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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

The cricket ticket: Joel Siegel evokes a Kael tale; ALSO: Foundas' Clerks II ejection (wiith love to come)

On the occasion of “Good Morning America!” class clown Joel Siegel‘s epic fissy-hit and heated exit after taking v., v. seriously a bit of bawd about a donkey show at a screening of Kevin Smith‘s Clerks II, pauline_235.jpgpublicist-turned-blogger Reid Rosefelt shares a couple of cricket anecdotes. “On Opie and Anthony’s radio show, Siegel was defiant. He adamantly refused to say that his action was unprofessional. He said he wished more critics would walk out of films.” Writes Reid, “Not only don’t I think critics should raise a fuss at a screening, tinycricket.gifI think they have to watch the whole thing. Films often get better as they go along. One should never make a judgment until you see it all… Watching bad movies is very taxing, but that’s the film critic’s job.” A story about NY Post’s late Archer Winsten and a coughing fit is accompanied by a Pauline Kael tale. She “was famous among publicists for her sighing. If something happened in a film not up to her critical standards, you could hear that familiar oooohh of disgust from the last row. Whenever we had a budget, we dealt with this by giving Pauline her own screening…” [Punchline at the link.] MEANWHILE, LA Weekly’s Scott Foundas has an open letter to the pride of New Jersey: “Tiffs between critics and the subjects of their criticism are nothing new: 30-odd years ago, the actress Sylvia Miles dumped a plate of spaghetti on the head of then–New York magazine theater critic John Simon after enduring one of his famously harsh and personal missives,” Foundas writes for a spot of history before his own experience. “[I]magine my surprise when I took my seat at a press screening of Clerks II last Monday morning, only to be tapped on the shoulder by a publicist and kindly, albeit firmly, asked to leave… After some further reflection on your part, and a few diplomatic words of intervention by our mutual friend “Fiji” John Pierson, we kissed and made up—in a strictly heterosexual way, of course—and, by Tuesday morning, I was finally sitting down to watch Clerks II. But perhaps you’ve guessed, Kevin, that I still entered that screening room with considerable trepidation, not for fear of ejection (this time, I was the only one there), but because it’s true that I haven’t cared for your last couple of pictures, and I wondered if a sequel to the no-budget gem that first put you on the map would mark a return to form or merely prove that you really can’t go home again…” [A little more excerpted below.]

Clerks II is about the end of something — a slacker Iceman Cometh in a drive-thru Harry Hope’s. But it’s above all a romance, and the dialogue in the scenes between Dante and Becky, as you slowly reveal to us the depths of their relationship, is tender and wise in the way of Chasing Amy. Watching the film, I was reminded that, for all your outward irreverence, you’re a big old softie at heart… [Y]ou stage Dante and Becky’s climactic heart-to-heart against the backdrop of a male-on-male bestiality show, and I can’t think of many other filmmakers who could pull that off. (Actually, I’m not sure that you pull it off, but you certainly come closer than most.)” And Foundas’ kicker? “The grandest romance in Clerks II, however, is reserved for Dante and Randal themselves, and if the latter’s third-act admission of heterosexual man-love will doubtless strike some as a self-conscious retread over Banky-Holden territory, I personally found it more affecting than anything in Brokeback Mountain.” [More neat observation at the link.]

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What about replacing Mr. Spacey with another actor? Mr. Plummer, perhaps.
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