Five Favorite Films with Kevin Smith

We get the films that influenced the foul-mouthed filmmaker.

Kevin Smith

Coming off his most accessible comedy (Jersey Girl) and his most vulgar (Clerks 2), writer-director Kevin Smith concocts a mixture of the two styles for his latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, opening this Friday. In a film by turns thoughtful and juvenile, Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star as two roommates who embark on a porno shoot to pay off debts, while slowly realizing the possibility they could be more than just friends, roommates, and on-screen amateurs.

RT spoke to Smith for his five favorite films ever, and followed up with an interview about the process of creating the Zack and Miri universe.




Jaws (1975, 100% Tomatometer)
JFKCome on, it's common sense. Jaws is a fantastic film. Maybe the second film I saw in my life -- I saw The Gumball Rally prior to Jaws -- but Jaws is the first one that made a deep, deep impression. I saw it a drive-in with my parents when I was five, which is kinda weird in retrospective. It was PG at the time.

My kid's nine and my wife still won't let me show her Jaws. I made the mistake of showing my kid Gremlins when she was six and I have heard no end of it from my old lady. She's all, "She's still afraid of Gremlins." Gremlins is a harmless f--king movie.

JFK (1991, 84% Tomatometer)
JFK Brilliant writing. Brilliant performances. Fantastic editing. That is the most well-edited film I have ever seen in my life. I like a lot of Oliver Stone stuff in general.

A Man for All Seasons (1966, 85% Tomatometer)
A Man for All Seasons A Man For All Seasons is basically porn for people who love dialogue. Paul Scofield's brilliant performance. Robert Shaw's equally brilliant performance as Henry the VII. It's always appealed to me. I was 13 years old the first time I saw it. Absolutely fell in love with it because it's wall-to-wall language with compelling performances. And [it's] about something to me, in terms that I was raised Catholic. So Thomas Moore's decision to not sign the oath of succession appealed to me as I was growing up because this is a dude who's martyred for his beliefs and whatnot.

And people will always compare that movie to The Crucible for some reason. But I never felt the same connection to The Crucible because in that instance John Procter is just going to great lengths to try to keep his name. Whereas Thomas Moore went to great lengths to keep, what he felt was his soul, intact. By taking that oath it would've been selling out on his soul, it would've been lying. He couldn't do it and I always found that insanely admirable and the life one wants to emulate to some degree, without being crazy Catholic at the same time.

Do the Right Thing (1989, 100% Tomatometer)
Do the Right Thing Spike Lee's finest movie. One of the movies that made me want to get into the movies as well. I knew I was never going to make Do the Right Thing, to do what he did with cinema and tell a story comedically but also dramatically. Very intense. That movie goes from a fun comedy -- I don't know if you can say fun comedy, but it's a funny comedy -- to a dramatic shift in tone. It's a slow burn. You don't notice it when it happens. It comes out of left field but it's keeping in what has come before. You realize how masterfully it's put together.

That movie informed Clerks to a large degree: it takes place all in one day, in one particular block, in one very specific city. So that was the model I used for Clerks. So much so that the original version of Clerks Dante gets killed because I was like, "I want to do something like that." Then I realized I'm not Spike Lee.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988, 81% Tomatometer)
The Last Temptation of Christ I was raised Catholic and I still consider myself a fairly spiritual person even though I have a hard time identifying with most Christians in this country. But I still maintain a belief in God and in Jesus, and that gets tried on a daily basis. The older I get, the wiser I get, the tougher it is to believe in a divine power or whatnot. So that movie appeals to me on that level alone.

To take it beyond, it's just a fantastic Martin Scorsese picture. Great performances in it. The first portrayal of Christ where I was, "Wow, this might be what it was like." He wasn't a guy of all beatitude and perfection. He was a man, first and foremost, who just happened to be the son of God.

Our interview with Kevin Smith continues as we discuss the MPAA, the process of movie appeals, and making comedies during a Judd Apatow era.

Comments

AntonChigurh

Chris Scharlau

Kevin Smith your one of my favorite filmmaker's, and JFK is also one of my top favorite movie's. And I cant wait to see Zack and Miri this weekend.

Oct 27 - 04:18 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah those are on his fav movie list on MYSPACE. Smith is awesome! I cant wait for Zack and Mirri and I really hope he does RED STATE soon!

Oct 27 - 04:20 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Smith has a pretty great taste in movies, so when he says Star Trek and Watchmen are awesome then I know they will be awesome, its like when he saw TDK early he said it was awesome and it was.

Oct 27 - 04:27 PM

insanemansam5

Samuel Ewing

Really, the king of raunchy cinema, likes a film as conservative(both stylistically and philosphically) as A Man for all Seasons. Hmm...interesting.

Oct 27 - 05:01 PM

Some guy you dont know

Bruce Campbell

My two favorite bands are Megadeth and The Beatles. The world's a much better place when you open your mind.

