Why do 'Jaws', 'Field of Dreams', 'The Big Lebowski', and 'The Godfather' remain strikingly popular in this age of fragmented audiences and ever-faster spin cycles? "Hollywood Blockbusters: The Anthropology of Popular Movies" argues that these films continue to captivate audiences because they play upon underlying tensions and problems in American culture, much like the myths that anthropologists study in non-Western contexts. In making this argument, the authors employ and extend anthropological theories about ritual, kinship, gift giving, power, egalitarianism, literacy, metalinguistics, stereotypes, and the mysteries of the Other. The results - original insights into modern film classics, American culture, and anthropological theory - will appeal to students of Film, Media, Anthropology, Sociology, and Cultural Studies.
Hollywood Blockbusters is anthropological theorizing at its filmic best. Sutton and Wogan have translated complex anthropological concepts and debates into a rich analysis of popular motion pictures, giving us both a window into the value of anthropological sensibilities and a new interpretation of well-known Hollywood offerings. This wonderful book helps to counter claims about anthropology's marginal status in contemporary discussions about mainstream American culture, and will be an essential read for both students and scholars. - John L. Jackson, Jr., Richard Perry University, Professor of Communication and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania