Temple of Doom, Born on the Fourth of July, A Star is Born (1954), Brewster McCloud, and New York, New York.
Forrest Gump and Titanic, though celebrated eagerly and without hesitation by audiences the world over, have found themselves over the years the targets of critics who have charged the works as facile, unsophisticated representations of times recent and increasingly distant. I find such labels themselves to be facile and unsophisticated, as both films have a lot to say about our construction of historical narratives as methods of weaponization, therapy, or some uncanny meeting of the two. However, despite the similarities the films and the filmmakers share, the approaches they employ in their characterizations of the past speak to just how disparate their directorial philosophies are in its depiction.
To examine the movie stardom of Reynolds in the 1970s is to analyze the ways in which the tastes, perceptions, and assertions of contemporary studios and filmmakers evolved from outright condescension or hostility to Southern-minded subject matter into a more celebratory aesthetic that in its own way remained less than authentic.
For a project and a part that could have served as the very definition of vanity theatre, Beatty accomplishes one of the greatest tricks a movie star has ever pulled: we as an audience find ourselves at once aroused and repulsed by him.
Thankfully, Bradley Cooper's directorial debut and exploration of this well-worn material is not only an unqualified cinematic success on a grand, wide-screen scale but a strong, valiant case for why movies, especially those coming out of major studios, can still matter as a mass art form.