Kevin Smith is bad and wrong. He must be. Someone who has unashamedly made a career out of 'dick and fart jokes' must be the absolute antithesis of a true artist, yes? No. The man is little short of a genius to many people, and I am proud to be one of them. I don't always get along with his films, with Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Dogma being lower on my list of favourites than other films in his catalogue, but a number of his flicks are very, very dear to me.
The two that are most precious to me personally are Clerks 2 and Chasing Amy. These two films captured something that I hadn't seen since the Breakfast Club, in that despite the comedy, they did have something to say to the viewer, and had some pretty raw emotion in them. I think that is why I'm such a Smith nerd, and never get tired of listening to the man talk on commentaries or SMODcast shows, or watching his films. There are sublime moments in every single one of them. Yeah, even jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I think.
I even loved Jersey Girl, which was almost universally panned by everyone that laid eyes on it. I watched it for what it was- a bitter-sweet film made by a guy that felt he was growing up a bit. The cast were great, especially the late George Carlin, who you really want for your own while watching it.
Aside from the serious bits of his films, the feeling that they have been made by someone who very much gets where his audience is coming from is another aspect of why he remains a favourite with so many people. That's why the original Clerks was such a hit. It took a very mundane setting and showed audiences the comedy of everyday life, from the viewpoint of a hitherto unheard demographic.
Hell, I've been a Clerk most of my working life, and I still relate to Dante Hicks more than I should do. It's those characters and situations that stick with fans so much because, even taking the mad bits into consideration, many of us have lived those situations ourselves. That may not include donkey shows or dead guys in toilets, but you get what I mean.
Sit and watch any of the live DVDs he's put out and you get the same thing from them- he's like us, the people who sit and argue about what's going on in the background in A New Hope over pizza, then have a few beers and unload your deepest fears to your best friend in a slightly drunken haze. You get through the misery and laughter, you fight back a tear, and you agree on sticking a movie on. For me, in that frame of mind, it'd be one of Smith's. They feel like home.