The only time I don't feel bad about walking out of a movie is when I'm at a film festival. Sometimes there's something else I really want to see, and sometimes I'm just so dead-tired that my only options are to leave quietly or snore loudly. But when it comes to a movie I know I'm going to review, there's simply no choice: You watch the whole dang thing. And I'm talking about festivals that show films by Larry Clark, Gregg Araki and Catherine Breillat -- so I know what suffering is. And, apparently, so does Joel Siegel.

Anyway, here's the story, straight from the keyboard of Kevin Smith himself: There was a recent press screening of Clerks 2 in New York City. Apparently the flick's "ribald" nature did not sit well with the refined and delicate sensibilities of Siegel, he of Good Morning America and hundreds of terrible puns masquerading as movie reviews fame. About 40 minutes into the flick, Siegel decided to bail. (That really is strike one, because, as a movie critic, even a homogenized one like Joel Siegel, the very least that you're required to do is finish a freakin' movie. I sat through all of White Chicks and I didn't make a dime for that review; Joel Siegel can suffer through Clerks 2 for his $200k* a year.)

But it wasn't just enough for Mr. Siegel to simply remove himself from the unbearably offensive film. Allegedly he had to make a huge Costanza-like show of it, harrumphing and stomping up the aisle and announcing (out loud) when the last time he walked out on a movie was. Yes, while maybe a hundred other people were sitting there and watching the movie. Hey, Siegel. What gives? You have one of the cushiest jobs in the whole goofy industry and this is how you behave? Hate the movie if you want to (ugh, but then you'd actually have to watch it first!), but save the tantrums for the playground.

Oh, and here's where it gets fun: Kevin Smith goes absolutely ballistic on Siegel in this blog entry. I know some of you will call not-so-Silent Bob a fool for attacking a critic so vehemently (not to mention publicly), and that's a fair point, but I think he's got every right to call Siegel out in a situation like this. It may not be a director's "place" to call out his critics for their unkind reactions, but it's definitely not a film critic's "place" to behave like a raving idiot in an occupied movie house. Siegel's response to the NY Post goes like this: "It was so foul and mean and repulsive. I finally realized I could not say anything positive ... I wasn't ready for this kind of smut ... I hope he doesn't make any more movies." Poor guy sounds like he just escaped from a Cambodian prison camp.

Either way, it makes for good Clerks 2 press. I'm sure Siegel's pan will keep hundreds of 58-year-old Montana housewives away from the flick.

(* Complete and total guess.)