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Sterritt, David. "An Offer Hollywood Can't Refuse." Christian Science Monitor 04 Mar. 2005. 08 Apr. 2008.
The Godfather’s impact on Hollywood has been far more ideological than technical. It has provided inspiration and set an example for multiple works. At times, due to its popularity and the tremendous respect it has garnered, The Godfather has been parodied and spoofed. In Woody Allen’s comedy Annie Hall, Allen tells Diane Keaton that he no longer wants to wait in a movie line because he is tired and, “I’m standing with the cast of The Godfather.” The joke was based on Keaton, who played Kay Adams, the wife of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. More recently in the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan discuss The Godfather as Ryan asks, “What is it with men and The Godfather.” Hanks replies, “The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? 'Leave the gun, take the cannoli' ...” However, the HBO television show, The Sopranos, pays the most homage to The Godfather. Both The Godfather and The Sopranos show the popular appeal of organized crime rooted in the banality of everyday life. The film agent, Eric Meyers says, "Stories like these give us the frisson of knowing how close our lives could come to intersecting with those of organized crime figures, even if it rarely happens in reality." Often The Sopranos make direct references to The Godfather, such as when a mobster is killed by a shot in the eye, which is called the “Moe Green Special”. Even The Sopranos casting methods echo those of The Godfather; Coppola casted an actual former mob member Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi, while Tony Siricio who plays Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos was once jailed for 5 years.
The Godfather established a legacy for which other works such as The Sopranos would learn from and imitate. The Sopranos has often been referred to as modern Godfather, and perhaps it is because of its eerily similar nature that the show has been so successful. In Tony Soprano, viewers can see glimpses of the classic Marlon Brando playing the Don himself. Although there appears to be more of a woman’s influence in The Sopranos, ultimately all mafia families are patriarchal. Other films have spun off of the actual Godfather material, yet in all situations the allusions are out of the utmost admiration for The Godfather. The movie has had by far the most influential effect on Hollywood of any gangster movie and continues to serve as an example for future filmmakers in all genres.
Patterson, John. "The Guide: Mob Mentality: Death Threats, Shootings, Strikes and Bomb-Scares... John Patterson Explains How - and Why - the Mafia Tried to Shut Down the Filming of the Godfather." The Guardian 22 Apr. 2006. LexisNexis. University of Pennsylvania. 7 Apr. 2008
The Godfather’s cultural impact was widespread, yet one ethnic group found the movie to be particularly degrading: Italian-Americans. Led by the Italian-American Civil Rights League, thousands spoke out against the negative portrayal of Italians. Although, the movie did shine a more positive light on the mob than predecessors, the tremendous success and widespread proliferation of the movie, resulted in mafia members themselves protesting the validity of the film. Since the movie was advertised as extremely realistic due to the production help of mob boss, Joseph Colombo Jr., actual mafia members felt a need to defend themselves against the often ruthless violence and inhumanity displayed by some of the Corleone family. Frank Sinatra, who is the basis for the Don’s godson, Johnny Fontane, was not pleased with his portrayal as one who used alternative means to resurrect his career in the film, “From Here to Eternity”. Sinatra led an Italian-American Civil Rights League fundraiser at Madison Square Garden, decrying anti-Italian prejudice. During the latest stages of the film’s production, an Italian-American rally was held in Columbus Circle under the lead of criminal visionary and recent mafia start-up Joey Gallo. At the rally, Gallo had Colombo killed for his willingness to provide input in regards to beforehand secretive logistics of the mafia’s operation.
The Godfather’s cultural impact extends to many parties, including Italian-Americans. Many worried that a negative stigma would stick with Italians and as a result affect job availabilities and social acceptance. Some would argue that if anything the ethnic group should be thankful for Coppola’s inclusion of the Corleone family’s sensitive, family oriented side. However, it is important to separate Italian-Americans and mafia members or associates; the percentage of those linked to organized crime, although larger than publicly documented, is still a small fraction of all Italian-Americans. Regardless of this reality, the movie inspired Italian- American stereotypes which have been maintained to this day.
Howell, Peter. "The Tao of the Godfather." Toronto Star 28 Sept. 2001, sec. B01. LexisNexis. University of Pennsylvania. 30 Mar. 2008.
