After going to the orchestra on Friday night, I figured we may as well get weird with the weekend so instead of going to one of the many concerts going on in the Twin Cities on Saturday night, I found myself at the beautiful and cozy Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul for a movie showing. I’m not a movie person. My co-workers at my day job rarely let me forget that. They can reference Star Wars or Back To the Future and I will sit at my desk completely clueless. I’ve always been addicted to live music and when growing up, if given the choice between going to see a movie or a concert, I would always choose the concert. That being said, I’ve been able to catch some movies here and there and, although typically late to the party, I’ve definitely fallen in love with some films. One of those was Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back so when I saw that the two co-stars of the film (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) would be at a screening of their new movie as part of their ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow’, well this was my chance to branch out yet again from just doing a concert every single night.
To call Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back a cult-classic wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly suggest it (it’s on Netflix just an FYI) but don’t be expecting some life-altering movie full of emotion and passion. It’s honestly a stoner movie full of one-liners, raunchy jokes, and well, just off the wall humor. It’s one of those movies that reminds you to never take life too seriously and will leave you laughing if you let yourself revert back to dick and fart jokes being funny. The quick story of the movie is Jay and Silent Bob head to Hollywood, California to stop a comic based around their characters being produced (or at least to get their money). The hijinks the duo find themselves in are unbelievable and always hilarious but it’s really the characters of Jay and Silent Bob that make the movie what it is so, naturally, it’s all because of actors Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith that this movie (and their other movies that span an impressive multi-decade era) is as popular as it is. Again, go watch the movie. Seriously.
I had never been to a movie screening before so I was excited to see what it would be like. After a little socializing with our fearless leader from Twin Cities Media who happened to be at the show, I found my seat in the beautiful theater. As the lights went down, the one and only Kevin Smith took the stage to a standing ovation. He welcomed the audience and then admitted that he and Jason were only doing this tour because of the help of some sponsors. Instead of kicking right into the movie, he let three ads that the duo did for Audible play through. The audience was laughing uncontrollably and I realized that this night was one of those nights where it was okay to laugh when you wanted to. It was okay to react to the movie. Rather than being in a stuffy movie theater where silence is key, I was in a beautiful theater surrounded by people that were going to react the way the movie made them felt. I relaxed a little and settled in. After the ads (which Kevin shamelessly watched from the side of the stage) Jason came on stage so the two could welcome us to the movie. I loved that, although definitely a part of a tour and probably a little scripted, there was something organic about the give and take between the two actors as they got us all ready for the movie. It was honestly like watching Jay and Silent Bob in real life, not Jason and Kevin. I didn’t care how the movie was at that point, I was sold and instantly fell in love with both men, not just their characters.
I’m not going to ruin the movie for you. That wouldn’t be fair. I will say that the duo was up to their usual shenanigans but this time brought a message of love and family into the mix. It was fitting as it has been nearly twenty years since Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released and times have changed not only for society but also for the two men. Still raunchy and almost cringe-worthy at times, there was no shortage of laughing throughout the film and, yes, there were still a million cameo performances that were almost shocking at times (there were a million cameos in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back including Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, George Carlin, Carrie Fisher…. the list goes on and on). After the credits rolled through, the audience rose to their feet for an applause that had so much passion behind it that it was nothing short of staggering.
After the movie and the lengthy applause, the evening moved on to a Q and A portion that I wish could have lasted for hours instead of just a single hour. Getting to hear stories about how the two men rose to fame (okay, well mostly how Kevin Smith rose to fame as he seemed to dominate most of the answering) was eye opening to say the least. Just like when I meet musicians and realize that they are no different than you or I and are only on their platform due to hard work and passion, I realized that actors are the same way. The questions were all very well-thought out (other than the dead hooker joke which, although it was a little strange, was very heartwarming when the audience realized it was being asked by a teenage who had come to the movie with her father) and although there was only time for a few questions, each answer clearly came from the heart.
Kevin Smith has to meet hundreds of people every night. He’s not a no name, people know him. Love him or hate him, Kevin Smith is a figure in the movie world. The fact that he stood at the back of the balcony to watch his own movie is something that left me feeling all the feels but it was the fact that when one gentleman came up to ask a question, Kevin recognized him as someone who passed him upstairs on his way to the bathroom. Again, the similarities between musicians and actors is something that I’ve never really thought about as I spent nearly all of my time in a world of music but hearing that Kevin remembered this fan from a brief encounter put it all into perspective. Just like musicians, actors would be nothing without their fans and their fans would be nothing without them.
Last night was my first movie screening hosted by the stars of the movie but it surely won’t be the last. Although I’m not going to start trading my concert tickets in for movie ticket stubs, I definitely have a new appreciation for the people behind the movies that so many people find an undeniable sense of comfort in just like I find in concerts.