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Critical Decisions

April 06, 1986

Things can get a little sticky when a movie critic turns screenwriter. Like L.A. Weekly's Michael Ventura, whose "Echo Park" (starring Tom Hulce and Susan Dey) has just been released.

His own paper won't review it because of the "very obvious" conflict, Ventura told us. "It does put us in sort of a bind, doesn't it?"

(Few years back, when he was co-film editor and had co-written the movie "Roadie," Ventura figured that the film should be reviewed by his own paper: It was panned. His documentary about John Cassavetes, "I'm Almost Not Crazy," got a favorable notice. "You can go either way," he said.)

This time it was up to current Weekly film ed John Powers. Ventura said "Echo Park" will be listed but there will be no review. Personally, Ventura has devoted his regular "3 A.M." column on how it was to write and then cast his movie.

But Powers and another Weekly writer did interview Ventura: "It was a tough interview," Ventura said. "They asked me questions they said they wouldn't ask other people," like why Ventura's criticized screenwriters for things that he does in his own movie.

Yeah, Michael, why?

The answer may or may not be forthcoming. According to Powers, it hasn't been decided if the interview will be published. If it is, it may appear under the heading of Ventura's column. "Certainly not in the film section," said the editor.

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