The End Of Cinema As We Know It: American Film in the Nineties

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Overview

Almost half a century ago, Jean-Luc Godard famously remarked, "I await the end of cinema with optimism." Lots of us have been waiting forand wondering aboutthis prophecy ever since. The way films are made and exhibited has changed significantly. Films, some of which are not exactly "films" anymore, can now be projected in a wide variety of wayson screens in revamped high tech theaters, on big, high-resolution TVs, on little screens in minivans and laptops. But with all this new gear, all these new ways of viewing films, are we necessarily getting different, better movies?

The thirty-four brief essays in The End of Cinema as We Know It attend a variety of topics, from film censorship and preservation to the changing structure and status of independent cinemafrom the continued importance of celebrity and stardom to the sudden importance of alternative video. While many of the contributors explore in detail the pictures that captured the attention of the nineties film audience, such as Jurassic Park, Eyes Wide Shut, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, The Wedding Banquet, The Matrix, Independence Day, Gods and Monsters, The Nutty Professor, and Kids, several essays consider works that fall outside the category of film as it is conventionally definedthe home "movie" of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's honeymoon and the amateur video of the LAPD beating of Rodney King.

Examining key films and filmmakers, the corporate players and industry trends, film styles and audio-visual technologies, the contributors to this volume spell out the end of cinema in terms of irony, cynicism and exhaustion, religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, and the decline of what we once used to call film culture.

Contributors include: Paul Arthur, Wheeler Winston Dixon, Thomas Doherty, Thomas Elsaesser, Krin Gabbard, Henry Giroux, Heather Hendershot, Jan-Christopher Hook, Alexandra Juhasz, Charles Keil, Chuck Klienhans, Jon Lewis, Eric S. Mallin, Laura U. Marks, Kathleen McHugh, Pat Mellencamp, Jerry Mosher, Hamid Naficy, Chon Noriega, Dana Polan, Murray Pomerance, Hillary Radner, Ralph E. Rodriguez, R.L. Rutsky, James Schamus, Christopher Sharrett, David Shumway, Robert Sklar, Murray Smith, Marita Sturken, Imre Szeman, Frank P. Tomasulo, Maureen Turim, Justin Wyatt, and Elizabeth Young.

Jon Lewis is Professor of English at Oregon State University where he has taught film and cultural studies since 1983. His books include Whom God Wishes to Destroy . . . Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood, The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture, and (as editor) The New American Cinema.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Brief on brilliant cocktail conversation? This reader-friendly collection will help you apply Foucault to Keanu, Derrida to Spielberg, Macbeth to Blair Witch, and pull it off with panache. Stimulating in small doses, its 34 essays deconstruct 1990s cinema, and the decade too, with intellectual vigor and a wry sense of humor."

-Variety,

"The End of Cinema As We Know It is at once academic and popular in the best sense of both terms-intelligent and erudite critical analysis conveyed through accessible and gracefully written prose. Just like the cinema of the '90s itself, this collection of thirty-four smart and sprightly essays refuses to be bound by traditional categories. Free from the homogenized consensus that too often results from the supposed advantage of historical distance, these broadly ranging essays on a period still fresh in our memory necessarily pose more questions than they answer. But they are good provocative questions and it is precisely this spirit of free-wheeling inquiry and fearless speculation that makes the book so enjoyable to read."

-Robert Rosen,Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television

"The End of Cinema provides an enjoyable reading with a good balance of academic and popular qualities."

-American Studies International,June 2002

"The End of Cinema as We Know It: American Cinema in the Nineties, is an encouraging step in a new direction. In it, we find an impressive assembly of established as well as younger scholars grappling both with pop-film and industry concerns."

-Cineaste,

American International Studies
The End of Cinema provides an enjoyable reading with a good balance of academic and popular qualities.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814751619
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Lewis is Professor of English at Oregon State University where he has taught film and cultural studies since 1983. His books include Whom God Wishes to Destroy . . . Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood, The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture, and (as editor) The New American Cinema.

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Table of Contents

The End of Cinema As We Know It and I Feel ...: An Introduction to a Book on Nineties American Film 1
I Movies, Money, and History
1 The Blockbuster: Everything Connects, but Not Everything Goes 11
2 Those Who Disagree Can Kiss Jack Valenti's Ass 23
3 The Hollywood History Business 33
4 The Man Who Wanted to Go Back 43
II Things American (Sort Of)
5 "American" Cinema in the 1990s and Beyond: Whose Country's Filmmaking Is It Anyway? 53
6 Marketing Marginalized Cultures: The Wedding Banquet, Cultural Identities, and Independent Cinema of the 1990s 61
7 Hollywood Redux: All about My Mother and Gladiator 72
III Four Key Films
8 The Zen of Masculinity - Rituals of Heroism in The Matrix 83
9 Ikea Boy Fights Back: Fight Club, Consumerism, and the Political Limits of Nineties Cinema 95
10 The Blair Witch Project, Macbeth, and the Indeterminate End 105
11 Empire of the Gun: Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan and American Chauvinism 115
12 Saving Private Ryan Too Late 131
IV Pictures and Politics
13 The Confusions of Warren Beatty 141
14 Movie Star Presidents 150
15 The Fantasy Image: Fixed and Moving 158
16 Men with Guns: The Story John Sayles Can't Tell 168
17 The End of Chicano Cinema 175
V The End of Masculinity As We Know It
18 Being Keanu 185
19 Woody Allen, "the Artist," and "the Little Girl" 195
20 Affliction: When Paranoid Male Narratives Fail 203
21 The Phallus UnFetished: The End of Masculinity As We Know It in Late-1990s "Feminist" Cinema 210
VI Bodies at Rest and in Motion
22 Bods and Monsters: The Return of the Bride of Frankenstein 225
23 Having Their Cake and Eating It Too: Fat Acceptance Films and the Production of Meaning 237
VII Independents
24 A Rant 253
25 The Case of Harmony Korine 261
26 Where Hollywood Fears to Tread: Autobiography and the Limits of Commercial Cinema 269
27 Smoke 'til You're Blue in the Face 277
VIII Not Films Exactly
28 Pamela Anderson on the Slippery Slope 287
29 King Rodney: The Rodney King Video and Textual Analysis 300
30 Live Video 305
IX Endgames
31 End of Story: The Collapse of Myth in Postmodern Narrative Film 319
32 Waiting for the End of the World: Christian Apocalyptic Media at the Turn of the Millennium 332
33 The Four Last Things: History, Technology, Hollywood, Apocalypse 342
34 Twenty-five Reasons Why It's All Over 356
Contributors 367
Index 373
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