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Most of the interviewees share in common an amazement at how much times had changed between their high school graduation and 1975. All of them, for the most part, are quick to point out that they're now totally different (read: better) people. Most of them, as well, sound like almost stereotypical creatures of '70s -- i.e., the quarterback becomes a bisexual, new age minister, quite a few have made fortunes of their own but still proudly wear their hair long and seem to believe they were personally responsible for ending Viet Nam and forcing Nixon to resign. While reading, I found myself wondering what happened to these folks once the '80s hit, much less the '90s. On the whole, you could imagine most of them probably voted for Carter in '76 and then spent the next decade pursuing the same basic life styles that they seem so quick to attack their parents for doing. Its a shame that Medved and Wallechinsky didn't follow-up on these people in 1985 and 1995. (Though Wallechinsky did write a sequel on his own, for some reason he decided to interview a new batch of people!) Of course, the most interesting change to be found amongst the people profiled is that of co-author Michael Medved. In the book, he almost practically boasts of how, once in college, he dedicated all of his time to "liberal politics." (Though, of course, he doesn't mention it, he was a friend to Clintons while at Yale.) Of course now, Medved is better known as one of the most outspokenly right-wing film critics out there. Many will enjoy this book for the nostalgia but for me, it'll always be wonderful proof that nothing -- be it your politics, your bank account, the length of you hair, or whatever else -- is ever as permanent as you might think.
The authors interviewed 30 people ten years after their graduation from Palisades High School in 1965. The interviewees are examples of every extreme; the quarterback and head cheerleader, the gang leader, the surfer, the intellectual and everyone in between. Interviews are not held in the usual question/answer form, but instead are written like a lecture or story as told by the interviewed person. This minimizes breaks and gives the reader a better feeling for each character so that by the end, you WILL feel as if you know all 30 of them.
Each interview is different and similar in their own ways. Most male interviews mention avoiding the draft to fight in the War. Most women comment on their views of the housewife, and everyone mentions drug use. But in the same ways that they are similar, I found them to be different as well. A few found religion in their travels, while others only found poverty. Many of the stories are surprising, and a few are just as you would assume such a person would be 10 years later. But no matter what the outcome, they are all entertaining (except for Jamie Kelso's, but you can find that out when you read the book).
This book gives an interesting, but true take on life. Those who were bound to fail end up succeeding, and those with the 4.0 GPA wind up owning a farm. It will give you a refreshed feeling after reading and most likely, make you curious as to the fates of those you once knew in school.
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Medved shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that Hollywood is more interested in what it thinks of itself than in anything else - true art or even money.
Strange that many of the same movie buffs who decry the dumbing-down of film within the past 15 years suddenly rush to defend Hollywood (even the trash!) in order to avoid agreeing with Medved.
An excellent book - an excellent tool for analyzing American culture.
So why does Hollywood keep doing it? Medved explores why, with facts and figures.
In HOLLYWOOD VS. AMERICAN, Michael Medved explores why Hollywood is no longer in tune with the rest of America. In doing so, he also illustrates (with great statistical accuracy) the ignorance behind all the excuses the entertainment establishment gives for producing much of the garbage it does. Yet, in doing so, Medved never questions the right of people to create the garbage they do. He displays that the establishment has forgotten that with rights come great responsibilities; responsibilites that many entertainers rather seem to ignore.
A great, informative, insightful, and memorable book.
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The book systematically addresses "the assault on innocence" by media, schools, peers, and parents with a barrage of statistics and quotes by specialists in related fields. Few are spared by the accusing Medved finger. Refreshingly, the targets of attack are not limited to one aspect of society, but rather proposes that the most ignorant entertainer is perhaps no more guilty of this assault than the permissive parent.
Educators, parents, caregivers, and just about anyone interested in social analysis and criticism will find Saving Childhood an entertaining, worthwhile read. However, these very same readers may also find themselves eventually rolling their eyes over the repeated, cutesy tales of the authors' own family. For those of us with children that walk in dirty sneakers rather than fly on angelic wings, the Medved's personal life may evoke mild nausea. Similarly, those that indulge in occasional tasteless humor may become defensive when they find the Medved finger pointing directly at them.
Nonetheless, the book's social and personal value far exceeds its minor quirks. The average adult reader will find the writing light and approachable, and will undoubtedly walk away with at the very least a new perspective on the subject; perhaps, the reader will even walk away a better person.
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Some of the films included would be known only to the most avid film buffs - for example, silents, and two films in which Goebbels and Mussolini were involved with production. Where much of the success in the original 'worst films' was in that people either had seen the film or at least knew the genre well, there were few in this book that even 'rang a bell.'
A few entries give the impression that the Medveds originally had intended to include their brilliant "dialogue" and "rave reviews" sections. Instead, all seemed very hurried, and one had often to leave to one's imagination what actually happened on screen to any great extent. Many of the entries had to do with disastrous events surrounding a film's production.
It did stir a few memories: some of Elizabeth Taylor's turkeys, Liberace's "Sincerely Yours," the horrid lyrics to a song featured in a Kate Smith film, the dreadful presentation of "The Greatest Story ever Told." Yet most were completely strange to me, and I am not a youngster.
It's worth reading on a rainy day, but don't pay too much for the second hand copy.
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