Hollywood, Defining ‘Cool’ Since the 1980s

Brad Pitt, director Quentin Tarantino, Margot Robbie, and Leonardo Di Caprio at the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in Berlin, Germany, August 1, 2019. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
It’s when our reviewer, as a boy in the Soviet Union, got his first taste of American movies. He leads a tour of the past 35 years.

The Rousing Wonder

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S ay “Hasta la vista, baby” or “May the force be with you” to a person under the age of 40 anywhere in the world and the recognition, perhaps even bond, is instant. Neither expression is English — not exactly — but both are American, dreamed into existence by visionary storytellers, performers, and movie studios free of official quotas or mandates.

Thanks to those catchphrases and a something called a VCR, I saw an American. My friend’s mother brought this curious device from Poland, which in 1987 was as far west as one could stray from the Soviet Union. The


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