Sunday, November 29, 2015

HOLY SCHNIKES:Transitions in Tommy Boy

Over Thanksgiving break I found myself watching Peter Segal's Tommy Boy starring Chris Farley and David Spade. I've see this movie before and had recently thought of it as nothing more than a 'throw away' slapstick comedy to watch when 1) You are doing some other primary task that is infinitely more important or 2) Its 3:30am and there's nothing better to do. However, when I was watching this time something came to light that I had previously never noticed: the transitions. 

While 'cinematic elegance' may not come to mind when thinking of Tommy Boy, that's what I would call the the seamless transitions between many of the scenes in this film. Instead of just cutting between scenes, Tommy Boy utilizes surprisingly create camera moves and composition to create a 'seamless' transition that flows freely into the next scene in a completely different location.  While its no Birdman,I had never noticed these creative transitions before. After catching one such transition in the opening credit sequence I found myself waiting for them throughout the film. I had trouble finding any of them online for this blog post, which really surprised me. I'm not saying the transitions in the film were Oscar-worthy, I just thought someone else would have taken note of the transitions as I did. That being said, I was able to find one that occurs fairly early in the movie:

Skip to 3:30 to see the transition. This is actually a weaker example comparatively to some of the other transitional moves throughout the film because it is just a simple cut, with the second shot framed in such a way that you initially think it is part of the same scene, until the camera pulls back and it becomes apparent that we have moved ahead in time to a totally different location. Transitions like this were abundant throughout the film, most utilizing camera movement and similar shot composition to trick us into thinking the scene didn't actually change. 

You would think this would be a little jarring and unsettling to the viewer, but it actually works quite well. So well, in fact, that it appears that no one else on the internet has noticed it. 

I really appreciated this small filmic element thrown into an otherwise goofy comedy with no other cinematic takeaways.Tommy Boy really made me think about utilizing transitions in a creative way and not wasting any frames of the film. So, I've decided to re-shoot Dollhouse and make every scene change to be creatively seamless. 

Just Kidding. 


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