Flatlining on the Field of Dreams: Cultural Narratives in the Films of President Reagan's America

Overview

Flatlining on the Field of Dreams takes a apart some of the most commercially successful films of the epoch, demonstrating how they reflected, debated, and played with the dominant ideology of the time. . . . cleverly and wittily written . . . . The book will work extremely well in the classroom."-Film Quarterly "From Back to the Future to Forrest Gump, Nadel shows not only how notions of cinematic time re-script political change but how our very conceptualizations of change are thematized by our experiences of ...

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Overview

Flatlining on the Field of Dreams takes a apart some of the most commercially successful films of the epoch, demonstrating how they reflected, debated, and played with the dominant ideology of the time. . . . cleverly and wittily written . . . . The book will work extremely well in the classroom."-Film Quarterly "From Back to the Future to Forrest Gump, Nadel shows not only how notions of cinematic time re-script political change but how our very conceptualizations of change are thematized by our experiences of watching movies. This is not simply film history, or film as history, but film affirming "history" in the same way that Ronald Reagan affirmed film narratives."-Susan Jeffords, University of Washington "Flatlining on the Field of Dreams brilliantly restages the cultural narratives associated with Reaganism within a neo-imperialist cinematic space and reveals the heretofore unexamined role class played in the reproduction of those narratives."-Donald E. Pease, Dartmouth College Flatlining on the Field of Dreams demonstrates, with witty prose and careful analysis, how the overindulgent, image-conscious years of the Reagan administration are reflected in sundry aspects of American films produced during that era. Discussing dozens of films, including Home Alone, Beetlejuice, Ghost, The Little Mermaid, Working Girl, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Trading Places, Alan Nadel identifies narratives about credit, deregulation, gender, race, and masculinity that defined "President Reagan's America." Linking the way Hollywood films work to the stories they tell, he explains how the ideas and values of Reaganism became the symbolic food of a hyper-consumptive society. The book provides hard-to-ignore demonstrations of the extensive synergy between politics, history, and popular culture. Alan Nadel, a professor of literature and film studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the author of Containment Culture: American Narratives, Postmodernism, and the Atomic Age, as well as books on Ralph Ellison and August Wilson. His essay on Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments won MLA's 1993 William Riley Parker Prize.

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Editorial Reviews

Film Quarterly
"Flatlining on the Field of Dreams takes a apart some of the most commercially successful films of the epoch, demonstrating how they reflected, debated, and played with the dominant ideology of the time. . . . cleverly and wittily written . . . . The book will work extremely well in the classroom."
University of Washington - Susan Jeffords
"From Back to the Future to Forrest Gump, Nadel shows not only how notions of cinematic time re-script political change but how our very conceptualizations of change are thematized by our experiences of watching movies. This is not simply film history, or film as history, but film affirming history in the same way that Ronald Reagan affirmed film narratives."
Dartmouth College - Donald E. Pease
"Flatlining on the Field of Dreams brilliantly restages the cultural narratives associated with Reaganism within a neo-imperialist cinematic space and reveals the heretofore unexamined role class played in the reproduction of those narratives."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813524399
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1997
  • Pages: 256

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Class, Film, and President Reagan's America 1
1 Back to the Futures Market: The Cinematic Realities and Trading Places of President Reagan's America 12
2 Flatlining on the Field of Dreams 48
3 The Pretty Woman, The Little Mermaid, and the Working Girl Become "Part of That World" 86
4 "I'm Not Really Bad. I'm Just Drawn That Way": The Compulsive-Attraction Film 114
5 Home and Homelessness Alone in John Hughes's America, or Dennis the Menace II Society 142
6 Seas of Love and Murderous Doubles: AIDS Narratives and the Dangers of the Other 175
Conclusion: The Enduring Power of Reaganism and the Movies 202
Filmography 211
Notes 215
Index 223
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