Do the Movies Have a Future?
Denby joyously celebrates what remains of the shared culture in romantic comedy, high school movies, and chick flicks; he assesses the expressive triumphs and failures of auteurs Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Pedro Almodóvar, and David Fincher. Refusing nostalgia, he mines the past for strength, examining the changing nature of stardom and the careers of Joan Crawford, Otto Preminger, and Victor Fleming, and the continuing self-invention of Clint Eastwood. And he recreates the excitement of reading two critics who embodied the film culture of their times, James Agee and Pauline Kael.
Wry, passionate, and incisive, Do the Movies Have a Future? is both a feast of good writing and a challenge to fight back. It is an essential guide for movie lovers looking for ammunition and hope.
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Except for the review of Pulp Fiction, all of these essays and reviews were written in the years 1999 to 2011. I have revised some of them, and, in two cases (the articles on James Agee and Pauline Kael), combined two pieces into one. When I revised, I didn’t change any of the opinions, or alter the happy or angry mood in which the pieces were first written, or fiddle with the phrasing. I restored a few things that were cut for space, while dropping some passages about, say, business conditions in Hollywood that are no longer of much interest or relevance. I’ve also cut some matters covered in other pieces.... see more