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[Commlist] New Book: Starring Tom Cruise Edited Collection
Thu Mar 04 11:37:01 GMT 2021
/Starring Tom Cruise/
Edited by Sean Redmond
Wayne State University Press, 2021
*He had me at hello*
/Starring Tom Cruise/examines how Tom Cruise’s star image moves across
genres and forms as a type of commercial product that offers viewers
certain pleasures and expectations. Cruise reads as an action hero and
romantic lead yet finds himself in homoerotic and homosocial
relationships that unsettle and undermine these heterosexual scripts. In
this volume, editor Sean Redmond shows how important star studies is not
just to understanding the ideological, commercial, and cultural
significance of one star but to seeing how masculinity, ethnicity,
sexuality, and commodity relations function in contemporary society.
The volume is divided into three parts. Part 1 explores the ways that
Cruise’s star image and performances are built on a desiring gaze,
nearly always complicated by perverse narrative arcs and liminal
character relationships. This section also explores the complex and
contradictory ways he embodies masculinity and heterosexuality. Part 2
places Cruise within the codes and conventions of genre filmmaking and
the way they intersect with the star vehicle. Cruise becomes
monomythical, heroic, authentic, and romantic, and at the same time, he
struggles to hold these formulas and ideologies together. Part 3 views
Cruise as both an ageless totemic figure of masculinity who does his own
stunts, as well as an aging star—his body both the conduit for eternally
youthful masculinity and a signifier of that which must ultimately fail.
These readings are connected to wider discursive issues concerning his
private and public life, including the familial/patriarchal roles he
Scholars writing for this collection approach the Cruise star image
through various vectors and frames, which are revelatory in nature. As
such, they not only demonstrate the very best traditions of close "star"
textual analysis but also move the approach to the star forward.
Students, scholars, and readers of film, media, and celebrity studies
will enjoy this deep dive into a complex Hollywood figure.
Adam Daniel, Michael DeAngelis, Glen Donnar, Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Sasha T.
Goldberg, Loraine Haywood, Tara Lomax, Carlos Menéndez-Otero, Ruth
O'Donnell, Patrick O'Neill, Justin Owen Rawlins, Sean Redmond, Defne
Tüzün, Alex Wade, Brenda R. Weber, Linda Wight
Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Tom Cruise has been one
of the world's biggest movie stars for a long time. As such, he deserves
serious scholarly attention, and this book provides it with fifteen
smart essays that adroitly address just about every imaginable facet of
the star's cultural, sexual, and symbolic resonance.
*– Gaylyn Studlar*, author of This Mad Masquerade: Stardom and
Masculinity in the Jazz Age
Sean Redmond’s first-rate edited collection offers detailed
consideration of the most important roles in Cruise’s successful
decades-long career. This wide-ranging volume also covers essential new
ground for the analysis of contemporary Hollywood stardom. Its
insightful cross-disciplinary examination of the star’s perpetual border
crossing makes this book an unmissable read. Stars like Tom Cruise never
seem to lose their shine. This book enables us to understand why.
*– Virginia Luzón-Aguado*, Harrison Ford: Masculinity and Stardom in
The contributors analyze Cruise’s appearance, his affect, the
surrounding discourses, and films’ presentation of the actor in ways
that illuminate the various aspects of his stardom and the society and
industry that have made him a star for forty years.
*– Cynthia Baron*, author of Denzel Washington
This is a book that star studies has wanted, even if we didn’t know it—a
wide-ranging set of reflections on the desirability, authenticity, and
dogged agelessness of contemporary Hollywood’s ubiquitous genre king. As
equally attuned to the white, masculine normativity of Tom Cruise as to
his performative excess, sexual indeterminacy, and spiritual
eccentricity, this book advances star studies by elucidating a changing
Hollywood landscape through the cultural continuity of its most
*– Misha Kavka*, professor of cross-media culture, University of Amsterdam
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