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Book review: Chris Hicks' new book a great movie ratings guide for families

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 12:23 p.m. MDT

Chris Hicks is the author of Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind?" The book is a guide for parents in making informed entertainment decisions related to movie ratings. (Familius)

"HAS HOLLYWOOD LOST ITS MIND?" by Chris Hicks, Familius, $17.95, 255 pages (nf)

Chris Hicks is a movie lover’s best friend.

Hicks, the longtime movie critic and entertainment columnist for the Deseret News, has published a movie ratings guide for parents titled "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind?"

In the same engaging and informative style Hicks employed as a movie critic, the author serves as an experienced insider in writing about how the rating system developed over the years, what criteria are used to determine a movie’s rating and, perhaps most important, providing many tidbits and insights gleaned from a career spent, to quote the late Roger Ebert, “sitting awake in the dark” watching movies. In spite of his pessimistic (albeit seemingly accurate) title, Hicks clearly hasn’t lost his love for the magic of the flickering screen, and that love infuses the entire book.

Chris Hicks is the author of Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind?" (Provided by Familius)

Hicks is especially helpful in dissecting how inconsistent and thus unreliable the PG-13 rating is. Citing many examples, he shows how the ratings board seems to ignore the importance of adult themes in determining the rating of a film. Parents will likely find themselves nodding in agreement with the insights.

One of the most helpful parts of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind?" is found in the final chapter, “Hollywood Still Makes Good Movies (In Spite of Itself).” In this chapter, Hicks shares titles and summaries of some of his favorite family-friendly movies, both classic and contemporary. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1stories.com. He blogs otherwise at sleye1.blogspot.com. And he tumbles at sleye1stories.tumblr.com.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company