Monday, April 2, 2012

Kevin Smith burns down house with 'Tough Sh*t'

You either know Kevin Smith, love Kevin Smith or both. But no one truly hates Kevin Smith.

Critics hate his honesty. Some movie-goers hate his films. Some people in Hollywood hate the way he goes against the grain.

But you can't hate the man. Why? It's all mapped out in "Tough Sh*t," the brutally open, honest and entertaining pseudo-autobiography of Smith's rise to cult movie fame.

In a creepy way, reading this book is almost something you'd expect from a dying Hollywood god, spewing the shrouded truths of the mountain before he breathes his final breath. But the color and entertainment value of the book comes from the fact the Smith is very healthy. Very healthy and very stoned.

The book may begin with a simple premise: Smith's childhood, rise to fame, and how it all happened. Standard fare for anyone who has read a book penned by a writer/director/actor.

But Smith is a self-proclaimed sexual degenerate. Bruce Willis is lazy and insufferable. The movie industry is collapsing on itself like a dying star. These are intimate truths Smith lays out for us without any fear; it's things he has seen and horrors he has lived.

Through a rather poignant meta-arc, Smith documents his career from making Clerks to Red State, from his days as a New Jersey hood to the present founder and mogul of SmodCo, Smith details the intricacies and coincidentals of making it in Hollywood as an outcast, chasing the approval of a corrupted honcho (the infamous Harvey Weinstein) and eventually learning that you aren't a cog in the machine if you decide to run the damn thing.

Smith, being the exceptional writer and conversationalist he is, makes the book easy to delve into and relate to: it's a series of life lessons of a normal kid who decides to not share the same fate as his father, and bets everything on the movies.

One of the best highlights comes from one of Smith's many doses of harsh reality. Smith documents dealing with an intensely lackluster Willis in "Cop Out" and losing all respect for an actor he once loved through a series of increasingly uncomfortable days on set.

The book continually gets in depth into the process of not only filmmaking, but sex, the politics of business, religious extremists, and dealing with failure. While it's truly just a gathering of stories told by a relatable guy who has lived his dreams for better or worse, when you finish reading you feel inspired to fulfill your own dreams, obstacles be damned.

Sure, it means that it will come with a heaping helping of bullshit, but that's why Smith is here, to teach you to want the bullshit, too!

"Tough Sh*t" isn't a book just for film buffs or Smith fans. It's for anyone who has a dream that they have been putting off. Smith finds a fun way to tell us all that your failures lead somewhere, and sometimes they lead to your own personal Red State.

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