Directors Kevin Smith and Spike Lee: Two Mouths Mightier than their Films

Kevin Smith and Spike Lee have very little in common – on the surface.

Smith is the pudgy fanboy fave behind “Clerks” and “Chasing Amy.” Lee is the combustible auteur who gave us “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X.”


But both directors find their careers in serious decline, and they’re not going out without a fight. But instead of making great movies to smite their critics, they’re opening up their mouths far too often.

Smith has been playing this game for years now, ranting via Twitter and any nearby media outlet about how little his work his valued, all the while keeping up a pseudo-self deferential shtick. His latest salvo – blasting the Independent Spirit Awards for daring to snub his crude horror film “Red State.”

Lee is rocking a similar boat. His best work appears behind him, and yet he can’t stop talking as if he were still the same wunderkind who bowled audiences over with “Do the Right Thing” back in 1989. Remember his ungainly dust up with living legend Clint Eastwood about the number of minorities in Eastwood’s World War II film “Flags of Our Fathers?”

Lee recently let loose an expletive-filled tirade against Hollywood during a screening of his newest movie at the Sundance Film Festival. The irony that Lee’s latest, “Red Hook Summer,” might not have gained such a prestigious festival birth had Lee’s name not been made two decades ago wasn’t lost on the director. He acknowledged that fact indirectly during his rant.

So, is “Red Hook Summer” any good? Here’s’s take on the film, which finds Lee playing the same character he developed for “Do the Right Thing:”

“Red Hook Summer” is confounding, divisive and messy. It’s a lament disguised as a comedy that turns into a brutal drama and ends up as an epic.

Others were less kind, Tweeting that the film marked “one of the worst films to ever premiere at Sundance.” Hey, it couldn’t be as bad as Smith’s “Cop Out,” right?

It would be great to see either Smith, Lee or both directors return to the headlines for all the right reasons. Instead, we’re left to feast on press-grabbing antics rather that movies that make us think, laugh and appreciate two formerly outsized talents.