on Fridays, I'm going to dish out T.U's.
What are T.U.'s you ask? Simple. T.U. stands for Thumbs Up! On Fridays I will write an article on someone I actually like, kind of admire, and am a fan of. Some people you may not have heard of, others you possibly don't like. That's ok. Cause I may dish out F.U.s to people you are fans of. Isn't that the beauty of America? We can agree or disagree in civilized debate until some crazy gets involved, then it goes down from there. Anyway, my thinking is, maybe I can turn you onto someone you never heard of before. Or maybe you have heard of them but never really gave them any thought.
Today I dish out my first Big T.U award. The winner is someone whose film making I truly enjoy. I'm a huge fan of all his movies (maybe there is one I'm not too fond of, but I don't hate it). His New Jersey roots really shaped my appreciation for this man.And his down to earth persona exemplifies what Hollywood should be, though we know most Hollywood professionals are self righteous and full of themselves and would never even acknowledge their fans.
The man I am talking about is none other than New Jersey's own Kevin Smith. Yea, the Clerks guy.
Kevin Smith broke out onto the scene with his 1994 film Clerks. Clerks was shot in New Jersey, the backdrop being the Quick Stop Mart where he worked. The movie was featured at Sundance Film Festival where it went on to win the Filmmaker's Trophy. In May 1994, Clerks won the Prix de la Jeunesse and the International Critics; Week Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. Miramax, after Sundance, picked up the movie. Clerks was released in October 1994. During its limited theatrical release, the movie made $3.1 million on a budget of about $28,000.
From there, Kevin went on to write, direct, and appear in several more movies. Most of his movies take place in his home state of New Jersey, and home towns of Red Bank and Atlantic Highlands. He started his own production company, View Askew Productions. His most recent movie, Red State, was inspired by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (watch for an article about this group in the future, and no, not on a Friday). A few weeks ago, Kevin announced his next movie will be Clerks III.
Here is a list of movies Kevin directed/wrote/appeared in:
1994: Clerks (director, producer, editor, writer, actor)
1995: Mallrats (director, producer, writer, actor)
1997: Chasing Amy (director, editor, writer, actor)
1999: Dogma (director, editor, writer, actor)
2001: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (director, editor, writer, actor)
2004: Jersey Girl (director, executive producer, editor, writer)
2006: Clerks II (director, editor, writer, actor)
2008: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (director, editor, writer)
2010: Cop Out (director, editor)
2011: Red State (director, editor, writer, actor)
Recently, Kevin has branched out from movie making. He currently hosts several podcasts such as "Fat Man on Batman", and "Hollywood Babble On", and "SModcast", which are all part of his SModcast Podcast Network. Kevin has also started his own internet radio station known as SModcast Internet Radio (S.I.R.) as well as an internet television station called SModcast Internet Television (S.I.T.). His show Spoilers can be seen on Hulu.com.
Not only has Kevin written and directed and appeared in his own movies, but he directed and appeared in other works as well. He directed the 2010 movie Cop Out, starring Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan and written by Mark and Robb Cullen. Kevin appeared in the movies Daredevil, Live Free or Die Hard, and Catch and Release (starring Jennifer Garner) and Jeff Anderson's film Now You Know. Jeff Anderson, for those who may not know, plays Randal in Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse movies.
I got to meet Kevin a few years back at his store in Red Bank, New Jersey, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. He was signing copies of his book Shooting the SH*T with Kevin Smith. That was the first time I got to meet the man face to face. I walked away impressed. The man truly loves and adores his fans. His wife, Jen Schwalbach was present at the signing as well. She spent time standing with the fans who were waiting in line. Jen is also a very down to earth person. I have to say, I think they are exceptional people.
Comic Book Men is a reality show based in Kevin's Red Bank comic book store and stars Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen, and Mike Zapcic. The show can be seen on AMC, at a new day and time, beginning Thursday, February 14 at 9:00 PM.
So today, Kevin Smith, you are the proud winner of my first ever Big T.U. award. Congratulations!
(image is of Kevin's Buddy Christ statue from his religiously charged movie, Dogma)
Here is a link to Kevin's website where you can then find information regarding all his projects: View Askew and follow the links to his projects. He can also be found on IMDb: Kevin Smith
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