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  • Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie

    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie

    December 16, 2009, 12:26 pm
    Christmas time is here and I am very open about my emotional resemblance to Ebenezer Scrooge regarding the season. To be completely honest, the overdose of Christmas music and decorations in every supermarket, shop, and restaurant I frequent gives me the urge to bust out my chainsaw and do a hyper-realistic Jason impression rather than be jolly. So, to kick off my first ever Christmas blog I thought that I’d watch people having crappy Christmases and subject my readers to the same Christmas pain by way of the top 5 MOMENTS OF DESPAIR...

    Criteria:
    -Main character must hit the "belly of the whale" of the movie
    -Editing should reflect the pain of the character as well as move the story
    -Bah Humbug.
    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie
    5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

    This is an all around crappy Christmas that I would definitely be happy to NOT be a part of. That said, the scene where Chevy Chase hits rock bottom is edited so smoothly that I had to watch it three times in order to find the cuts without getting sucked into the film. You just don’t notice it. Not to mention that the tension keeps building with Chase going on about what’s in the envelope without opening it, and the cuts moving between close ups of him, the wife character, and the whole rest of the family in anticipation. Open it already! Oh, and enjoy your jelly of the month club subscription.
    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie
    4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Christmas was ALMOST made cool until the armed forces shot Jack Skellington out of the sky and demanded the real Santa back. Oh well. At least animations have such well thought out edits making them not only beautiful to look at, but have everything flow and move very deliberately. This also gets extra points because Jack’s belly of the whale is manifested in a song.
    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie
    3. A Christmas Story (1983)

    I remember hating this movie whenever the teacher put it on for class the day before winter break. I hated it specifically because it was so frustrating to watch, and vowed after 9 years straight of watching it that I would never watch it again. Of course now I watch it and with my ripe old age of 23 have found a new appreciation for it— maybe it’s one of those movies that you don’t really "get" until you’re older. I digress. A Christmas Story actually has one really great scene that maybe isn’t exactly the belly of the whale of the big picture but is definitely the best edited moment and positively the biggest let down in the whole film. It’s when Ralphie gets his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and gets his first secret message. The editing gets more and more frantic as he’s finding his letters, getting closer and closer to the subject in the frame, only to be totally owned with a perfectly timed wide shot to help show Ralphie’s realization that the world revolves around capitalism (especially around Christmas time).
    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie
    2. Scrooged (1988)

    By far the scariest Christmas film, Scrooged has an interesting editing feel to it that I’m not totally sure how to explain in words. In the belly of the whale scene, where the ghost of Christmas future brings Bill Murray to his very lonely funeral, he gets sucked into his own symbolic death by a flurry of disturbing images with an almost subliminal feel to it. It almost makes the viewer feel like he or she is suddenly trapped within a flaming coffin. Maybe I should stop being such a Scrooge... I think I’ll switch to Grinch-ette.
    Top 5 Edited Moments of Despair in a Xmas Movie
    1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

    This movie has a typical editing style for the period, but it’s a particularly good example of it. That might actually have something to do with why it’s such a classic and continues to be treated as such, even though the story is maybe a bit outdated (maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard for me to relate to someone who holds money in high enough regard to want to kill himself over it— he’s got such a great family! Who needs anything else?) In any case, the editing does a great job of frame matching as well as using long takes effectively (oh Jimmy Stewart). It’s so clean and deliberate, making it easy to watch even after watching it side by side with a quick-cut modern movie. This is also arguably the worst Christmas situation out of the bunch... He’s the only one that was so deep in that whale’s belly that he felt the need to jump off a bridge!
    Summary


    Regardless of what you celebrate, have a great December and take advantage of being with your family. I truly believe that there is nothing more important than time spent with loved ones, so make the most of it and don’t be a Scrooge in that sense! Happy holidays!

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • The Top 5 American Western Standoffs
      EDITING

      The Top 5 American Western Standoffs

      August 5, 2009, 12:24 pm
      To kick off the first post for the Edit Decision List, I thought it would be fitting to choose a topic that relies on one of the most fundamental techniques in editing film: building tension. There are many places for using this technique, but it is in its most blatant use in the Western Standoff. Therefore here is The Top 5 American Western Standoffs based on editing.

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    • Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal

      July 17, 2009, 12:32 pm
      I just recently finished compositing some shots for a live-action Disney DVD film (soon to come) involving talking animals. This is the first time that I’ve really done anything like that, and although I wasn’t editing, I could appreciate how difficult it can be to edit a film with animal actors as I saw the shots come in. And it’s difficult regardless of if they have moving mouths or not. Animals aren’t really "acting" on their free will as humans do, so discerning which take is the best has to with a mixture of the action being performed properly (pun intended) as well as juxtaposing the action with another action to convey an accurate sense of emotion, which 95% of animals (arguably) don’t naturally exhibit.

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