If you listen to Everything is Awesome, follow me on Twitter, or just know me in general, then you know that Kevin Smith is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, filmmakers. I’ve talked about what he, and his films, mean to me on a very personal level and, even with some of his sillier and/or lackluster films, I continue to be fan, finding something enjoyable in almost anything he’s involved with. Is he the best filmmaker out there? No, even he’ll tell you that. But, he’s an excellent writer and storyteller and is the reason I want to be an entertainer, whether it be as a podcaster or filmmaker. This list, while he may have had other roles within the title, is based off of projects he has directed.
10. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a fun little celebration of what the Viewaskewverse was at the time. It’s a movie that, at first, I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it was the movie that made me say “Hey! I’ve seen some of these characters before… I should go back and revisit them.“ Before the term ‘cinematic universe’ was popularized, Kevin Smith was creating one (even if he wasn’t the first). At this time, I wouldn’t have considered myself a fan, but I had memories of watching some of his previous work with my uncle and it was the driving force that made me go back and rewatch Clerks. Over time, J&SBSB has become a favorite of mine and is not just a great homage to all things View Askew, but to the pop culture that inspired the director.
9. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Kevin Smith making a Judd Apatow movie (which, let’s be honest, is making a Kevin Smith movie) was supposed to be what catapulted his career, but instead ended up being just normal Kevin Smith business. Zack and Miri Make a Porno is, at it’s heart, the story of the director making his very first movie, Clerks. One of the downfalls to this film, in my opinion, is that it’s not part of the greater View Askew world (a simple shot of a Mooby’s in the beginning montage would have been enough). However, Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks fire on all cylinders in this movie, with Jeff Anderson having the stand out performance.
8. Red State
I was so excited for Red State when it was first announced; if Kevin Smith wasn’t going back to the View Askew, at least we were seeing something different from him. I followed this more than any other movie as I couldn’t wait for the Smith helmed horror flick. It’s actually the movie that made me stop following movies as hard as I did because I had built up Red State so much in my head that when I finally saw the movie, I was kind of ‘meh’ on it. It’s a movie that needed me a rewatch or two to really appreciate it… to take it out of the spotlight I had built up for it and just soak it in for what it was. I love that it starts and ends as a Kevin Smith movie, with something unique in the middle.
7. Supergirl – Supergirl Lives
The Berlantiverse is probably my favorite thing on television at the moment. I love The Flash and Supergirl is a very close second. Kevin Smith has always been a fan favorite to helm a superhero project and he’s never delivered—stating that he’s not talented enough to pull it off. I think he’s proved himself wrong after directing two episodes of The Flash and about to warp his second Supergirl episode. True, in TV, the director doesn’t have to do much—it’s a well oiled machine. I don’t think I’m alone saying that he should be a showrunner on something in the genre.
(Get read for a bit of a tangent)
If WB and DC refuse to let there TV and film worlds play together, then let characters exist in both. There is no harm—in fact, you’re doing it with The Flash and have teased it with Superman. In this hypothetical world, where any character can be used on TV, it’s time to introduce The Batman to TV. And not what we’re getting with Gotham (which I do enjoy). Bring the Bat to the Berlantiverse and let Kevin Smith run it. The guy knows Batman. He has a podcast called Fatman on Batman. He already came up with a genius idea with Paul Dini: Shadow of the Bat (part 1 & part 2). Smith has proven he can handle a superhero TV series—let’s get him a Batman series.
Dogma is the second Kevin Smith movie I ever saw, once again with my uncle. At the time, I was way more invested in this than I was Clerks. It’s actually right up the alley for preteen boy: poop and dick jokes. It wouldn’t be until later that I would appreciate if for more than that. I believe this was my entry point for Alan Rickman as well, an actor who I cherish to this day. This movie is crazy good and as I sit here and write this, I’ve realized I haven’t seen it in sometime. I think, as far as directing and writing, this actually is Smith’s best movie. As silly as it is, there is a grown up story here. It’s also one of his only flicks, at the time and even today, that isn’t focused purely on pop culture.
