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American Popular Culture. (. 미국학. . 전공. / . 미국의 . 대중문화. ). Week 4, Day 2. : . The . Hollywood Dream: Popular movie genres . 23 March 2017. In today’s class we will:. Study further genres . ID: 586014 Download Presentation

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American Studies:American Popular Culture(미국학 전공/ 미국의 대중문화)

Week 4, Day 2



Hollywood Dream: Popular movie genres

23 March 2017


In today’s class we will:

Study further genres


Hollywood film, including the

suspense/thriller genre


gangster genre


horror genre

, and the

historical epic

Study the essential components of these film genres

Watch and discuss short clips from famous movies of these genres


Attendance Check!


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The Romantic Comedy: In the last class we learned about the genre of romantic comedy, in which true love typically overcomes such problems as class differences, parental interference, the existence of an old girlfriend/boyfriend, and other complications. Maid in Manhattan (right), starring Jennifer Lopez, is another example of a romantic comedy: a Cinderella-type story about a Puerto Rican hotel maid/single mother who falls in love with a famous, rich politician.


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The Romantic Comedy: Some relationship experts, however, believe that watching romantic comedies (or rom-coms) gives people unrealistic expectations about romantic love. The idea that your romantic soulmate is predestined, for example, or that you will find perfect romantic happiness, or that your partner should act romantically like the person in the movie can make people dissatisfied with their actual boyfriend/girlfriend. It may even cause them to be too fussy about finding a partner if they don’t meet their “perfect” Mr./Ms. Right. Other experts defend romantic comedies, saying that such movie couples do exist in real life—and give us all hope.

Maid in Manhattan


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

Romantic comedies can also include a fantasy subgenre. In a romantic (comedy) fantasy (also popular in Korea through such TV series as My Love from the Star, or 별에서 온 그대 and the movie Miss Granny, or 수상한 그녀), which is a popular subgenre of the romantic comedy, characters may experience body-swapping, gender reversing, time travel, psychic powers, and other non-realistic elements of fantasy, while still existing in the real world.


About Time

(2013) a man travels repeatedly back in time to improve his future


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The Romantic Fantasy: One famous example of this is Pleasantville (1998), starring Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon as a quarreling brother and sister who suddenly find themselves transported to the wholesome but chauvinistic world of a typical black-and-white 1950s family TV show, in which all the characters live wholesome lives: they never swear, kiss romantically, drink alcohol or get angry. However, the arrival of the brother and sister from another time upsets these characters’ black-and-white world in unexpected ways…


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Thriller: British-born director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was perhaps the most important film-maker in popularizing the thriller genre in America. After moving to the US in 1939, he made some of the most popular thrillers of the next 25 years, delighting (and often scaring) audiences in films such as Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), North by Northwest (1959), Pyscho (1960), and The Birds (1963). His style of thriller had a huge influence on the thrillers of today.

Strangers on a Train

Alfred Hitchcock


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Thriller: Typical components of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, and the thriller genre in general are:suspense (the audience should feel nervous or scared but also excited so that their eyes are “glued” to the screen; they hope the character will be all right but are filled with anxiety)an atmosphere of menace, with the threat of violence always near [Clip from Strangers on a Train]

Strangers on a Train


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Thriller: More typical components are:spies (often Russian)mistaken identity (often involving the innocent man on the run)red herrings (things that seem to be important to the plot but actually are not)plot twists (unexpected plot developments) cliffhangers (an intense situation in which the outcome is uncertain up until the very last moment) [North by Northwest]

Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Thriller: Pyscho was the most controversial film of Hitchcock’s career, and also a major influence on the horror films that would soon follow. (From now on, horror films would be much scarier and increasingly gory.) It tricked and horrified audiences by killing its popular star in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and in a way that was shocking and unprecedented at the time. [shower scene]

Psycho (1961)


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

Horror: The horror genre shares much with the thriller genre, but also often includes many of the following elements:gory scenessudden shockshaunted housespsychological terrora sense of impending doomthe supernaturalvampires, ghosts, witches, cannibals, sadists, zombiesthe Devil (or the Devil’s servants/offspring)exorcisms [projectile vomit] [head spin]

The Silence of the Lambs

The Exorcist


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

Horror:In the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most popular themes of American horror films was the alien/evil child. The Exorcist (1973) featured a possessed child, while The Omen (1976) and two sequels featured a child who was the Devil’s son. [Nanny scene] [Whole movie]

The Omen


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

Horror: In the 1990s a new kind of psychological horror film appeared: The Silence of the Lambs (and its sequel & prequel into the 21st century)The film is about an imprisoned cannibal, psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, who helps a young female FBI agent, Clarice Starling, to track down a serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill.

