By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Director, actor, comic book enthusiast and honourary hoser Kevin Smith said Canada is his heart, “as always.” Smith paid a visit to Medicine Hat earlier this month to screen his latest and greatest motion picture, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” with a little Q & A. The film follows Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), as they discover Hollywood is rebooting an old movie based on them. The clueless stoner-tastic duo embark on another cross-country mission to stop it all over again. The sequel is a follow-up to “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” The movie is now available on home video.
“Generally, when you make movies you just release them in theatres and stuff like that. You’re never in the room, so you don’t get to soak up all the love. This is like a fan film. The world’s biggest Kevin Smith fan film, made by the world’s biggest Kevin Smith fan. I like being around other Kevin Smith fans soaking it in and they get every joke,” said Smith, prior to his Alberta visit.
Smith noted the whole tour is 65 cities and will wrap up Feb. 26 in New Orleans. “That is where we started shooting the movie one year prior. It’s been incredible. Every night I get to sit and watch the movie with a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand people.”
People have asked Smith, “Is it boring by now? Do you hate watching the movie?”
“I’ve described it as maybe I did die from that heart attack two years ago and this is Heaven because only in Heaven do I get a full-house every night – where everybody laughs at every joke, every night,” Smith said.
And the Q & A portion of the night has also been phenomenal, Smith added. “That’s where you actually get to talk to people and we rarely talk about the movie. They just want to talk about what we mean to them. They all get up and tell you wonderful things about yourself as an artist and what your art has done for their lives.”
“No exaggeration, we’ve done the show 40 nights. I would say 30 of the 40 nights somebody stands up and talks about how one of our movies saved their lives, ‘I was going to kill myself, but then I watched Clerks.’ It’s incredibly moving stuff. It’s also fun. It’s your job to keep it light and funny, as well. You take the serious with the gravity it deserves and then you kind of quickly give it some comedy to give them what they came for – a good time,” Smith explained.
According to Smith, his audience is not afraid to get real and tell him things most people wouldn’t think would show up at a comedy show.
“I’ve been making these movies for a quarter-century now. Some of these cats in the audience go back with us to 1994. They’re all grown up adults now too and now they’re bringing their kids. I can’t tell you how many 16 year olds I’ve seen across the tour coming with their parents. It’s more of a shock to see a kid in the audience because what could these old movies possibly hold for somebody their age? But, they tell you the sweet story about ‘oh my dad and I watch these movies’ or ‘my dad passed them on’ and you’re like where’s your irresponsible parent that let you watch these movies at a young age, and they’re sitting right next to them,” Smith noted.
Smith said it reminds him of when he was a kid and his dad would give him George Carlin albums and tell him, “Don’t let your mother hear you listening to this.”
“It’s passed down, like a legacy. I cherished George Carlin my whole life. He wasn’t just funny, he was like a gift from my dad. So the same thing here. I get to watch the same dynamic,” said Smith.
While planning and putting together the roadshow, Smith said it would have been silly not to tour Canada. “Everywhere we go in Canada, we’re always really warmly embraced.”
He said it broke his heart he never got to tour the films “Tusk” and “Yoga Hosers” in Canada because they were movies based in Canada. “So coming up with this one was very important to me and kind of a no brainer too. ‘Tusk’ and ‘Yoga Hosers’ were tough sells because you’re like here’s a brand new thing. Whereas, this was hey man remember the 1990s. Even Canada remembers the 1990s.Everybody likes to come out. Nostalgia is a very powerful drug.”
Even though “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” is already released on home video, the roadshow experience is still selling well. “It’s not just seeing the movie, it’s seeing the movie with that audience or with me and Jay in the room,” Smith said.
Right now, Smith said, he’s writing “Twilight of the Mallrats,” which is a sequel to “Mallrats.”
“I’m going to see if I can pull that one off.”
“The work means more than anything to me. Each one of these things have to stand up for me when I’m gone. Now, I realize this. When I started all this I was immortal, I was a kid and I thought I’d be doing it forever, but now I know limited time,” he said.
So, Smith said, the art and the story mean everything. In the past, Smith said he used to care about what people thought or what he should do for his career. “A lot of people would be like ‘why would you bother making a Mallrats sequel – Mallrats didn’t work the first time?’”
“I’m like, yeah but, I’m still alive and I could die any minute and if I’m going to die at any minute I’d rather die on the set making ‘Mallrats.’ That’d be kind of hot. That’s how I kind of approach it now,” Smith said.
Now, Smith said, he’s unapologetically stuck in the past for the moment. “’Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’ was so fun and we had such a good time doing it and the audience has responded so well to it I was like let’s just stick in the past for a bit.”