Kevin Smith's latest book, Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good, contains encouraging words for aspiring filmmakers, castigation for actor Bruce Willis, and, of course, many a one-two punch for Southwest Airlines.
Smith starts off his book with a deceptively simple statement: I am a product of Don Smith's balls. It's actually quite profound. He sees this fact as reason for anyone to celebrate their own existence: out of all the sperm and eggs that could have been used to help make us who we are today, the ones that ended up making us beat the odds and won out.
You're a big, fat bucket of win when you begin this crapshoot life; no need to pressure yourself to do much more than use your time here as the wind-down to the only real contest that'll ever matter: you vs. a billion other applicants, he wrote.
Smith wrote about meeting his wife, who was then a reporter for USA Today interviewing him for a story. Smith does his fair share of media bashing in Tough Sh*t, like so many a public figure does when writing a book, but he shows appreciation for the newspaper that gave him his future wife. His description of their first time together manages to be endearing and unsettling at the same time (hint: there was tender ear touching and no condom).
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He described the 2010 Southwest Airlines incident in funny and sensitive detail. Smith wrote that he was kicked off because of his weight. They alleged there was a safety concern. He said he could put down the armrests but he was booted off anyway. Smith described getting up to disembark the plane and seeing a much fatter man than himself sitting three rows behind.
I could've pointed out my brother from a fatter mother, Smith wrote, adding that he would never throw a fellow fatty under the bus -- or the plane, as it were -- so I said nothing.
Two film-related conflicts Smith addressed in his book were his relationships with Harvey Weinstein and actor Bruce Willis.
Smith devoted an entire chapter to the tension between him and Willis on the set of the movie Cop Out, and the latter's alleged unprofessional behavior, which, by Smith's account, included refusing to speak certain dialogue.
At the blocking rehearsal, Bruce took one look at all the unsexy, expository dialogue he'd have to deliver in the scene, and I guess he suddenly decided two pages' worth of his half of the dialogue would be best not said at all -- at least not by him, Smith wrote. You can call that an actor making a choice; I call that an actor making a choice for another actor, and then making the double burden he's suddenly heaped on the guy no easier by barely being present in the scene with him.
As for Weinstein, Smith describes a relationship that started off well and went sour years later after Smith called out the movie-producing guru for bad manners during a screening of Smith's 2011 film Red State. Smith does acknowledge early on, however, that he owes much of his film success to Weinstein.
All in all, Smith's book is a good read, particularly for aspiring filmmakers and other creative types. Smith labels himself as just another dude from New Jersey who didn't have any connections in show business. His biggest message for aspiring creative people is a basic one: believe you are what you want to be and just do it. He leads by example.
(Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good is published by Gotham Books of Penguin Group and is available in bookstores and electronically.)