Postmodern Journeys

Film and Culture 1996-1998

By Joseph Natoli

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series in Postmodern Culture
Paperback : 9780791447727, 301 pages, November 2000
Hardcover : 9780791447710, 301 pages, November 2000

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Table of contents

Questions at a Book Signing

Walk On!

Side Trip: Why Do Anything

The U. S. Open?

Where Are We Going in Fargo? And How Do We Get There?

Honey, Be Glad We're Not Rich

Side Trip: Resentment

Walking Down Main Street U. S.A.

Journeying Out of Illusion

Side Trip: Feeling the Glitch

Walkabout: America on the Verge of a Walkabout

Walkabout in a Lost World

Journeying into Slow Time

Long Day's Journey to Boogie Nights

Side Trip: In Some Dreams You Travel . ..

Voices from the Stars, Voices Behind Comets

Hanging in the Last Rung on the Way to the Millennium

The Princess, The Mother, and the Clothes Designer

Side Trip: Cool Beans

Hunting Expectations

Side Trip: Passeggiata

Death Ahead

Mythologizing the Journey

Side Tracked: The President as Bad Subject

Side Trip: Timing Our Journey, Setting a Moral Compass

Permutations on the Act of Saving in A Sliding Door Action World

That Rug Really Tied the Room Together

Side Trip: "And the Sun Set . .."

Cul-de-Sac: Seductions and the Wellsprings of Loneliness

No Sign of Loss on the Horizon


Part memoir, part cultural criticism, this fast-paced ride through the postmodern landscape of American popular culture explores how our responses to headline events and popular films help script the ways in which we imagine ourselves and the world around us.


In Postmodern Journeys, Joseph Natoli continues to chronicle how our responses to headline events and popular film help script the ways in which we imagine ourselves and the world around us. Here we clearly see how svelte marketing strategies take the present pulse of the American mass psyche in order to play to the frustrations and anxieties, the desires and hauntings that can neither be fully faced nor totally ignored. In the years covered here, films such as Fargo, Titanic, Boogie Nights, Jerry Maguire, Saving Private Ryan, and Good Will Hunting crisscrossed such headline events as the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa, a record-breaking Dow, welfare "reform," the fall of Newt Gingrich, the rise of Jesse Ventura, and, overshadowing everything, Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, and Ken Starr. Somewhere in the intersection of what the record shows and how popular film and culture put us into play with that record lies the postmodern American landscape we are imagining and creating. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, Postmodern Journeys continues the fast-paced ride into that imagined time and place.

Joseph Natoli teaches postmodernism and cultural studies at the Center for Integrative Studies/Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University. He is the author of several books, including Speeding to the Millennium: Film and Culture 1993–1995, also published by SUNY Press.


"Engaging, provocative, and full of insight into current culture, society, and politics. " — Douglas Kellner, author of Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern

"Natoli's readings are provocative in the best sense of the term—even if you disagree with them, they goad you into formulating your own take on a given film. This book will appeal to anyone interested in finding accessible, highly 'teachable' forms of postmodern cultural analysis and also students of contemporary Hollywood film. Natoli's style is so engaging that you want to go along for the ride, and its accessibility will greatly enhance its attractiveness as a course book. " — Jim Collins, author of Architectures of Excess: Cultural Life in the Information Age

"What we have here is a portrait of a psychology, the psychology of an academic who has been marginalized in the profession and fought back with his mind, of a 1960s campus radical who is still fighting corporate capitalism, of a son who broke with his father and is now trying to give up that fight. " — Amy J. Elias, University of Alabama at Birmingham