The Silence of the Lambs


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

Horror: The Silence of the Lambs is very scary, even though it contains few scenes of explicit violence. It is scary because it leaves the audience to use its own imagination about what is happening. Equally important is its uncomfortable close-ups and discomfiting (yet often intellectual) dialogue. Thanks to its mix of stunning performances and a claustrophobic feeling of dread, it became an instant movie horror classic, and greatly influenced the horror films that have followed.

The Silence of the Lambs


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

Horror: A very popular recent psychological horror movie is writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 separate personalities. M. Night Shyamalan has specialized in psychological horror movies, including The Others, which tells the story of a woman who believes the people around her are ghosts of people she once knew, when in fact she is the only dead person.

The Silence of the Lambs


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Gangster/Crime Drama Movie: This genre first became popular in the 1930s, often dealing with stories inspired by real-life American mafia figures, such as the notorious gangster Al Capone. The most celebrated and archetypal of the Mafia/Gangster movies is The Godfather (1972) and its two sequels, the story of the New York-based Corleone family, and an epic tale of crime, intrigue, family relationships, betrayal, and revenge.

The Godfather (1972) was followed by two sequels, Part II (1974) and Part III (1990)


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Gangster/Crime Movie: This genre has remained popular to the present time. For example, in 2013 Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the stars of La La Land, appeared in the gangster/crime drama Gangster Squad. And in 2015 an unrecognizable Johnny Depp appeared as a crime boss in Black Mass.

The Godfather (1972)


The Hollywood Dream: Movie Genres

The Superhero Movie: These are also an important genre, especially in the last decade, and we will be discussing them in Week 11, when we study Globalization 

X-Men: Apocalypse


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The Historical Epic: These films are especially associated with Hollywood and refer to films with a (usually very) long running time and a very large cast of characters. The story is focused on either an important period of history, such as the American Civil War of 1861-1865 and its aftermath in Gone with the Wind (1939), or an important historical event, such as the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 in the movie Titanic (1997).


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The Historical Epic: Epic movies typically also include the following components:Elements of melodramaSpectacular settings and cinematographyA sweeping, grand musical scoreAction scenesHeroes or heroinesRomanceA story that takes place over many years

Gone with the Wind


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

Gone with the Wind (1939) was for decades the most popular movie ever made, and certainly the most famous historical epic until Titanic. The story of the tempestuous, self-centered but brave Scarlett O’Hara and Captain Rhett Butler, a man who loves her but ultimately leaves her, its impact on popular American culture and film has been enormous. Like Casablanca, it is also one of the most frequently quoted movies ever made. [“I’ll Never Be Hungry Again!”]

Gone with the Wind


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres: Famous lines from Gone with the Wind:

Scarlett: Sir, you are no gentleman.Rhett: And you, Miss, are no lady.****Rhett [to Scarlett]: You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.****Scarlett: Rhett... if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?Rhett: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. [Final scene of Gone with the Wind]

The eternally optimistic Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) in Gone with the Wind


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres

The 1997 movie Titanic—the most popular film ever made at that time—certainly embodies all the features of a typical historical epic.It tells the story of 100-year-old Rose, who in 1996 sees a drawing of herself on TV that was found on the shipwreck of the Titanic, which had sunk 84 years earlier. Through flashback, she tells the amazing story of how she survived a tragedy in which so many people died, including her lover, Jack (played by Leonardo di Caprio). [Final scene of Titanic] [“I’m flying!”]

Leonardo di


and Kate Winslet in



The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres: Historical Epics

Heroic individuals: Individualism triumphs in the movie through Jack’s refusal to let his poverty hold him back (in contrast, the rich in the movie are almost all either evil or unhappy) and through his cheerful optimism, even when the ship is sinking. He also prevents Rose from committing suicide in the film, and then later Rose herself shows courage in her bravery as she jumps into the freezing water and her refusal to quit while everyone is dying around her.

Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic


The Hollywood Dream: Popular Movie Genres: Historical Epics

Spectacle: The scene in which Jack and Rose jump into the freezing water far below as the ship is breaking into half is thrillingly depicted, while the scenes of the ship itself sinking are dramatic and realistically terrifying (showing the true chaos of the moment, rather than a graceful “slide” into the water, as previous Titanic movies had inaccurately shown).“ [“My heart will go on”]


Before the next class

Please revise today’s PowerPoint file for this class from our Google Group. Also, don’t forget to download/read the updated course syllabus there.

American Popular Culture

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