“At the end of the day I can only do what I can do,” Clerks 2 director-writer Kevin Smith says to L.A. Times writer Mark Olsen in a 7.16 piece. “You read a lot of reviews where people say, ‘You should stretch. He should learn to stretch as a filmmaker.’ After a dozen years now, don’t they get it? This is what I do, this is the storyteller I am.
“Do I let myself off the hook by saying, ‘I’m just not that talented?’ Probably. But also I think it’s important to know your limitations. I’ve kind of embraced mine. And I’ve had seven films’ worth of practice to figure that out.”
I don’t entirely believe this. The reason Smith is great on the college-lecture cricuit is that he’s excellent at au contraire-ing — arguing, debating, puncturing balloons. And to me that means he could write a really superb play about a GenX marriage gone bad — a latter-day “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with a little 2006 “My Dinner with Andre” thrown in. Smith is married and has gone through some trying married-couple stuff…this has to have happened. All he has to do is put it into shape. A play first, and then a low-budget film.
Smith has said he’s too content with his life and too mild-mannered go to in this direction, but as Montgomery Clift’s Pvt. Prewittt says to Burt Lancaster’s Sgt. Warden in From Here to Eternity, “A man should be what he can do.”