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Before he discovered that America would surge to the multiplexes in Memorial Day weekend record numbers to see how many cars he could blow up in a movie about mutants (answer: too many to count, as evildoing genetic freaks seem to have a nasty grudge against the automotive industry), X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner risked a grisly gutting by the replica Wolverine claws of disappointed fanboys by taking in public screenings at the Chinese Theatre on Thursday and Friday night. At the midnight Thursday showing, Ratner wisely brought some muscle, as a high-level Defamer operative shares this story:

My friends went to a midnight screening of X-men [Thursday] night at the Chinese and were talking about what a hack Brett Ratner [Ed.note—That's not a nice way to talk about the King of Hollywood, is it?] is before the movie started. A woman behind them interrupted their conversation to defend Ratner, saying he was a great director and they didn't know what they were talking about. Apparently she got all up in their grill. They didn't say anything because they were so shocked—the woman was Courtney Love. Apparently, Love's date was pretty embarrassed too, because he kept sinking down further and further in his chair. It was only after the screening that another audience member told them her date was Ratner himself.

Normally, a man like Ratner might feel somewhat emasculated by his date leaping to his protection, but in this case, that feeling was probably balanced by the relief that Love didn't jump over the seat and chew off the heckler's nose, causing an unnecessary distraction on his big night.

After the jump, another report of Ratner trying to impress a different ladyfriend with his movie the next night, this time without abuse or a neutering defense of his directing prowess:

After taking in a sold out show of X-Men 3 at Grauman's on opening [Friday] night my friends and I soon picked up an appearance by Balthazar Getty and Rebecca Gayheart as we stood outside the theater post-show. Suddenly the paparazzi showed up and we were left wondering why in God's name does anyone care about either of them. Before us appeared [Brett Ratner] himself accompanied by, gulp, Salma Hayek. As we contemplated our next move, by that I mean which bar to get drunk at, my friends and I witnessed a well-manicured Rat holding hands with a disheveled and unimpressive Salma as they jumped into their chauffeured SUV only to drive off into the night.