American Cinema of the 1990s: Themes and Variations

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Overview

With the U.S. economy booming under President Bill Clinton and the cold war finally over, many Americans experienced peace and prosperity in the nineties. Digital technologies gained popularity, with nearly one billion people online by the end of the decade. The film industry wondered what the effect on cinema would be.
The essays in American Cinema of the 1990s examine the big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed independent films that defined the decade. The 1990s' most popular genre, action, channeled anxieties about global threats such as AIDS and foreign terrorist attacks into escapist entertainment movies. Horror films and thrillers were on the rise, but family-friendly pictures and feel-good romances netted big audiences too. Meanwhile, independent films captured hearts, engaged minds, and invaded Hollywood: by decade's end every studio boasted its own "art film" affiliate. Among the films discussed are Terminator 2, The Matrix, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, Boys Don't Cry, Toy Story, and Clueless.

Chris Holmlund is a professor of cinema studies, women's studies, and French at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is also chair of the Cinema Studies Program and the author of several books on film.

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Meet the Author


Chris Holmlund is a professor of cinema studies, women's studies, and French at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is also chair of the Cinema Studies Program and the author of several books on film.
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