Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
An Evening with Kevin Smith (2002)
"He uses a large vocabulary, and manages to get the obscenities in there too."- Fan
Stars: Kevin Smith
Other Stars: Jason Mewes, Desperately Nerdy Hordes of College Kids
Director: J.M. Kenny
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong language, sexual humor)
Run Time: 03h:45m:00s
Release Date: 2002-12-17
DVD ReviewThe commentaries on the DVDs of Kevin Smith's films are legendary, and generally regarded as just as funny as the films themselves (or arguably funnier, in the case of Mallrats). Smith is incredibly candid, which is refreshing from a filmmaker, and, despite his success and legions of fans, he's never lost his "regular guy" mindset. He's always the first to admit that his movies aren't exactly visual masterpieces, and he certainly respects even the nerdier subset of his devotees. Plus, the guy can really tell a good d*** and/or fart joke.
Smith has long been active on the internet, keeping live journals chronicling the production of his movies or posting on his official site's message board. He made his real impact on fans, though, through his tour of college campuses across the country. For a couple hours, he'll simply go out on stage and let the audience lob questions at him at random. He's got a lot of great stories about Hollywood and about the idiocy of the movie business, but more than that, he's hilarious, and a great storyteller. He can craft a punch line out of the most mundane set-up, and he redefines self-deprecation (and gets a lot of mileage out of the "I grew up fat" routine).
Documentary filmmaker J.M. Kenny, who has worked on dozens of DVD making-of pieces, including those for the Smith's Mallrats and Dogma, happened to catch one of the college appearances, and suggested to Kevin that they begin to film them. Thus, An Evening with Kevin Smith was born. This four-hour program is pieced together from four different college visits. The camerawork isn't exactly exciting—for the most part, it just focuses on Kevin onstage, with cuts to the audience when a question is asked or there is a lot of laughter—but the static set-ups do little to impact the humor. Kenny has edited together what basically amounts to an interactive stand-up routine, and there's nary a bad joke in the bunch.
Some highlights: most comic book fans know that Smith was hired by Warner Bros to write a draft of the Superman screenplay. The film never was released. Want to know why? Because, Smith says, the producer, John Peters, is "totally insane." Hearing Kevin talk about the man's obsession with spiders will shed a whole new light on Wild Wild West. Then there's the story of the "feud" between Smith and director Tim Burton over the ending of the Planet of the Apes remake. I guess Burton is kind of crazy, too. Surprise! The biggest loon, though, is Prince, and Smith's story about shooting an eventually aborted documentary for the pipsqueak pop star is alternately the funniest and most bizarre story on the disc. Recently Michael Jackson revealed just how disconnected from the real world a megastar can be and got a lot of attention doing it. Smith could of told you the same thing without the aid of a 20/20 interview.
Judging on a laugh-per-minute scale, this is easily one of the best DVD values of the year. It's certainly funnier than most alleged comedies I've seen recently. As long as you aren't offended by naughty language and raunchy sexual humor (wait until you hear the story of how Kevin met his wife!), you'll more than likely get your money's worth with a rental or purchase.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a nice presentation of undemanding material. Colors and detail are good, and artifacting isn't a problem, though there is some occasional aliasing. For a documentary shot on digital video, this is a surprisingly crisp and vibrant transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: This 2.0 mix gets the job done. The questions from the audience and Kevin's comments always come across clearly, and the main soundstage is filled out a bit with laughter and other ambient noise.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dogma, Mr. Deeds, Spider-Man, Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters, and Marvels
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
- Hidden Bonus Footage
Approximately 17 minutes of deleted footage is hidden throughout the creative full motion menus (which are a feature all by themselves—watch as an impatient Smith putters around, waiting for you to make a selection with the remote). On the main menu of disc one, there is a brief bit about Kevin's feud with Paul Thomas Anderson that can be accessed by clicking on the flowers on the chalkboard (3m:00s). On the subtitles menu, click the tic-tac-toe board for a clip of Kevin receiving a standing ovation (1m:48s), and select the circle by Kevin's foot for a bit on bad roommates (1m:20s). Head over to scene selections and click on the poster for chapter three to learn the secret to getting a script read in Hollywood (1m:30s), or try the piece of chalk on the second screen of selections for some funny interaction with an audience member (:48s).
Over on disc two, select the smiley on the main menu to hear Kevin talk about casting Alanis Morissette in Dogma (:27s). Click the heart on the subtitles menu for his audience tutorial on how to decline an offer of anal sex (3m:17s). Click on the equation on the trailers menu for a bit on Kevin's superhero aspirations (1m:27s). Finally, select Kevin's shoes by clicking down on the scene selection menu to see him heckle some kids trying to walk out on his show (3m:12s).
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsAn Evening with Kevin Smith is essential viewing for any true fan of Jay and Silent Bob. Smith has such a strong voice as a writer, and it's nice to see that he comes across just as well on stage. I just hope that he hasn't run out of material.
Joel Cunningham 2003-03-11