All posts tagged: History

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

Then & Now: Gloria Steinem & Dorothy Pitman Hughes

Circa 1970 Then & Now: Gloria Steinem & Dorothy Pitman Hughes, co-founders of the feminist magazine, Ms. I love these two photos because they remind me of the great strides made in the women’s movement – thanks to thousands of dedicated women across the globe – and they are also a powerful reminder that we must keep fighting for equality.

Buffalo, NY – Beyond The Reputation

A few weeks ago I visited Buffalo, NY for a family wedding, pre-snowpocalypes. My mother is from Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo, so I have visited the city just under a dozen times in my life. This trip, however, was my first time vacationing during the fall, so I was delighted to experience a true autumn. In Tucson there are basically two seasons – summer and winter – so to see streets lined by brightly colored trees and to be able to crunch through piles of leaves on the ground was a wonderful new experience. Though quite beautiful, Buffalo is similar to Detroit or Baltimore in that it has a fairly bad reputation. When I tell people who have never been that I’m visiting, they sometimes ask “Why are you going there? Isn’t it shitty?” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Buffalo has a spectacular history. After the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, it quickly grew to become an economic hub of the northeast. The city’s impressive past is reflected in its architecture that includes buildings designed …

Happy Labor Day (But What’s it Really All About?)

Happy Labor Day! But what’s it really all about? Labor Day takes place on the first Monday in September. It’s a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the American labor movement. The first Labor Day was held in New York City in 1882 by the Central Labor Union. Over 10,000 people marched in solidarity as “a day of the people.” Oregon became the first state to officially declare Labor Day a holiday in 1887. Following the deaths of 30 workers and injuries of 57 at the hands of the U.S. military during the Pullman Strike of 1894, Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday. In Canada Labour Day also takes place on September 1st, and in many other countries a similar holiday takes place on May 1st.

Today Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. present, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill on July 2, 1964. The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – ending segregation in schools and unequal voter registration requirements. The bill was originally called for by President John F. Kennedy in June of 1963, just five months prior to his assassination. On November 27, 1963, during his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Johnson said, “No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.” Eight months later, Johnson signed the bill into law. With the 4th of July just a few days away, it’s a wonderful time to appreciate some of the accomplishments we’ve made as a nation in regards to equality and civil liberties. We have a long ways to go, but we’re still on the right path.

Review of ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

This week I wrote a review of Lee Daniels’ The Butler for Critics Associated. Read it here, or check out the the original. Inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, a butler who served the White House for 34 years until retiring in 1986, Lee Daniels and co-writer Danny Strong present a powerful story about the complexities of the civil rights movement in the United States. Lee Daniels’ The Butler features an abundance of famous actors including Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a strong-willed butler who is proud to serve his country, and Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines, his persistent and loyal wife. A plethora of other well-known actors grace the screen including Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, and Jane Fonda. In three tumultuous decades Cecil serves eight Presidents and experiences the civil rights movement from both a political and social perspective. Gaines has two sons, both of which have completely distinct visions of racial equality and the ways in which to achieve it. Charlie, played by …

Movie Trailers, Then & Now

My mom asked me this question the other day and I had no idea what the answer was. I definitely took a course in film promotion and we definitely had an entire section dedicated to trailers. I guess I wasn’t listening? Anyways, after doing a little research I have an intelligent response to a question I should have been able to answer in the first place. Movie trailers were originally screened after a film had been shown. They trailed the feature and therefore became known as trailers. But the “trailing” method didn’t work for long, since audiences often left after the film was over rather than sitting through the promotions. Soon, theaters and promotion companies discovered that it made more sense to screen the trailer prior to the featured film, rather than after – thus forcing the viewers to watch. The first trailer ever produced was screened in an American theater in 1913. The trailer was a short film promo for The Pleasure Seekers, a musical that was about to begin performances. After the successful stunt, the Lowe’s …