Foul-mouthed filmmaker Kevin Smith celebrates his 40th birthday Monday, so before he blows out the candles on his cake and officially becomes a grown-up, Deal Central takes a look back at the many puerile laughs he has brought us over the years (and looks ahead to what his 40s will bring us).
Clerks (1994) -- This seminal black-and-white comedy, made for around $27,000, launched Smith's career, introduced us to a next-generation "Odd Couple" named Jay and Silent Bob, gave a negative connotation to the number 37 and helped put Bob and Harvey Weinstein's Miramax Films on the Hollywood map.
Memorable line: "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"
Mallrats (1995) -- Smith's follow-up to "Clerks" wasn't as well-received but did introduce the term "snootchie bootchies" into the pop culture lexicon, which has to be worth something. The film features a classic "douchebag" performance from Ben Affleck and introduced audiences to a comic-obsessed skater named Jason Lee. Probably the funniest movie Smith has ever made.
Memorable line: "Say, would you like a chocolate-covered pretzel? They're a little melty but damn are they exquisite!"
Chasing Amy (1997) -- This sexually progressive comedy was Smith's most critically acclaimed film (it won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay), and one that reunited him with "Mallrats" stars Affleck, Lee and Joey Lauren Adams, who gives a career best performance as the titular lesbian.
Memorable line: "Archie was the bitch and Jughead was the butch. That's why Jughead wears that crown-looking hat all the time. He's the king of queen Archie's world."
Dogma (1999) -- An incendiary comedy that drew controversy for being anti-Catholic and casting Chris Rock as an African American apostle and Alanis Morisette as a female God. Disney (Miramax's parent company) passed off the distribution rights to Lionsgate, and as a result, Mooby's was born.
Memorable line: "We figure an abortion clinic is a good place to meet loose women. Why else would they be there unless they like to f---?"
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) -- A hilarious road trip movie that dared to shine the spotlight on the supporting characters of Smith's past films. Line for line the most quotable movie in Smith's oeuvre. Plus you get Will Ferrell, a bevy of beautiful babes and one awesome monkey.
Memorable line: "Affleck, you the BOMB in 'Phantoms,' yo!"
Jersey Girl (2004) -- A schmaltzy dramedy that reunited "Gigli" stars and offscreen item Jennifer Lopez and Affleck, aka Bennifer. The movie took its lumps in the press but it managed to have heart, plus the late George Carlin was great and Will Smith delivered a surprisingly funny cameo.
Semi-memorable line: "My mom and dad are very religious. At night I hear them scream, 'Jesus!'"
Clerks II (2006) -- A heartfelt movie about friendship that also features a compelling if unlikely love triangle featuring Brian O'Halloran, Rosario Dawson and Smith's wife, Jennifer Schwalbach. It earns bonus points for depicting a donkey show, rescuing Jeff Anderson from cinematic unemployment and introducing us to Trevor Fehrman's Elias and his nemesis Mr. Pillowpants.
Memorable line: "What's the point in having an Internet connection if you're not using it to look up, weird, f---ed up pictures of dirty sex you'll never have yourself?"
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) -- This timely comedy stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as two best friends who set out to make a sex flick together amidst difficult economic times. Justin Long and Brandon Routh are hysterical as a gay couple, and Jason Mewes proves he can score laughs as a character besides Jay.
Memorable line: "I'm a guy. You give me two popsicle sticks and a rubber band and I'll find a way to f--- it like a filthy MacGyver!"
Cop Out (2010) -- The one true misfire of Smith's career, and coincidentally, the only movie that he didn't write the screenplay for. It's irreparably harmed by the schizophrenic tone of its shoddy script and a lack of chemistry between its two stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, who seem to be on completely different pages performance-wise.
Memorable line: None. Sorry, but this one can't be forgotten soon enough.
So, what does the future hold for Smith? He's in pre-production on "Red State," a political horror movie loosely based on Reverend Fred Phelps of the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. Michael Parks ("Grindhouse") will star alongside a horde of unknown actors.
Smith is also prepping a "Slapshot"-esque hockey comedy titled "Hit Somebody" that would ideally cast "Cop Out" bandit Seann William Scott if he doesn't wind up taking the lead in a competing hockey comedy titled "Goon," which Jay Baruchel is co-writing with Evan Goldberg ("Superbad").
Deal Central wishes Smith the best of luck with his upcoming projects, as well as a very Happy Birthday. Here's to another 15+ years of filthy dialogue and tender pathos. Snootchie bootchies, indeed.