Many movies are influential within Hollywood, but few can claim that they are repeatedly referenced outside of the industry; The Godfather is one of them. Allusions have come in the form of music, political commentary, and the everyday lexicon. In 2001, when President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan turn in Osama bin Laden, political commentators remarked that the President was, “making an offer that can’t be refused.” This term was coined by The Godfather, but has become so prevalent, that many who have never seen the film use it on a regular basis. Other phrases such as “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business” and “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” have equally intruded our speech. In the music industry, rapper Raekwon of the Wu-Tang-Clan named two of his albums, Immobiality and Only Built 4 the Cuban Lynx in reference to The Godfather. In a song entitled “Yae Yo”, Raekwon says, “I keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in”, which is an exact line of Michael Corleone. Furthermore, Slash of the rock band Guns N’ Roses recorded his own version of The Godfather theme song based on the original written by the film’s composer Nina Rota. On bookstands there are hundreds of books written about The Godfather, its tremendous impact in the 1970’s, and the influence it still maintains to this day. There still exists so much demand for Godfather material that a new book entitled The Godfather’s Revenge was written in 2006 even after the original author, Mario Puzo had passed away.
The Godfather’s influence has come to infiltrate popular culture. Perhaps no other movie, save The Wizard of Oz, has inspired as many copycats and tributes. One film critic remarks, "There are Hollywood people who hold The Godfather as their Gideon.” The Godfather’s incredible support can be considered a cult following. Websites such as TheGodfatherTrilogy.com, which require users to submit essays to display their knowledge, have thousands of users. Participants often abide much of their lives by the axioms of the films and often recite the memorable lines. It is evident that The Godfather’s impact is far reaching beyond a typical movie experience; it has come to exert influence on nearly all aspects of life, whether it is on the rest of the entertainment industry or parents instilling values in their children.
Call#: Van Pelt Library E169.12 .H67 2002
Daytime Utopias: If You Lived in Pine Valley, You'd Be Home / Elayne Rapping 47
Cardboard Patriarchy: Adult Baseball Card Collecting and the Nostalgia for a Presexual Past / John Bloom 66
Virgins for Jesus: The Gender Politics of Therapeutic Christian Fundamentalist Media / Heather Hendershot 88
"Do We Look Like Ferengi Capitalists to You?" Star Trek's Klingons as Emergent Virtual American Ethnics / Peter A. Chavany 105
The Empress's New Clothing? Public Intellectualism and Popular Culture / Jane Shattuc 122
"My Beautiful Wickedness": The Wizard of Oz as Lesbian Fantasy / Alexander Doty 138
"Ceci N'est Pas une Jeune Fille": Videocams, Representation, and "Othering" in the Worlds of Teenage Girls / Gerry Bloustien 162
"No Matter How Small": The Democratic Imagination of Dr. Seuss / Henry Jenkins 187
An Auteur in the Age of the Internet: JMS, Babylon 5, and the Net / Alan Wexelblat 209
"I'm a Loser Baby": Zines and the Creation of Underground Identity / Stephen Duncombe 227
"Anyone Can Do It": Forging a Participatory Culture in Karaoke Bars / Robert Drew 254
Watching Wrestling / Writing Performance / Sharon Mazer 270
Mae West's Maids: Race, "Authenticity," and the Discourse of Camp / Pamela Robertson Wojcik 287
"They Dig Her Message": Opera, Television, and the Black Diva / Dianne Brooks 300
How to Become a Camp Icon in Five Easy Lessons: Fetishism - and Tallulah Bankhead's Phallus / Edward O'Neill 316
"It Will Get a Terrific Laugh": On the Problematic Pleasures and Politics of Holocaust Humor / Louis Kaplan 343
The Sound of Disaffection / Tony Grajeda 357
Corruption, Criminality, and the Nickelodeon / Roberta E. Pearson, William Uricchio 376
"Racial Cross-Dressing" in the Jazz Age: Cultural Therapy and Its Discontents in Cabaret Nightlife / Nicholas M. Evans 388
The Invisible Burlesque Body of La Guardia's New York / Anna McCarthy 415
Quarantined! A Case Study of Boston's Combat Zone / Eric Schaefer, Eithne Johnson 430
On Thrifting / Matthew Tinkcom, Joy Van Fuqua, Amy Villarejo 459
Shopping Sense: Fanny Fern and Jennie June on Consumer Culture in the Nineteenth Century / Elana Crane 472
Navigating Myst-y Landscapes: Killer Applications and Hybrid Criticism / Greg M. Smith 487
