We thought critic Lou Lumenick elevated the festival-violence bar to insurmountable new heights with his Ebert-thwacking exploits last year in Toronto. But a Variety critic at Sundance may have just set his own standard.
IndieWIRE reports that following this morning's press screening for the documentary Dirt! The Movie, the film's producer Jeff Dowd - aka "The Dude," inspiration for Jeff Bridges' character in The Big Lebowski - approached Variety freelancer John Anderson for his take on the movie. Whether through mid-fest grogginess or just garden-variety irritation with the 100th ecoawareness title presented this year in Park City, Anderson didn't offer much more than his disapproval.
Dowd asked him to be more specific. And that's when things got nonverbal:
Prodding the writer to talk about the doc, insiders said that Anderson felt besieged by Dowd and, after warning him to back off, The Critic let loose and slugged The Dude twice in the face.
Park City cops were called and Jeff Dowd detailed the incident, but one insider said that The Dude has not decided whether he will press charges.
And admit the film as evidence? Doubtful; a legally indefensible film is just too dangerous a precedent to set. Alan Ball would never work again.