The world is a mess. Let’s regroup, shall we?
Loving movies is like loving sports. Balls and fields come in all shapes and sizes, as do movies. We all have our favorite teams — horror, sci-fi, Westerns, and so on. Kubrick, Spielberg, Russell, Streep — they’re our favorite players. Look, you get the analogy. And just like the heartbreaking ups and downs that come with following our favorite sports teams, endless movie watching can get stressful. Awards season, summer blockbusters, Scary Movie Month. Nobody likes to admit it, but we all get worn down. I’m pretty worn down at the moment. Watching movies feels like an obligation. I’m distracted by world events. Devoting energy to art feels tedious and misguided. I’ve fallen out of love with it. I need to shake out the cobwebs and get my groove back. It’s time to drink from the fountain of movie love, starting with Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy. Despite their convoluted plots and deep bench of quick-witted con artists, the series thrives on the kind of effortless charm that many filmmakers would kill to conjure once, let alone three times. Let’s take a short respite from the garbage world we’ve built for each other and talk about five things to love from the Ocean’s trilogy:
Sea of Love co-star Ellen Barkin (awkward and dated cougar jokes not withstanding). Still, it’s Pacino, and Willie Bank sits firmly in his late career wheelhouse. One of my favorite stand-up comics, Eddie Izzard, appears as Roman the Tech Guy and delivers one of the best lines in the series (“Tell him he dresses like a gigolo!”). Catherine Zeta-Jones is stunning, and Vincent Cassel does that awesome laser grid dance, so that’s cool. Speaking of Twelve, I’m a huge fan of the aforementioned Julia Roberts gag. I know a lot of people think it’s stupid, but it’s fun and she’s great and it works for that movie. Look, I just really like Ocean’s Twelve.
Magic Mike with the goofy hangout fun of Magic Mike XXL (I know he didn’t direct it — shut up), he took a weird chance on a big-budget French New Wave film starring some of the most in-demand celebrities on the planet. It’s hardly the least accessible movie in the director’s cannon, but the fact that he was able to get it made after Eleven took in half a billion dollars worldwide is a miracle. I don’t even care that Thirteen is more or less a backtracking apology sequel. Twelve totally loosened the bottle cap on that one. The subplot about the worker’s revolution at the Mexican dice factory seems totally normal and plausible when you compare it with all that Faberge egg, house-lifting bullshit they were doing in Rome. My point is that Matt Damon made three Bourne movies during this period, and I can’t tell the difference between any of them. Case closed.