July 20, 2006

Joel Siegel vs Kevin Smith: aka Take it Like a Man

I first read about this over at IMDB.com, and I have to say that I was very much amused by the situation. It isn't quite at the same level as the gauntlet laid down by Uwe Boll against any critic that has said bad things against him.

To remind those of you about that Uwe Boll, director of such cinematic, ahem, masterpieces as House of the Dead and Bloodrayne, challenged anyone who has criticised his work to take him on in a boxing match. Not only that, he said he would film the bout and incorporate the footage into a future film. Now that is absolutely hilarious, and would probably result in the most entertaining work he has ever produced. Now, back to the story at hand.

Apparently, Joel Siegel, the mustachioed film critic, made something of a scene while at a screening of Kevin Smith's new film, opening this friday, Clerks II. Approximately 40 minutes into the screening, Siegel got up and loudly exclaimed: "Time to go! ... First movie I've walked out of in 30 BLEEP years." All I can say is "Wow!"

This has caused my thoughts concerning Siegel to drop down a few more notches. Meaning, he is nowhere near the top of the list of critics whose work I enjoy. His slide down my personal list started a year or so ago when Siegel hosted a primetime summer movie preview where it was advertised that he would be giving reviews, or at least thoughts on what to see and what not. It turned out to just be a hype show with a bunch of trailers. May not be a big thing to some, but to be allow himself to be used as a pitch machine like this just served to put a few holes in his credibilty. This just pushes it over the edge.

I cannot stand it when people talk in the theater. Cell phones, friends, inappropriate comments at the screen and the like are among my pet peeves when I watch a movie. Now along comes a well known critic, and he acts like this at a screening? Totally unacceptable. If you don't like the movie, get up and leave, and do it quietly. Nobody wants to hear how you have never walked out on a movie in 30 years, nobody cares if you "have" to go. If you don't like the movie, watch the whole thing, like you should be, and let your viewers know in the appropriate forum.

Taking the shot across the bow with class and little profanity, Kevin Smith has responded to the attention grabbing walk out on his Myspace blog page. Smith's comments are a very good read, and make a lot of sense. He talks about how his brand of comedy isn't for everyone, which is true, and also about how he can take a bad review. He goes on to speak of how unprofessional it is to do what he did, while turning around and praising a film that he had not yet seen. It is well worth reading, as amidst the expletives and colorful slang, Smith takes the high road, he doesn't go after Siegel personally, but professionally is another matter.

Here is a quote that pretty much sums it: "You never... NEVER disrupt a movie, simply because you don't like it." How hard is that to understand? Doesn't seem that hard to me. Perhaps Siegel thought he was doing the rest of the media present a favor by sharing his opinion early, in case they were of like mind and wanted to incorporate his thoughts into their own works. On the other hand, maybe he wanted to get the spotlight on him, knowing the movie would outshine whatever witticisms he would bestow upon it in his own review.

I can see Siegel walking into the theater, sitting down, all the while chatting on a cell phone. The movie starts just as he puts the phone away, completely missing the "No Talking" notices on the screen before the show. I can see him becoming completely disgusted with Smith's humor, and giving his above outburst as he leaves the theater. Why can I see this? Well, based on that outburst, he obviously does not have respect for his fellow movie-goers, and if he will do the above, he could certainly do other movie theater no-no's.

Whatever the case may be, Joel Siegel's actions have hit his credibility like that wave hit the Poseidon. His job is to watch movies and share his thoughts about them, a gig I wouldn't mind having some day (read: not likely, but fun to try). Now how is he to share his thoughts if he hasn't seen the whole movie? Probably not too well, but then again his early exit is much more telling than the 8 minute ovation at Cannes.

Kevin, hold strong, your fans will be there for the movie, regardless of what the Siegel's of the world think. I am not so blind as to think that it will be great just because of its lineage, but I am open to the possibility of hilarity. I am sure my entertainment will assured as you haven't let me down yet, well, for the most part. I will also be sure to stay until the end so that I may give my well formed thoughts based on the entirety of the work.

Oh yeah, go see Clerks II, opening Friday 7/21/06 at theaters everywhere!


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