Sunday, July 06, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 331: That Shot

For all the blood, sweat and tears screenwriters expend constructing a story and filling it with memorable characters, the audience’s dynamic link with a film comes from the director.

Oh, they’re drawn by the stars too and seeking something from the genre or the theme. But let’s set that “collaborative medium” thing aside for a moment and admit that in the final analysis it’s the Director who grabs them by the balls –- or whatever.

Screenwriter Peter Stone once quipped that directing was “as hard as falling down and chipping a tooth”. And since Stone mostly wrote bullet (and director) proof scripts, you can forgive him for thinking the craft came down to the Directing 101 assertion that a film is nothing but shots and cuts.

But every great director has one shot or cut that others may copy or emulate but they never master. And even utterly talentless helmers can come up with one that keeps them working for life.

Spielberg is known for the one shot scene. Scorcese always finds a moment of utter silence to nail your attention. Peckinpah was the master of Slo-Mo while Hitchcock had moves that turned any scene sinister.

And Michael Bay has patented “Bayhem”.

Now, nobody hates Michael Bay movies as much as I do. But you gotta give the guy his due. When it comes to filling a frame and overwhelming your senses (maybe beating them to a pulp is more accurate) nobody does it better.

Maybe the reason his movies are so bad is because there simply isn’t room for a story amid everything else that’s going on. Although, I’ve often wondered what would happen if you linked him with a screenwriter suffering from the same multi-level form of ADHD. Maybe Tarantino or Charlie Kaufman.

For a close look at and explanation of how Bayhem works, I place you in the gifted hands of “Every Frame A Painting” host Tony Zhou.

No matter how you cut it, Michael Bay has mastered “that shot”.

Enjoy Your Sunday…

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