freeway shot

A Change of Dress

Ginny shows up to a party in a new dress, unaware of the change it will cause in her relationship with Mike.

That dress. Mike had gone on the record on many a talk show proclaiming Padres blue as his favorite color, but this particular shade of orange, set against this particular shade of brown skin, was giving his favorite a run for its money. 

And her neck. Mike remembered a few ancient poems from college English classes where a woman’s neck was praised, and his own eye roll that accompanied their reading. But now he got it. There was something about the smooth skin, left bare by the taming of her springy curls, that begged for his attention. His mouth to be more exact.

Her collarbones, delicate but stately, and her cleavage drew his eyes next. He realized he’d never really seen her chest before. Shirtless players were so common in the locker room that he didn’t even notice them anymore. But now there was Ginny, always wearing a Nike sports bra or tank top. And of course he’d looked (a side effect of functioning eyes and libido) but he had written them off as nothing special, your average B cups streamlined by moisture-wicking lycra. Now prominently displayed, he could see he’d been mistaken. He had to drag his eyes away, remind himself that he was ogling a teammate.

Next came her legs. They seemed to go on forever until they disappeared under the short hem of her sinfully tight dress. He might have believed they went right up to her waist except for the generous curve of her hips. Again, he had to make himself look away. She was still his rookie, even if she looked nothing like her usual self.

He stared too long and caught her eye as she scanned the club’s dwindling crowd. She smiled as she walked over, her gait swaying slightly. He guessed it was the difference between four inch heels and her treasured flyknits.

“I guess I missed the party,” she said with a slight slur that gave her sway new meaning. “Fucking uber decided to take the freeway and we got to sit there for an hour.”

“An hour you spent with his minibar, I’m guessing,” Mike replied.

She almost answered but the music distracted her. “I fucking love this song!”

She threw her hands up and started dancing. No, not dancing. Writing was a far more accurate description for the way she moved to the song.

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I am such a sucker for nice fight choreography (blame all those stage-fighting classes in high school), and while there are much flashier and/or funnier fights in this series–Tex vs. everyone + comedy teleporters, three-minute single-shot freeway chase with the camera rotating 1440 degrees, zero-gee + jetpacks + cars–I think this one is my favorite.

It’s tense, it’s dark, it’s quick, it’s hyper-stylized, it makes fantastic use of the whole hologram-projector thing, and the whole mess is happening between four characters who are extremely sympathetic for extremely different reasons. It’s not hard to believe something terrible’s going to happen at the end of it.

This classic scene from A Goofy Movie is a wonderful example of building cinematic tension. Notice how as the car gets closer to the freeway junction, the shots not only get shorter and shorter, but the camera moves in closer for an almost claustrophobic effect, reflecting the pressure that Max is experiencing making his decision. On top of that, the camera angles become more and more dynamic as it all plays out, the music cresendos, and at the very end of the piece, the tension snaps right when Max makes his choice. See if you notice any of the implied symbolism among some of the imagery spliced throughout (the map, the signs, etc.).