But yeah, Kevin is god. I love his fat ***.

Oct 27 - 05:57 PM

BigEarn

Jeff Earnhart

You are so Gay Bruce Campbell wannabe guy. Megadeath was awesome with Peace Sells, but the Beatles couldn't hold Led Zepplin's bong water. Kevin Smith blows and his thoughts, writings, and overall directing are shot since Mall Rats. You should be ashamed to the point where you reliquish all Bruce Campbell trappings. Thank you.

Oct 27 - 09:31 PM

mightyfooda

dan drew

Led Zeppelin is a horrible horrible band, the most over rated ever.

Oct 30 - 09:07 PM

Odious M.

Odious Murch

mightyfooda - Led Zeppelin is not a horrible horrible band. In my opinion, they are the best band. Of all time.

BigEarn - The Beatles are great too. No one needs to be holding anyone else's bongwater. And learn to spell "Zeppelin" or you're off the team.

Oct 30 - 11:21 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

WATCH YO MOUTH BOY!

Oct 31 - 07:37 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

Amen to that. And he is a nice guy to boot!

Oct 28 - 12:15 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I wrote on some sites the necessity to include the p#**y troll from Clerks II somehow, but, alas, to no avail.

I wonder how much wisdom was gained from Traci Lords. . .

When Kevin Smith's radio show is on XM I'm always happy.

Oct 27 - 05:10 PM

Bardego

Robert Hamer

Anyone who has seen the "Evening with Kevin Smith" series knew that Smith was going to list "The Last Temptation of Christ" in his favorites.

Oct 27 - 05:39 PM

niall1

Niall Cavanagh

cant wait for zack and miri

Oct 27 - 05:52 PM

Some guy you dont know

Bruce Campbell

My two favorite bands are Megadeth and The Beatles. The world's a much better place when you open your mind.

But yeah, Kevin is god. I love his fat ***.

Oct 27 - 05:57 PM

BigEarn

Jeff Earnhart

You are so Gay Bruce Campbell wannabe guy. Megadeath was awesome with Peace Sells, but the Beatles couldn't hold Led Zepplin's bong water. Kevin Smith blows and his thoughts, writings, and overall directing are shot since Mall Rats. You should be ashamed to the point where you reliquish all Bruce Campbell trappings. Thank you.

Oct 27 - 09:31 PM

mightyfooda

dan drew

Led Zeppelin is a horrible horrible band, the most over rated ever.

Oct 30 - 09:07 PM

Odious M.

Odious Murch

mightyfooda - Led Zeppelin is not a horrible horrible band. In my opinion, they are the best band. Of all time.

BigEarn - The Beatles are great too. No one needs to be holding anyone else's bongwater. And learn to spell "Zeppelin" or you're off the team.

Oct 30 - 11:21 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

WATCH YO MOUTH BOY!

Oct 31 - 07:37 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

Amen to that. And he is a nice guy to boot!

Oct 28 - 12:15 AM

kayrocker

Mr. Kayrocker

I'm so glad he mentioned "Last Temptation of Christ," a very underappreciated film. This masterpiece was unfairly judged mainly by zealots who didn't see the film. So rent it and see for yourself!

Oct 27 - 06:19 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah it is great, I don't get how a piece of crap like THE PASSION got such an audience why that masterpiece got over looked.

Oct 27 - 06:27 PM

707PG13

Patrick Garcia

Huh, I could've swore I'd see "Slacker" on here. He always talks about it, but I guess it ain't in his Top 5. Can't wait for Zack & Miri.

Oct 27 - 06:26 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Yeah it is great, I don't get how a piece of crap like THE PASSION got such an audience why that masterpiece got over looked.

Oct 27 - 06:27 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I don't like "Clerks" very much. But, whenever some comic of sci-fi event comes along he's my man. And I'm not one for sex comedies, but Zack & Miri looks funny.

"Hello, I'd like my coffee, black."

"Can't you see we're talkin', white."

Oct 27 - 06:37 PM

wilkiedriver

Aaron Wilkins

"A movie that played in New York might not play in Texas, because that state's censors could shoot it down. And I assure you, if we were going state by state, I don't think any of my movies would have played in Texas at this point." - K. Smith

Aw come on. It's conservative, but not THAT consevative. But if your right Smith, then it will at least play in Austin, which is one of the most liberal cities in the South. Or maybe you're just hatin'...

Oct 27 - 07:18 PM

wilkiedriver

Aaron Wilkins

"A movie that played in New York might not play in Texas, because that state's censors could shoot it down. And I assure you, if we were going state by state, I don't think any of my movies would have played in Texas at this point." - K. Smith

Aw come on. It's really conservative down here, but not THAT conservative. But if you're right, then it will at least play in Austin, which is one of the most liberal cities in the South.

