Cancer-Surviving Movie Critic Victim of Vicious Thwacking

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José Reyes, looking ahead to the playoffs. Photo: Getty Images

You know when someone in a movie theater does something annoying, and you start quietly fuming in your seat? Maybe they are talking too loud while you're trying to listen. Or maybe they brought their crying child to a completely inappropriate action film. Maybe they're even doing that thing where they push their knees into the back of your seat and you want to say, "It's plastic, not stone, I can feel you." Anyway, if irritations like that continue, they can make you angrier and angrier until finally you explode and do something crazy like shush them or give a slow, meaningful look over your shoulder.

This is what happened to Post movie critic Lou Lumineck at the Toronto Film Festival, according to Rush & Molloy today. Someone behind him at a screening kept incessantly tapping his shoulder. And finally, he'd had it. From a RushMo source:

"The guy stands up in the darkness and thwacks the guy behind him with a big festival binder. He hit him so hard everybody could hear it. Everyone freaked out and turned around."


Okay, well, slapping someone across the face with a heavy binder is maybe a little extreme, but we know that feeling. Sort of. Anyway, too bad for Lumineck, the thwackee was Roger Ebert, the beloved Chicago Sun-Times film critic. Ebert had been merely trying to plead with Lumineck to shift in his seat so that he could see the film better. Ebert couldn't come right out and ask him because he can't speak — his voice was lost during bouts with throat and salivary gland cancer.

Let this be a lesson to all of us. Next time you get that angry feeling in a movie theater? Stick with the slow, meaningful look over the shoulder, because if you get violent, your victim might turn out to be a celebrity. Or worse, a celebrity with cancer.

Otherwise, though, slapping someone across the face with something heavy, hard, and plastic is totally acceptable.

Critic Goes Post-al on Ebert [NYDN]