We headed to Union Square to attend Kevin Smith's book signing at Barnes and Noble and I have to admit I'm mighty impressed.
If you didn't know, Kevin's the writer/director behind Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and -- um -- Jersey Girl.
Among other things, Kevin's also behind a variety of other things, including two great books, the View Askew forum, and -- to be frank, in my humble opinion -- the building of the careers of Jason Lee and Ben Affleck, for starters. His cinematic style is straightforward and blunt, but his stuff is extremely solid in a way that belies the humor and the lightness of his material.
And despite the fact he'd most likely react to the following by telling me I'm completely full of shit, I think he's an incredibly talented filmmaker.
But at the core of what impressed the hell out of me was not his resume, his films or the fact that the terms "finger-cuffs" and "Berserker" are indelibly stamped on my brain much like his signature is tattooed on several peoples' asses (a story for another time), but that the guy is normal. He's not overly infatuated with his essence or his own presence. In fact, he's not even remotely self-impressed. He's a hockey fan -- he and I were talking about Theo Fleury and Brendan Shanahan and the reality of being a fan (torn between two lovers indeed, he of the Edmonton Oilers/New Jersey Devils triangle and me of the Rangers/Red Wings triangle) and the long-term significance of Billy Crudup's exposed penis in Watchmen.
In either case, I thumbed through both his books and -- with no surprise at all -- was impressed yet again by the fact that this is a bona-fide dude. He's not some machine, he's not an eclectic, eccentric weirdo with an oddball film fetish and an encyclopediac ability to quote Scorcese -- which, incidentally, may or may not be a good thing -- he's just a really good guy who makes really good films.
So inasmuch as we three had a blast, it wasn't because we got a chance to meet someone famous but that we met a guy who was even cooler and more fun to hang with than we'd expected, and in this day and age of the reality being so much worse than the expectancy, that's far more than that for which we could have hoped.
However, I still expect $20 and a couple hours from Affleck -- and an apology if/when possible. And btw, to The Man, if you're reading this, you're pretty funny too. In the immortal words of Brody, we can smell our own ;-)
And here's a link for a mutual hockey fan.
Thanks to Kevin and the staff of Barnes and Noble Union Square for being awesome.