Something good finally sauntered out of New Jersey.
That's right, folks - Redbank, N.J., somehow produced a comedic genius. What else is there to say about hit independent film writer, director, actor and comic book connoisseur Kevin Smith?
To go down the rÇsumÇ of Smith is a time-consuming endeavor but enjoyable nonetheless. He is the writer of the 1994 cult hit "Clerks" about disgruntled convenience store workers that bedazzled audiences with its obscene wit and memorable one-liners from hell. The film knocked out the Sundance Film Festival and Miramax picked it up, making Smith an instant paramour for people across the country with too much time on their hands.
"Clerks" also introduced the world to Jay and Silent Bob, the two coolest, shoplifting, small-time drug dealing losers the world has ever known. Smith, who created the warped duo, played the part of Silent Bob, the quiet counterpart of the obnoxious stoner Jay, played by Smith's friend and actor Jason Mewes.
Smith admitted that he isn't the most masterful of actors and he doesn't really mind his character.
"I just bug my eyes out and give Jay a scornful look," he said. "It wasn't real difficult."
He said the difficult part is directing and that cruising on adrenaline is one of the only things that gets him through his movies.
"It was tough, a lot of jumping back and forth,"Smith said. "But it's way better than jockeying a register for a living."
Next in line for Smith was the all too unappreciated "Mallrats," starring "Dazed and Confused" alum Jason London, and Joey Lauren Adams, Shannen Doherty, Ben Affleck and the newly christened actor/professional skateboarder Jason Lee. Although the cast delivered Smith's twisted dialogue with unremitting glee, the movie bombed. The next film would make Smith an independent film god.
"Chasing Amy" shot "Mallrats" alum Affleck to stardom and certainly didn't kill the careers of Adams and Lee. The movie was a slight departure from Smith's fart joke scripts and introduced a more serious side - although Star Wars jokes were still included. The movie follows a comic book artist, played by Affleck, who falls in love with a lesbian, Adams, while his homophobic best friend, Lee, scorns him. The shocking part of this movie was that Smith actually wrote his character Silent Bob more than four words, but he delivered his lines with a purity that shocked all lovers of the Jersey Chronicles.
"Dogma" marked Smith's last film and also angered religious fundamentalists nationally. The religion-bashing movie starred heavy hitters such as Chris Rock and Salma Hayek and also brought together a familiar cast from Smith's previous films. Affleck and Lee played a fallen angel and a fallen muse, one bent on getting back home and the other making sure it happens so the world can be destroyed. The newcomers also included Matt Damon and "Men In Black's" Linda Fiorentino, who plays the distant desecendant of Jesus Christ, who's out to stop the angels.
Fans of Smith's quirky, obnoxious characters will get one last chance to delve into Smith's latest movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." The film opens Aug. 24 and promises to be one the funniest Smith movies to date.
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"There's some satire, some kind of smart humor," he said. "Anyone who's kind of come into the game will be like, `What the fuck did you do?'"
The movie borrows from Smith's Jersey lore and its characters include players from all three Jersey movies - Affleck, Lee, Doherty, Adams and Rock. "Clerks'" dismally bad and rudely hilarious convenience store workers Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson also make an appearence. The film's new bevy of stars includes "Saturday Night Live's" Will Ferrell, "Dawson's Creek's" James Van Der Beek, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer's" Eliza Dushku and "Road Trip's" Amy Smart.
This all-star cast, mixed with Smith's deliciously immature and witty dialogue, will mark the pinnacle of Smith's career. For somebody who said his dream was to own a deli because he thought he could "make a decent sandwich," he has certainly outdone himself.
Although he's moving on to bigger and better things, namely a redo of cult comic hit "Fletch," Smith said he couldn't be happier with the way his career has gone so far.
"I'm nothing but proud," he said. "And every day I kind of chuckle to myself because I feel I've gotten away with something."
Smith also has written several comic books, including the "Green Goblin" and has a short-lived animated series of "Clerks" out on video and DVD. He also writes "Clerks," the comic book. For more information on Smith and his latest exploits, visit www.viewaskew.com.