Erik Davis is a great movie nut, a seriously good friend and a WONDERFUL new Editor-in-Chief (yes, I need a raise) -- but he penned a little something this morning that I'd like to respectfully disagree with. (Hey, he asked us to write more original content! Ha.) In Erik's Monday Morning Poll he laid some well-deserved affection at the feet of Judd Apatow's wonderfully R-rated comedy crew, but then he added this section: "In my opinion, Apatow and his crew have achieved in two years (on the big screen) what Kevin Smith should have 10 years ago -- writing raunchy, relatable material (sprinkled with pop culture references) that caters to a wide audience. It's not that Smith's stuff isn't funny, it's just that he never found a way to grow and widen his sense of humor."
With all due respect to Mr. Davis, I'd like to offer the opinion that were it not for guys like Smith, we might never have had a chance to appreciate Judd Apatow's work in all its true "blue" glory. Sub-genres within larger genres generally move in a very cyclical fashion. Were it not for Scream, the slasher flick wouldn't have been resurrected. Ditto with Saw and the "hardcore" horror cycle. When a certain type of romantic comedy (somehow) hits $175,000,000 -- that opens the door for a lot more of 'em. And when one filmmaker kicks over the PG-13 with as much glee as Kevin Smith does, I believe that allows other filmmakers to do the same.
Plus it's (a little) important to remember that Mr. Apatow comes from within the sitcom training grounds and the studio system -- and therefore gets a bit more freedom where budgets, casting and general resources are concerned. Smith, on the other hand, started with nothing but a fistful of credit cards and has created himself a mini-empire of Askew-ness while entertaining a (VERY) loyal fan-base that most directors would kill for. I suppose I just don't really consider it a fair comparison is all. But the bottom line for the movie-watchers is this: Both Smith and Apatow have a real gift for powerfully funny dialog -- and lots of it is unapologetically profane in nature. Frankly I'm thrilled we have even TWO intelligent guys who are willing to do comedies for (relative) grown-ups. Lord knows we could use a few more comedy screenwriters like these guys.
Editor's Note: This is a great post Scott, and it goes to show that my brain is never fully operational first thing in the morning. I agree with everything you said here, and I've amended my original post. -- Erik Davis