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I seldom urge readers to go see a Hollywood movie.

But that’s what I will do in this column, so be warned.

For 10 years, I covered Hollywood – the good and the bad. It was mostly bad – real bad.

To my knowledge, I was the first journalist ever to write exclusively about the entertainment industry in a social, moral and political context. Now such commentary and analysis has burgeoned into a cottage industry.

I still love films – but there are precious few great ones being made.

Hollywood is a garbage factory – a moral cesspool.

Yet, occasionally, the good people in Hollywood – and there are some – manage to work hard against all odds to produce masterpieces. One of those is about to be released to the general public later this month – Feb. 21 to be precise.

Don’t make any other plans that day. Check with your local theaters to find out where this film is debuting and take your entire family for what will be 215 minutes of outstanding entertainment, inspiring performances, accurate history lessons, gripping cinema and morally uplifting dialogue.

The movie is “Gods and Generals,” directed and written by Ron Maxwell.

“Gods and Generals” is based on the best-selling book by Jeff Shaara. It is the prequel to “Gettysburg.” It is filmed on location in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia and chronicles the early days of the War Between the States leading up to Gettysburg.

Starring Robert Duvall as Robert E. Lee and Stephan Land as Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, it is a must-see – as perfect a movie as fallen human beings are capable of producing.

Uniquely, this film recognizes the deep spiritual values of those involved in this conflict – on both sides. Soldiers pray in this movie. They pray heartfelt, sincere prayers. They read scripture. They make great personal sacrifices to carry out their duty. They love and revere their wives.

While the War Between the States was the bloodiest war in U.S. history, this movie will make you proud to be an American – from the North or South.

Rediscover the meanings of heroism, honor, duty and valor. See “Gods and Generals.”

If this sounds like a commercial appeal, it is not. I am telling you about my strong feelings about this movie because I know many of you – like me – seldom pay any attention to what Hollywood produces. If you’re like me, you seldom give new movies a second thought. That’s why the few good movies that are made each year are at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace. The marketplace is made up of non-discriminating consumers of garbage.

It’s important that this film is seen because of its positive impact on those who see it. It’s also important that this movie succeed commercially so that it can pave the way for more great art of this kind.

Here’s a suggestion for your weekend of Feb. 21. Buy or rent “Gettysburg” on video or DVD. Make arrangements to see “Gods and Generals” that weekend and then follow it up with a viewing of “Gettysburg.”

That’s what I’ll be doing with my family that weekend – and I’ve already seen the film. I can’t wait to see it again.

Ron Maxwell deserves our thanks for working so hard on this film and creating such a masterpiece. He should be rewarded with a Best Director nomination by the Motion Picture Academy. I’m also going to nominate Stephan Lang for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

I can honestly say I have never seen a better movie than “Gods and Generals.” It is so good on so many levels, words very nearly fail me in recommending it. I cannot urge you strongly enough to see it – and to see it early and often.

If you are ready to whet your appetite, go have an hors d’ouvre at GodsandGenerals.com.

Related columns:

Among ‘Gods and Generals’ – Part 1

Among ‘Gods and Generals’ – Part 2

Among ‘Gods and Generals’ – Part 3: A Civil War film of faith

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