You may recall a few years ago when Kevin Smith released his first horror film (then to be his second last film ever) Red State, he went somewhat off the deep end when it came to film criticism of his work. Compounded by the somewhat disappointing response to his Bruce Willis buddy cop movie Cop Out, Smith went on repeated tirades about why he shouldn’t let critics see his movies for free when they’ll just dump all over it, and how if critics want to see his films early then they should pay him. Of course, this was in the midst of Smith’s DIY kick and his big plan to leave the studio infrastructure in the dust, a plan that he seems to have abandoned along with his retirement plans. But now that he’s ensconced in critical praise again following the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of his new film Tusk, Smith says he’s willing to let bygones be bygones with the critical mass once more.
It was such a crazy emotional moment where I got a little wet-eyed, just by virtue of the fact that for so long, I was so fucking angry. It was nice to let go of that. I’m too fucking old to fight or care anymore. I’m old now enough to know some people are going to like it and some people are not going to like it. And that’s way easier to say with something like Tusk, because yeah, some people are not going to like it. I’m more shocked that anybody likes it. I’m delighted.
To what do we owe Smith’s new found chillaxed ‘tude? Perhaps its this:
Yup, from Sticky Guide (via Topless Robot), Tusk now has its own official brand of medicinal marijuana. This opens up a whole new potential revenue steam for the ailing movie industry: tie-in pot! I imagine for a lot of movies, this will be a great way to help fans get through the experience of a less that well-made flick.
As for Smith and his changed perceptions on the value of critics, it’s nice that he seems to be chilling out on his hard-edged stance. Back in 2011 on his Twitter feed he said, “[F]rom now on, any flick I’m ever involved with, I conduct critics screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week. Like, why am I giving an arbitrary 500 people power over what I do at all, let alone for free?” At the time a lot of critics said, “Uh, because that’s how it works.”
Smith countered that he should choose 500 people from random on his Twitter page and give them a free screening to create critical mass. Of course @randomdude98 and stonerguyindetroit (not actual Twitter handles, I think) do not make for convincing tear sheet quotes as critics from recognized publications like Variety and online outlets like Indiewire do, but as we said, Smith was having a little bit of a nutty that day.
At least Smith can take heart that whatever the mean old (and young) critics say, his fans still love him. Proof, via Smith’s Facebook page: they all put on these paper walrus masks in a show of solidarity before the Midnight Madness screening of Tusk in Toronto:
If wearing paper walrus masks at one of the most prestigeous film festivals in the world isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Tusk hits theaters on September 19.