Best and worst Kevin Smith movies

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October 28, 2019

Best and worst Kevin Smith movies

Snoochie boochies! With "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" currently on tour, director Kevin Smith has brought back two of his most iconic characters. As the latest installment in the View Askewniverse, the film represents the newest chapter in a surprisingly storied career. After all, Smith is not just an accomplished filmmaker, but also a noted public speaker, podcaster, and author. He's also one of the world's foremost comic book superfans, with his own store in Red Bank, N.J. The name of that store? Jay and Silent Bob's Silent Stash, naturally.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is more than the home to Kevin Smith's comic book store. It's also where the director was born and raised, and where he would set a number of his films. That includes his seminal debut, "Clerks," which granted him overnight status as an indie icon. In subsequent efforts, the New Jersey influence persisted by way of Smith's signature lexicon and unique brand of raunchy humor. Even with his occasional excursions into the horror genre, there's a comic sensibility lurking just below the surface.

Throughout his career, Smith has worked with a legion of A-list talent and also brought forth a number of classic characters. Among them are Jay and Silent Bob themselves, an idiosyncratic duo consisting of Smith and actor Jason Mewes. Having previously appeared as either guest characters or lead stars in the director's best-known films, the pair is currently at the heart of his latest reboot. Odds are they'll also appear in "Clerks III," the recently confirmed threequel to Smith's most iconic saga.

It's in honor of both Smith and his beloved characters that Stacker presents the best and worst of his films. Stacker collected data from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd, and Metacritic, weighted scores equally, and aggregated them into one Stacker Score. IMDb scores represent popular reception and are rated out of 10; Rotten Tomatoes and Metascores represent critical reception and are on a 100-point scale; Letterboxd represents popular reception and is rated out of five. Here's the best and worst of Kevin Smith up to—but not including—"Jay and Silent Bob Reboot."

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#12. Yoga Hosers (2016)

- Stacker score: 31.2
--- IMDb user rating: 4.3
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 22
--- Letterboxd: 1.84
--- Metascore: 23
- Runtime: 88 min
- Domestic box office: no theatrical release

An indisputable low point for Smith, this maligned and messy effort stars both his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter as the respective leads. Reprising their roles from “Tusk,” they play smartphone-and-yoga-obsessed teenaged store clerks with shallow dispositions. When an ancient evil rises from beneath the earth, it threatens to derail the girls’ totally awesome party plans.

#11. Cop Out (2010)

- Stacker score: 36.85
--- IMDb user rating: 5.6
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 18
--- Letterboxd: 2.12
--- Metascore: 31
- Runtime: 107 min
- Domestic box office: $44.88 million

Kevin Smith’s most commercial effort is also one of his worst, according to critics and fans alike. It sends two wisecracking NYPD detectives (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) on the trail of a stolen baseball card. The movie is all but forgotten, but Smith’s harrowing stories of working with Bruce Willis remain the stuff of Hollywood legend.

#10. Jersey Girl (2004)

- Stacker score: 50.15
--- IMDb user rating: 6.2
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 42
--- Letterboxd: 2.68
--- Metascore: 43
- Runtime: 102 min
- Domestic box office: $25.27 million

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were still suffering the fallout from 2003’s “Gigli” when they co-starred in this similarly disastrous comedy-drama. It centers on a widower named Ollie Trinke, who learns how to parent the hard way while looking after his precocious daughter. Critic Roger Ebert was among the movie’s few outspoken fans, claiming it showed a kinder and gentler Kevin Smith.

#9. Tusk (2014)

- Stacker score: 50.85
--- IMDb user rating: 5.3
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 45
--- Letterboxd: 2.52
--- Metascore: 55
- Runtime: 102 min
- Domestic box office: $1.82 million

Smith’s foray into body horror still exhibits the comedic touch, as “Tusk” follows a psycho (Michael Parks) who takes his fondness for walruses to gut-wrenching extremes. Inspired by a story from the SModcast podcast, it’s the first part of a planned True North trilogy (which also includes “Yoga Hosiers”). For the film’s small but loyal cult of fans, Smith recently released a making-of documentary on YouTube.

