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Movies and the Meaning of Life Paperback – April 10, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (April 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812695755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812695755
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...keeps with the strong intent of linking philosophical concepts to everyday popular culture...an excellent achievement" -- Midwest Book Review, October 2005

19 papers in which academic philosophers use contemporary Hollywood productions to illustrate some foundational concerns of their disciplines. -- Book News, Inc., July, 2005

Customer Reviews

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Movies and the Meaning of life is a great as a supplement for introductory philosophy classes.
chris
Overall, this text is extremely user-friendly, bringing philosophy down to an understandable yet deep level through the context of popular films.
JLMiller
I still rely on another Woody Allen movie to make me feel better when I contemplate the expansion and eventual extinction of the universe.
Found Highways

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Collaboratively organized and edited by Kimberly A. Blessing (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Buffalo State College) and Paul J. Tudico (Philosophy Department, East Tennessee State University), Movies And The Meaning Of Life: Philosophers Take On Hollywood is an impressive collection of nineteen articles and essays on the impact popular films have had on the popular culture in terms of philosophical values. Organized into five sections, each contributor takes on a specific film ranging from "The Truman Show", to "Fight Club", to "Shadowlands", to "American Beauty", to "Groundhog Day", and more. Enhanced with a section providing descriptive credentials of the individual contributors and a thoroughly "user friendly" index, Movies And The Meaning Of Life is a welcome contribution to academic library "Philosophy" reference collections and highly recommended, accessible reading for film buffs as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dash Manchette VINE VOICE on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a movie buff interested in philosophy, MOVIES AND THE MEANING OF LIFE really jumped out at me as something to check out. I am glad I did. Many people probably think of philosophy as all stuffy, the realm of eggheads. It can be. But it can also be presented to people in a form that is not only accessible, but fun. This book achieves that.

Broken down into five sections and nineteen chapters, MOVIES AND THE MEANING OF LIFE explores some of the deep issues that some of history's heaviest intellects have wrestled with. The essence of reality, personal identity and what it even means to be an individual, religiosity and atheism, how to live one's life, and what one should try to get out of life are all explored. But the exploration, wonderfully, takes place through an examination of Spider-Man, Fight Club, Minority Report and numerous other movies. One of the strengths of the book is that most of the movies are well enough known for the book to be attractive to a good number of people, but with a few lesser known flicks thrown in for good measure.

All the essays are of a fairly good quality. However, as the essays are written by different philosophers, everyone will agree with some interpretations and analyses more than others. Yes, personally I thought the essay for Boys Don't Cry to be just one more piece of feminist drivel, while that for The Truman Show to be thought provoking and interesting. Surely, though, someone else will have different takes on them. It also serves the larger purpose of the book - to get one to think.

One of the few downsides is that the essays are not long enough to do anything more than scratch the surface of the ideas they explore.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Found Highways VINE VOICE on June 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Movies and the Meaning of Life: Philosophers Take on Hollywood is a very funny and very thoughtful collection of essays by philosophers on the topics that mean the most to them. This book is not another juvenile and pretentious book about the philosophy/religion/metaphysics of Buffy/Star Trek/Matrix.

The contributors to this book don't take themselves too seriously, but neither do they dumb down the philosophical concepts they're writing about - - from Nietzsche's idea of eternal return (in Groundhog Day) to the problem of free will vs. determinism (in Minority Report).

The philosophers who are examined in this book often contradict each other, so Movies and the Meaning of Life doesn't simply confirm your prejudices (existentialism vs. theism, for example, with one side set up to win). If you let it, this book makes you think.

It's also clear that the writers love movies in general and the films they discuss in particular.

It probably shouldn't have surprised me that some of the most depressing philosophical ideas are illustrated by a Woody Allen film, Crimes and Misdemeanors. I still rely on another Woody Allen movie to make me feel better when I contemplate the expansion and eventual extinction of the universe.

"What is that your business? You live in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not expanding."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Open Court's titles specialize in and emphasize philosophy and Movies And The Meaning Of Life: Philosophers Take On Hollywood keeps with the strong intent of linking philosophical concepts to everyday popular culture. The meaning of life is the most basic of questions, and many a movie director has examined such meaning in their films. Movies And The Meaning Of Life contrasts these modern films of recent years and tackles topics ranging from how films help define identity and reality to how they illustrate interpersonal interactions. An excellent achievement.
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