>In reply to the suggestion of Brian Taves regarding the study of the most
>popular films of an era or genre I must strongly disagree.
I don't think he was suggesting a curriculum based on such a notion, just a
class and I agree and suggest that this would be a incredibly insightful
class. To ignore this segment of the film population is to encourage
ignorance about what people go to see. I think a segment of a class such
as this would have to explore marketing though because for larger films,
this is an equal partner in the film's making. (To break even, big release
movies need to make back 3 times what the budget of the film is because the
other two thirds is for prints and advertising).
While studying at UCLA, I took a popular literature class where we studied
Stephen King, Zane Grey, Dianelle Steele, etc. After studying endless
playwrights like Shakespeare and Chekov and many novelists like whose names
I have forgotten how to spell, this class was truly fascinating. Exploring
popular themes, popular attitudes, discovering what the mass of people
chose to read and why, what this meant about leisure time, all these
questions create a better understanding of people's relationship to
entertainment and attitudes towards "art".
These sorts of classes may not idealize what we love, but they provide
valuable exploration which I would hope is the goal of a good cinema
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