• Beyond Exploitation Cinema: Music Fandom, Disability, and Mission to Lars

      Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016-07-14)
      Mission to Lars (Moore and Spicer 2012) is a feature documentary in which Kate and William Spicer help their brother Tom make his dream come true. Tom wishes to meet drummer Lars Ulrich from the heavy metal band Metallica. He also has Fragile X syndrome, which Kate calls, “a sort of autism with bells on.” Mission to Lars is therefore a film about disability and popular music fandom. Its marketing and reviews suggest a warm and sympathetic portrait of family life in which two siblings help a third to achieve his ambition. No documentary innocently captures its subject. Mission to Lars explores issues of disability awareness. Raising the possibility that Kate and Will Spicer may not have been motivated by altruism, it deliberately contrasts able-bodied and disabled cast members by using fan stereotypes. The film is therefore an unusual 'fansploitation' picture, depicting fandom both as a training ground for employment and as a compensation for the disabled.
    • Tramps Like Them: Jack and Bruce and the Myth of the American Road

      Morrison, Simon A.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018-03-08)
      Abstract: ‘I try to explain to him the teddy is throwing a kink into our Kerouac On The Road cool, but Matt’s committed to his bear, so we drive on.’ Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run autobiography When Bruce Springsteen appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs at the end of 2015 he did not mention author Jack Kerouac in the list of writers he would consider for his book choice. However, his reference to Kerouac and the teddy bear in his autobiography (above) perhaps reveals stronger, if stranger connections than he imagined, with Kerouac ending the key work On The Road looking over ‘the long, long skies over New Jersey’, Springsteen’s home state, where ‘tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?’ Unlike, then, the physical proximity of Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, or the overt creative influence of Jack Kerouac on music characters such as Patti Smith and Tom Waits there is, at first glance, no obvious link between Jack Kerouac and Bruce Springsteen. This chapter, however, will explore and then uncover the links that do, in fact, exist between the two. These can broadly be defined in three ways. Firstly, there are sartorial connections in the way the two men dress and present themselves, with Springsteen adopting the jeans, T, and work-shirt look that very much defined The Beats. Secondly, there are obvious thematic links between the musical and literary work of these two icons of American popular culture: a mythologising interest in blue collar, small town America and the way it harbours past love affairs; male friendship; the open road and the freedom it suggests. Finally, there are defined stylistic links in the free-flowing lyricism that defines the words and worlds of both men. Although these three areas provide the main focus for this account other synergies may also be seen between the two: their European heritage; troubled relationship with patriotism and the American flag; family dynamics; Catholicism. More than anything, however, this chapter will explore the ways Jack Kerouac was able to make literature powerful in a new and alluring way, and similarly how Springsteen was able to engage globally, musically, in a way that could never have happened without Kerouac’s influence. Key words: Bruce Springsteen, Jack Kerouac, Beat Generation, Rock Music
    • Virility, Venality and Victory: Three Faces of Masculinity in Jurassic Park

      Barnett, Katie; University of Chester
      Like many of the blockbuster films of the 1990s, Jurassic Park (1993) is a story of survival, pitting humans against a force of nature: in this case, the imposing, genetically-engineered dinosaurs that cannot be contained by the science that created them. Beyond this, another survival story is woven into the narrative. This concerns the fate of the film’s men. When Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) reflects on the role of humans in nature – “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs” – Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) retorts presciently, “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.” “Clever girls” – Ellie, the velociraptor who outwits Robert Muldoon, computer whiz Lex – abound in the narrative, while around them the men struggle with their place in this new landscape. Masculinity is bound up, variously, with cowardice (Gennaro), venality (Nedry), misplaced hubris (Hammond) and incautious virility (Malcolm). Even Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), though ultimately victorious, must be reformed, trading individualism for family and reneging on his earlier opposition to children. The contours of American masculinity were increasingly under scrutiny in the 1990s, and Jurassic Park reflects various related anxieties, constructing images of flawed men in need of punishment or redemption. This chapter will explore the film’s representation of masculinity through a number of its male characters, exploring how their survival is tempered by negotiation, compromise and critique.