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Middletown (1982)

Director: Richard Leacock, Marisa Silver, Peter Davis, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Icarus Films
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues, Quirky Characters
Languages: English

Synopses
Middletown (Disc 1 of 4): The Campaign / The Big Game (1982)
Inspired by the studies of Robert and Helen Lynd in 1929 and 1935, this classic six-part series by Academy Award and Emmy winner Peter Davis (Hearts and Minds) explores both the continuity and the change embodied in the people and institutions of one Midwestern community: Muncie, Indiana. Titles in the series: The Big Game - The role of competitive sports, in this case basketball, in the community, for the coaches, and, most of all, for the players themselves. The Campaign - A mayoral race in middle America. Community of Praise - Examines faith working in the lives of a fundamentalist family. Family Business - An American entrepreneur struggles to make his pizza business go. Second Time Around - The complexities of contemporary American marriage. Seventeen - High school seniors hurtling toward maturity experience joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. In intimate detail, the six films that comprise MIDDLETOWN demonstrate how the society and culture of Muncie, perhaps of the entire American social fabric, have changed less than one might think in the six decades since the Lynds' studies.


The Campaign (Directed by Tom Cohen): Focusing on a mayoral race in Muncie, Indiana, THE CAMPAIGN follows closely the personalities, strategies, and pressures of an American political contest. In particular, it examines the sharply contrasting styles and backgrounds of the Democratic and Republican candidates.

The Big Game (Directed by E. J. Vaughn): As Muncie Central and Anderson High prepare to meet for the annual basketball game, a game charged with the spirit of long-established rivalry, THE BIG GAME examines what this competition, and the sport itself, means to the community, the coaches, and most of all to the players themselves.

Middletown (Disc 2 of 4): Second Time Around / Community of Praise (1982)

Second Time Around (Directed by Peter Davis and John Lindley): Focusing on the wedding arrangements of David and Elaine, each of whom is a divorcee, SECOND TIME AROUND presents the complexities of contemporary marriage in the United States.

Community of Praise (Directed by Richard Leacock and Marisa Silver): COMMUNITY OF PRAISE examines faith at work in the lives of a family. Their fundamentalist beliefs shape their encounters with the emergencies and the ordinary problems of daily life.

Middletown (Disc 3 of 4): Family Business (1982)

FAMILY BUSINESS (Directed by Tom Cohen): Howie Snyder is an archetype: a retired Marine colonel in his mid 40s, he is a prototypical American entrepreneur struggling to make his business go.

Howie's Shakey's Pizza franchise in Muncie, Indiana employs his whole family: wife, nine children, and Howie himself. He's the representative of the American Dream: the chance to invest long hours and hard work in exchange for financial security for oneself and family. To watch Howie Snyder as he dickers for better treatment by the Shakey's chain, as he seeks additional financing to stave off looming bankruptcy, and as he sits morosely counting an evening's disappointing receipts is to watch America at work. And to see Howie's family rally around him in the hour of his greatest need is a heartwarming experience.

FAMILY BUSINESS will appeal to business groups as well as small business owners. Franchising organizations will find it valuable as a case study. Schools will find it appealing as a study of a family in challenge. And everyone will find the drama of daily life compelling.

Middletown (Disc 4 of 4): Seventeen (1982)

Seventeen (Directed by Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines): In their final year at Muncie's Southside High School, a group of seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. They are also learning a great deal about life, both in and out of school, and not what school officials think they are teaching.

"One of the best and most scarifying reports on American life to be seen... it has the characters and language - as well as the vitality and honesty... haunts the memory." New York Times


GreenCine Member Ratings

Middletown (Disc 1 of 4): The Campaign / The Big Game (1982)
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Middletown (Disc 2 of 4): Second Time Around / Community of Praise (1982)
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Middletown (Disc 3 of 4): Family Business (1982)
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Middletown (Disc 4 of 4): Seventeen (1982)
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