The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
SIU Press, 1995 - 335 pages
In this remarkable sequel to his Films of the Seventies: A Social History, William J. Palmer examines more than three hundred films as texts that represent, revise, parody, comment upon, and generate discussion about major events, issues, and social trends of the eighties.
Palmer defines the dialectic between film art and social history, taking as his theoretical model the "holograph of history" that originated from the New Historicist theories of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra. Combining the interests and methodologies of social history and film criticism, Palmer contends that film is a socially conscious interpreter and commentator upon the issues of contemporary social history. In the eighties, such issues included the war in Vietnam, the preservation of the American farm, terrorism, nuclear holocaust, changes in Soviet-American relations, neoconservative feminism, and yuppies.
Among the films Palmer examines are Platoon, The Killing Fields, The River, Out of Africa, Little Drummer Girl, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Silkwood, The Day After, Red Dawn, Moscow on the Hudson, Troop Beverly Hills, and Fatal Attraction. Utilizing the principles of New Historicism, Palmer demonstrates that film can analyze and critique history as well as present it.
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... social history of both decades were strikingly similar and were explored and disseminated to a mass audience through the movies . ... that's what Sylvester Stallone does , makes the same movie over and over for all that money .
Because of the nature of the movie business , not out of any altruistic or socially responsible motives , movies have always shown and explored either directly or metaphorically what was on the mind of the ticketbuying public .
As Steve Randall , senior vice - president of Tri - Star Pictures , makes abundantly clear : " The 12 - to - 24 audience sells two - thirds of the movie tickets . It's a fact of life , and if we ever forget it , we'll be out of business ...
Actor Peter Boyle supports the Hollywood - as - ostrich cliche when he declares that during the time of Reagan , the movies that have been made have almost no political content at all . " 31 The problem with this Hollywood - as ...
To make a film about racism , Hollywood uses the buddy movie genre . ... American movies are always made in terms of those modes of discourse that will attract the widest possible audience , yet those films still are able to ...