As Deep as It Gets
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A LOT of thought goes into making the films and television series we consume on a daily basis. Some of the brightest artists, writers and creators of the twentieth century have chosen film as a way to share their stories and dreams. As time has gone on, television and movie-making has converged into one huge canvas, hosting some of the most creative levels of artistic and philosophical thinking in human history. Carus Books invites you find your seat, grab some popcorn, and explore some of ‘the best thoughts that been thunk’ in the last hundred years of film in our upcoming title, As Deep As It Gets: Movies & Metaphysics. 

Join Randall E. Auxier, modern-day philosopher and Hollywood history buff, as he untangles some of the most fascinating and fantastic inspirations behind the silver screen. By uncovering the many layers of metaphysical meaning that have been staged throughout Old Hollywood and beyond, audiences are able to track the changes in  the film industry in great detail. In this thought-provoking collection of essays, you'll discover stories of scientific exploration, spiritual metaphysics, alternate realities and mystic messages hidden within some of the most popular movies, flicks and short films you know and love--and some you might just discover! 

Perfect for the film buff and philosopher alike in your life, As Deep As It Gets: Movies & Metaphysics promises to bring audiences one step closer to the magic and the mystery of Tinsel Town.

Note to the Reader iv

From the Alamo Draft House to the Livingroom

Couch (Or There and Back Again) xiii

Part I Rated G: General Audiences 1

1. I Know Something You Don’t Know-THE PRINCESS BRIDE 3

2. Lions and Tigers and Bears-SCARY STUFF IN THE WIZARD OF OZ 17

3. The Monster and the Mensch-A CHILD’S EYE VIEW OF SUPER 8 37

4. Chef, Socrates, and the Sage of Love-FINDING LOVE IN SOUTH PARK 59


Part II Rated PG: Parental Guidance Suggested 89

6. The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful-SERGIO LEONE’S ANIMALS, ACTORS, AND AESTHETICS 91

7. Democracy Adrift-HITCHCOCK’S LIFEBOAT 109


9. Mrs. Coulter—Overwoman?-HER DARK MATERIALS 153

Part III Rated R: Restricted Audiences Only 179




13. Once upon a Time-INCEPTION 241

14. Dream Time-INCEPTION 263

Part IV Director’s Cut 289

15. To Serve Man-A Visit to The Twilight Zone 291

Bibliography 315

Suggestions for Reading 319

Index 327



Publié par
Date de parution 09 avril 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781637700099
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

