Earlier, I was writing on

Earlier, I was writing on a new project, which reminded me of the Bohr story, which I posted. Then I found Wall Street on Bravo and kind of got into it for a bit. Then it got on my nerves, because they kept saying, "sure thing" and "easy money." Even in what may be Oliver Stone's only truly good movie, he can't resist beating the viewer over the head. Went swimming instead. Then came back to an incredible scene in a truly, truly good movie: the hookup scene in Out of Sight.

I hadn't really noticed it before, but Steven Soderbergh and Anne Coates wove two intensely related scenes with Jennifer Lopez & George Clooney together: A) their slightly awkward small talk in the hotel bar, and B) their subsequent playful foreplay in Lopez's room. The sound and dialogue throughout is from the bar, and the overlay of their mutual flirting with its payoff makes their lines doubly charged. Coates uses very brief freeze frames, too, and the combined scene closes on a still of the two actors just about to kiss. The whole scene plays with expectation, anticipation, fulfillment. We know these two stars are gonna hook up, so there'd be little suspense in their flirting. This way, both scenes--and the pacing of the movie--benefit. It's been almost a month since I've had a paean to Soderbergh, and it's overdue. Coates should get major props, too, though; after all, she won an Oscar for editing Lawrence of Arabia. Here's an article on Coates from the Editor's Guild.

Also found these helpful quotes from a this Guardian interview with Soderbergh:

"As soon as an actor takes their clothes off in a movie, you're watching a documentary, not a feature film. I feel like it breaks the spell that you've created for the characters, that it's not Karen taking her clothes off, it's Jennifer Lopez. In a movie, I sort of check out when people start to slather on each other." And on Coates: "I had to shut her up. If I had to hear one more David Lean story, I'd belt her."

[Buy Wall Street, Out of Sight, or Lawrence of Arabia on DVD.]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: June 26, 2002.

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