I've been sick the last week or so. And I've been re-watching Ocean's 11, 12, and 13. This is what you do when you are sick. And yes, I'm going to rant about these movies. STRAP IN.
I'm going to preface what I have to say by saying this: By Crook is not a heist movie the way that the Ocean's movies are heist movies. The one thing both movies have in common: fun gags. That's about it? I'll elaborate on this later.
Mostly, I just want to express how much I appreciate these three movies.
Ostensibly, they are very similar. Gang gets together to rob some bad guy. Things go wrong but OH WAIT they went exactly according to plan (Ocean's 11 deserves all the credit/blame for introducing that trope to the action genre). A few life lessons are learned along the way. But, they're all weirdly different.
Obviously, Ocean's 12 is far different from the rest in terms of structure, style, the fact that it doesn't take place in Las Vegas, and all of its insider-y self reflective jokes. The latter is perhaps the most criticized part of these three movies but, I don't know, Julia Roberts playing Julia Roberts tricking Bruce Willis is the kind of weird thing movies of this size and budget should always do. Are you telling me you wouldn't enjoy Robert Downey Jr. having to impersonate Robert Downey Jr. as part of a big action set piece in the next Avengers movie? WHO ARE YOU, HYPOTHETICAL PERSON?
Ocean's 13 seems like a sort of homage to Ocean's 11, but it's more of a weird twin. Rather than focus on one of the crew like the previous two films, 13's focus is on the team. The team is the protagonist. As a group they have learned and changed over the course of 6 hours of movie time and 13 is their obvious swan song. Hence why the plot is "Al Pacino almost kills Elliot Gould so let's get him". The group itself has been attacked so the group itself must overcome what is attacking them. It's an interesting angle for a fun crime movie.
And of course, the granddaddy of them all. Ocean's 11. I am on record (thanks to the Supreme Court for agreeing to notarize my statement) stating that Ocean's 11 is the most fun movie ever made. A fun plot that is told in a twisty way that doesn't feel cheap, huge personalities portraying broad characters, and it is just well written and well executed. Steven Soderbergh is the best. A director who can step into any story/genre and make a movie that is entertaining but not shallow. Possibly the master of the 20th century crime movie.
Which brings us full circle. By Crook is a movie in service to other movies. One of the main characters is even obsessed with heist movies. I do not shy away from any of this. But, By Crook is its own thing. A fun, light hearted heist comedy that is a melancholic drama about friendship. It is both of these things. Much like how the Ocean's movies balanced a fun heist movie with themes of aging and friendship, By Crook will balance its road-heist-comedy with themes of friendship and morality. That is the lesson I take from the Ocean's trilogy, though By Crook does not have nearly as many fun robbery scenes. (No movie does.)
I'll likely be posting things like this to this blog occasionally. Little lessons I'm taking from movies I've watched recently with the occasional wrestling related post (probably).
Until next time...