I'm going to weigh in again, since we'd used Bordwell and Thompson and switched to Phillips. This was mostly because of the reading level of our students, as well as it being an introductory course, and not really to water it down. Phillips also discusses "classic" and little-known films as well as popular movies.
In the basic film appreciation class offered at CMSU, I do show some current films, but not the really popular ones (except as clips). I try to show films (as features or clips) that are mentioned in both the Phillips and Bordwell & Thompson texts, and that the students would NOT have been exposed to. It is our goal to counter the attitude Gloria reveals in her student story (alas, all too prevalant here, as well). After reading many an excrutiatingly bad paper on some bad current film, I've changed my paper assignment so students are forced to look at a "classic" film and analyze it. Since I did so, I've discovered that many of the students have enjoyed these films, and produced better insights. Although there still is plenty of bad writing to make up for it!
After teaching out of both B & T and the Phillips book, I still prefer the latter for beginning students, and they prefer it as well. It isn't perfect, but, as one of the reviewers for the second edition of Phillips, I provided suggestions for improvement that would make it a bit more like B & T (but more engaging). I hope the second edition works as well as the first has.
Barbara L. Baker, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication
Central Missouri State University
Warrensburg, MO. 64093
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Since I was one of the folks who suggested Bordwell's and Thompson's _Film
Art_ I guess I should weigh in also. I like the sophisticated treatment that
the book offers and the fact that it both challenges students and offers them
glimpses of films with which they are unfamiliar. I have always balanced it
with more familiar texts by showing the students "pretty mainstream movies" as
class examples and then discussing the film using B&T's readings as the
framework for the discussion. It has worked well for me.
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>That's a great story from Dr. Monti, though of course it's got to be at
>least as much about gender as anti-intellectualism in film studies.
>Though I understand the cautionary lesson of that student's letter, I
>maintain some optomism that we can blend the theoretically sophisticated
>with the student-friendly in a way that entertains while impressing
>students that we mean (analytic) business. I regard scholars such as
>Bordwell, Thompson, and Staiger as important parts of that mix.
>Thompson's new book should be helpful in that regard as well.
> BTW, has anyone got good scholarship on the teeny-bopper movies,
>especially ones focusing on girls? I have students probing deviance and
>revenge against guys/adults in movies such as The Craft, Heathers,
>Heavenly Creatures, Wild Things, Jawbreakers, Carrie, etc. The slasher
>movies are well covered, but I'd like to see chapters/articles on the
>other movies as well. thanks.
>Belmont University Sociology
>Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
>University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu
Dr. J. Emmett Winn
Department of Communication
217 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849-5211
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