December 12, 2005

Gratuitous Mid-Afternoon Netflix-Induced Thought

I dunno about anybody else, but I rather enjoyed Ocean's 12. I won't say if I think it's better than Ocean's 11, because I can't remember anything about what I thought of that movie except that the ending left me mildly dissatisfied.

But one question comes up: What is it about Julia Roberts that I'm still not getting?

Just askin'.

YIPS from Steve-O: Talk about the LLama DVD Harmonic Convergance! I rented Ocean's 12 last monday night and it was on my list of things to talk about. My thoughts:

oceans 11 movie poster.jpeg oceans 12 movie poster.jpeg oceans 11 sinatra.jpeg

2. Ocean's 11 is one of my all time favorite movies. I have always loved caper/con movies (thanks, I'm sure, to early repeated viewings of the Pink Panther franchise and The Sting), and Ocean's 11 was just so darn cool. I loved everything about it (except for Damon, who was the only bad penny in the bunch). It was quirky and weird in a Napoleon Dynamite sort of way, and the whole creative tension between Rusty and Danny Ocean was just, well, coolness defined. The repeated getting out of prison scenes even top the John Belushi getting out of prison scene in the Blues Brothers. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly "the biggest Ella Fitzgerald, of ALL TIME" was. The clothes, the mood, the soundtrack, it all just clicked for me.

As for the original? George Clooney is cooler than Sinatra.

Sue me.

IV. Ocean's 12 was just, well, flat. I re-watched it to understand the plot, and yes, it did work, but it failed (for me) in the essence of a good con movie---defining who and what the mark is. A good con movie will spin like a drunken gyroscope (think perhaps the greatest con movie of them all: House of Games), but it revolves around that central core. Ocean's 12 was coreless that way: too little quirky banter, not enough Bernie Mac, too much information on Rusty, and way too much Catherine Zeta Jones, who was probably the least convincing cinematic portrayal of a police officer since Al Molinaro's Murray the Cop on the Odd Couple tee-vee show. Maybe it was that the Danny/Tess/Rusty triangle was diluted, I don't know.

house of games image.jpeg
House of Games---the greatest con man movie of all time

3.14 One thing I did like was the whole Julia Roberts spoof 3/4 through the movie---it was one of the few laugh out loud parts of the whole thing, although Bruce Willis added a distracting level to the whole thing.

So in the end: too much "hey we're cool celebrities making a movie in Lake Como" and not enough of the core elements of a good con/caper movie.

And no, this doesn't mean I'm ready to join the Church of the Holy Netflix, although I've been pestered with pamphlets offered by its devout adherents in the past five trips to the airport.

Yips! back from Robbo: I'd just say to Steve-O and the commenters who have mentioned it that the whole Roberts-laughing-at-herself thing fell flat with me because it didn't come across as genuine self-mockery, but rather as pretend self-mockery which, in a weirdo Hollywood way, actually translates into more self-promotion. It was all too what my old Texas friends would have called, "praycious".

Posted by Robert at December 12, 2005 02:35 PM | TrackBack

Ya got me, boy. I started wondering that after Pretty Woman. I thought San Giacomo was much hotter. And, she can even act!

20 mil a pic? It's a mystery.

Posted by: mojo at December 12, 2005 02:48 PM

I with you Robbo, she plays a good hooker/white-trash floozy but beyond that I can't figure out why she's so popular. Especially with that big horsy-toothed grin of hers.

Posted by: Gary at December 12, 2005 03:21 PM

Isn't the best part of the movie how they involve her in making fun of her own celebrity? They crown the joke by having another celeb who knows her bust her for not being J (she writes with her left hand) because no one in the public cares about her enough to know that kind of thing. I laughed so hard.

My son calls her horse-face too.

Posted by: tee bee at December 12, 2005 03:35 PM

Okay, I can't say she's ever overimpressed me with her acting skills, but IMHO she was *hot* in the Dave Matthews video for "Dreamgirl"...

Posted by: LDH at December 12, 2005 03:58 PM

Mind you, I don't dislike her. I just don't understand why people fall all over themselves for her.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at December 12, 2005 04:34 PM

Er, Ocean's Twelve was HORRIBLE.

The plot of Ocean's 11 sucked as well (needlessly complicated unbelievable break-in/out), but it had style.

These are not clever caper movies.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at December 12, 2005 05:40 PM

More impt, Julia Roberts & Catherine Zeta Jones conspicuously did not socialize on the set, & Roberts said to be po'd that Zeta Jones got billing over her

Posted by: beautifulatrocities at December 12, 2005 06:03 PM

Eh. O12 bored me. A few clever moments, but overall, not so much. Pluse, the twist at the end seemed a little more "ex posteriori" (pulled out of the writer's a**) than O11, which was a marginally better movie.

Posted by: Brian B at December 12, 2005 06:08 PM

House of Games. Best film no one's ever seen. David Mamet script, and Joe Mantegna as the con man. You can't do better.

Unless it's Glengarry Glen Ross, which isn't really the same thing. But the two do make a great double feature.

Ever seen The Third Man? It was on the ancient movie channel last night; not really a con movie but more of a noir mystery. Fantastic.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 12, 2005 06:33 PM

I love the capers. Both the garnish type and the story type. Always thought that Sneakers never got enough hype. It had tech, humour and the McGuffin. P.S. two teaspoons of garnish capers plus two pints of water are an excellent hangover cure. This experiment is replicable.

Posted by: pinky at December 12, 2005 06:55 PM

Pinky is right about Sneakers. That was such a cool flick.

Posted by: Sobek at December 13, 2005 12:13 AM

Agreed. Sneakers had just enough twists.

Posted by: Brian B at December 13, 2005 09:06 AM

When people are laughing at you instead of with you, I don't think you get to count it as part of the joke.

Posted by: tee bee at December 14, 2005 10:36 AM