Kevin Smith has put out some truly wonderful films over the years (hint: all the ones featuring Jay and Silent Bob). He has also put out...other films. Films that, frankly, we have no idea what their merits may be because none of them seemed like they were worth the price of a movie ticket.
Still, what he seems to have lost in momentum as a director he has gained as a spoken-word artist. His one-man shows may be some of the best work he's ever done, and if you forced that part of his career up against the View Askewniverse in some sort of mammoth nerd battle to the death, we are honestly not sure who would win.
Now, AMC is bringing Smith to a new audience in the form of a reality show filmed in his Red Bank, New Jersey comic book shop, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. Anyone who has ever bothered to listen to the commentary tracks on any of Smith's films knows that Smith and his friends are quite capable of keeping you thoroughly entertained on any pop culture subject, but especially on comic books. However, will this really be something worth watching?
We have decided to present the arguments for and against Secret Stash. First, we'll approach from the positive side, and then we'll paint on a pointy mustache for a snarky rebuttal. Think of it like when Two-Face kidnapped Commissioner Gordon to put him on trial, and Gordon requested Harvey Dent as his defense counsel. If you don't get that reference, you might want to stop reading now.
The Argument FOR Secret Stash: May it please the court, I for one think that a reality program showcasing Kevin Smith, his assorted friends and comic book culture in general is a fine idea.
For instance, between his director's commentaries, his consistently sold-out and critically acclaimed spoken-word tours and his excellent podcast, Smith has made it abundantly clear he can hold an audience in the palm of his hand with nothing more than his wit. Admittedly, his humor isn't for everyone, but neither is South Park's and look how long it's lasted. Smith may not be a comic genius, but he's rarely without a good quip.
In addition to his style, he also brings with him a great deal of expertise. Comic culture is becoming both more mainstream and more marginalized. Somehow, Hollywood finally started putting out a steady stream of amazing films inspired by comic book characters, a trend that isn't slowing down to look at the release schedules for the next couple of years.
As awesome as that is, it also breeds a whole demographic who are familiar only with the big budget versions of these characters, people who are ignorant of the wealth of stories that are just waiting to be read. Any good comic shop owner is a master at steering a fan right toward the sort of stories he likes. They are the last of a dying breed, the niche bookstore merchant who knows his clientele and his inventory backwards and forwards.
In the hands of someone like Kevin Smith, who is not only a comic fan as well as a comic writer (his runs on Spider-Man, Daredevil and Batman are all well worth the price), it offers watchers of his show a chance to really delve into these characters who've gotten such a boost in popularity from recent films.
In the end, think about the show as Pawn Stars, if all they sold was comics and every other sentence was a joke about Ben Affleck. We can look forward to humor, wit and a deconstructing of some of pop culture's most fascinating mythologies.
The Argument AGAINST Secret Stash: With all due respect, my fellow counselor's mother must have drunk mercury smoothies while he was gestating because his argument makes less sense than Kevin Smith getting a reality show.
Yes, Smith has a whole lot of funny in him. No one will deny that, but as he moves further and further from the films that made him great, his humor becomes more and more bitter. He's already decided that he will no longer offer his films for critics to review because he doesn't like bad things being said about his films. And those commentaries that were referenced earlier? Don't be shocked when you hear Smith suddenly go off on any number of angry rants that feel like petulant outbursts.
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His humor has something else going against it as well. Smith has been quite vocal, exuberant even, about his newfound love for smoking pot. A great deal of what I hear from him lately has that weed culture feel, and as someone who doesn't smoke pot, frankly I don't find it all that funny. Not offensive or anything, just not really humorous.
The main reason against Secret Stash, though, is that we're worried that the show will take time away from Smith finally coming back to directing good films. When we first heard about his horror film Red State, I shrugged it off as yet another attempt by Smith to find himself anew. Now that I've heard some of the scuttlebutt about the film, though, I'm starting to think that maybe Smith has actually gotten his feet back under him.
I really want Kevin Smith to make good films because I thoroughly enjoy it when he does. Red State may be the first of a second coming for him, and if that's true then I'd rather he not be wasting his time and talent hanging out on camera making the 834th joke about Reed Richards's dick.