American Film Satire in the 1990s: Hollywood Subversion by J. Nilsson

By J. Nilsson

This research examines how a specific choice of motion pictures became American cultural fabric of the Nineties into satirical reviews for audience and reveals that there are components of resistance to norms and conventions in politics, to mainstream information channels and Hollywood, and to professional American background already embedded within the tradition.

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Dylan’s position is ironically reversed, which is to say it is upheld (by the film but not by the character). There is a kind of double irony at work here. The rebel persona of Bob Dylan is appropriated by Bob Roberts, a folk-singing “rebel conservative” who views the 1960s as a dark stain on American history, but whereas Bob has a conservative agenda, the film does not. Thus, the character makes subversive use of a 1960s icon, while the film makes ironic use of the character’s use of Dylan in order to satirize contemporary political campaign strategies.

A discussion of cinematic trends—postclassicism, allusionism, and irony—that help position the 1990s satirical film then closes the chapter. 2 This, however, was only partly the case during the 1990s, largely because of what was happening to the independent sector at the time. Only one (Forrest Gump) of the films under consideration in this book was both produced and distributed by a major Hollywood studio (Paramount); however, a 26 A m e r i c a n F i l m S at i r e i n t h e 1 9 9 0 s major studio was involved, directly or through subsidiaries, in the production or distribution of all but one (The Player) of the films.

Therefore it is likely that viewers became increasingly used to audiovisual satire, just as it is also likely that audiences who were drawn to satire also appreciated the generally more critical fare coming from the independent sector. It is important to realize that distribution deals between independent companies and major Hollywood studios existed before the aforementioned development picked up speed. A relevant example is Bob Roberts. 9 The release of Bob Roberts took place the year before Miramax was incorporated into Disney, that is, while it was still autonomous, making the deal with Paramount significant in this context.

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