Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Monday, November 30, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW -- A CRITICAL CONUNDRUM

Yesterday evening, Susie and I went to a local theater to see the new Joel and Ethan Coen movie, A Serious Man. The movie raised in my mind an interesting question of critical theory: Can one consider a movie interesting, well-acted, thoughtfully written, well directed, and still hate it with a loathing so deep, so visceral, that one leaves the theater wanting to hunt down every last copy of the movie and burn them?

Generally speaking, I am a pretty easy customer to please. I love romantic films -- Sleepless in Seattle, Shakespeare in Love -- I dig spy films and shoot 'em ups, I can watch the Rock or the Governator, I will sit still for Pride and Prejudice as many times as it appears on my tv, I am a big fan of Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno, I recall The Seventh Seal with fondness, I even get a kick out of The Ten Commandments, although I have to confess that my sympathies lie more with Yul Brynner than with Charleton Heston.

But watching A Serious Man was like spending upwards of two hours listening to someone scrape his fingernails across a blackboard. I hated every character in the movie, save the protagonist, a poor shlub of a Mathematics professor to whom all manner of evils befall. The movie is said by some reviewers to be a loose retelling of the Book of Job. So I re-read Job this morning, outraged as I always am by its message, and that description of the movie is a real stretch.

I think I understand why I hated the movie so much, but that would demand a considerably longer post, so I will not attempt it unless there is a torrent of requests [measuring torrents as I do on this blog, which is to say two or three].

At least it took my mind off Afghanistan for a little while. That is something.

11 comments:

NotHobbes said...

You sat there in all innocence, your appalling suffering completely unjustified.
Bit like Job really.
Sorry, couldn`t resist that.

Please do tell more

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Ah, but I kept waiting, and hoping that the main character would erupt in anger at everyone around him. Fat chance! Besides, I had not finished my Goobers.

NotHobbes said...

Goobers?
Dare I ask? Some colonial culinary curiosity no doubt
(Please ignore me, rather bouyant mood today; My birthday and St. Andrews Day. Results tonight of our National referendum to find "The Greatest Ever Scot")

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Well, that is a no brainer -- David Hume, the greatest philosopher to write in the English language. Goobers are chocolate covered peanuts. Lord, what a benighted place Scotland has become.

Ann said...

Surely it is Adam Smith :-)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I have nothing but the greatest reaspect for Adam Smith, but Hume is incomparably the greater thinker, as well as being the first great historian to write in English.

NotHobbes said...

Both Hume and Smith were also rans.
The winner(by the proverbial mile) was the Baird himself.
I am neither suprised nor disappointed in the result.
Burns was one of the people, he spoke to them and for them. His work empathises with their plight, the social injustices(beyond comprehension for most folk these days)they suffered. He inspired nationalists, socialists and romantics. Not many can lay claim to that.
Hume may well have been the greatest thinker, but greatest scot?
I don`t know, that`s a contentious one(Sorry)
Smith?
Admiration of the tobacco lords tarnishes his image to this day in Scotland.
My own vote went to Mrs Gillian Whitfield Hall(Nee Dewar) a beautiful woman, courageous enough to take a leap of faith and marry a mature Philosophy student with no income,mounting debts, few friends and an incessantly quarrelling shower of shite for in-laws.
Gill my love, you win every time in my eyes.

NotHobbes said...

PS. Once upon a time, I studied Scots Law at Adam Smith, Fife.
Law first, philosophy later...Hmmmmm, something not quite right there methinks

Eoin said...

Gah! Neither David Hume nor Adam Smith made the final 10!

http://bit.ly/82bX3O

Joseph Black, Thomas Reid, and James Mill are not in evidence either. Clearly this list was not put together by philosophers.

NotHobbes said...

I`m annoyed at the list being mainly compiled by "experts" and the people were allowed to choose one representative from each section.
The tv assembled "experts" were so professionally competent they even included JK Rowling in the literary section. Rowling of course, is English

I hear you spinning John Lubbock but there`s nothing I can do.

Dan said...

I'd like to hear more about a Serious Man