Blockbuster, or How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer – Tom Shone
A well-written, sloppily edited overview of 1980s
In part this is a riposte to Peter Biskind’s brilliant Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Biskind argued that Jaws/Star Wars made it impossible for the great 70s directors to get funding for their pictures leading to a drop in the production of the “mainstream arthouse” likes of Five Easy Pieces, The Godfather, The Last Picture Show etc. Shone counters that the real money-makers in the 70s were the lumbering likes of Airport and the Towering Inferno, and that Lucas and Spielberg freshened things up and allowed the likes of The Terminator and Alien to get made.
There’s some truth in both arguments, but I tend towards Biskind’s point of view. If nothing else, Best Picture Oscar winners show a massive drop in quality from around 1981 (when Ordinary People beat, among other things, the awesome Raging Bull).
Nevertheless, Shone keeps things lively and demonstrates a talent for the witty one-liner that at times had me joyfully spluttering through my popcorn .