Summary and Info
" A unique perspective on half a century of American cinema -- from the audience's point of view. Tom Stempel goes beyond the comments of professional reviewers, concentrating on the opinions of ordinary people. He traces shifting trends in genre and taste, examining and questioning the power films have in American society. Stempel blends audience response with his own observations and analyzes box office results that identify the movies people actually went to see, not just those praised by the critics. Avoiding statistical summary, he presents the results of a survey on movies and moviegoing in the respondents' own words -- words that surprise, amuse, and irritate. The moviegoers respond: "Big bad plane, big bad motorcycle, and big bad Kelly McGillis." -- On Top Gun "All I can recall were the slave girls and the Golden Calf sequence and how it got me excited. My parents must have been very pleased with my enthusiasm for the Bible." -- On why a seven-year-old boy stayed up to watch The Ten Commandments "I learned the fine art of seduction by watching Faye Dunaway smolder." -- A woman's reaction to seeing Bonnie and Clyde "At age fifteen Jesus said he would be back, he just didn't say what he would look like." -- On E.T. "Quasimodo is every seventh grader." -- On why The Hunchback of Notre Dame should play well with middle-schoolers "A moronic, very 'Hollywoody' script, and a bunch of dancing teddy bears." -- On Return of the Jedi "I couldn't help but think how Mad magazine would lampoon this." -- On The Exorcist
More About the Author
Tom Stempel (born 1941) is an American film scholar and critic. He is a Professor Emeritus in Film at Los Angeles City College, where he taught from 1971 to 2011. His students at LACC included writer director, Maggie Greenwald and Karen Moncrieff, directors Tamra Davis and Emmy-award winning Mimi Leder, film editors Carole Kravitz and Academy Award-nominated Kevin Tent, and Academy Award-winning short filmmaker Ron Ellis.