The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993 - 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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“ Saigon , sheeit , ” Captain Willard ( Martin Sheen ) says at the beginning of Apocalypse Now . “ I'm a cop in the cess pool of the world , " Sergeant Perkins says early in Off Limits . Later , Perkins and McGriff's boss , Staff ...
Third , when he goes into a bank to get a loan to pay his mother's nursing home bills , the sign says “ We Never Say No. ” Unfortunately they have no trouble saying “ No ” to Eddie . Fourth , as Eddie sits in a bar , two guys start ...
“ Everything was going fine , " says Stallone , “ until Gorbachev's wife kissed Reagan on the cheek and blew my film . God — the heat I caught ! People said , ' Why are you making the Russians look bad ? ' I said , “ Look bad !
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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