A captivating cast of 1980s power and talent--John Candy, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Sally Field, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, Jessica Lange, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sissy Spacek, Sylvester Stallone, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Bruce Willis, and the "Brat Pack"—stars in the drama of this decade. Acting for America focuses on the way these film icons have engaged in and defined some major issues of cultural and social concern to America during the 1980s.
Scholars employing a variety of useful approaches explore how these movie stars' films speak to an increased audience awareness of advances in feminism, new ideas about masculinity, and the complex political atmosphere in the Age of Reagan. The essays demonstrate the range of these stars' contributions to such conversations in a variety of films, including blockbusters and major genres.
Baseball has long been viewed as the Great American Pastime, so it is no surprise that the sport has inspired many Hollywood films and television series. But how do these works depict the game, its players, fans, and place in American society?
This study offers an extensive look at nearly one hundred years of baseball-themed movies, documentaries, and TV shows. Film and sports scholar Aaron Baker examines works like A League of their Own (1992) and Sugar (2008), which dramatize the underrepresented contributions of female and immigrant players, alongside classic baseball movies like The Natural that are full of nostalgia for a time when native-born white men could use the game to achieve the American dream. He further explores how biopics have both mythologized and demystified such legendary figures as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Fernando Valenzuela.
The Baseball Film charts the variety of ways that Hollywood presents the game as integral to American life, whether showing little league as a site of parent-child bonding or depicting fans’ lifelong love affairs with their home teams. Covering everything from Bull Durham (1988) to The Bad News Bears (1976), this book offers an essential look at one of the most cinematic of all sports.
New York, more than any other city, has held a special fascination for filmmakers and viewers. In every decade of Hollywood filmmaking, artists of the screen have fixated upon this fascinating place for its tensions and promises, dazzling illumination and fearsome darkness.
The glittering skyscrapers of such films as On the Town have shadowed the characteristic seedy streets in which desperate, passionate stories have played out-as in Scandal Sheet and The Pawnbroker. In other films, the city is a cauldron of bright lights, technology, empire, egotism, fear, hunger, and change--the scenic epitome of America in the modern age.
From Street Scene and Breakfast at Tiffany's to Rosemary's Baby, The Warriors, and 25th Hour, the sixteen essays in this book explore the cinematic representation of New York as a city of experience, as a locus of ideographic characters and spaces, as a city of moves and traps, and as a site of allurement and danger. Contributors consider the work of Woody Allen, Blake Edwards, Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory La Cava, Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, Vincente Minnelli, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Andy Warhol, and numerous others.
Since the earliest days of the silent era, American filmmakers have been drawn to the visual spectacle of sports and their compelling narratives of conflict, triumph, and individual achievement. In Contesting Identities Aaron Baker examines how these cinematic representations of sports and athletes have evolved over time--from The Pinch Hitter and Buster Keaton's College to White Men Can't Jump, Jerry Maguire, and Girlfight. He focuses on how identities have been constructed and transcended in American society since the early twentieth century.
Whether depicting team or individual sports, these films return to that most American of themes, the master narrative of self-reliance. Baker shows that even as sports films tackle socially constructed identities like class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, they ultimately underscore transcendence of these identities through self-reliance.
Looking at films from almost every sporting genre--with a particular focus on movies about boxing, baseball, basketball, and football--Contesting Identities maps the complex cultural landscape depicted in American sports films and the ways in which stories about "subaltern" groups winning acceptance by the mainstream majority can serve to reinforce the values of that majority.
In addition to discussing the genre's recurring dramatic tropes, from the populist prizefighter to the hot-headed rebel to the "manly" female athlete, Baker also looks at the social and cinematic impacts of real-life sports figures from Jackie Robinson and Babe Didrikson Zaharias to Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.
Aaron Baker University of Illinois Press, 2011 Library of Congress PN1998.3.S593B35 2011 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Steven Soderbergh's feature films present a diverse range of subject matter and formal styles: from the self-absorption of his breakthrough hit Sex, Lies, and Videotape to populist social problem films such as Erin Brockovich, and from the modernist discontinuity of Full Frontal and filmed performance art of Gray's Anatomy to a glossy, star-studded action blockbuster such as Ocean's Eleven. Using a combination of realism and expressive stylization of character subjectivity, Soderbergh's films diverge from the contemporary Hollywood mainstream through the statements they offer on issues including political repression, illegal drugs, violence, environmental degradation, the empowering and controlling potential of digital technology, and economic inequality.
Arguing that Soderbergh practices an eclectic type of moviemaking indebted both to the European art cinema and the Hollywood genre film, Aaron Baker charts the common thematic and formal patterns present across Soderbergh's oeuvre. Almost every movie centers on an alienated main character, and Soderbergh has repeatedly emphasized place as a major factor in his narratives. Formally, he represents the unconventional thinking of his outsider protagonists through a discontinuous editing style. Including detailed analyses of major films as well as two interviews with the director, this volume illustrates Soderbergh's hybrid flexibility in bringing an independent aesthetic to wide audiences.