Hollywood vs. America: Popular Culture and the War On Traditional Values,by Michael Medved (Harper Collins/Zondervan, 386 pp.; $20.00, hardcover). Reviewed by Doug LeBlanc, a writer living in Colorado Springs.

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion I Picture Association of America, told Los Angeles magazine that Michael Medved is “a singularly uninformed individual who leaps from soggy premises to stupid conclusions.” Valenti further assailed Medved as “a failed screenwriter who became a critic because … he couldn’t get his scripts produced.”

Any writer who generates such furious ad hominem attacks from Valenti must be doing something right. Indeed, Medved has been on to something since 1989, when he gave a talk at Hillsdale College in Michigan on the topic “Hollywood vs. Religion.” Since then, Medved has built a reputation among those with a more traditionalist bent for being an influential and dependable movie critic.

Hollywood vs. America compiles “Hollywood vs. Religion,” a subsequent Hillsdale lecture (“Popular Culture and the War Against Standards”), and Medved’s most recent critical thoughts into an eloquent and feisty book. Whether Hollywood’s dream merchants clean up their acts or continue their slide into mass-media nihilism, they can no longer claim ignorance of their sins.

Nihilism In Panavision

Medved relies on an impressive collection of statistics to prove a direct connection between explicit sex, gratuitous violence, and disastrous box-office results. Medved asks: “How could any industry that radically changed its focus and thereby permanently sacrificed nearly two-thirds of its audience be described, in any serious sense, ...

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