American Cinema of the 1980s: Themes and Variations (Screen Decades: American Culture/American Cinema)
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Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1980s examines the films that marked the decade, including Ordinary People, Body Heat, Blade Runner, Zelig, Platoon, Top Gun, Aliens, Blue Velvet, Robocop, Fatal Attraction, Die Hard, Batman, and sex, lies & videotape.
family values. Chelsea’s suggestion that her father might value a son more than a daughter has to be counteracted if the ﬁlm is to stay within its thematic boundaries; the fact that her breach of ideological etiquette is sharply corrected and enforced by a star as venerable as Katharine Hepburn shows the ﬁlm as implicitly critical of Chelsea.6 The suggestion has been building that at age forty Chelsea is failing in her adulthood; divorced and about to remarry at the start of the ﬁlm, she has no
enacted through scenes that transform a small group of teenagers into partisan resistance ﬁghters, and in doing so the ﬁlm attempts the daring feat of recuperating for the Right the ﬁgure of the heroic revolutionary freedom ﬁghter. This was an icon that played a central role in sixties leftist mythology in the form of Che Guevara, the Viet Cong, and others, but which the Reagan administration was trying to seize for the Right in its attempt to present U.S.funded Nicaraguan terrorists as “freedom
decline that challenge and, in this ﬁlmmaker’s view, doom romance. Brundle’s deterioration has often been compared to disease (AIDS was a frequent reference), but the director sought a more universal expression of the limitations of desire. Cronenberg’s dread of the body engages serious emotions and gives his ﬁlm a repellent power that earned accolades from the connoisseurs of horror. Late in the movie, Ronnie’s apprehension increases when she discovers that she is pregnant and wonders whether
deft mix of humor and pathos. Perspective changes as a particular character moves to the foreground for an episode only to recede in the next. The privileged ﬁgure wins our sympathy with voiceover musings revealing inner feelings, doubts, and desires. The ﬁlm offers multiple perspectives on love—conjugal, illicit, sisterly, ﬁlial, between friends, of art— and love in its various stages—initiation, vicissitudes, breakdown, vicarious experience, and even its lingering memory. Mickey’s quest for
arriving, he comes across a severed human ear in a vacant ﬁeld. After presenting it to the police department’s Detective Williams, Jeffrey cannot shake his curiosity. Encouraged by the detective’s attractive 1986 — MOVIES AND FISSURES IN REAGAN’S AMERICA 161 Kyle MacLachlan and Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet (David Lynch, DEG), one of the decade’s most distinctive ﬁlms, which draws a stark picture of evil in small-town America. Jerry Ohlinger’s Movie Material Store. teenage daughter, Sandy