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Critical Lip Service

January 31, 1988

I enjoyed Pat McGilligan and Mark Rowland's article on critics' assessment of 1987 movies ("Film Critics Agree: 1987 Was a Good, Bad Year," Jan. 24).

However, please allow me to be one of those "odd fellow" critics to which they referred, just for a moment.

Movies such as "Ishtar" and "A Prayer for the Dying" got what they deserved, but why did they have to pick on the New York Times' Vincent Canby for raving about Les Blank's documentary "Gap-Toothed Women"?

I have the feeling that McGilligan and Rowland never saw this film and judged it just from the title. I saw it during its brief run at the Nuart and found it one of the most gratifying, life-affirming movies of the year.

If L.A. critics don't do more than just pay lip-service to offbeat movies, all we'll get are films such as "Straight to Hell" and "Spaceballs," whose titles were the only good thing about them.

STEVEN BAILEY

Los Angeles

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