Browsing Faculty of Arts and Media by Subjects
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“Any closer and you’d be Mom”: The limits of post-feminist paternity in the films of Robin WilliamsThis chapter explores the representation of fatherhood in the films of Robin Williams, considering the actor's star persona alongside his persistent performance as 'father' in a range of films from the late 1980s into the 2000s. The chapter includes an in-depth analysis of Williams' role in Mrs Doubtfire and the implications for post-feminist performances of paternity, and concludes with a discussion of Williams' suicide in 2014 and the ways in which this news was filtered through the same paternal persona established in his films.
The Evolution of Alan Grant: Narratives of Reproductive Futurism in Jurassic ParkAs a quintessential product of 1990s Hollywood, Jurassic Park is reflective not only of shifts in form, production, and marketing, but of the underlying cultural preoccupations of the decade. In an era when Hollywood’s action heroes were increasingly making the transition to domesticated fatherhood, Jurassic Park offers a version of this narrative through the character of Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Alan Grant begins the film averse to the idea of parenthood and children in general; he dismisses them as “noisy, messy, expensive [and] smelly”, and is reluctant to engage with Lex and Tim on their tour of the park. This paper will examine the evolution of Grant’s character from this taciturn, aloof version of himself to a man who comes to embrace a paternal role by the end of the film. Shunted into the role of protector after the dinosaurs breach their compounds, he turns his focus to the survival of himself and the children. The narrative of Jurassic Park is preoccupied with reversing extinction. On a literal level, this concerns the dinosaurs resurrected by John Hammond. Beyond this, it is also applicable to Grant’s rehabilitation as a paternal figure. By the 1990s, Hollywood’s action heroes were diminishing, a reflection of the industry’s own preoccupation with the presumption of masculine crisis. Fatherhood was persistently constructed, throughout the decade, as an answer to this crisis, a way of ‘saving’ men and reaffirm their worth. As such, Jurassic Park may be read as a narrative of reproductive futurism, offering a tangible future as a father to Grant, channelling his energy towards his own survival as the helicopter flies past a flock of birds, the ancestors of the dinosaurs they have left on the island below.
On the Cusp: Exploring Male Adolescence and the Underbelly of High School in Freaks and GeeksThis chapter examines the representation of adolescent masculinity in Freaks and Geeks, focusing on the three 'geeks' of the series' title. It suggests that the anxiety experienced by the boys in the series is a reflection on a wider crisis of masculinity, occurring both within the timeline of the programme (1980) and the period of its release (1999). The chapter also explores the function of nostalgia in Freaks and Geeks and discusses the issues of authenticity and realism around the series' depiction of an American high school experience.