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ItemMuscles, hybrids and new bad futuresNDALIANIS, ANGELA ( 1994)Since Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone made their respective debuts onto the cinematic screen the muscle phenomenon has become a dominant factor in the cinema of the 1980s and 1990s. Muscle, in all its hard and sweaty glory, has found a market especially in the big budget extravaganzas whose narratives centre around the spectacle of the built bodies of male stars such as Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Lundgren, Van Damme, Snipes and Seagal, and the more padded forms of actors such as Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson. This new brand of cinema whilst harking back in part to an American tradition of genre cinema (the Western, Detective films, War Films etc.) appears to owe more to genres that emerged outside America: the Italian `gladiator' pictures of the 1950s and 1960s which retold the adventures of Hercules and other mythic heroes via the forms of bodybuilding stars such as Steve Reeves and Reg Park; and the martial arts action films popularized by Hong Kong Cinema and which found a very profitable market in the West ‐ and which also saw the migration of the genre into American cinema starring a series of martial arts experts including Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Jean‐Claude van Damme. Both genres revealed an unabashed display of the spectacle of action and the spectacle of the male body in action. The camera found any excuse to unapolegetically caress the bodies of the stars with pans, tracks and close‐ups of various fragmented body parts in ways that always denoted strength, agility and power.
ItemStyle, spectacle, excess and The bold and the beautifulNDALIANIS, ANGELA ( 1994)Much of the writing on daytime soap opera has focused on the genre's melodramatic form with particular emphasis being placed on the idea of excess: the excess of emotion, narrative form and style. John Fiske, among others, has argued that the hyperbolic excess that dominates the genre has the potential for opening up numerous and complex interpretative positions that reject the 'singular' meanings favoured by the classic realist text that has dominated Hollywood cinema. Among the American soap operas currently broadcast on Australian daytime television , 'The Bold and the Beautiful' epitomises the genre's capacity for producing a form that tests the boundaries, not only of the classical narrative, but of the soap form itself.