‘The Whole Equation’

“The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood” by David Thomson: This is the sad, true tale of a movie critic falling out of love and blaming the object of his fading ardor, Hollywood. He shares those feelings in the introduction to his “The New Biographical Dictionary of Film” and expounds on the theme in this 400-page essay. He movingly mourns the loss of quality in favor of ever-advancing digital wizardry.

Thomson’s title comes from a passage in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Last Tycoon.” That choice has as much to do with Fitzgerald’s Hollywood failures and his novel’s unfulfilled promise as with its theme of a film industry blinded by money.

Rating: Buy it. Reviewed by Michael Jacobs (originally appeared in USA TODAY)