by Adam Riske
This is the question that ran through my head last week after seeing separate Fathom Events screenings of Kevin Smith’s new movie Yoga Hosers and Rob Zombie’s latest, called 31. I didn’t particularly like either, but the intention of this article is not to review those films. Instead, I want to consider some of the comments that came with these movies in the form of pre-or-post film Q&A’s from their respective filmmakers. In the case of Yoga Hosers, Smith said that the movie was made not really for his core audience but rather for the daughters of his fans. It’s the movie he hopes pre-teen girls would stumble upon on Netflix and become a favorite of theirs. With 31, Zombie explicitly said he made the movie he thought his fans want.
To address the second point, I really do think Zombie felt beholden to pleasing his fans because they partly paid for the movie he was making. And that’s a real shame. One of Zombie’s strongest attributes as a filmmaker up to 31 was that he was his own man. No other movie was like a Rob Zombie movie, and sometimes the results were mixed but some turned out to be real gems (The Devil's Rejects, The Lords of Salem) and they were all unique. I don’t want to see the Rob Zombie movie that fans want. I want to see the movie Rob Zombie wants to make. Audiences don’t know what they want until they see it and that’s something filmmakers can forget. It’s better just to do your thing and let the chips fall where they may.
Tusk. It’s so weird and I think equally horrific and funny much in the way of Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever.
However, Yoga Hosers might be tipping the scale too far in the way of personal filmmaking. Yoga Hosers is barely a movie for Kevin Smith fans, and Smith has said that it’s basically a midnight movie for young girls who are too young to see midnight movies. So, in those terms, he’s made a movie so personal that it’s kind of for no one except himself, his family and his friends. This is what I was imploring Rob Zombie to continue but, for whatever reason, I can’t decide why I may be against that advice for Kevin Smith. Am I worried that if Rob Zombie goes further down the “made it for fans” path he’ll wind up like Smith? (Yes) Am I over Kevin Smith as a filmmaker? (No, I am still interested in his work). So what is the thesis of this article? I don’t know if there is one.
What do you think? Should filmmakers make their movies with the audience in mind? Is it better to analyze why you did or did not like a movie or to just let it be?