"Red State"

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"Red State"

Postby BillTheCat » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:43 am

For those who don't know, I am a huge fan of writer/director/actor Kevin Smith. He's the writer & director behind "Clerks," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," and "Clerks 2," among others. He'd probably like to forget "Jersey Girl," and although he only directed it, "Cop Out" as well.

Well, Mr. Smith has gone in an entirely different direction with his latest cinematic effort. Pretty much everything he has done thus far has been comedy. The upcoming release, "Red State," is apparently a thriller/horror flick. The basic plot revolves around a family of over-the-top fundamentalist Christians loosely based on the Phelps family of the Westboro Baptist Church. (You know them- the "God Hates F@gs" church that always protests military funerals) Only this family doesn't carry protest signs- they wreak holy vengeance upon the sinners in their sights.

And Smith did things very much against the grain from start to finish.

He decided to get out of the studio system and shoot this film entirely as an indie effort. He and an industry friend who signed on as producer raised all of $4 million to make the movie- a paltry sum by Hollywood standards, but it took them 3 years to get it. Then he paid most of the cast & crew next to nothing, yet still managed to lure in such talented & respected performers as Stephen Root, Kevin Pollack, John Goodman, Michael Parks, and Melissa Leo (currently nominated for an Oscar for her role in "The Fighter").

He proceeded to shoot the entire movie in under 30 days, while simultaneously taking on the additional job of editing the movie himself. And he edited each day's digital footage later in the same day. The man had a full, theatre-ready digital copy of the film ready by the time they held the wrap party, a week after filming wrapped. INSANE. Even tiny indie flicks take months to edit, but Smith said he shot the movie from an editor's perspective, ticking off a mental checklist of the shots he needed as they went. (Smith has a podcast called "Red State of the Union" which chronicles much of this- linked below)

The film was selected for Sundance, where Smith had announced that he would auction off the distribution rights immediately following the screening, admonishing studio reps and distributors to bring their checkbooks or miss out. As it turns out, this was something of a publicity stunt- Smith's producer began the auction, Smith himself immediately bid $20, and the auction ended.

Early reviews of the film from Sundance and a few other semi-private screenings have said that it is unpredictable, scary as heck, and that Michael Parks absolutely knocks your socks off as the patriarch of the Cooper family. Oh, did I forget to mention that the crazy bastards are named "Cooper?" Hehheh. Seriously, though, I have read comments from a few reviews that say Parks' performance is creepier and far more powerful than Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter.

They are going to release the film outside the Hollywood distribution system, and do it entirely themselves. Smith has chosen an October release- sensible for a horror film. In the meantime, he loves to tour the country & hold Q&A sessions (many of which are broadcast on his podcast network, http://www.smodcast.com ). So this Spring and Summer, he will be touring the country doing fundraising Q&A's to offset the cost of having physical prints of the film made, but he will also be showing "Red State" at each session- one city, one theatre at a time.

The tour schedule is posted at http://www.coopersdell.com for anyone interested. No dates in FL yet, but I'm sure he'll get here. I am tentatively planning to make a marathon drive to N'awlins on March 26th for a showing at Tulane University, then drive home the following day. Smith promises that the tour venues will also display memorabilia from his past films.

Ticket prices vary by location, but I have seen anything from $55 to $125 (for Radio City Music Hall, which is also the very first showing). Smith regularly charges $30-50 for just a Q&A session, so many of the shows will be about the normal cost of a movie plus the Q&A.

A few sites and links related to "Red State":

http://www.coopersdell.com - pre-release tour info, includes the teaser trailer

http://smodcast.com/redstate/index.html - "Red State" audio podcast episodes, also available on Zune Marketplace & iTunes, free of charge. (Smith doesn't really do video podcasts)

http://goddamnsusa.com/ - a site devoted to the fictional Cooper family, to be updated more as the wide release date nears.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0873886/ - "Red State" on the Internet Movie Database, or IMDB.

