Today the constantly agitating “CitizenKaned4Life” asked “what do you make of this whole Red State thing, Jeff? The internet’s abuzz — partially about the film, but mainly about Kevin Smith’s self-financed distribution roadshow trek. I understand you’re undoubtedly busy seeing films, but this all went down last night, and — at least compared to other sites right now — your web silence regarding your former employer is starting to become slightly deafening.”
Anyone with the vision, cojones and marketing savvy to self-distribute their reportedly not-great film and make a decent profit has my respect. If Smith succeeds financially, good for him — maybe he’ll inspire others to follow. Saying that he “could not think of anything worse than creating a film and turning it over to a studio to market” is more than understandable.
As for the film itself, there’s been a general “eff the press” policy re viewings. A few days ago I asked Kevin for help in getting a ticket to last night’s screening. He was too busy to respond or whatever, and he was testy with me when I wrote to ask a question a week or two ago. But he’s always been straight and decent with me so I’m figuring he was stressed. I also asked a publicist with ties to the film for help — zip.
I could have worked it some more and landed a ticket, sure, but before last night I’d been persuaded that Red State wasn’t a very good film (a trade reporter told me he’d heard it was close to unwatchable, or words to that effect) and that it frankly wasn’t worth the trouble. So I said “screw it — there are too many better-sounding films to see.”
The post-screening reaction hasn’t been as bad as all that, although Justin Chang‘s Variety review was a decisive thumbs-down. Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn has written that “despite admirably intense performances, the movie can’t seem to settle on a specific tone..[it] movie runs the gamut from suspense to camp and back again.”
So I’ll see it when I see it. No hurry or worry. Here, in the meantime, is Smith’s just-received Red State tour itinerary.
Smith and Red State costars at last night’s after-party.