Critic Punches Out Filmmaker at Sundance

Noted critic John Anderson got into a heated argument with Jeff “The Dude” Dowd that led to fisticuffs. Turns out, The Dude does not abide, man.
By  · Published on January 21st, 2009

This year’s Sundance has been, well, pretty boring actually. The films have been solid which is an incredible feat, but as for stories coming out of Park City, there’s been nothing but a few sales whispers and the usual positive praise of movies that most Americans will never, ever see.

That’s why we have to give a huge round of applause for John Anderson – a critic whose opinion is seen in Variety, Newsday, The New York Times and a host of other periodicals – who decided that the pen was not mightier than the fist today. According to Anne Thompson, Anderson was at an early screening of new documentary Dirt and told Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, one of the producer’s representatives, that he felt the film was “too simplistic, too redundant.”

Apparently miffed at either the direct critique or the prospect of some bad press from a major player, Dowd continued to try to sell Anderson on the concept, walking him all the way back to the Yarrow. Anderson tried to abort the conversation several times, including several attempts made after he’d sat down to breakfast with a friend, but Dowd persisted.

Despite repeated warning of physical escalation, Dowd kept badgering Anderson, until the critic lost his temper and punched him at least twice in the face.

Sadly, there was no blood, giving the story somewhat of an anti-climax, but it did finally give me an excuse to use the word ‘fisticuffs.’ It also marks the first time in history that a critic has used violence against a filmmaker and Uwe Boll was not involved.

From the article, it doesn’t seem like the authorities are going to be dragged into the process – especially considering the two men have known each other for over two decades. It appears that if we’re looking for blood in the snow, we’ll have to stick with foreign-made Nazi Zombie films for now.

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