©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
Ocean's Twelve

Filthy says:
"Movie stars are expensive whores."

Before the Hallmark store canned my ass for what they called stealing (which is, coincidentally, what I'd call it too), I couldn't get a camera crew to come in and film me when I was pretending to hump the "I Hate Mondays" Garfields, even though it was pretty damn funny. All I got was dirty looks from the ladies there, and a behavior demerit for my personnel file. If George Clooney did it, though, they'd give him twenty million bucks and he'd probably win a People's Choice Award. How the hell is that fair?

For the most part, paying to see Ocean's Twelve is the same as giving swell-toothed Hollywood dullards your paycheck in exchange for watching them go on vacation. And here we are at an expensive Italian villa, sitting on our asses. Oh, and this is us playing poker . They look like they're having a good time, so why the hell do we have to pay for it?

Listen to the assholes in Ocean's Twelve when they promote this underwhelming turd and they blather on about what good friends they are and how much fun they had making the movie. I sort of understand Director Steven Soderbergh getting all caught up in that shit; he's an ugly dork, and now all the sudden the cool kids are paying attention to him. So, peer pressure dictates that he lets Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Clooney and Julia Roberts leave their boot imprints all over his back. But it's pure Hollywood hubris for these overpaid assholes to think that us little people give a rat's ass whether they had a good time doing their job. I doubt they ever wonder whether the Malaysians are having a blast stitching the tongues into their sneakers. I'd much rather they had a miserable time and made a good movie. Hell, I'd much rather they just have a miserable time.

After all, nobody making millions of dollars should like what he does (except maybe Vladimir Guerrero). That pay level should be reserved for the guys mopping out booths at porno stores and the nurses who sedate the speed addicts who just shot themselves in the face. Hollywood celebrities should get minimum plus tips, and only then should they be allowed to piss and moan about having to be on set at five in the morning or working late hours. Fuck it, by five a.m., my wife's been sorting buttons at Hancock Fabric for two hours, and I have yet to see Leeza Gibbons commiserate with her.

To start Ocean's Twelve, we are tediously introduced to the gang, one by one, in elongated scenes. Well, I think we meet about six this way and then the movie abandons the gag and just gives the remainders brief intros. Thank God. It sets the tone for the movie, though; it is about the actors acting cool, not about the story.

Certainly there's no compelling plot or story to Ocean's Twelve. All we have is a contrived, ridiculous and wholly boring caper about competing master thieves trying to steal a Faberge egg. The movie begins with George Clooney reconvening his gang of burglars to repay the money they stole from a casino owner in the far more thought-out Ocean's Eleven. Why they have to repay him is pretty fucking stupid in itself. Apparently he tracked them down and all these brilliant crooks crapped their pants in fear as soon as he greeted them.

But it turns out, this is all a set up for a master thief with a name straight out of bad mid-80s NBC espionage shows; "Nightfox." The Nightfox--who, sadly, cannot transform into animals and doesn't have a talking car--takes exception to Clooney and his band being called the best thieves in the world, so he challenges them to steal a jewel-encrusted Faberge egg before he does. The movie spirals into the shithole of improbability, lifted ideas and nonsense after that. It becomes a series of vignettes designed much more to make the actors look cool and pretty than to tell a story. Julia Roberts plays a woman who has to pose as Julia Roberts. Ha ha. Clooney has to "pretend" he's vain about his looks. Pitt has lots of clenched jaws "Look at me! I'm Cool Hand Luke!" moments. And Catherine Zeta-Jones struts around as easily the hottest and weakest-willed Interpol detective ever to wear a tight leather jacket. It's a lot of preening by too many actors vying for screentime against pretty settings like Lake Como, Italy and Amsterdam. Beyond the preening, though, it's mostly shitty moviemaking. Hell, anyone with enough money can shoot in pretty locales. It's brains and labor that make something happen once you get there, both of which this movie conserves like cigarettes in a gulag.

What Ocean's Twelve never makes clear is why half the people in the Twelve are even there. They hover around the periphery, but they don't have a God damned thing to do. In the first flick, each had a specific skill that was needed to pull off the con. In this one, nobody has a special skill. They just do whatever looks pretty. The fun of the caper movie is cracking it open like a watch and seeing all the ticking parts. But because the actors and writers wanted to have the cocktail hour early, they skimp on details and logic. Instead, when you crack open this thing, all you get are busted pieces that don't fit together and don't work. Sort of like that Rolex I once bought from a suitcase on 9th Avenue in New York.

Throughout, Ocean's Twelve tries very hard to give off the vibe that the stars are screwing around, taking it easy, and cracking each other up with their tired, vain attempts at humor. Some shots end with an actor trying to unprofessionally stifle a laugh because, I guess, that's just quality filmmaking. That's the shit I love paying nine dollars I didn't even earn to see. God damn, I'd pay ten to watch them shit, and eleven to see them brush their teeth.

Or so these asshole actors seem to believe. And why the fuck should we pay for tickets and reinforce that belief? Why dshould we let them off the hook just because they're famous? These aren't great people; they're actors who mug us with a smile and wink. Kick 'em in the nuts for mugging us, and take a bat to their teeth for smiling while doing it.

Two Fingers for Ocean's Twelve. It's a con all right. Just not the one you're expecting.

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Joanna Levenglick of "Kids News Network"

A Series of Unfortunate Events is "Clearly the best family film ever! A non-stop magical journey of fantasy and excitement in an intelligent and unpredictable story. The kids ere awesome. Jim Carrey awesome, Merl Streep awesome, and the cinematography awesome!"

Filthy's Reading
Jean Sheperd - I, Libertine

Listening to
David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts


White Heat