Kevin Smith Screens Red State Twice Tonight; Co-Writer Ben York Jones Rolls Like Crazy

Categories: Film, Long Beach
Director Kevin Smith continues his Red State barnstorming in Long Beach tonight, presenting the Westboro Baptistesque shoot 'em up twice--and sticking around each time to take audience questions.

Meanwhile, over in Newport Beach, there's a members-only screening of Santa Ana-bred filmmaker Drake Doremus' latest indie gem Like Crazy, with that film's co-writer (and Weekly Sundance Film Fest blogger) Ben York Jones handling the Q&A.

Kevin Smith channels Welles.
Red State has three horny high school students in Middle America looking for sex and finding fundamentalist Christians gone wild. Smith does string together some compelling scenes (I'm still trying to figure out his influence for an intense foot chase captured via hand-held), and Michael Parks as Rev. Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps stand-in Abin Cooper, and John Goodman as ATF caught-in-the-middleman Joseph Keenan, deliver solid performances (and monologues). Oscar winner Melissa Leo inhabits her character completely as she always does, and it's a kick to see KROQ's Ralph Garman on the silver screen.

However, overall, I found the flick uneven. Red State is certainly no Clerks or Chasing Amy (nor Smith's hilarious SModcasts with Scott Mosier). You can't begrudge a filmmaker for spreading his wings by exploring other genres, but in the end the point of this bloodbath eluded simple ol' me.

Maybe that was it: fundie states in this union are red as is the life juice of the innocents they victimize along with our callous nation state. Perhaps the sequel will have Bible-thumping zombies eating the brains of Occupy demonstrators. 

It is up to you, fair citizens, to go to the historic Art Theatre in Long Beach at 7:30 or 10 tonight, see what all the fuss is about, and then ask Smith all your questions that have been lingering since 1997, such as, "What's a Nubian?" Visit the event's Facebook page for more details and The Smodcast Network for your $20 tickets. If you can't make it, rent the Red State DVD or stream it over Netflix because, love it or hate it, you'll be supporting an indie auteur. Here's his trailer:

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