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Put down your weapons, fellow film critics. The war with Kevin Smith has finally ended!
The entertaining and outspoken filmmaker fired the opening salvo in his battle with reviewers back in 2010, when his movie Cop Out was met with less than enthusiastic response. Smith, who’s one of the rare Hollywood talents who still actually reads commentary on his work, was not pleased. He went on a social media tirade blasting critics and suggesting that he’d no longer allow them to screen his films for free so they could write coverage. Well, according to a recent Buzzfeed interview, the director is softening in his stance.
Smith is out doing the press circuit for his upcoming horror film Tusk, which is sort of like The Human Centipede filtered through Smith’s hilarious worldview. The feature debuted at The Toronto International Film Festival recently, and early buzz has been overwhelmingly positive – something that may have helped thaw the ice in this ongoing cold war.
The first sign that the conflict could be winding down appeared when Smith actually retweeted a review of Tusk. He described the rationale behind what he was calling "a big breakthrough" in the Buzzfeed interview.
"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 would be all too easy to take the cynical approach here and assume that Smith is willing to listen to critics again only because they’ve got something positive to say about his work. However, part of Smith’s charm has always been how down to Earth he is for a Hollywood filmmaker. I genuinely believe he was actually hurt by some of the critical reactions to his films – and he reacted like many people would, only on a much larger stage. Sure, you have to have a thick skin if you make movies, but let’s face it, he’s hardly the first guy to have a meltdown on social media.
Few people are happier than me to see that Kevin Smith is reconsidering his stance. As a lifelong fan of his work, it felt pretty awkward being on the list of people he despises on general principal. How long will this cease-fire last? Only time will tell, but we’ll have a much better idea once Smith starts dealing with a few more negative reviews.