Let me start off this review by saying that I am a fan of Kevin Smith. I’ve seen all of his movies, listen to his podcast, am a regular attendant at his Hall H panel at Comic-Con every year, and even visited his comic shop, Jay and Bob’s Silent Stash, back when they had a location in Los Angeles. When I heard that he had a new book coming out, I knew that it would be funny and entertaining, like the man himself.
Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good, is partly and inspirational tome and part biography. In it, Smith chronicles his rise to indie fame with his first film Clerks and his film industry education at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. Smith leaves no rock unturned and chronicles each of his films, from Clerks, which was funded by credit cards and sold at Sundance, to his newest film, Red State, which he sold the rights to himself for $20 and took on tour through indie movies houses across the U.S.
A lover of all things pop culture, Smith’s book is peppered throughout with references to comics, Batman, Wayne Gretsky, and John Hughes, all of which had a large impact on his life. Smith also gets into the nitty gritty of life in Hollywood, telling of his falling out with Harvey Weinstein as well as the story of which star on the set of Cop Out was a nightmare to work with (hint – it wasn’t Tracy Morgan). But the book isn’t all film and Hollywood gossip. Smith talks extensively about his family, namely his father, wife Jenny and their daughter Harley Quinn (best name ever!). Smith may be the most humble man in Hollywood as he makes it clear that much of his success and sanity are due to the support and talent of his friends and family.
Through all of these life lessons and experiences, Smith’s message is clear – if a fat guy like him can make a living doing what he loves, then so can you. Smith encourages you to dream big and “follow your whimsy.” Life may not turned out the way you planned, Smith says, but keep an open mind and it may turn out to be a slightly different and more over the top version of what you were aiming for. In an age of cynicism, following your dreams may sound too idealistic, but Smith has his own unlikely and inspirational story to hold up as an example. He’s built an empire just by being himself.
Smith is the perfect narrator for his own book and I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it justice. For the past few years, Smith’s been doing a weekly podcast and it’s clear that he’s comfortable behind the mic. Already funny on the page, his words take on a whole new life coming from the source (especially the cuss words). Smith speaks with charm and enthusiasm and his attitude is infectious. I actually wanted to stay at the gym a little longer just so I could keep listening (and it takes a lot to keep me at the gym, folks). The audiobook is also peppered with little asides from Smith as he reads – little side notes not in the book that are an added bonus of getting the audiobook.
Fans of Kevin Smith will no doubt be highly entertained by this book. If you've been listening to Smith for a long time like I have, some of the stories may be familiar. But this doesn't detract from the book because Smith has a way of never telling a story the same way twice. I'd recommend this for fans of Kevin Smith and those with an open mind who don't mind some crude language and humor.
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