Good thing I’m not a Jedi! Because I do crave these things. And last night was no exception. Last night, I got to meet one of those people who I never thought I’d actually meet. One of those people I have been admiring ever since I received Mallrats as a gift at my 8th grade birthday party. That’s right – Kevin Smith. The man who made me laugh and think philosophically about such things as God, Star Wars, and relationships in such movies as Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks. How did this long-time dream come true? It is all thanks to my better half, Kurt.
Kevin has a new movie that he wrote, directed, edited, and released himself. It is a very low budget ($4 million) movie called Red State. He decided to do a 15 city tour to promote/screen the movie before the actual wide release date, and lucky me, he decided to bring it to New Orleans. I was so excited when I found out he was coming down here, doing a Q &A, screening the movie, but I wasn’t sure we could go, as tickets were $60 a piece. Did I really want to spend that much money? Especially with a wedding coming up? As I debated, Valentine’s Day rolled around. Kurt and I exchanged gifts, and one of my gifts was a manila envelope. Che cos’è?! (What is it?!)
KEVIN SMITH TICKETS! I was so excited. My baby knows me so well.
Fast forward to last night, March 26. We head to the AMC Elmwood at around 5:15pm to wait in line, even though it didn’t start until 7pm. No, we were not the first people in line, but we were in the first row. Kurt’s friend that we see at every “nerd” event we go to was there with his wife, about 5 people in front of us. It’s kind of scary how alike he and Kurt are! After waiting until about 7:30, with the line out of the front door of people waiting for this sold out event, we were finally let into the theater. Kurt and I knew that if we wanted to be directly in front of Kevin Smith, we should sit in the front row; however, we wanted to actually see the movie. We decided to just sit in the middle, about 8-10 rows up. About 8 o’clock, the side door opens and in walks some of the stars of the movie. Stephen Root! Melissa Leo, the Academy Award winning actress for The Fighter! Kevin Smith’s wife, Jenn! As they are walking up the stairs to sit in the back of the theater, Jenn assures us that Kevin is right outside the door.
And so he was. He quickly introduced the movie (well, not that quickly…he’s a talker!), then we sat back and enjoyed the show. The movie is being toted as a “horror” film, but honestly, it wasn’t that scary in the slightest. I would call it “unsettling.” It is not predictable and it doesn’t have any “otherworldly” elements in it, meaning you could imagine something like this actually happening. The actor who played Abin Cooper, Michael Parks, was outstanding. I completely believed him as one of those Christian pastors who feel like it’s their duty to rid the world of such abominations such as sinners and gays. You never really knew what the next step would be, and I truly felt that everyone was believable. I thought Kerry Bishé was so horrible in the updated Scrubs that they tried to put out in that last season, but she was very good in the movie as the sweet, naïve Cheyenne. At the end, I thought it you could see the Kevin Smith in the movie, especially with the quirky jokes, style of writing, and subtle digs on politics and religion (even though in the Q & A, he said he didn’t think people would know it was him if they didn’t already know). I enjoyed the movie thoroughly and would definitely recommend it.
Afterward, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Kevin Smith came down and answered random questions from the audience. Can that man talk! If you ask a simple question, such as, “How did you get started in the editing process?”, it would be a full on ten minutes and 15 tangents later before he’d be finished talking. Of course, no one minded, and everything he said was interesting. He spoke for over an hour, much to the chagrin of his assistant that kept trying to get him to wrap it up. Melissa Leo and Stephen Root joined him down there about halfway through and answered questions as well. I really enjoy Melissa on Treme and on The Fighter, and Stephen will always be engrained in my brain as the red stapler guy.
When they finally had to go, they left out the side door and the audience is slowly making its way out, an idea occurs to me. The people selling the merchandise outside of the theater before the show had said that Kevin would not be signing any autographs or taking pictures. I was bummed, so I bought a Red State poster for $20 that came signed by Kevin. What if Kurt and I went around to the back of the theater, where Kevin Smith’s bus was? I bet that not many people would have thought to do that, so many he might come out. I told Kurt my plan, and he quickly agreed. What was there to lose, right? We go out the front and start to make our way around back. As we get to the side of the building, we see a couple of people in a circle ahead of us, taking pictures. We
notice that it’s Melissa Leo! The only reason why she was at this screening is because she’s filming Treme in New Orleans right now, so it was very easy for her to come over and participate. She had her family with her and they were just walking to their own car. She was so nice and since there was only about 7 people there, so she had no problem taking pictures. I felt so bad because I took the picture with her as Kurt snapped it, but he assured me he didn’t mind not being in the picture. He just told her how he’s admired her since Homicide, which she gave a big smile for and thanked him.
Then, we walk to the back of the theater. There is a group of about 12 people who thought just like me. We decide to all walk to the bus together. The cops and couple of official people standing outside the bus looked nervous at us all walking over there, but we politely asked if Kevin wouldn’t mind coming out. Because there weren’t that many of us, the assistant said Kevin would come out and take a group picture. When he got of the bus, we all clapped and thanked him. He is honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He insisted on signing all of our merchandise that we had, which included
my copy of Clerks that I brought with me. He then took individual pictures with everyone. I’m not one to push people out of the way to meet someone, so even though I was standing right next to him, other pushy people kept jumping in front of me. Kurt eventually caught him attention and told Kevin how he bought me the tickets for Valentine’s Day, and it would mean so much to him if he could “seal the deal” and have us take a picture together. Kevin laughed and said it’d be his honor. I had the camera so just took one of those self shots, which even though it is the tiniest bit blurry, you can totally see the happiest not only on my face, but on his as well.
After that, we left. I still can’t believe I got to meet one of my idols. Such a great evening, one that I won’t forget for a long time.