Oct 27 - 07:21 PM

utkipp1

Anthony Kipp

No, hes right. Texas is pretty damn conservative. Especially back when it was a state by state thing. And it wouldn't be played in Austin because it is a state by state thing he is talking about, not a city by city one.

Great list. Can't wait to see this movie.

Oct 27 - 07:49 PM

BigEarn

Jeff Earnhart

You are so Gay Bruce Campbell wannabe guy. Megadeath was awesome with Peace Sells, but the Beatles couldn't hold Led Zepplin's bong water. Kevin Smith blows and his thoughts, writings, and overall directing are shot since Mall Rats. You should be ashamed to the point where you reliquish all Bruce Campbell trappings. Thank you.

Oct 27 - 09:31 PM

mightyfooda

dan drew

Led Zeppelin is a horrible horrible band, the most over rated ever.

Oct 30 - 09:07 PM

Odious M.

Odious Murch

mightyfooda - Led Zeppelin is not a horrible horrible band. In my opinion, they are the best band. Of all time.

BigEarn - The Beatles are great too. No one needs to be holding anyone else's bongwater. And learn to spell "Zeppelin" or you're off the team.

Oct 30 - 11:21 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

WATCH YO MOUTH BOY!

Oct 31 - 07:37 PM

hongbear99

Brian Hong

not so sure about oliver stone lately though

Oct 27 - 11:00 PM

Dread

Gray Thomas

Zach and Miri is hilarious, and ya'll should see it.

Oct 27 - 11:09 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

Amen to that. And he is a nice guy to boot!

Oct 28 - 12:15 AM

TheMovieGoer D.

TheMovieGoer Dot Com

Whats funny is not how this guys picks are, but that they aren't even the best films by those directors. That's either trying to be "edgy", or actually being lame.

Spielberg - Shindlers List, Raiders

Spike Lee - 25th Hour

Oliver Stone - Platoon, Natural Born Killers

Scorcese - Goodfellas, Raging Bull

Zinnemann - High Noon, The Day Of The Jackal

Oct 28 - 01:29 AM

Confounded

Matthew Bertram

No, what's funny is how you feel you can deduce what a director's "best" movie is over someone who's made millions of dollars and fans over the course of almost 20 years of filmmaking. Gee, this is just a strange concept, but maybe he's not trying to be "edgy" or "lame;" maybe, just MAYBE he simply has a different opinion than you. I know, sounds weird, doesn't it?

Heavy sarcasm aside, anyone else surprised none of the Star Wars movies were on the list? I mean, cinematically they may not stack up to his choices (we all know the acting and directing were not exactly top notch), but they have sure given him more material for his movies than anything else.

"Have you even kissed Mira yet?"

"We would have, if it wasn't for Listerfiend."

"...Listerfiend is her mouth troll, isn't it?"

"Women."

Oct 28 - 04:19 AM

BlackBart

Erin Shedd

TheMovieGoer D.:

You miss the point. The list isn't pick the best movies you can think of, or best movies by your favorite directors. The list is "favorite movies". For many people, especially directors, that means movies that had particular influence on them. Just because a movie is critically acclaimed or technically superior to other films does not mean they have to be your favorites. For some that may be true (that is a pretty solid list after all), but for most of us a favorite movie is one that had a particular effect. The argument can be made, for example, that American Graffiti was the best movie George Lucas directed. But Star Wars clearly has a much more far-reaching effect and the influence it has had on people is undeniable. Anyway, I think "best movie" and "favorite movie" need not go hand-in-hand and I thought Smith has an intriguing list that he explained quite nicely.

Oct 28 - 08:10 AM

C W.

C W

It's all very subjective. Seemed honest to me.

Oct 28 - 11:14 AM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

And that's just following the crowd. Let the man have his opinion. My favorite Scorsese film is Casino, just as riveting as anything he's done. Spike Lee film is Miracle at St. Anna, moving and powerful.

Oct 28 - 02:39 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

I mean, those are great film but they may not be everyone's favorite by that particular director.

Oct 28 - 02:41 PM

Odious M.

Odious Murch

"Whats funny is not how this guys picks are, but that they aren't even the best films by those directors. That's either trying to be 'edgy', or actually being lame."

Are you joking, dude? That is probably the dumbest thing I've ever read. In my life. I don't really care about Kevin Smith's taste in movies, but he is most certainly entitled to his opinion!

p.s. You spelled both Schindler & Scorsese wrong. Were you trying to be 'edgy'? Or are you just a complete moron?

Oct 30 - 12:28 PM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:13 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:14 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:14 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:16 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:43 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:44 AM

matt f.

matt fitz

I'd rather watch someone watching paint dry than sit through schindlers list again.
Don't care what the critics or prince say jersey girl was great . Bring on the zack and miri !! And the porn too.

Nov 21 - 10:45 AM

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