#8. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

- Stacker score: 57.85
--- IMDb user rating: 6.8
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 52
--- Letterboxd: 3.02
--- Metascore: 51
- Runtime: 104 min
- Domestic box office: $30.06 million

Two of the most beloved Kevin Smith characters received a movie all their own in 2001, with Jay and Silent Bob embarking on a road trip to Hollywood. Featured throughout are numerous inside jokes, digressions, and celebrity cameos. With the reboot currently in theaters, now is the perfect time to revisit this irreverent predecessor.

#7. Red State (2011)

- Stacker score: 58
--- IMDb user rating: 6.2
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 60
--- Letterboxd: 3.0
--- Metascore: 50
- Runtime: 88 min
- Domestic box office: $1.10 million

Smith returned to his indie roots when making this unconventional horror movie about crazy religious fundamentalists. Not only did the director raise funds on his own, but he then self-distributed the film by way of a traveling roadshow. The story was inspired by pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose family members actually showed up for—and then walked out of—an early screening.

#6. Mallrats (1995)

- Stacker score: 58.15
--- IMDb user rating: 7.1
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 55
--- Letterboxd: 3.28
--- Metascore: 41
- Runtime: 94 min
- Domestic box office: $2.12 million

Smith’s immediate follow-up to “Clerks” didn’t exactly hit the zeitgeist with the precision of its predecessor, but it nevertheless endures as a cult classic. Shot in Minnesota but set in a New Jersey mall, it chronicles the misadventures of two best friends. Lead co-star Jason Lee was better known as a pro skateboarder at the time, and this film paved the way for his acting career.

#5. Zack and Miri Make a P**no (2008)

- Stacker score: 60.6
--- IMDb user rating: 6.5
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 65
--- Letterboxd: 2.82
--- Metascore: 56
- Runtime: 101 min
- Domestic box office: $31.46 million

Only in the Kevin Smith universe would one of his most mature efforts be about two friends making DIY adult videos. So goes the director’s second-highest-grossing film to date, in which Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) cash in on the amateur adult video craze. Featuring solid performances and romantic themes, the film strikes a deft balance between raunchy comedy and heartfelt emotion.

#4. Clerks II (2006)

- Stacker score: 66.35
--- IMDb user rating: 7.3
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 63
--- Letterboxd: 3.22
--- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 97 min
- Domestic box office: $24.14 million

A number of Smith’s most memorable characters returned for this long-awaited sequel, which takes place primarily at a fast-food restaurant. Now in their 30s, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) engage in various comedic exploits while clinging to their adolescent ways. After screening out of competition in Cannes, it went on to win the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

#3. Dogma (1999)

- Stacker score: 67.55
--- IMDb user rating: 7.3
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 67
--- Letterboxd: 3.41
--- Metascore: 62
- Runtime: 130 min
- Domestic box office: $30.65 million

With help from a star-studded cast, Smith delivers a surprisingly ambitious take on religion in this clever comedy. When two renegade angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) try to sneak their way back into heaven, it threatens to wipe out all of existence. While the stiff camerawork has aged poorly, the film's central concepts and ideas remain both unique and insightful.

#2. Chasing Amy (1997)

- Stacker score: 74.3
--- IMDb user rating: 7.2
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 87
--- Letterboxd: 3.36
--- Metascore: 71
- Runtime: 113 min
- Domestic box office: $12.01 million

In its own raunchy and un-PC way, Kevin Smith’s third film explores a variety of progressive themes. At the heart of the story is a budding romance between two comic book artists, played respectively by Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams. To call the relationship complicated would be putting it mildly.

#1. Clerks (1994)

- Stacker score: 77.35
--- IMDb user rating: 7.7
--- Rotten Tomatoes: 88
--- Letterboxd: 3.72
--- Metascore: 70
- Runtime: 92 min
- Domestic box office: $3.15 million

The movie that put Kevin Smith on the map endures as his most signature work. “Clerks” is about two slacker store clerks named Dave and Randal. Presented in black and white, the film dispenses with its own brand of juvenile comedy while swinging from trivial subject matter to life-changing events. The saga will reportedly culminate with a recently announced third installment.

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