Kevin Smith’s new film Red State last Sunday premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to mix reviews, some loved it, others hated it but one thing almost universally agreed on was that Michael Parks’ sermon was too long. Smith was recently interviewed on Kevin and Josh Movie Show says:
John [Gordon] fought me on it. John was just like ‘Why bother dude, we’re our own bosses, nobody’s telling you to take it out’, like back in the old days Harvey would be ‘I love it! Take ten minutes out,’ no direction at all, just take the time out, so John’s like ‘We don’t have to do that now, we don’t have to really cut the movie at all’ and I said ‘Yeah, but I’m a filmmaker first and foremost, dude, and I want the movie to play as gangbusters as possible’ and if the length of Parks’ speech is making anybody remotely go ‘Maybe that speech is a little long…’ I want them to love Parks as much as I do, so for me, right, I’m an editor, you kill your babies every step of the way as an editor
I’m happy to see that Smith who has been very anti-critic lately recognized their problems with the film and went about changing it. I hope that the full speech will be available on the video release as I would love to see it in its entirety.
Also keep in mind that the Sundance screening was the first time it was screened for an audience and therefore not a surprise that Smith would need to go back in and fix somethings that didn’t work the first time.