May 5, 2012

Book Review: Kevin Smith's "Tough Sh*t"

Kevin Smith released his foul-mouthed, crude autobiography in 2012, and in it detailed his fascinating, controversial and toilsome life. Topics described range from his parents, his films, his friendships, side-projects, and marriage. There's also plenty of time dedicated to his "Too Fat To Fly" controversy with South West Airlines.

I was disappointing by two things with this book. The biggest disappointment was the steering clear of his attempt to make a Superman film with Warner Brothers, which Smith described in one of my favorite youtube videos of all time.

The second thing I was disappointed by was the lack of organization. I spent the entire first half of the book gritting my teeth with frustration because he had only lightly talked about his experiences on his first half of the film career. I sat through, and enjoyed stories about Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out, and Red State, but was very close to giving up on this book early due to little detailing of all of his previous films. The first half of the book felt like just one big plug for all of his latest projects. Thanfkully, the second half of the book does go back to talk about Smith's experiences doing everything from Clerks I in 1994 to Clerks II in 2006. The reason for this was because the movies themselves weren't the focus of the later chapters, but the relationships formed on the set. For example, the entirety of Smith's stories about Dogma are between chapters about working with his hero, George Carlin, snagging Chris Rock, and being introduced to his future wife Jennifer Schwalbach.

Overall, I wasn't a big fan of this autobiography. Kevin Smith is unique, smart, and funny, but the entire book (like most of what Kevin Smith does) sells the franchise that is Kevin Smith. The book feels less about giving a reader insight to his personal life and more like long advertisements to check out his past, present and future work. But I could really put up with that if it weren't for the complete lack of chronological organization of the stories. It's as though Smith wrote the entire book in one sitting and only broke up his thoughts by who he knows and how he met them. No going back to edit, just full-steam, straight ahead. Because of that, I can't recommend the book unless you're really in love with Kevin Smith. But even then, you can buy his Q&A series (like An Evening With Kevin Smith), his films (like Clerks) or listen to his podcast (Smodcast).

Final score: 

2 / 5

image from Barnes and Noble

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