James Toback Will Have His Revenge on Nasty Film Critics


Has Tyson director James Toback ever angrily confronted a film critic? we wondered at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday night. Turns out he has! "Years ago, I went to a New York Film Critics dinner with Pauline Kael, and I confronted Vincent Canby, who had given a vicious review [to 1978's Fingers], and who idolized and groveled before Truffaut, who called [Fingers] one of the best movies he’d ever seen," he told us. "So I said to Canby, 'You know, you ought to think twice before being so vicious to a movie that your idol thinks is a masterpiece.' And he said, 'Well, just because I admire his work doesn’t mean I have to agree with his taste.' So I said, 'I repeat my advice to you,' and walked away. And William Wolf came over, who was the chairman that year, and said to me, 'Vince is a little scared, you know. Can I assure him that you won’t hurt him?' And I said, 'Tell him to leave, and then he can be positive.'" So what would be Toback's ultimate revenge fantasy against a critic? "You know, I have to keep that a secret," he said before walking off, "because I plan to carry it out."