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Kevin Smith Breaks It Down

KevinSmith Things are looking up (again) for Kevin Smith, as he rolls out Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a comedy in line with the recent hits from Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogen. Smith recently sat down with Steven Zeitchik of The Hollywood Reporter for a chat about his upcoming flick. After nearly 15 years in the business -- pegged as both a dirty-mouthed rebel and a big budget sellout -- Smith credits these five movies with influencing his outrageous career.

And what a fascinating career it has been, replete with more ups and downs than a roller coaster. A native of New Jersey, Smith majored in film at the Vancouver Film School but dropped out halfway through his studies because he wanted the partial tuition reimbursement that would help finance his first film. He made Clerks for $27,575 in the convenience store in which he worked, shooting only at night. In a billion-to-one shot, Clerks went on to win the Filmmaker's Trophy in 1994 at Sundance and two big prizes at Cannes, ultimately garnering a cult-like status and devoted following.

Then came Mallrats, drubbed by critics; Chasing Amy, an acclaimed drama considered by Quentin Tarantino called "a quantum leap forward" for Smith; Dogma, a controversial religious-themed comedy with an all-star cast; and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, an unhappy attempt to return to his cinematic roots. Oh, but the bottom fell further with Jersey Girl, a resounding flop and critical embarrassment that unwisely re-teamed Ben Afflect and Jennifer Lopez -- Smith needed something way better than this to erase the memory of Gigli. How did Smith recover? He made Clerks II.

ZackandMiriMakeaPorno How many more "new" directions can this director's career take? Word is that Zack and Miri combines his two signature styles: juvenile light vulgarity and innocuous romantic banter. Do you think Zack and Miri will put Kevin Smith back on the map? Smith paved the way for Apatow, no doubt, but, as we move into the next generation of movie slackers, does Apatow have his number (and his audience)?

--Anna Bengel 

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Maybe he shouldn't try so hard.

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