By Robert Eberwein, Aaron Baker, Rebecca Bell-Metereau, Professor William Brown, Michael DeAngelis, Krin Gabbard, Professor Chris Holmlund, Professor Adam Knee, Professor Christina Lane, Professor Linda Mizejewski, James Morrison, Jerry Mosher
Scholars utilizing various worthwhile ways discover how those motion picture stars' motion pictures converse to an elevated viewers knowledge of advances in feminism, new rules approximately masculinity, and the complicated political surroundings within the Age of Reagan. The essays exhibit the variety of those stars' contributions to such conversations in various movies, together with blockbusters and significant genres.
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Additional info for Acting for America: Movie Stars of the 1980s
In Rocky IV, Stallone’s hero sets himself up as natural man, comfortably training for his boxing match in a pastoral setting and using only ordinary physical means of strengthening himself. His opponent, the Russian Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), trains scientiﬁcally, using technology and a cold, methodical approach. Despite his obvious mechanical advantage, with his hulking frame towering over Rocky, Drago nevertheless loses. This improbable narrative points to elements outside the conﬁnes of the story.
Many of the gestures, clothing choices, hairstyles, and psychological attributes of Stallone’s heroes actually subvert conventions of the male-dominated action genre. In Victory, he wears a ﬁtted blue soccer uniform, which makes him appear slight and almost boyish, hardly the image of the macho man. In Nighthawks, he sports ﬂamboyantly stylish suits, and in the Rocky series, the silky textures of boxing shorts and dressing gowns emphasize his ambiguously androgynous appeal. Even in the early Rambo ﬁlms, his long hair and headbands give him an almost girlish appearance, an apparent counterweight to the physical abuse heaped on his dirty sweating body.
Rival ethnic identities also contributed to the dueling personas of these actors, whose speech and accents tied them to particular social and economic milieus. The almost monotone ﬂatness of their voices hearkened back to John Wayne. Their semi-naked physiques evoked traditions of the 1950s bathing beauty contests, teenage beach movies, and a subsequent broader notion of self-conscious parody. Both actors modiﬁed their star per- 38 REBECCA BELL-METEREAU sonas by incorporating into their work the kind of irony that involves selfdeprecating humor and exaggeration, typical of the growing camp sensibility noted by such critics as Richard Dyer.