The Rules of the Game: Evil Dead II ... Meet Thy Doom / Angela Ndalianis 503
Seeing in Black and White: Gender and Racial Visibility from Gone with the Wind to Scarlett / Tara McPherson 517
Finding One's Way Home: I Dream of Jeannie and Diasporic Identity / Maria Koundoura 556
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1995.9.H6 H75 2002
Berenstein analyzes film reviews and marketing ploys during the first cycle of classic Hollywood horror films (1931-1934) concluding that the horror film served as an ideal site for the "performance"of socially prescribed gender roles, behaviors, and heterosexual coupling rituals. Film studios, exhibitors,and reviewers relied upon gender assumptions, but in contradictory ways. Many film reviwers ignored questions of gender all together treating the horror film audience as an "ungendered" mass, while other reviews expressed surprise that horror films would be as popular with women as they were. The marketing and promotion of horror films, however, rarely took women for granted. Many horror films--such as Dracula (1931)--were promoted as frightening thrillers and romances hoping to appeal to both male and female audiences (assuming a gendered split in interest). Horror film promotional gimmicks took a variety of forms, but many revolved around personifying "fear" as feminine. Gender expectations were that women scream and shriek during horror films, while men displayed bravery (or, masked their own fear which was seen as feminine). If studios and exhibitors (and the films themselves) relied on these assumed gender roles, it's likely that audiences both played along with these assumptions (in a "performative" sense) as well as reactedin oppositional and contradictory ways. There are some issues with Berenstein work. She seemst o implicitly criticize 1930s film reviewers for speaking of the "horror fan" instead of the "female" (or "male") horror fan. While acknowledging that issues of gender are important, speaking of the "female" horror fan is itself not without problems. For one, it also assumes (and thereby reinforces) a gendered difference in audience reactions to horror. While this difference may be true (to some degree, in some ways) it is an empirical question. Although Berenstein acknowledges a space for male and female audience members to act and react outside of proscribed gender roles, she does so only grudgingly.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1995.9.H6 H674 2004
This edited collection of essays has the overarching goal of exploring the horror film genre by paying attention to the technical and industrial aspects of film that distinguish horror films from horror in other media (such as literature or comic books). The two general questions that the essays-to one degree or another-address are: what role does technology play in the production of horror films, and what role does technology play in the distribution, exhibition, and reception of horror films? ("technology" defined broadly to include production equipment, industrial mechanisms, ideological mechanisms, etc.). The first section of the book consists of essays that explore various technologies and formal innovations employed in the production of horror films. The second section of the book deals with issues surrounding horror films in the marketplace (advertising, distribution, and reception). Finally, the third section examines discursive and ideological aspects of the horror genre from censorship to fan discourse.
Philip Simpson's chapter entitled "The Horror 'Event' Movie: The Mummy, Hannibal, and Signs" explores horror films as they are positioned as Hollywood blockbusters. These marketing and promotion of these films often downplay or outright deny the film's association with the horror genre (still often seen as a marginal or low brow genre). Simpson argues that these horror 'event' movies reach a larger mainstream audience by using star actors and high profile directors, high production values, and genre mixing. Simpson distinguishes between major studio horror films and "second tier" cult audience films. While it is true that many of the films that Simpson discusses are marketed as something other than horror (either as thrillers, adventure films, or even supernatural thrillers), it is not clear where the division between A-list productions and "second tier" films lies. He cites the $100 million dollar domestic theatrical gross mark as certifying a blockbuster, but fails to cite many of the low budget, independent, or "second tier" horror films that crossed that barrier such as The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Ring (2002), and The Grudge (2004).
