Monday, February 18, 2008

Those Ocean Movies

I was a kid when the first -- aka 'real' -- Ocean's Eleven came out.

It wasn't in my top ten films of all time. It might not have even made the top twenty or top fifty. But it was a fun film. I like caper movies and I like movies with a twist at the end -- and this one was good for that.

I saw the 'new' Ocean's Eleven hoping for the same reaction.

I didn't get it. I actually got confused by it. And I left the theater feeling disgruntled and irritated and I wondered why I'd bothered.

Well, perhaps George was why I bothered, but he didn't save the film for me.

So I wasn't desperate to go see Ocean's Twelve when it came out. In fact I didn't go see it. And for a long time I didn't even rent it. But finally it rolled to the top of our Netflix rental list and appeared on our doorstep and, well, what can I say?

I watched it.

I found that I liked it better than Eleven. There was a bit of warmth to it. Not just cutesy capery stuff. Well, there was plenty of that. But there was Brad getting Catherine Zeta-Jones together with her dad at the end . . . (oops, was that a spoiler? Sorry. I thought it was a point in its favor.)

I liked that. What can I say? I'm a sap for a happy ending.

So I rented Ocean's Thirteen. And tonight we watched it.

And I like it best of all. It had all the same capery elements of the earlier ones, but it had something that I didn't really see in the first one and only caught a brief glimpses of in the second one, but which finally came into its own in Thirteen.

It had heart.

It was based on heart - on friendship. On what a group of men will do for each other when one of them is down and out. You could call it a revenge movie. But it's not a bloody revenge movie. It's a funny revenge movie. It's a movie of sharp wits vs sneaky wits. Of cleverness vs power. Of cunning vs ruthlessness.

And, of course, the good guys win.

They break the rules. But they outwit the Bad Guy -- and the pretty bad guy. At the same time they get teary-eyed at Oprah, make sure that the 'little people' succeed, and end up making the pretty bad guy look good against his own inclination.

It gives us heroes to root for who are not in the slightest conventional. They do everything illegal they can possibly do. And we are on their side the whole time. Not just because they are George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon -- though admittedly that helped. We are on their side because we appreciate what they are trying to do.

We'd go to bat for our friends, too. We identify with them. We care about they people they care about. The movie works because the heroes in it have heart.

They make us care.

The best heroes do.

Of course, it doesn't hurt if they look like George and Brad and Matt, too.

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Blogger Cat Schield said...

I loved all three movies (and men). It's the first movies I've ever seen where you know the actors are having the best time of their lives. I imagine being on the set for any of the Oceans movies would be a riot. The relationship between those three men is terrific and that chemistry comes through on the big screen. And I think the vulnerability we see in the characters personal relationships adds to their charm.

20 February, 2008  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

I agree, Cat, that it definitely looked like they were having a blast. I think that movies that celebrate friendship -- and where you can see that it goes beyond the movie itself -- are great fun to watch. And you're right, the vulnerability in the characters' relationships is definitely a part of the charm. If they were completely together and had no qualms or worries about anything, we wouldn't love them as we do.

And while I didn't especially love the first one, I am glad they kept the series going and, to my way of thinking, just got better and better. It's much nicer that way than going away thinking, "Boy, they should've stopped a couple of movies ago."

I thought George looked like he was having a good time in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

20 February, 2008  

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