Even though I watch more porn than I care to admit, can rattle of the real names of porn actresses that I lust after like it was a fucking party trick, and even criticize the camera angles while "rubbing one out" by screaming "That's a horrible directorial decision!!" like I was porn's version of Roger Ebert and shit, I do watch regular movies. I know that judging someone based on their interests seems like an asshole move, but like John Cusacks character said in "High Fidelity", "It's not what you're like but what you like", it's a statement I agree with being the uber snob that I am. The following two directors that I'm going to focus on today in "From the Directors Chair" are two men who are constantly criticized for the most foolish reasons, I personally think they are brilliant. But of course it is OK for you to feel that these guys are untalented, it's just that your ass would be dead fucking wrong though.
Kevin Smith: I have been a fan of Kevin "Straight Outta Jersey, Crazy motherfucker named Silent Bob" Smith since I first saw a grainy flick about two clerks more than a decade ago. That flick was an inspiration for a guy who loves writing as much as I do, watching the characters try to figure out if private contractors hired to repair the Death Star were innocent bystanders when Luke blew it to smithereens, the main characters problem with his girlfriend only naming a few guys that she had slept with but leaving out the "37 penises" she mad in her mouth, and about a million other scenes that would take me all day to break down. As you can see by watching his flicks, and Smith will tell you this himself, you won't see any intricate pyrotechnics or fancy-shmancy camera moves that directors use to hide the fact that their film is really garbage. But from Smith, like in "Clerks", "Chasing Amy", and "Dogma", you will see a mastery of dialog that I could only hope to one day compete with.
Kevin Smith and Dave Chappelle have a lot in common if you think about it. Both are plagued with careers where they have people who actually get the message of what theyare trying to say and respect the subtleties of their art-form. But at the same time Chappelle has to battle the random mindless schmuck who yells "I'm Rick James bitch!!" in his direction, whereas I'm sure Kevin Smith has those same guys yelling "Where's Silent Bob motherfucker!!" or "Snoochie Bootches!!" at him ad naseum. Listen, I'll probably be the first bastard in line anxiously awaiting to see "Clerks 2" like any other die hard fan of his, but the mere existence of said film brings out mixed feelings in me. I mean, he claimed that he wanted to do more mature material and when he did he got hammered for it.(Jersey Girl) Granted, who could have forseen the cluster fuck that was "Gigli" to cause such collateral damage? But seeing him go back to do a second Clerks makes me wonder if he has decided against expanding artistically. I hope not, because as much as I love Jay's potty mouth it would sure be a shame if J-lo and a million armchair fucking directors deterred him from doing what he truly wanted.
Spike Lee: Question: You want to know when someone is truly talented?? Answer: When the critiques about them are the most asinine pieces of fecal matter that ever escaped human lips ever. You hear people bitching about his all black casts, but you don't hear the same people bitching when you mention Woody Allen. You hear people tearing down his films based on some of his public comments, even though the beliefs that he makes in public don't have shit to do with his art. I even had an argument with an Italian American gentleman who said that Spike portrayed "his people negatively" in "Do the Right Thing", even though I pointedly proclaimed "What's the fucking difference??" when I pointed out that gentleman's love for "The Soprano's". Enough about the poster children of abortions with illegitimate opinions, Spike has that directorial style where as soon as you see the flick you know who it is. Some would say that's a bad thing, but for anyone who can immediately recognize a DJ Premiere beat, a Miles Davis riff, or Rakim's vocal tone, having a recognizable style can be a good thing.
From the score of his movies, his unflinching stance on things, that moving dolly shot that he uses that has been named "The Spike Lee shot", to the vivid imagery that he brings to each shot like he took all day setting it up. People always like to criticize Spike over the fact that he doesn't finish the movie for you, leaving the true ending up to the viewer. But that's the beauty of his flicks, thinking of what became of Mookie, what kind of adults the characters in "School Daze" became, even wondering if Ed Norton's character in "The 25th Hour" went to prison or spent the rest of his life on the lamb, that's the kind of shit I love.
Lastly, based on the state of Hip Hop and the why people were laughing "At" Three-6-Mafia as they accepted their awards at the Oscars, the movie "Bamboozled" is the finest example of how many of the artists today have become a modern day minstrel show. People say that Spike is preachy and Heavy-handed with his approach to movie making, but the same way a bad ass child only responds to a spanking and a jackass at a club only responds to a massive throat-chop, sometimes it takes extreme measures to get your point across.