American Cinema of the 1990s: Themes and Variations by Christine Holmlund

By Christine Holmlund

With the U.S. economic system booming less than President invoice Clinton and the chilly struggle ultimately over, many americans skilled peace and prosperity within the nineties. electronic applied sciences won acceptance, with approximately a thousand million humans on-line by means of the top of the last decade. The movie puzzled what the influence on cinema will be.

The essays in American Cinema of the Nineties study the big-budget blockbusters and seriously acclaimed self sustaining motion pictures that outlined the last decade. The Nineties' hottest style, motion, channeled anxieties approximately worldwide threats akin to AIDS and international terrorist assaults into escapist leisure videos. Horror movies and thrillers have been at the upward thrust, yet family-friendly photographs and feel-good romances netted immense audiences too. in the meantime, self sustaining motion pictures captured hearts, engaged minds, and invaded Hollywood: via decade's finish each studio boasted its personal ''art film'' associate.

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Writing about the representation of race in this film, Stephanie Hull and Maurizio Viano have pointed out that of all the executions following the heist, this is the only one depicted onscreen, “an aestheticized portrayal of violence by an Italian American against a black man” (193). Throughout the film, Tommy does some psychotic killing, but the specific sexualization of this one caps the film’s dramatization of the black sexual threat to the wiseguys. ” Both the Italians and the Irish, the groups foregrounded in this year’s gangster films, have complicated histories as “white” Americans.

The film’s speeding camera movements, rapid editing, and hurtling zoom shots suggest that Henry’s childhood dream rushes him to this gruesome scene with swift, dizzying inevitability. In an interview, Scorsese described the film as both “anthropology” and tragedy (Smith, “Interview” 28–29). But the inevitability of tragedy in Goodfellas is tempered by the anthropological details of class, ethnicity, and consumerism that shape Henry’s dreams and choices. The film sometimes pauses around these details with a freeze frame or lingers on them with a long take, such as the celebrated four-minute shot of Henry leading his future wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) down the back hallways of the Copacabana, revealing an entire economy and entertainment system bending to his desires.

Those who relished tracking serial killers thrilled to David Fincher’s Se7en (1995). There were several intriguing neo-noirs, among them John Dahl’s Red Rock West (1992) and Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects (1995). And who can forget Tim Burton’s edgy independent, Ed Wood (1994), starring Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing director of Plan 9 from Outer Space? Westerns and musicals languished as endless sequels and multiple remakes in other genres proliferated. Studios tried to cash in on bankable stars and familiar titles as the decade progressed.

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