Great Flicks (Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics)

Great Flicks (Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics)

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What does it take to make a great motion picture? What do we even mean by cinematic greatness? What is more important: movie awards, critical acclaim, or box office success? Who has the biggest impact: the writer, the director, or the actors? Scientific research has provided some provocative answers., What does it take to make a great motion picture? What do we even mean by cinematic greatness? What is more important: movie awards, critical acclaim, or box office success? Who has the biggest impact: the writer, the director, or the actors? Scientific research has provided some provocative answers. This review of cinematic creativity and aesthetics is confined to scientific studies carried out by a multidisciplinary group of researchers. Do great films receive both shiny trophies and five stars? Chapter 2 concentrates on movie awards, including the Oscars and Golden Globes, and how those awards relate to critical acclaim. How do the dramatic awards compare with the visual, technical, and music awards? Chapter 3 studies more closely how these awards cluster together and which of these clusters best predict cinematic success. How does box office compare with critical evaluations and movie awards? Chapter 4 adds a new consideration, namely the film's financial performance. The following four chapters focus on specific contributions to a film's impact: Chapter 5 covers the script (including writers), Chapter 6 the director (or "auteur"), Chapter 7 the actors (especially gender differences), and Chapter 8 the music (both scores and songs). Chapter 9 addresses the question of whether the same cinematic factors that make some films great also make other films bad: Are bombs the exact opposite of masterpieces? The book closes with an epilogue on future directions in scientific studies of cinematic creativity and aesthetics. What do researchers need to do if we want a complete understanding of what it takes to create a powerful cinematic experience? This volume will be invaluable to anyone interested in film, including any aficionado who is open to a scientific approach, and researchers in the areas of creativity, aesthetics, and cultural economics. The reported research comes from many disciplines, including psychology, sociology, economics, management, marketing, communications, journalism, broadcasting, history, musicology, and statistics., PREFACE ; 1. Prologue: The Scientist as Cinema Connoisseur? ; 2. Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Critics: Consensus or Dissension? ; 3. Story, Sights, Tricks, and Song: What Really Counts? ; 4. Rave Reviews, Movie Awards, and Box Office Bucks: Which Doesn't Belong? ; 5. The Script: Does the Narrative's Nature Matter? ; 6. The Auteur: Are Directors Experts or Artists? ; 7. The Stars: Sexism in Cinema? ; 8. Music: Is Silence Golden? ; 9. Razzies: So Bad It's Good? ; 10. Epilogue: The Science of Cinema? ; NOTES ; REFERENCES ; INDEX, "This book is a perfect illustration of Dean Simonton's power to strike a delicate and difficult balance between psychology (his main field), economics, statistical analysis and the arts. A must for those who like the seventh art. Spend less time on Maltin, and read Simonton as soon as possible." - Victor Ginsburgh, European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics, Brussels, and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, Louvain-la-Neuve "If a new book from Dean Keith Simonton is cause for excitement and if a new book on the movies is cause for celebration, then a new book by Simonton on the movies should be an excuse for a day off from work. Insightful, passionate, clever, and filled with extensive research and ideas, Great Flicks is a great read. This book will find devoted audiences in wide corners, from aesthetics/creativity researchers to film buffs. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, Simonton covers such disparate fields as psychology, literature, and business to illuminate the burgeoning field of the science of cinema." - James C. Kaufman, Founding Co-Editor, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, and Associate Professor of Psychology, California State University at San Bernardino "Dean Simonton is one of the world's leading authorities on creativity, genius, and cinematic achievement. In these areas he is a true trailblazer. In Great Flicks, Simonton continues to elucidate new pathways for the reader. Simonton moves beyond opinion and film critic conjecture to what the latest science reveals about successful movies. The result is a captivating analysis that forms a picture of history's greatest films." - Ryan M. Niemiec, Education Director, VIA Institute on Character "Simonton's research on the creativity of film is a seminal body of work in the field of the psychology of aesthetics. In this volume, for the first time, Simonton summarizes and elaborates on his important and influential explorations on the psychology of the movies. This impressive volume summarizes previous research - much of which Simonton himself has conducted - and provides a path forward for future empirical studies of film quality. This engaging book is a must-read for anyone interested in film studies or people interested in learning more about the movies they love (and love to hate!)." - Jonathan Plucker, Professor of Educational Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington "By the time we conclude the final chapter of Great Flicks we have learned 'lots' about great movies. We have been introduced to a significant set of predictors for greatness, whether measured in terms of awards, critical acclaim, or profits. And we have had an entertaining time doing so." -- Shelley H. Carson, PhD, PsycCRITIQUES, Dean Keith Simonton (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. He has almost 400 publications, including 11 books, that treat various aspects of genius, creativity, leadership, and aesthetics. His numerous honors include the William James Book Award and the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology and the Arts.

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