As someone who has attended countless film festival Q&As, I could count on one hand the number of times an audience member asked a genuinely great question after a festival screening. Inevitably you get the one person who asks how much the movie costs, and then an endless parade of moviegoers who announce “I have more of a comment than a question” and then ramble on about what they thought of the film. And that’s about as good as it gets! To be honest, I almost never stay for Q&As anymore, because there are a waste of time 90 percent of the time.

Clearly, Adam Driver feels my pain. He attended the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland over the weekend with his new movie Ferrari, about the life of the famed Italian race car driver, designer, and business man. Without getting into spoiler-y details, the movie includes several very crucial car crash sequences. (One in particular is quite central to the story.) At the festival, Driver was asked about these scenes during a Q&A after the movie.

“What do you think about [those] crash scenes?” the audience member asks. “They looked pretty harsh, drastic, and, I must say, cheesy for me. What do you think?”

“F— you. I don‘t know? Next question,” Driver replies.

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Before I get to Driver’s response, I have two thoughts about this specific question. First: How can a scene be harsh and cheesy? That would seem to be impossible. Second: I have seen Ferrari. I take zero issue with anyone who dislikes the movie, or any part of it. That is your opinion, and you are more than entitled to it. And I take no issue with someone disliking the car crash scenes in particular. But the scene this person is talking about is many things ... it is definitively not cheesy. Cheesy is just not even in the same universe as this Ferrari crash.

Now to the more general issues at hand here. Could Driver have handled this more delicately? Of course he could. Is he happy that this impolite moment is being shared all over the world? Probably not. But really the impoliteness starts with the question. Why would you ask a filmmaker, who flew around the world to show you their work, why their film is bad?

If you didn’t like the scene or the movie, that’s perfectly acceptable. But what response do you expect Adam Driver to give to that question? “Oh you’re right, that scene sucks, we should have cut it, it’s so harsh and cheesy all at once, I am embarrassed for my participation in this movie, and would like to have my name taken off it it, Alan Smithee-style”?

Adam Driver is not going to win any film festival guest of the year awards, certainly, but I think it is well past time we as the attendees of festivals step up our games. If we don’t have a good, interesting, smart question to ask ... maybe we should not ask anything at all. Ferrari opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

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