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Cue the Billiard Shot

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"You guys think bar scenes always have to start at a billiards shot?"
Abed, Community, "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"

This inherently punny Hollywood trope is where, all of a sudden, a pool table is shown at an angle. A shot is made, balls fly in any which direction they are set to fly in, then the camera pans up to show the player, a typically shady, or at least "biker" type of guy in a cowboy hat. Bonus points if a jukebox is playing country music in the background.

Related to Bad Guys Play Pool, but this one is not a character trope, it's a scene-establishing device.

Subtrope of Establishing Shot.



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     Films — Live-Action 
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day starts the bar scene with a pool table shot before it pans up to show the biker watching the T-800 enter.
  • In The Butterfly Effect, the college bar scene opens with a pool table shot as Thumper demonstrates his pool prowess to Evan.
  • In Thor, the scene of Thor and Selvig getting a drink at the local bar after getting Thor out of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s custody opens with a pool table shot.
  • A rack is broken in Capricorn One to open the scene where Intrepid Reporter Caulfield meets his contact in a bar. The contact starts explaining that the mission's telemetry is completely wrong, but when Caulfield gets distracted, his contact has vanished.
  • In Deadpool (2016), the scene at the bar where the recruiter approaches Wade starts with a pool table shot.
  • One of the scene at the youth club in Dazed and Confused starts with an overhead shot of a rack being broken by one of the characters.
  • A bar scene in A Beautiful Mind starts off with one character breaking the rack.
  • The second scene of Kiss the Girls at the night club where Casanova picks up a new victim is kicked off by a billiard shot.

     Live-Action TV  
  • In The West Wing episode "Manchester Part II," the scenes go from flashback to present. One "present" scene opens with the camera on a pool table in the bar the senior staff is hanging out in.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): The episode "A Game of Pool" starts with one of these. The camera follows the ball's trajectory, then focuses on Jack Klugman's character's reaction to it.
  • Played straight and then lampshaded by Abed in Community episode "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television" when the scene cuts to the group at Britta's bar and we see a close-up of Abed breaking a rack.
    Abed: You guys think bar scenes always have to start at a billiards shot? Or do you think every time someone takes a shot in billiards they start a new bar scene without knowing it?
  • Daredevil (2015): After the Kitchen Irish are massacred in the second season premiere, such a shot is used to cut to Matt, Karen and Foggy playing pool at Josie's, or rather, Matt and Foggy standing on the side as Karen sinks balls effortlessly.
  • In the pilot of Altered Carbon, Kovacs invites Ortega for a drink. The scene then cuts to a bar scene that starts off with a pool table shot.