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The Money Shot

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Mike Cohen
The Money Shot
on Aug 12, 2010 at 10:39:34 pm

Many movies have what becomes a signature shot - sometimes this becomes the movie poster or simply an indelible image associated with the movie. In my mind, in the case of a great movie, it is the moment that tells me the filmmakers are all on the same page and the director has mastered his or her craft - not always (in my mind) the same as the movie poster memorable shot, but a moment that if absent, the film would be less great.

Star Wars Ep 4 - after Luke discovers the toasted remains of his aunt and uncle, the camera is tight on his face - he looks down as a boy and then looks up as a man - you can see some rage in his eyes like his father before him. Life on the farm is over, the Empire has come calling and he's all in - no going back, become a Jedi, fight the bad guys, leave hom, stand up to the enemy.

So in this case, it is a shot but the shot is motivated by a turning point in the whole trilogy.

2001 - The moment when Dave and Frank are talking in the sound proof safety of the pod, away from the possibly psychotic listening range of HAL - the camera cuts to HAL's point of view and we see that perhaps HAL knows what is about to happen. This money shot is not some big epic landscape or action scene - it is a dramatic turning point, expressed with a well executed visual.

The Dark Knight - the new Batman movies are full of great visuals. While I am tempted to identify the shot in which the batpod hits a wall and Batman switches direction in a heartbeat (this shows that the hero is master of his tools and his tradecraft and that in this world, that's how things work, and that he is relentless in pursuing his enemy) - but rather, I will say it is at the end, when the Joker is hanging by his feet, and the camera rotates to show him swinging by his feet with his head upright. It is a disconcerting image that shows the villain is seemingly comfortable in an awkward precarious orientation. He is so deranged that upside down dangling for dear life is normal and right side up to his psyche.

Who's next?

Mike Cohen


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Scott Roberts
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 12, 2010 at 10:54:48 pm

I'm on my way out the door at work, so I'll think about more tomorrow, but I couldn't resist sneaking in a quick, easy, obvious one before I leave:

Taxi Driver - Travis putting his bloody hand to his head in the shape of a gun and pulling the trigger. It shows his true intentions of what he expected the outcome of the shootout to be, and that awesome look in his face shows that while he may have become the "hero" in the very end of the film (at least to Iris), he was still completely insane. It really puts his motives up in the air. Plus it's just a cool shot, and one of those "most famous shots ever!" kind of things.


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Mark Suszko
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:37:55 pm

Unfortunate choice of nomenclature in this thread.


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Scott Roberts
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 13, 2010 at 3:14:33 pm

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/bl6FbeoXeHQ?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="//www.youtube.com/v/bl6FbeoXeHQ?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


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Scott Roberts
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 13, 2010 at 6:03:49 pm

I'm sure most probably consider Tarantino's Death Proof to be trash, but I loved it (and still love it), and this is always the first shot that comes to mind every time the movie comes up in conversation or my head. The shot is essentially unessential (?), but for some reason I get the chills every time this part comes up, and I think it captures the vibe (of the first half) of the movie.

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/h6Li4ZjBqt0?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="//www.youtube.com/v/h6Li4ZjBqt0?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>


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Martin Curtis
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 14, 2010 at 1:14:53 pm

I used that phrase to a couple that were in the studio discussing getting some video work done. I immediately regretted it ("I said what?") and just moved on (very) quickly but I noticed she had a wry smile.


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Mike Cohen
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 14, 2010 at 7:26:11 pm

[Martin Curtis] "I used that phrase to a couple that were in the studio discussing getting some video work done."

I am not following the apparent inside joke.

I have used this phrase throughout my career - I think any anticipated moment or memorable image or nicely composed shot can use this term...hmm, now that I have described it, I think I know what's so funny!

Oh well, I still think this is an appropriate thread.

Mike


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Mark Suszko
Re: The Money Shot
on Aug 14, 2010 at 8:07:56 pm

You might want to google or wiki the term, Mike, before your next client meeting. They could think you mean something else. While your definition is a valid one, it is not the most common vernacular usage.


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Mike Cohen
Re: The Hero Shot
on Aug 14, 2010 at 8:39:03 pm

[Mark Suszko] "You might want to google or wiki the term"

Mark - you have read enough of my posts to know I am often sarcastic. I know full well what I wrote might be misconstrued, but look at the great conversation it started.

Changed subject line - that better?

Mike


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