Official teaser trailer:
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Re: "Red State"

Postby JBKone » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:56 pm

I was about to tell you to pick me up on the way to N.O., but after watching that trailer I realize it's probably not the film for me. I liked all his other films you mentioned so I thought this might be palatable. But hey, if you want to swing in for a beer or something, let me know. :-D
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Re: "Red State"

Postby BillTheCat » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:33 am

JBKone wrote:I was about to tell you to pick me up on the way to N.O., but after watching that trailer I realize it's probably not the film for me. I liked all his other films you mentioned so I thought this might be palatable. But hey, if you want to swing in for a beer or something, let me know. :-D


Possible, depending on my timing. I might be too rushed on the way up to stop, and if I leave at oh-dark-thirty on the way home, it might just be too darned early. Maybe IHOP for a Belgian waffle or something?

I contacted Collin (WildOne3C here on SSM). He lives near NOLA, and is also a Kevin Smith fan, so he may join me for the screening.

Oh, and just to clarify... I have not seen the film, so I have no firsthand knowledge. All I know is bits and pieces from Smith's podcasts, and a few reviews I have allowed myself to read. And those reviews are, in their entirety, mixed. They all say Smith has taken a leap forward visually, and really gone outside his comfort zone thematically, but they differ on how well it all comes together. I kind of expected that this film wouldn't be a horror classic, since Smith's not an experienced horror/action director. But I am still jazzed to see the flick, simply because it is so far outside his norm.

The one thing every review I have read has agreed on- Michael Parks knocked it out of the park. Pardon my redundancy.

One last comment... Smith claims he has only one more movie left to film. It's called "Hit Somebody," and most of the cast of "Red State" have signed on to make this completely unrelated film. "Hit Somebody" probably won't shoot until next year at the earliest, depending on financing. This will be a story about a hockey player who desperately loves the game, and is just good enough to make it to pro hockey in the old AHL of the 1970's. But he can only get there as a goon, or enforcer- his role being to "hit somebody," rather than score goals. Sean William Scott was originally slated to play the lead (seems a bit slight of stature to play a hockey goon, dontcha think?) but he got impatient while Smith was filming "Red State" & went off to film another hockey movie instead. Probably for the best.

After "Hit Somebody," Smith claims he's done making movies. We'll see. If he decides he has something important to say, I imagine he'll come back again. But I can believe he'd take some time off. He's making a very good living on podcasts and speaking tours, so why not?
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Re: "Red State"

Postby MINI_Marc » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:03 pm

Ever so slightly off topic here Bill, but did you know Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are coming to the Hard Rock Live in Orlando on March 30th?

JAY & SILENT BOB GET OLD
An Evening with Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes
http://www.hardrock.com/live2/eventDeta ... IBEnumID=3

8:00PM. $45 for the front two rows. $37.50 for the rest of the seats.

I would assume being the Kevin Smith fan that you are, you've seen the 3 "An Evening with Kevin Smith" comedy specials/movies. I'm assuming this is going to be like those as far as content and such.

I'm planing on going. :mrgreen:

Back on topic, I haven't heard about this movie yet. I'll have to keep an eye out. Dunno if I'd drive out to nawlins to see a movie, but if it comes to the central FL area, I'd totally see it.

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Re: "Red State"

Postby BillTheCat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:50 am

Very much aware of the "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" Smodcast coming to Orlando Hard Rock, yep. Was planning to go until they scheduled the NOLA "Red State" screening for 4 days earlier. Don't think I can justify both. Still considering it, though, since the "Get Old" Smodcast is not going to be a big "Red State" Q&A. The focus of the "Get Old" Smodcast is to track Mewes' continuing recovery from drug addiction, but it ends up being a general cut up session between the 2 of them.

If you're certain you're going, then WTF, maybe we should get seats together. I just need to request a shift change @ work before I can commit.

Seen all of the Q&A features, too. Enjoyable.

I'm sure "Red State" will come to Tampa and Orlando. If not during the preview tour, then at least when it goes into wide release. But you'll have to LOOK for it, as they will not be advertising. No radio, no TV, no billboards. That's part of their strategy. They want to avoid spending $20M to market a film that only cost $4m to make & see how the profit ratio works out. Think about it- the average Smith flick grosses about $15-25M, tops. There's more to be made in merchandising, DVD sales, etc., but we're just talking box office. So if you effectively make it a $20-25M film, it may only break even. Could lose big. If it's just $4M, a $20M box office gross would be awesome.
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