Oh Mallrats. The movie that I waved off at first screening and didn’t come to really enjoy until I had moved past the “I’m too cool for comics” stage. It’s the reason why I will watch every Jason Lee project I can get my hands onto and likely the reason I still enjoy comics to this day. It’s also my introduction to Ben Affleck, which in the current timeline, is kind of a sad reminder that Ben and Kevin Smith have drifted apart both professionally and personally. I was never a mall kid—I would go to pick up something and come home as soon as humanly possible, but watching Mallrats makes me want to go back and hangout.
4. The Flash – Runaway Dinosaur
I want to preface this with the fact that both episodes of The Flash that Kevin Smith directed are stellar. I’m simply listing the first one (and, I suppose the better one) for writing purposes. What I loved about this episode is how emotional it was. There’s something about Kevin Smith and emotions that get me (you’ll see why when we get to number one on my list). He works with that material really well and this episode prove that. Just thinking about how good this episode is reminds me that we need a god damn Batman show run by Kevin Smith and set in the Berlantiverse.
The movie that kicked off Kevin Smith‘s career and has inspired a generation of filmmakers and storytellers. I love this movie and it was hard as hell not to list it as number one. At first viewing, with my uncle, I blew it off as “just a black & white movie”. Upon revisiting, after watching Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, I fell in love with it. It was indie. It was part of a larger world that referenced each other. The characters talked the way I did and had interested that I had. Bottom line, I was in my late-teens and I finally connected with the material. Oddly enough, it wouldn’t be until my mid-twenties until I realized I wanted to tell stories and that Clerks had become an inspiration for that.
2. Clerks II
Another hard one to not list at number one. Clerks 2 is the movie that should have been made after Clerks, and not because Kevin Smith‘s previous films weren’t good. It’s that I will just always want to see what is going on in the lives of the boys behind the counter. Dante… I love that character… I connected with that character. Randal? Yes, I love him too. He’s very funny, but I’m not him. My uncle was Randal. Mike is Randal. I know lots of Randals, but I was Dante and, at least for the first two Clerks (it’s very sad we’ll likely never see a Clerks 3), it was his story. Until the end… in the end, I started to feel like Randal. His speech… again, Kevin Smith is firing on all cylinders with the emotional stuff:
1. Chasing Amy
Chasing Amy. What can I say about this movie? It’s not just my favorite Kevin Smith movie, it’s my favorite movie. It has two of my favorite monologues I’ve ever seen. The one where Holden (Ben Affleck) confesses his love to Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams):
And the Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) monologue:
There is no denying that these are two of the most powerful scenes in the movie. Chasing Amy makes me cry every time I watch it. EVERY. TIME. In fact, if I feel like I need to cry, I pop that movie in and watch it. I’m not sure there will ever be a movie that moves me the way Chasing Amy does—the performances of every actor and actress in this flick are top notch, the story is second to none, and it even works in silliness when it can. It’s another movie that tackles some grown up storylines, while still keeping up with Smith’s pop culture references. God damn this is one fine film. If Clerks made me want to be filmmaker, Chasing Amy made me want to be a storyteller.
Kevin Smith may never be considered an all time great, but he will be in my household. His passion is shown in each and every one of his movies, as is his heart. When given the opportunity to tell an emotional story, he tugs at all the right heart strings and rarely fails, if ever. If you’ve never seen a Kevin Smith film, do yourself a favor and put some time aside today and do so. I recommend starting with Chasing Amy or Clerks, but just do it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Kev is the host of the podcast, Everything is Awesome and is the co-host of The Zombcast. He is the former host of the podcasts Happy Hour with Steel Tip, Creepcast, Happy Hour, 30 Minute Outsider, The Muff Squad, That's Entertainment, 215th Entertainment Presents: Sounds of Philly, Academic Nerds, and OuaT: The Unofficial Once Upon a Time Podcast.
Kev also writes for Dark Knight News and is working on a science fiction series.
Most of all, Kev is a dad to two wonderful children.