Marketing tagline: Silent Bob speaks!

A DVD compilation of live question and answer sessions from Kevin Smith's 2001 college circuit tour.

The two-disc set includes footage from speaking engagements at Clark University, Cornell University, Indiana University, Kent State University, and the University of Wyoming. (Kevin appears together with Jason Mewes at UW.)

Smith is the writer and director of such movies as Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Jersey Girl. As head of the View Askew production company, he has also been responsible for the production of several indie flicks, including Bryan Johnson's Vulgar, Matt Gissing and Malcolm Ingram's Drawing Flies, Bryan Lynch's Big Helium Dog, and Vincent Pereira's A Better Place.

But Smith is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Jay's loyal sidekick Silent Bob in the films of the New Jersey Trilogy/Quadrology/Quintology. (That is, Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.)

An Evening with Kevin Smith was released in the US in late 2002 by Sony Pictures and New Wave Entertainment for fans eager to get a taste of the actor/writer/director/producer's raw comedic talent. On stage and unscripted, Smith's interaction with the students is lively, brilliant, often unexpected, and always hilarious.

When one audience member mentions that he lost his job in order to attend Smith's presentation, the venerable Silent Bob takes time out on stage to whip out his cell phone and call the guy's boss in an attempt to get him his job back.

During the 224 minutes of footage, Smith discusses the making of View Askew films, his personal life, his plans for the future, and more. He describes how he met his wife (a funny yet painful story involving a session of dry humping gone horribly awry), his comic foil Jason Mewes (they were childhood friends), and his friend and co-producer Scott Mosier (they went to film school together).

Smith also talks about the politics regarding some of his movies, such as the flak he received from the Catholic League for his religiously-themed film Dogma and the problems some members of the gay and lesbian community had with Chasing Amy, a film in which one character suggests lesbians are just straight women in need of a good "deep dicking."

When asked if he would ever consider making a sci-fi flick, Smith smiled and said, "I think I have made a science fiction movie: Chasing Amy. Because you go ask any lesbian: "That'll never happen."

The marketing fluff for the piece actually describes it quite well, so I'll reproduce a bit of it here for the sake of completeness:

An Evening with Kevin Smith is a no-holds-barred Q&A with one of Hollywood's most gifted filmmakers. Infamous for picking apart the pop culture landscapes with films such as Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the New Jersey native has become a veritable icon of independent film. Smith gives us a new lens to examine spirituality, sexuality, and human relationships. Get up close and -- at times -- very personal, with the man everyone has been waiting to hear from...SILENT BOB SPEAKS!

This DVD is an excellent purchase for any Kevin Smith fan, or for nonfans who want to watch what basically boils down to a stand-up comedy routine focused on one filmmaker's perspective on Hollywood, politics, sex, drugs, and giving/receiving head.

The price of the DVD (around US$20) is well worth it simply for the story about Prince (or the Artist Formerly Known as, or whatever), who apparently hired Kevin to direct a documentary about music and religion that was professionally produced and edited simply so that it could be placed into a vault and never be seen again by anybody.

To give you a bit more flavor of the DVD, here are some choice quotes:

On religion: "I appreciate who Christ was and what Christ did, but I'm not really into the dogma... i.e., I want to fuck before I get married."

On filmmaking: "I think I do what I do because I grew up fat... My comedy comes from that. Thanks for bringing up really painful fucking memories."

On writing: "The writer crafts their ideal world. In my world, everyone has really long conversations about interesting shit or just pick apart pop culture to death and everyone talks in monologue."

On Jay and Silent Bob: "We're such great actors, they gave us our own movie once. And that will never happen again."

On public speaking: "Own the mic. Drive it like a fucking cock and own it. Bring the thunder!"

View Askew fans: this is definitely a must-have for your DVD collection.

Scene Selections (Questions/Discussion Topics)

1. Start 2. The Marcel Marceau part 3. Look-alikes 4. Smoothing things over. 5. Daredevil vs. Jersey Girl 6. Kent State 7. Jay and Silent Bob in Wyoming 8. Where did the characters come from? 9. How long have you known each other? 10. Size and sexual preferences 11. A big Jay fan 12. Sex tape critique 13. Scott Mosier stories 14. Any personal life experiences? 15. Life frustrations 16. What do your parents think? 17. Dogma 18. Any sci-fi ideas? 19. Chasing Amy politics 20. Any funding advice? 21. Whatever happened to Clerks 2? 22. Any run-ins within the industry? 23. Superman Reborn 24. Planet of the Apes
25. Quality. 26. "No style" style 27. Do you give actors much leeway? 28. Snoochie Boochie 29. Two smokin' questions 30. High Times 31. Busted all the time 32. Adam's 15 minutes of fame 33. Are the Cousin Walter stories true? 34. How Kevin met his wife 35. Dance, fat boy 36. Desperately seeking Tim 37. Prince 38. Scream 3 39. Will we see Jay and Silent Bob again? 40. End credits

Known DVD Easter Eggs

Highlight "Subtitles." Press the right button until until the flower is highlighted and hit enter to hear an explanation of the "Magnolia Fan" reference in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Select "Subtitles." Highlight "English." Press the left button until the the O's in the tic-tac-toe game are highlighted and hit enter to see some behind-the- scenes parts with Kevin and the audience. Select "Subtitles." Highlight "Main Menu." Press the left button until the circles behind Kevin's foot are highlighted and hit enter to hear Kevin's advice for "if you have a couple of white trash roommates." Select "Scene Selections." Press the up button until Kevin's glasses are highlighted and hit enter to hear Kevin's advice on shooting your own movie (vs getting help from an established director). Select "Scene Selections." Press the right button once, taking you to page two. Then press the down button until the eraser is highlighted and hit enter to learn "who fucked who's sister."
Select "Play Movie." Press the up button until the smiley face is highlighted and hit enter to learn why Kevin cast Alanis Morissette for the role of God in Dogma. Select "Subtitles." Highlight "English." Press the right button until the heart is highlighted and hit enter to learn the best way to a young woman to avoid having anal sex with a guy. Select "Scene Selections." Press the down button until Kevin's shoe is highlighted and hit enter to see how he reacts when a few audience members decide to leave. Select "Trailers." Highlight "Spider-Man." Press the right button until the E-MC2 is highlighted and hit enter to learn which super hero Kevin would most like to be.

ISBN: 0-7678-9367-0

Fans of Kevin Smith's films know he's enough of a fan himself to include more extras with his films than actual film. Dialogue's his strongest point, and his commentary tracks show that his humour isn't just the product of fanatical rewrites - he's just as funny when talking spontaneously.

With this puerile yet good natured humour in mind, it's nice to see him finally dispense with the whole pretense of actually writing a film and just ramble in front of live audiences for a few hours. I don't mean to use the term ramble as an insult, either - this is rambling of the highest order, right up there with Eddie Izzard's.

An Evening With Kevin Smith is billed as an insightful look into his writing process and directing techniques. While you do get to hear about a few of his influences, like his gay brother and his Catholic upbringing, this video is much closer to stand-up comedy. While this probably won't please the parents of the students who attended the Q&A sessions, it makes for good entertainment.

Amongst the better parts of this video are Smith's anecdotes about various people in the industry, from producer John Peters and his fixation with giant spiders to Prince and his video to promote Jehovah's Witnesses.

Considering that this seems to have ended up in bargain bins, it really shouldn't be missed if you like his films - it's three and a half hours' worth of what essentially amounts to Kevin Smith dialogue without the restraint of having to be wrapped around a plot. If you like his juvenile humour, watch this. If not, don't.

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