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Download American Cinema of the 1980s: Themes and Variations (Screen by Douglas Kellner, Stephen Prince PDF

By Douglas Kellner, Stephen Prince

Throughout the Eighties, American cinema underwent huge, immense variations. Blockbusters like Raiders of the misplaced Ark, E.T., and The Empire moves again grabbed large sales for the studios. while, the expansion of domestic video resulted in new and inventive possibilities for autonomous movie construction, leading to some of the decade's most sensible movies. either huge- and small-scale filmmakers answered to the social, political, and cultural stipulations of the time. The two-term presidency of Ronald Reagan spawned a brand new chilly warfare with the Soviet Union, which Hollywood movie either embraced and critiqued. additionally in this time, Hollywood introduced a long-awaited cycle of flicks in regards to the Vietnam conflict, exploring its effect either at domestic and in a foreign country. yet technological know-how fiction remained the era's most well liked style, starting from upbeat fantasies to darkish, dystopic visions. Bringing jointly unique essays by way of ten revered students within the box, American Cinema of the Eighties examines the flicks that marked the last decade, together with traditional humans, physique warmth, Blade Runner, Zelig, Platoon, best Gun, extraterrestrial beings, Blue Velvet, Robocop, deadly allure, Die demanding, Batman, and intercourse, lies & videotape .

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Collectively, then, this cycle of films undertook the rehabilitation of America’s Vietnam forces which, until then, had remained relatively stigmatized in popular culture. Films in the first half of the decade—Uncommon Valor (1983), Missing in Action (1984), Rambo: First Blood Part II—focused on the issue of Americans 16 STEPHEN PRINCE missing in action and depicted heroic rescue attempts after the war. In Missing in Action and Rambo, these become substitute symbolic victories over the Vietnamese fought by surrogate über-warriors.

Under Fire (1983) offered a sympathetic account of the Nicaraguan revolution that the United States was trying to destroy (and would succeed in destroying). El Norte (1984) showed the poverty and political repression in Guatemala that drove refugees northward to the United States. Latino portrayed the United States training the contra army in order to sow sabotage and destruction in Nicaragua. Salvador (1986) connected the election of Reagan in 1980 and his well-known anti-communism with the rise of the death squads in El Salvador.

Sarandon was not yet recognized as a political activist. But in this film she is not only strong, she is that rare woman onscreen who is not even “lookin’ for love” and who remains independent of a male (or even a female) companion at the end as she heads off for Monte Carlo. The changing face of Atlantic City is the dominant metaphor in this film, with its wrecking balls of destruction and its promise of new construction, its nostalgia for the past and its uncertainty about the future, and ultimately, the unpredictable hand of luck pulling many of the strings.

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