236. Ocean’s Eleven


Movie: Ocean’s Eleven

Release Date: December 7, 2001

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts.

Tag Lines: “Hollywood’s A list stars come together to pull off the most daring heist Las Vegas has ever known…11 men, 3 casinos, 150 million dollars, 1 chance to pull it off.”

“Are You In Or Out?”

“3 Casinos. 11 Guys. 150 Million Bucks. Ready To Win Big?”

“They’re Having So Much Fun It’s Illegal.”

“Place your bets.”

Relevance: George Clooney and Brad Pitt in a movie together directed by Steven Soderbergh? Of course it’s on my list of most influential movies of all time. I mean, Mr. Clooney and Mr. Pitt “make my Ovaltine boil,” as Rose Nylund would say. And Steven Soderbergh is one of my favorite contemporary directors. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is Mr. Soderbergh’s third and final film for this project. (See 342. Traffic and 321. Erin Brockovich for the first two.) So on paper, it is a no-brainer. But the movie is also a star-studded, fast-paced, witty, stylish, entertaining heist picture worthy of both the hype it initially received as well as its box office success.

I never saw the original ‘Ocean’s 11’ that was released in 1960 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. I was definitely familiar with the film and all of its pop culture relevance including the Rat Pack. I was just never that interested in it. None of the actors “boiled my Ovaltine.” But as soon as I saw the trailer to Mr. Soderbergh’s remake, I was sold.

I actually did not see the film in theaters. But as soon as the DVD was released in the Spring of 2002, I purchased it, watched it and fell in love with it just like I knew I would. The stylish direction with the equally cool and stylish cast made this an incredibly entertaining popcorn flick. There is no one cooler than George Clooney as Danny Ocean. There is no one cooler than George Clooney, period. He is definitely one of my favorite actors and already this marks his third film to appear on this list. (See 354. Michael Clayton and 345. Up in the Air for the first two.) He is so debonair and witty and if he asked me “Are you in or out?” In. Definitely in.

As if George Clooney wasn’t enough, my boyfriend (in my fantasy alternate reality) Brad Pitt is equally charming in the movie and makes me swoon, swoon, swoon. Again, one of my favorite actors. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is his second of six films to appear on this blog. (see 304. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) He is not just another pretty face though. He is a super talented actor and has created some of my favorite characters in cinema. But holy moly is that man gorgeous.

Finishing out my perfect trifecta, Julia Roberts. Her screen time isn’t as lengthy as her co-stars but she is such a wonderful actress and makes the most out of every scene. Her first scene with George Clooney is electric. It’s like watching two masters battling it out. This is Ms. Roberts second appearance on this list and the second collaboration with Steven Soderbergh. (see. 321 Erin Brockovich). She will definitely be showing up here on this list a few more times.

It’s as if this film was made for me. Steven Soderbergh collected my favorite actors and placed them in a smart, clever movie that is fun from start to finish. I love a movie that makes me think while being entertained. And its quickness and “how did they do that” moments make it a film that I have watched over and over again. It’s two sequels are definitely watchable, but ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is one of the best remakes and one of the best films of all time.

Today’s Thoughts: “Ted Nugent called, he wants his shirt back.” ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is filled with hilarious one-liners like this that I totally forgot about but was pleasantly reminded of today.

I love this movie and never get tired of watching it. The ensemble cast is perfect, the style of the film is as cool as they come and the direction by Steven Soderbergh is impeccable. Sometimes a heist movie, or one which the audience needs to “figure out” is never as good the second or third time around. That is not the case with ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ It’s a smart script and was just as flawlessly entertaining today as it was back in 2002.

It was the perfect Mother’s Day for me. I got to watch George Clooney, Julia Roberts and my boyfriend Brad Pitt. I got to smile and laugh a lot. And I got a reminder of what excellent film-making truly is. Because ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is truly an excellent film.

Awards: Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.


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