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Other Books by Randall E. Auxier
Philosophy of Culture as Theory, Method, and Way of Life: Contemporary Reflections and Applications (co-edited with Eli Kramer, Przemyslaw Burztyka, and Marcin Rychter, 2022)
Logic: From Images to Digits (2021)
Rorty and Beyond (co-edited with Eli Kramer and Krzysztof Piotr Skowronski, 2020)
Tom Petty and Philosophy: We Need to Know (co-edited with Megan Volpert, 2019)
The Philosophy of Umberto Eco (co-edited with Sara G. Beardsworth, 2017)
Metaphysical Graffiti: Deep Cuts in the Philosophy of Rock (2017)
The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism (with Gary Herstein, 2017)
The Philosophy of Hilary Putnam (co-edited with Douglas R. Anderson and Lewis E. Hahn, 2015)
Pussycat Blackie’s Travels: There’s No Place Like Home by Josiah Royce (co-edited with Robin Wallace, 2014)
The Philosophy of Arthur C. Danto (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn, 2013)
Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce (2013)
The Philosophy of Richard Rorty (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn, 2010)
The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy: Wicked Wisdom of the West (coedited with Phillip S. Seng, 2008)
Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy: Darkness on the Edge of Truth (co-edited with Douglas R. Anderson, 2008)
The Philosophy of Michael Dummett (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn, 2007)
The Philosophy of Jaakko Hintikka (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn, 2006)
The Philosophy of Marjorie Grene (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn, 2003)
Hartshorne and Brightman on God, Process, and Persons: The Correspondence, 1922–1945 (co-edited with Mark Y.A. Davies, 2001)
The Philosophy of Seyyed Hossein Nasr (co-edited with Lewis E. Hahn and Lucian W. Stone Jr., 2001)
Responses to Royce: 1885–1916, three volumes (edited, 2000)
As Deep as It Gets
Movies and Metaphysics
To find out more about Open Universe and Carus Books, visit our website at .
Copyright © 2022 by Carus Books
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher, Carus Books, 315 Fifth Street, Peru, Illinois 61354.
Printed and bound in the United States of America. Printed on acid-free paper.
As Deep as It Gets: Movies and Metaphysics
ISBN: 978-1-63770-008-2
This book is also available as an e-book (978-1-63770-009-9).
Library of Congress Control Number 20219411780
This book is dedicated to my spouse, Gaye, with whom I watched and discussed every single one of these shows, and many thousands more.
About the Author
R ANDALL A UXIER went to his first movie while in utero, which was West Side Story. He heard it without actually seeing it, of course. But he was born singing “So nice to be in America, everything free in America …” The doctors sent the bill anyway. Lousy bastards. That was somewhere in Kentucky, but he will find them anyway.
He grew up in Memphis, watching Elvis movies and Bambi. His first R-rated movie was Serpico, which his father regretted choosing, but it was due to Al Paccino’s leftist politics, not because of the lasting scars it left on his son. Randy was well on his way to not being a movie critic, asking his father “Why did he call that man a ‘fuck’? What’s that Dad?” Randy learned not to ask too many questions about movies as a result. He saw Invasion of the Mole People on TV one Saturday afternoon and decided to study ancient civilizations that might invade America from underground, such as the Russian Empire, the Prussian Empire, and the British Moptops. All this led him to philosophy in about the way that all roads lead to Rome, Georgia. He teaches philosophy and rhetoric, and whatever else they let him teach, at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
B RUCE C HANDLER did the pictures for this book. He lives in Austin, Texas, with a spouse and a daughter and a cat named Caledonia (who will only appear from hiding when someone plays bagpipe music on an iPhone). Bruce has a degree in photography from Murray State University and his former professors have not been made aware of what he is doing with all that fine education.
Contents About the Author Note to the Reader From the Alamo Draft House to the Livingroom Couch (Or There and Back Again) Part I Rated G: General Audiences 1. I Know Something You Don’t Know T HE P RINCESS B RIDE 2. Lions and Tigers and Bears S CARY S TUFF IN T HE W IZARD OF O Z 3. The Monster and the Mensch A C HILD’S E YE V IEW OF S UPER 8 4. Chef, Socrates, and the Sage of Love F INDING L OVE IN S OUTH P ARK 5. Killing Kenny D EATH T HERAPY IN S OUTH P ARK Part II Parental Guidance Suggested 6. The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful S ERGIO L EONE’S A NIMALS, A CTORS, AND A ESTHETICS 7. Democracy Adrift H ITCHCOCK’S L IFEBOAT 8. Cuts Like a Knife C UTTING TO THE C ORE OF H IS D ARK M ATERIALS 9. Mrs. Coulter—Overwoman? H ER D ARK M ATERIALS Part III Rated R: Restricted Audiences Only 10. A Very Naughty Boy G ETTING R IGHT WITH B RIAN AND M ONTY P YTHON 11. Have You No Decency? C LAIRE, F RANK, AND T HEIR H OUSE OF C ARDS 12. Vinnie’s Very Bad Day T WISTING THE T ALE OF T IME IN P ULP F ICTION 13. Once Upon a Time In Inception 14. Dream Time In inception Part IV Director’s Cut 15. To Serve Man A Visit to The Twilight Zone Bibliography Suggestions for Reading Index
Note to the Reader
To get the most out of this book, it is best to watch the movie being talked about right before reading each chapter. Having the movie or show freshly in your mind will enhance your enjoyment of these discussions. I don’t bother with summarizing the plots or characters. In a number of cases, watching the movie or series again just after reading the chapter(s) will be a lot of fun too, since the discussions point out many things to watch for, to listen for, to check your responses and feelings against. If some of the chapters make you want to watch movies, then success is at hand.
But this book actually makes a fair introduction to philosophy as well as a rollicking good time. It is sufficient as a self-guided introduction, especially if you collect and peruse the “Suggested Readings” listed at the end of the book. These readings are the principal sources used in this book and provide a more serious accompaniment to this fairly light-hearted adventure through the movies. Yet, the number of chapters (fifteen) and the range of subjects is also adapted to the needs of college instructors who will have fifteen weeks of active teaching and then a week of tests. In cases where TV series are suggested, such as six seasons of House of Cards, or ten seasons of South Park, some selecting has to be done.
The approach to philosophy is decidedly Continental, with some American idealism and process philosophy in support. The emphasis of this book is on the primacy of time as a key to interpreting human experience. In that regard, existentialism, phenomenology, and process philosophy are the better guides to thinking about time in my view than the more popular approaches that depend on language analysis. Analytic philosophers might enjoy reading this book, but I doubt many would want to teach it.
The figures discussed belong to the more humanistic strains of the history of philosophy, and the favorite sources of analytic philosophy (especially the Moderns) do not make an appearance. In their place, apart from Socrates/Plato, is the Continental tradition descending from Kant, and this generally includes the American figures chosen, all of whom might loosely be described as Kantian humanists. There is no effort in this book to balance the sources (one cannot cover everything), but the traditional branches of philosophy are all treated in their turn and clearly defined.
A student who goes through this book will be introduced to ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, metaphysics, and the theory of knowledge. There is only a light treatment of logic as is needed for metaphysics (and the logic is Kant’s, not the extensional logics in the Frege-Russell tradition). Still, students will learn what Kant called “intellectual imagination,” how it works in the creation of stories, from mythic to modern. The narrative aspect of this book permeates every chapter—that philosophizing involves telling stories about life that are art, and making up stories that aren’t life but provide a contrast to it.
If one were to think of a single philosopher whose theories are closest to what is in this book, it would be Hayden White (who is not even mentioned in the book, but whose humanism is a point of reference, for those who know his work), that would work well as a suggested collection of texts for such an introductory course. A number of other late twentieth-century humanists would also be useful traveling companions, such as Isaiah Berlin, Francis Yates, Owen Barfield, Hans Georg Gadamer, Umberto Eco, Claes Ryn, and Donald Phillip Verene. Of these, only Eco really shows up in this book as a source, but they all hover in the background.
There are a few “bad guys” in the tradition, such as the followers of Leo Strauss, the followers of Heidegger, the followers of Freud, and others who have allowed themselves to become cultish, but I hope I have shown sufficient respect for the philosophers with whom I disagree, if not for their followers. It is certainly not my intention to discourage anyone from reading these masters, only from falling into slavish devotion to any single thinker. I hope to help readers learn to see and value things in the movies that reinforce the philosophical moments that everyone experiences, to value their own insights into the shows they watch, to reflect on stories, characters, and ideas that appear in the movies. And I want readers to add to what I see, and, if they are inclined, to take up interpretations contrary to mine. A healthy d

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