Oppositional Postmodernism essay

Pick two films made after 1977, one of which you consider to be an example of Mainstream Postmodernism, and one you would consider to be Oppositional Postmodernism. Write a short comparative essay discussing the ways in which each film displays and engages with our six qualities of Postmodernism. What marks on have as Mainstream and one as Oppositional?

It is not clear what postmodernism stands for but it is believed to have succeeded the 17th century enlightenment. Four centuries have passed with postmodernists supporting a New Age manner of human life and development. Most of them are atheists while some follow the eastern religious practices. Most of them are also passionate about nature. It is possible to find postmodernists who are environmentalists, humanitarian’s even philosophers. Postmodernists are always against religious and capitalistic values related to the western world, instead they preach change globally. According to postmodernism, there is no absolute truth, it does not believe in right or wrong, true or false good or evil. In general, one can say that postmodernism refers to a situation where the objective truth is not accepted in relation to a particular culture.

Mainstream postmodernism is usually manifested through mannerism and styles. It mainly entails imitation of what happened in the past. Oppositional postmodernism on the other hand is manifested through irony of style, form and content. Despite the different categories of postmodernism, there are four concepts that always determine the aesthetic value and they include parody, bricolage, intersexuality and pre-fabrication. Mainstream and oppositional postmodernisms can be differentiated by their aesthetics deal with the four concepts. Oppositional postmodernism aesthetic replaces them while mainstream postmodernism replicates them (Michael, 26).

This paper is going to critically discuss two movies one mainstream postmodern and the other oppositional. The paper will also focus on how these movies display and engage the six qualities of postmodernism which include irony, nostalgia, Sundance, Miramax and neo-classicism. Irony in English literature refers to the indirect presentation of contradiction in action or an expression. It emphasizes the opposition that exists between the exact meaning of something and the intended one. In addition to the rhetorical factor, irony displays the way a person’s character develops, a particular scenario and a plan to affect the reality or the expected. Nostalgia refers to a situation whereby, there is the yearning for the past.  Nostalgia commonly refers to an interest in activities, personalities and past eras. Miramax Films was founded in 1970 by two brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The company acquires films and market them earning profits. Miramax films always display quality to quantity, force to form, the depth of meaning or value in the film. Sundance film festival discovers talents in several actors and rewards them as a form of motivation. Neoclassicism refers to the different movements in decorations and forms of art, literature, theatre, music and architecture derived from the culture of west.

“Total Recall” is one of the mainstream postmodernism films. It was unleashed in 1990 and is taken to be an American science fiction action film. “Total Recall” has famous characters including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone and Michael Ironsides among others who have won several awards.  It has violence, mutants, girl fights, aliens and midgets among other things. The movie displays nostalgia because of several reasons: first there is scene whereby, Quaid (Arnold) makes efforts to pass through security and the best solution that comes into his mind is to be stealthy where he dresses as a fat chick. Secondly, one of the characters in the movies is a lady with three boobs, this could almost be said to be the best description of the movie. The reason being the character is always used by many people as a reminder of the movie. Violence is depicted in the movie by the fact that there are sixty five deaths including that of a rat and a fish. Lastly, we have the scene with a midget with a machine gun.

Irony is displayed in the movie by the fact that Arnold killed like there is no tomorrow. The ironical thing is that no one really knows that there will be a tomorrow. From the sidekick it is suggested that it was only a dream and who knows it sure could have been. In reality such a thing can only happen in a dream. The title of the movie is “Total Recall” that means it is expected that people will always remember it. Some will even be in a position to describe different scenes clearly. Here the quality of Miramax is clearly depicted because some scenes like that of a woman with three boobs cannot be forgotten that easily. Also the place whereby a midget is having a shot gun cannot be forgotten that easily. It is not easy for people to imagine a midget with a gun and most of shooting against others with so much courage.

Sundance is displayed in the film “Total Recall”, by the fact that it is taken to be one of the best science fiction movies for the last thirty years. It is also one of the top five films with Arnold as the main character. On neoclassicism in relation to “Total Recall” is believed to have the Arnold science fiction just like Terminator and Predator films which were released before it. It is at times referred to as true classic. Paul Verhoeven the director of the film, unleashed it just a while after he had released classic Robocop. Generally, the movie is about a guy who wants to change and have a different life from the current. He therefore goes to a company where false memories are implanted in his brain but after this he discovers that there are people tracking him. He finds out that he has a tracking device in his skull and he has to undergo and operation to get rid of it. The movie also has a nice track by Jerry Goldsmith.

“The Chair” is an oppositional postmodern film which was unleashed in two thousand and seven by Brett Sullivan and co-written by Michael Capellupo. The movie is about the history of Alana Chisholm (Danielle) is described. She is faced with mental sickness which forces her to undergo several treatments. To her advantage there is a big group that supports her as she goes through the rough times of her life. The biggest problem is that despite the support they all could not help her with what was going on in her home. Her house is haunted with a spirit of a person who died a long time ago. The man was believed to have been killing children while he was alive. Danielle’s body and thoughts seems to be divided because on the other hand she wants to revenge and on the other she has a weak mental state. The film is filled with stories of murder, mayhem and stuff happening at night that is not easy to understand but still one is in a position to follow the film.

Sundance is displayed in the film “The Chair” by the fact that it received three awards from two known festivals. The movie has a cover art that brings a feeling of being ripped off because of the saw-.rip-off. This is a form of decoration which is one of the neo-classical features. Miramax is displayed by the title of the film “The Chair”. It is all about the chair, the title itself triggers many questions in the minds of the public therefore encouraging them to watch it.  The title of the film is a perfect marketing strategy used by the Miramax film company. The film is filled with nostalgic features by the fact that Danielle is having weird experiences at night and nothing can be used to explain what is happening. In the past many things could not be explained because science had not been explored much unlike currently where research has been done and it is easier to solve problems. “The Chair” film is ironical in the fact that she is killed by the chair which she did rebuild. It is also ironical that Jacob, the boy Danielle saved proceeded to kill her.


It is clear that such qualities of postmodern films like irony, nostalgia, neo-classicism, Miramax and Sundance contribute much to the way a film is viewed. They determine whether a movie will have many viewers, whether the actors plus and the directors will receive awards and generally the classification of a movie. A movie can be viewed by many but fail to be among the favorites though the opposite can happen with proper use of these qualities. These qualities also give credit to companies for example Miramax Film Company: many directors will want to produce their films with the help of such companies and there is always a probability that a bigger percentage of the public will watch their films. It is advisable that producers and directors apply all these qualities in their production of films in order to get more profit and for the industry to grow.

Oppositional Postmodernism essay

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