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Hey, whore, how's the whoring? This week, the honor goes to:

The God Damn Denver Post, again. Can't they deliver one fucking paper a week? I've accepted they can't write a decent one, but they can't even deliver someone else's on Sunday. They suck ass.

David Cordingly -
Under the Black Flag

Un Chien Andalou

Beck -
Stereopathic Soul Manure

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©2001 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Ocean's 11

Filthy says:
"It's every bit as cool as Entertainment Weekly!"

We're divided into three groups: 10% are truly cool, 10% are truly uncool and the other 80% are the assholes in the middle who think buying certain products will elevate them to cool. I'm uncool, and I'm not proud.

But some day, all of us uncool people are going to rise up. The time will come when we can't stand being at the bottom, hate the way we're treated and finally get fed up with being made fun of for our hightide pants. We'll unite, get our shit together and fight back. And on that day, the cool people will beat the holy fuck out of us.

How do cool people know what's cool and what isn't? Is it genetic? Are some people predisposed to knowing what sunglasses to buy before everyone else? Or is it learned behavior? And how much work does it take to be cool? I don't know, but I know it takes almost no effort to be uncool. It comes naturally to me to walk around with my fly open, or to get drunk and challenge a stranger to see who can fall down the stairs better, or to run through the supermarket yelling for my wife and holding what at the time seems like the funniest-looking banana ever.

The original Ocean's 11 had a lot of cool people in it; Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy David, Jr. But it was not cool. In fact, it's a bad, bad movie, and not all of that can be blamed on the presence of Peter Lawford. It's just a bunch of smug cool guys trying to get us to pay for their cool, and that's why it's so awful and uncool. They were fully aware that people thought they were cool.

My theory is you're only cool as long as you never think about it. Once you start thinking whether or not you're cool, you become part of that 80% who are status-hungry assholes. I want to set up some sort of Schroedinger's Cat type experiment where I put a cat in a box. I don't know all the details, and I guess the cat would have to be cool or uncool, or both until observed. Then we can prove that a cat is cool until observed and made aware of its coolness. The trick here would be finding a cat that you could teach to think it's cool. Okay, so maybe that's not exactly like Schroedinger, but it would still be really fun to stick a cat in a box.

The new Ocean's 11 is not cool. It's a pretty good movie, but it's not cool simply because it is trying to be. Sure, maybe Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine and Access Hollywood will declare Ocean's 11 cool, and the studio will shove it down our throats as the new definition of hip, but if you're letting them tell you what's cool, you might as well throw on your Members Only jacket and check out happy hour at the Red Lobster. I seriously doubt that in 40 years people will sit around saying how cool George Clooney was. They'll be too busy pissing on his grave and remembering the pedophile scandal of 2008.

In this remake, Clooney takes Frank Sinatra's spot, as Danny Ocean, a can man just sprung from prison and looking for a big score. He has a scheme to pick off a Vegas casino vault loaded with 150 million boners. Like Sinatra does in the original, he gathers a group of ragtag friends, each with a different skill, to pull off the job. Brad Pitt is the brains, Matt Damon has the light fingers, Bernie Mac can get them into the casino, Carl Reiner is a casino distraction, Don Cheadle is a master safecracker, Elliott Gould is the embittered former casino owner with a score to settle, Shaobo Qin is the Chinese acrobat that squeeze into tiny spaces, and Eddie Jemison is the tech-geek. Because that's only nine and the movie is called Ocean's 11, Casey Affleck and Scott Caan are thrown in as perhaps the least funny, most annoying "comic relief" in history. They play screeching weasels who behave, for some unknown reason, as through their nest of babies is being threatened.

What Clooney doesn't tell the team is that the casino they are knocking off is owned by the man (Andy Garcia) screwing his ex-wife, Julia Roberts. Clooney wants the dough and his mustachioed lady, too.

It's a caper genre picture, like The Heist and The Score, but what separates Ocean's 11 is that the caper is pretty fucking good and the movie isn't overly pleased with itself just for thinking it up. It doesn't drown us in scene after scene showing off how God damn clever the screenwriter was. I won't go so far as to say it's believable, but it is definitely more fun than its brethren. It's slick as a McDonald's Playplace slide after a kid with the French-fry-runs goes down. The dialog is also good. There's no exposition poking out like a blind man's dick, and director Steven Soderbergh doesn't let anyone get too weepy.

There's also some pretty good acting. Damon is strong as the pickpocket who has to prove himself. Unlike his drunkard pal Ben Affleck, Damon can act and doesn't try to look like he's posing for a poster. Cheadle and his Cockney accent are a fuck load better than he was in Mission to Mars. Gould is by far the funniest as the fat, furry millionaire who can't resist getting even with Garcia, who is about the demolish his old hotel. And Brad Pitt is good as the unflappable point man.

But, anytime you try to cram 11 thieves into a movie, along with the victims, someone gets left out, and they all get the short-shrift on character development. Clooney plays the same God damn character he always plays. He's the smug, aren't-I-charming, barely-acting asshole he is in every movie. This guy has the range of a Holly Hobby oven; one soft-white bulb able to warm but never to cook. And I want to repeat how similar to a case of shingles Affleck and Caan are. They are painful, debilitating to the movie, and use up way too much screen time that could have been better spent developing somebody's character.

Actually, their presence is just more proof that the movie is trying to be cool. It could have been Ocean's 9. But, no, the moviemakers are selling us Sinatra's ghost, so it has to be 11.

Anybody who has been reading me for a while knows how much I loved Julia Roberts and how we were planning to get married as soon as she acknowledged the letters I sent her. She sucks ass here. She's a hardened bitch and I have no idea why Clooney would want her back. I guess it's because she's Julia Roberts, Americas Sweetheart, and we're supposed to accept that. I call bullshit. Also, if she's so damn great why the fuck is she with an asshole like Andy Garcia's character? She must be either the biggest dope on the planet (besides Affleck and Caan), or a money-grubbing whore to be in love with him. The fact that he's such an asshole makes her decision at the end way too easy and predictable. The fact that she's so unpleasant also makes it unsatisfying. Plus, did the script tell her to grow the faint mustache or was that her own touch?

Julia, I want my letters back, the wedding is off. I just hope the Arvada Elk's Lodge will refund my deposit for the reception hall.

Ocean's 11 claims to be about Las Vegas, but that's bullshit. Director Steven Soderbergh and his crew never even go out and see the city. It all takes place in the Bellagio, one crappy casino for snooty showoffs. This place is the casino equivalent of an upscale mall: boring as hell and as ostentatious as a Lexus with gold-plate. There's a shitload of interesting stuff in Las Vegas, but this movie is too interested in being an ad for the Bellagio to bother showing it to us. (Want to read about my trips to Las Vegas?)

Three Fingers for Ocean's Eleven, a good movie, but a futile exercise in cool. Even more futile than when I tried smoking cigars and lit my pants on fire.

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