Virtually anyone who was alive in the Nineties knows the name Kevin Smith. His movies are both epic and notorious. His ability to draw in the viewer is no different whether he is in front of the camera or behind it. Kevin Smith: Too Fat For 40 is his fourth Q&A-styled video presentation and his only one filmed on his birthday.
Filmed in the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey (Smith’s hometown), this was originally aired as a two-hour special, but the video release is an uncut three-and-a-half hour version! Let me say that I have been a huge fan ever since Clerks and have thoroughly enjoyed all of his films (I refuse to speak of *cough cough* Jersey Girl *cough cough*) and his Q&As.
The background on the stage is a representation of his movie sets, the crowd is packed like sardines in a can, and there are stacks of towels and bottled water waiting. Smith appears, clad in an oversized Puck U hockey jersey and shorts. Immediately, he is sweating and smiling in equal amounts as he greets the crowd. As I watched, I marveled again at his ability to shine in front of the camera. Sure, he’s acted in his films and the films of others, but he really loves the audience and they obviously adore him back.
His storytelling is legendary. He can start on one subject and end up on something totally different…and this show is no exception. He speaks in depth on Wayne Gretzky (The Great One) and the way Gretsky’s dad impacted his life. He touches on how his filmmaking changed his life, allowing him to do the things that most fanboys only dream of. His stories about Bruce Willis and the filming of Cop Out are hilarious. The heartfelt tales involving George Carlin are also memorable. He speaks from the heart on most things, with no regards to his own reputation.
There are, of course, many references to his dick and lots of mentions of poop, sex, and weed. Whether it’s target practice on the toilet or getting stoned on his “Rock Star” bus, Smith just keeps the laughs coming. A small issue at the border leads to Smith finding out he is “a significant benefit to Canada” which humors him to no end. We find that while watching his huge TV (it’s over a hundred inches!), people can sometimes mistake a loud movie for a kidnapping. And while all of this enables the viewer to see a little bit of Smith’s life, the first disc is actually just barely half of the show!
Loading up the second disc, I was excited to sit and watch the extra content. You see, I had already seen the first two hours on television when it originally aired. And the new stuff was just as funny! His answers involved the Toxic Avenger and Wall-E, as well as, Canadian geography and his inability to properly perceive it. He discusses his view on 3D movies and what he would do as an alternative occupation if things had gone differently for him. And most surprisingly, he talks about his relationship with bestselling author Mitch Albom and how he turned Albom off of Twitter. There are other awesome extras on this second disc as well, a new intro and a full tour of Smith’s comic store in Red Bank, for instance. The museum inside the comic store is wicked, lots of props from his movies…including the Bluntmobile!
I enjoyed this Blu-ray immensely. It was a bit sad at times, but overall it’s a very funny program. He is brutally honest and quite self-deprecating, especially regarding the Southwest Airlines debacle. But I think one line stuck with me more than anything else. It seems to be something akin to a mantra for Smith. A quote from the father of Wayne Gretzky that Smith remarks upon: “Don’t go to where the puck is, you wanna go to where the puck’s going to be.” Wise words to live by, even if you aren’t a hockey fan. So, in short, watch the film, it’s more than worthy of your time and money.