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Critic Hits Dude at Sundance

Indie producer and sales agent Jeff "the Dude" Dowd — best known as the inspiration for Jeff Bridges's character in The Big Lebowski — turned a late-morning interview at the Yarrow Hotel restaurant into a Sundance smackdown today. While the directors of Dirt! The Movie (Dowd’s the sales agent for the film) prepared for an interview with Canadian journalist Katherine Monk, Dowd saw Variety critic John Anderson, who panned Dirt! in a review, eating breakfast nearby. The Dude confronted him and, even after being told to get away, stood his ground. Then Anderson landed three punches to Dowd's face.

Park City Utah police issued no arrests after interviewing Dowd, Anderson, and a restaurant full of people who'd already taken sides — locals for Dowd, fellow journalists for Anderson. Meanwhile the Dirt directors begged no comment.

Offering support for Anderson was filmmaker Nicholas Winding Refn, who received a glowing review from the critic for his movie Bronson, an explosive biopic about Britain’s most violent prisoner, Charles Bronson. "I will pay his bail money if needed," Winding Refn told us. "But think about it, we now live in a new era of film criticism thanks to John Anderson. Now, when some jerk gets into a critic’s face and he fights back, we’ll say he went 'Bronson' on them."

Photo: Getty Images