|Red State: Somewhat Reviewed|
Kevin Smith's latest film takes a spin in the horror genre.
Frightening it is not.
The flick centers on three teenage boys who are on the hunt for a sexy time. Instead they find themselves mixed up with a family of Christian extremists led by Abin Cooper (Michael Parks). And this is where the shit hits the fan, for all involved.
I won't delve any further into the plot. It's been talked to death, both by Smith and critics. Search the internet and you'll see for yourself.
What I do want to talk about is why I didn't enjoy this movie.
Maybe if I had seen it in theaters I would have been more into it. No other distractions. Loud speakers. Sitting enraptured. Engaged.
But I wasn't. I was sitting on my bed. Utilizing my instant streaming on my Netflix account.
Before continuing, let me state that I am a Kevin Smith fan. Maybe not so much of his movies, but more so of the man himself. I love his podcasts and I can't really say why.
I guess they appeal to the immature 12-year-old boy that lives inside me. Dick jokes? Yes, please. I laugh. Sometimes while running. (This is when I typically listen in.) I even saw Smith and his sidekick Jason Mewes do a live show recently. It was awesome.
But that's beside the point.
So much hype was/has been built up for this movie. First, with the auction-style set-up at Sundance for choosing a distributor. Then, shortly after, the shocking announcement that, surprise! Smith would distribute the film himself under his own production company.
I think this was a clever scheme. It generated a lot of media attention for Red State and, as a result, heightened the public's awareness. Besides that, Smith has a solid backing from his audience. Die-hard fans.
And while I'm not quite sure I would classify myself as a die-hard, I am nonetheless a fan.
And this fan was a little let down, as I've said.
Maybe I was let down because of the over-sell. Maybe I was expecting too much.
I was expecting this amazing, game-changing film. Like Smith said he made. To quote him, he "saw where the puck was going."
This is true for the advertisement/distribution portion of the film. But as for the actual film? I say no.
Red State felt rushed and scattered.
As an audience member, you don't really care who lives or dies. There is no character development. First, the boys are on their way to finding some hot lady parts. Then, there's a gun fight.
Umm...What's going on and why do I care?
The movie wasn't hard to follow. I knew what was going on. But as far as the 'why do I care' part, I didn't.
It wasn't as if Smith was already running over on time. The movie clocks in a little under 90 minutes. Add on some time and exposition, for crying out loud. Make me care!
When I think of the film in reference to the actual extremists, the Westboro Baptist Church, sure, I get mad . . . at the Westboro Baptist Church. I could care less about the actual characters in the movie.
So a few horny kids are tortured. Why should I care?
It's the writer's job to make me care, and here Smith failed.
Aside from a lack of character development, there were also some rather jarring and uncohesive aspects to Red State. One random flashback and a single time slide. Kind of ridiculous when used so sparingly.
The flashback occurs moments after the audience experiences the event first-hand. Give me a good reason why that's necessary and I'll give you $5. (I would offer more, but I'm a workin' girl. Cut me some slack.)
Maybe these two elements are being used ironically. Poking fun at all of the other movies and tv shows that over use them. But I doubt it. Smith would have said so in five different interviews and written a blog about it if that was the case.
The performances were fine. John Goodman used his talent efficiently for the part he had. Michael Parks was good.
But it was all just a little lacking. Something left to be desired.
Why all of this hype and build-up for an average movie?
My answer is that Kevin Smith is very full of himself.
I admire Smith for the self-distribution. He's proof that when there's a will, there is most definitely a way. Also, where there's a solid audience, they will come. Field of Dreams style.
Some critics, most of his audience, his friends, and Smith himself dubbed Red State his best movie yet.
But I disagree. I loved Zack and Miri Make a Porno, partially because of my obsession withElizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen, but also because it was cohesive, hilarious, and a solid Smith film. It had notes reminiscent of Chasing Amy with a heightened awareness of the audience the film should be geared towards.
Am I being extremely harsh?
But when a director heightens the expectations for a film as much as Smith did, the audience expects great things. And I only got a film that was mildly entertaining.
Let's see what comes of Smith's upcoming hockey film, Hit Somebody.
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