Posts

Showing posts from August, 2017

Dustin Hoffman at 80: Looking back on his "New Hollywood" era with "The Graduate" (1967) and "Straight Time" (1978), two different slices of Americana that shatter the #MAGA myth

Image
What The Graduate hinges on is the unnerving quiet before a revolt. The ticking dissatisfaction that eats away at a bright young mind is at the center of Dustin Hoffman's character Benjamin Braddock, a recent graduate from the prestigious Williams College, where he was quite the scholar. Confronted with the anxiety of what to do in the real world, Benjamin is aloof and staring blankly at those who pat him on the back and ask him about his future plans, to which he has no clue. Hoffman presents the viewer with a man-child, a rich-kid whose not cool enough to be a hipster, but also yearning to rebel against his doting, hovering parents and the upper-crust banality.

Released in December of 1967, The Graduate is a watershed film from a turbulent year in American history:  race riots spread through Detroit and the rest of  the country, the Black Panthers emerge, Vietnam war protests swell on college campuses, the Cold War chill still permeates and the hippie counterculture takes shape…