PERFORMING ARTS

Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan

New Pr. Jul. 2019. 400p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781595580061. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620971000. FILM
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Hoberman, a former film critic for the Village Voice, completes his trilogy (after The Dream Life; An Army of Phantoms) examining the interconnections between the cinema and the social, political, and cultural environment of 20th-century United States. According to the author, the 1970s and 1980s saw an influx of movies that ranged from the cynical satire of Robert Altman’s Nashville to fanciful explorations of the demise of 1960s hippie ideals (First Blood; The Big Chill). Much of Hoberman’s argument depends on the juxtaposition of landmark films such as Jaws, Apocalypse Now, and Platoon, with the political careers of presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Though the book discusses the making of the aforementioned flicks and others including The Terminator and Ghostbusters, those looking for fun profiles of their favorite movies will not find it in this rigorous, scholarly work. Instead, Hoberman investigates the deeper links between entertainment and politics, considering, for instance, how filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola used time and space to present their vision of society or events.
VERDICT For readers seeking an insightful, academic meditation on the relationship between media and sociopolitical issues.

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