Silent Bob, aka Kevin Patrick Smith, has been a mainstay in media and in our hearts since 1994 with his now cult classic Clerks. Through television, movies, and more recently the internet radio, Smith, his movies, and the characters within are known and loved by many, most notably the famous duo Jay & Silent Bob. In this blog I will dissect and describe through his body of work, why I believe Kevin Smith exemplifies Auteur Theory.
Auteur Theory that holds that a film’s director is its “author”. The director oversees and “writes” the film’s audio and visual scenario and therefore is considered more responsible for its content than the screenwriter. Supporters maintain that the most successful films bear the distinctive imprint of their director.
First and foremost, Kevin Smith for the majority of his movies is the writer, director, and in one shape or another is a notable character in the movie. Usually Smith plays comic relief through his portrayal of Silent Bob. Even though he was the director for these movies, Smith comprised this role as Silent Bob through his movies “Clerks”, “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, “Dogma”, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, and “Clerks II”. Another ever present stamp on Smith’s films is the adult themed humor. While this can be said for just about any film, there is a certain quality that makes it noticeable as his.
Secondly, no matter what movie in the long list of Kevin Smith movies you are watching, you can bet that you’re going to see parts of New Jersey that you have never seen before. As someone who is from Highland, New Jersey, Smith is all about representing his home state, and reminding us through his films that New Jersey is more than mobsters and housewife’s. Along with having New Jersey in each movie, we are always treated to the wondrous antagonist. Whether it be Randle from “Clerks”, Brodie from “Mallrats”, or Gertie from “Jersey Girl”, we are always presented with someone who pushes the main storyline through.
Humor is another stamp that Smith puts into his movies. Most movies today that try and pull off adult humor tend to push the limit of societies taboos. This is often not beneficial. Smith’s comedy in his movies has covered many taboos such as sex, religion, racism, and toilet humor. Smith has the uncanny ability to find the humor in those taboos, and can put them on the big screen without making them overly offensive to most people.
Last but not least, the final stamp to Kevin Smith’s films are his cast. Kevin Smith subscribes to the same methodology as directors Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, and Tim Burton in the respect that they tend to employ and cast the same actors, some in different roles, and some in recurring roles. Kevin Smith himself, along with Jason Mewes are notably the characters most frequently seen throughout the majority of his films. Other notable familiar faces are Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Brian O’halloran, Jeff Anderson, Andrew Lowery, and Joey Lauren Adams.
It is the above factors combined that put Kevin Smith a cut above the rest and allows him to stand out from his peers. It is also these factors that clearly point to the conclusion that Kevin Smith is a prime example of Auteur Theory. Currently Kevin Smith is producing his new tv show “Comic Book Men” while touring with Jason Mewes and recording the podcast “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old”. While fans wait for the next Kevin Smith hit, this writer is confident that no matter the material, it will still have those classic Kevin Smith attributes that we have all come to love