Traci's Reviews > Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Tough Shit by Kevin Smith
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 30 to May 03, 2012

You seem to either love or hate Kevin Smith. I have yet to find someone who is ambivalent about the director (unless they literally have no idea who he is). And that's OK; someone like Smith who turned filmmaking on its head with "Clerks" deserves to be revered or reviled.

This is an interesting, if expletive-filled, book. Yeah, there's a lot of swearing here, so if you've got delicate ears - or eyes, I guess - this may not be something you want to pick up. Smith writes exactly the way I imagine him talking, which is refreshing in a way. Some "biographies" have co-writers (either credited or not) who help the author polish the work so much that you wonder who really wrote the thing. No doubt about the author here - it's Smith all the way.

What comes out most in this book is the love Smith has for two things: his family and movies. Smith would be the total homebody dad and husband if it weren't for touring to support his films. And it's obvious how much he's been in love with movies since he and his dad used to hit the local theater weekly. Indeed, some of the most touching moments of the book are Smith talking about his dad. They didn't have a mushy father-son relationship - this was before all that touchy-feely sh*t was in vogue. Smith's dad was a man's man, a postal employee who loathed his job, a smoker, a grunter. In fact, it was his dad's feelings about his job that spurred Smith to find his own way; he watched his father trudge off to a job he hated each and every day, and Kevin vowed to not be that guy.

Which brings me to the most shocking part of the book, Smith's plans to get out of the film business. I was really surprised to read that he plans to make one last movie, and then that's it - curtain closed on his directorial career. I was all "WTF???" (my poor attempt to sound like a Smith character) But he makes his point eloquently: he's been in the movie biz for 20+ years now, both as the boy wonder and then as the senior director. He's been enamored of the Weinsteins and Miramax, and he's also thumbed his nose at them when they moved on to the next boy wonder (he also stole a lot of their promo tricks, which he worked to his advantage, and which really pissed off Harvey). But as Smith himself pointed out, it's no longer fun and wonderful for him to be the director. He's told the stories he's wanted to tell, and he's getting tired of the business. He's becoming his dad trudging off to work, and remember, he does not want to be "that guy". So he's taking his talents in another direction, the podcast, and live tours of him and his band of merry men talking on stage, which was always his favorite part of the movie promo stuff anyway.

It's a cool book, told by a cool guy, a self-professed schlub who made good. If nothing else, pick it up for the chapter about George Carlin, one of Smith's childhood heroes. I cried, and like Smith, I miss George. And much as it may pain me as a movie fan, I admire Kevin Smith for taking control of his life and doing what he wants to do. I wish him luck in his next career, and we'll always have The Quick Stop.

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Reading Progress

05/01/2012 page 65
24.0% "Hmm...I thought I would always love to meet this guy. Now I'm not so sure. He's got an insane potty mouth and a very disturbing obsession with sex."
05/02/2012 page 147
54.0% "OK, Kevin Smith. You have convinced me that you are worthy; I've put "Red State" on my Amazon wishlist."
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