Does a Man Want to be a Walrus?
I’m a big Kevin Smith fan. I like almost all his films. I enjoy his podcasting. I think his comic book writing is great. But he’s an odd man. There’s really no way around it. He’s strange…and so am I. I think that’s why I enjoy his personality so much. We are both sailors on the sea of weird, but not in a prison movie type way. And Tusk is probably his most personal aka strange film. This is probably why I enjoy it so much.
Tusk couldn’t be more personal or more strange. This isn’t exactly breaking news. The film came out 3 years ago and currently its popularity is thus:
Rotten Tomatoes: 41% critics and 35% audience
Metacritic: 55 metascore and 60 user
Cinemascore: not polled (gasp)
So yeah, nobody liked it. But I did and do. I like it a lot. I’ve watched it several times. And I think it works really well. It’s out of Smith’s comfort zone. This film should be understood as broadly within the Horror/Comedy genre. And I don’t mean I kinda liked it or that this is just a filthy pleasure. No I honestly love this film. I think it might be his best work. Before this I would’ve said Chasing Amy (that’s what almost everybody says) but Tusk almost feels more personal somehow than that film. And it’s certainly more entertaining!
A Family Film
Kevin Smith wrote it and directed it. His wife produced it. His wife and daughter acted in it. It reflects some of his most idiosyncratic values and personality characteristics. It’s about a podcaster. And while Mr. Smith will always be known primarily as a filmmaker and super nerd these days he really is a podcaster more than he is anything else. And I would say that of everything he’s done so far podcasting suits him the best. Of course he would say that’s because he has a face and body for Radio, but the truth is he’s just fun to listen to.
But the podcaster in Tusk barely resembles Smith. Really the only similarity is their crassness. I think he represents Smith’s fear of losing his soul within the evil commercial culture of LA more than it represents who he truly is in real life. Because the main character really is a piece of trash. Maybe that’s how Kevin sees himself, but I doubt it. It’s what he’s afraid of becoming not who he is.
A Hoser at Heart
This film is in many ways a love letter (albeit an ironic one) to Canada. Smith has a not so secret obsession with the frozen north. Partially because he loves hockey but I think he also has relatives from Edmonton. There is some truly amazing Canada based comedy. Like why the Canadian flag has only Red and White? But one of my favorite parts of the film is Johnny Depp’s French Canadian detective. I don’t think most people are aware that he was even in this film. I didn’t realize it was him till the end. Just like when he played Trump so hilariously.
But I think Kevin really is a Hoser at heart. Canucks are genuinely nice folks. They’re jolly. Kevin is very jolly. I fell in love, very hard, heart breakingly hard with not just one but two Canuck chicks in high school. I wound up with a sassy Californian, nice is nice but I wanted my marriage to be based in sarcasm. Sexy ginger sarcasm.
Anyway my point is that’s how nice Canucks are. They break your heart in HS and you don’t care. I mean I used maple leaf toilet paper junior year but nobody is perfect. Kevin is that level of nice. He can make a poop movie and I don’t care. He’ll make something good again. A comic or whatever.
In any case Tusk is great. And I think it’s great because of how much of himself Kevin got on screen. Maybe I’m the only person in the world who likes this movie but that just makes me like it more. Feels special. Special ed. Special Kev. Ding fries are done.