Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer critic Desmond Ryan is dead. He was 68. He had fought carcinoma of the tongue. "He had the face of a laughing leprechaun," writes colleague Carrie Rickey, describing him as "puckish journalist, incorrigible punster, and irreverent novelist who worked at The Inquirer for 36 years in various capacities."
"The Police Academy films," he wrote of the series about the comic constabulary in the 1980s, "have become one of the wrongs of spring." In a review of Empire of the Sun, he wrote: "In conjuring up the deepest emotions of childhood, Steven Spielberg is a director without peer. He knows how to reach children and touch their parents by reminding them of the way these feelings shape our adult lives."
...There are so many Desmond Ryan stories, more than the thousands of pieces he wrote during his Inquirer career. Here's one: Although he hated, hated, hated anyone's talking at movies and often was confrontational when a fellow filmgoer did, Mr. Ryan cherished the occasion when the fellow behind him at Fatal Attraction, correctly interpreting the expression on Glenn Close's face when she sees Michael Douglas' pet rabbit, solemnly exclaimed, "Bunny gonna die."