October 4, 2001

Kevin Smith: "Silent No More"

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Perhaps the one thing that the biosphere of Hollywood has in common with the rest of the world is that there exist seven deadly sins that lead either to punishment or profit. The first sin is to make films that include non-stereotypical, latent homosexuality. The second is to cast non-professional actors who are your friends. The third is to be from New Jersey and to shoot all of your movies in New Jersey. The fourth is to reveal the name of your newest project to 2,000 students before telling anyone else. The fifth is failing to painstakingly separate yourself wholly from the characters you play and/or create. The sixth is to make a feature length film for only $250,000 after scoring two awards at Cannes. And finally, the seventh deadly sin of Hollywood is to tell aspiring student filmmakers to bypass the big business movie studios, and to film what they want and how they want by acquiring as many credit cards as possible and maxing them out in the name of film (Kevin Smith’s Clerks was built on twelve separate mounds of debt).

In true form, Kevin Smith has sinned against the Hollywood Church by purposefully engaging in each and every one of these foul deeds, and in turn, not-so-silently denouncing its dogma.

What really makes Smith a Tinseltown renegade is the fact that his pact with the independent film devil has brought him nothing but love from the outside world. The 4,000 hands pounding on the backs of the wooden chairs in Bailey Hall at 8:15 Monday night, and the fair crop of people who remained in their seats until 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, are proof that the Cult of Kevin Smith has grown to divine proportions.

With tickets going for 7 bucks a pop, Smith’s lecture attracted a huge crowd outside of Bailey Hall at 7:30 p.m. The insanity soon began with the opening of the doors, and didn’t end until nearly six hours later when Smith finally said good night to the diehard fans who stuck around.

This show of endurance certainly answered the question Smith posed soon after he walked on stage, in answer to the first of many hecklers who commented on the filmmaker’s punctuality: “Who’s the bigger asshole? The guy who’s late, or the guy who stays?” Smith competed with himself for the title. But, those fans who had their special edition DVDs of Mallrats and Dogma autographed, or who finally got to ask that question that’s been burning them about Clerks since 1994, may beg to differ.