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1995.9.E96 H38 2000
Hawkins builds off of Jeffrey Sconce’s discussion of “paracinema” and “trash aesthetics” to explore the historical relationship between “high-end” avant-garde or art cinema and “low brow” horror and exploitation films. Hawkins seeks to break down the boundaries erected between “high” and “low” by demonstrating the shared stake that both horror and the avant-garde have in challenging mainstream notions of good taste and dominant Hollywood productions. The most interesting aspect of the book is her exploration of mail-order video companies such as Sinister Cinema and Something Weird Video whose photocopied “DIY” catalogs in the 1980s served as a collective space of horror and cult fandom long before the Internet. These catalogs tended to mix cheap exploitation and European art fare often with little distinguishing between the two. The second chapter of the book (“Medium Cool”) explores the culture of collecting inherent in both paracinema video culture and the niche market for Criterion Collection laser discs. Hawkins’s work is important as it captures a particular historical moment, but it also feels woefully out of date. This is not a critique of the book as much as a call for a revised edition that explores paracinema in the digital age (e.g., blogs, fan forums, web mail-order sites, etc.). In addition to patterns of consumption which blur the boundaries between “high” and “low” art, Hawkins explores a number of films which form a sort of hybrid category by combining aspects of art cinema with the horror genre. Her prime example is Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1959) which combines the formal aesthetics of French “poetic realism” with an exploitation story—and graphic gore—many consider as ushering in (along with Hitchcock’s Psycho ) the slasher subgenre. Ironically, when the U.S. imported Franju’s film to play in the “grindhouse” circuit with the sensational new title of The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus, they excised the graphic “face removal” surgical scene which most qualified the film as horror in the first place.
Hawkins’s book provides a useful exploration of how genres circulate within culture often in ways that defy “officially” sanctioned categories and counter to the wishes and intentions of institutions, gatekeepers, and other “taste-makers.”
Call#: Annenberg Library Reserve P94.65.U6 J46 2006
In chapter six, Jenkins discusses the role of popular culture in emerging political communities. Jenkins (as is the case throughout Convergence Culture) is focused on how old and new media interact and the dynamics of collaboration and participation. While Jenkins recognizes the scoff-factor when implying the concept of “photoshop for democracy” (user-generated images that often map themes from popular culture onto the political campaign) is any sort of substitute for real political activism, he insists that this kind of user-generated content and mass dispersion is a serious act of citizenry. In fact, using popular culture as a means of engaging voters might just be the most effective way of re-establishing interest in politics as a part of our everyday lives. Jenkins focuses on the 2004 election and recognizes that the next step is to think of “democratic citizenship as a lifestyle.” Furthermore, online political communities seem to be segregating voters, as opposed to encouraging dialogue across ideologies. Although he seems to offer popular culture as a kind of national balm for the ailments of political fragmentation, Jenkins recognizes the inherent limits of its role in (or applicability as a model for) contemporary political communities.
For me, the most useful parts of this argument is the attention he pays to the increasing participation of average Americans (now as monitorial citizens as opposed to informed citizens) in the media landscape and the possibilities for the integration of politics and popular culture. However, he doesn’t seem to offer any real solution for the acutely polarized political landscape.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HM851 .L56 2004
Call#: Van Pelt Library HM1041 .D37 2000
Call#: Van Pelt Library HE7631 .S613 1997
This article discusses how memes catch on (or don't) and their impact on culture. The first approach is looking at history as either a narrative or a science. The narrative must be plausible, but not predictable, to be interesting. So too is culture. The things that catch on don't follow a formula per se, but in retrospect they aren't completely out of the blue. The second approach is a comparison with evolution. In this view, it is the glitches that move things forward, not just the formula. The good will continue, the bad will be cast off. However, the line between good and bad is blurry at best, and the very nature of parasitic things like memes is to trick the hosts. The article gives the example of a person with a sweet tooth. If the candy tastes good enough to make the person forget about its negative impacts, it will persist, furthering both the good and the bad qualities of candy. Memes are selected unconsciously and consciously. Even in the case of meme-engineering, in which someone tries to create an idea that will catch on by mimicking what is popular, nothing can be predicted for certain. It doesn't necessarily matter how good an idea is (although it helps), but rather the unpredictable pull of many natural and cultural forces that decides the fate of a meme. Cultural evolution is thus not a direction, but a trend, and not necessarily a very definite trend.
The article touches on a lot of different possibilities, but its tone makes it easy enough to read and digest. The nature of taking the side of unpredictability is that no firm conclusions will be drawn, but the article still discusses numerous possibilities. The question Dennett repeats is "cui bono?" or "who benefits?" He doesn't give an answer, or perhaps the answer is that even if one could measure the benefits, they wouldn't necessarily inform anything beyond that.