Movies and the Meaning of Life

Movies and the Meaning of Life

Philosophers Take on Hollywood

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
A compelling collection of essays explores philosophical issues through the lens of popular Hollywood films, finding interesting topics in Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, American Beauty, and many other movies. Original.

Perseus Publishing
"The meaning of life is the most urgent of questions," said the existentiallist thinker Albert Camus. And no less a philosopher than Woody Allen has wondered:"How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?"
"Movies and the Meaning of Life" looks at popular and cult movies, examining their assumptions and insights on meaning-of-life questions: What is reality and how can I know it? (The Truman Show, Contact, Waking Life); How do I find myself and my true identity? (Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, Boys Don't Cry, Memento); How do I find meaning from my interactions with others? (Pulp Fiction, Shadowlands, Chasing Amy); What is the chief purpose in life? (American Beauty, Life is Beautiful, The Shawshank Redemption); and How ought I live my life? (Pleasantville, Spiderman, Minority Report, Groundhog Day).

"The meaning of life is the most urgent of questions," said Albert Camus. And philosopher Woody Allen has wondered: "How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?" Claims about what gives life meaning have not only been analyzed by philosophers but by the primary mythmakers in contemporary culture: Hollywood filmmakers.
Movies and the Meaning of Life shows how a wide variety of films have tackled — to sometimes hilarious, sometimes surprisingly pointed effect — the same questions that have obsessed the deep thinkers. These essays draw on such sources as The Truman Show and Contact to explore the nature of reality; Fight Club and Being John Malkovich for cogent lessons on finding one's true identity; American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption for pointers on life's purpose; Pleasantville and Spiderman for nuggets of wisdom on how to live one's life; and more.

Book News
Blessing (philosophy, Buffalo State College) and Tudico (philosophy, East Tennessee State U.) present 19 papers in which academic philosophers use contemporary Hollywood productions to illustrate some foundational concerns of their discipline. Examples of topics include explorations of faith and belief in the science-fiction film Contact, the treatment of personal identity in Fight Club, the problem of evil as raised by Shadowlands, and freedom and determinism in Minority Report. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Chicago : Open Court, c2005
ISBN: 0812695755 (trade paper : alk. paper)
Branch Call Number: 791.43684 MOV
Characteristics: xvi, 302 p. ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Tudico, Paul J.
Blessing, Kimberly Ann

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