Well technically I watched Ocean’s 13, but I figure they’re kind of all interchangeable, give or take two guys. By which I mean all the details have kind of blurred together, and I’m really not sure which one I’m talking about anymore.
In any case, the start of the film is always about Danny Ocean assembling a crack team to help him rob a casino, based on their individual unique skills. This is also a great way to choose friends, because if they don’t have a talent which you can exploit, they’re really not worth the energy which human social interactions require.
Thus only one lesson this week, but a big one.
LESSON: HOW TO ASSEMBLE A TEAM OF USEFUL PEOPLE FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN BUT ALSO INCLUDING ROBBING A CASINO
The Main Guy
Skill: He’s There. That’s about it. What do you even call that? Present-ness?
There’s not a whole lot that needs to be explained about The Main Guy. He’s not particularly talented, otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to recruit all these other dudes to do the work for him. Think about Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. He ties everything together, but he’s not contributing a whole lot beyond sad eyes. And baby, you could could gaze into Clooney’s eyes until Ocean’s 23. Which is fortunate, because he doesn’t appear to be aging at all these days, and may well still be around to star in that sequel.
Lesson? Because your Main Guy is going to be so perfectly bland, recruit another Main Guy, or a Secondary Guy, with whom the Main Guy can exchange witty banter and at least appear like they’ve both got something going on. In this case, Brad Pitt/Samwise Gamgee. But ensure the Secondary Guy at least has one slightly interesting trait, otherwise you’ll need a Bronze Guy to make the first two kind of appealing. And if you continue along that line, pretty quickly you’ll go from intriguing casino robbery film to what resembles an extended episode of Neighbours.
If you find that you yourself are the Main Guy, never fear! For some reason your far more interesting friends will never realise they don’t need you, and you won’t have to worry about contributing too much, whilst still being allowed to enjoy the exciting goings on.
Skill: Having Lady Parts.
Rarely do men get to complain about sexism.
Which by the way Today Tonight, is not called reverse sexism just because it’s not usually done against men. Nor is it reverse racism when a non-white shopkeeper discriminates against a dude of anglo-saxon descent. It’s just regular flavour sexism and racism. I know you’re irate because such things are un-Australian, but please stop getting confused.
Anyway, rarely do men get to complain about sexism. But robbing casinos is nothing but sexist towards men. Firstly, you don’t see any female casino owners getting robbed, do you? It’s not men’s fault women don’t own any casinos, so it’s not fair that dudes are targetted so much.
But more importantly, whenever the evil casino boss starts to get a little suspicious, Julia Roberts is able to just flirt her way out of it. But it never works whenever I try and flirt my way out of things, even if it’s not a man I’m trying it with. In fact women find it especially creepy for some reason. In just about every situation, poor, innocent penises are manipulated by sexy women in films, and yet whenever the woman is the bad guy, she seems immune to the token sexy male’s charms. I don’t know what would happen if Julia Roberts tried to flirt with a girl, and although I’d still consider it unfair if it worked, I’d be much less against it.
Lesson? Boobs are not just for show, they also have their uses! Who’d have thought! Although Roberts is missing from Ocean’s 13, I can only presume because she was sick of being used in this way, and her absence proves largely inconsequential. Which is reverse reverse sexism. Huh. Sad how quickly that wheel turns back around.
The Old Guy
It seems a bit rich The Old Guy is included, given Clooney, Pitt, Damon – in fact the whole rest of the team all seem to do impersonations at some point, even if it is just sticking on a bad moustache. And he’s not even that good! He can only play one type. What if they need someone to impersonate a 30 year old triathlete? Then the Sol reason (as in one, but that is also the character’s name. I just wanted you to be aware that I was being funny and not a bad speller) he’s on the team is invalid, and he’s reduced to being coffee boy for the other far more useful members of the team. Except obviously he can’t run because he is old.
Alternatively, The Old Guy’s skill is “Having a heart attack”. Sure it worked the first time, suspiciously conveniently might I add, but otherwise this seems like a massive liability, both because he might not have a heart attack when you need him to, and because he might at literally any other time, which has serious potential to screw up your plan.
Lesson? Sure, recruit The Old Guy, why not. And while you’re at it, recruit a baby. And a really fat guy. And a guy who just yells all the time. I know they say “Horses for courses”, which confusingly is often applied to football teams, but at the very least a horse is capable of running the course even if it’s not a preferable track. Bringing The Old Guy is like putting all your eggs in a basket which has no bottom, on the off chance that one egg is so huge it doesn’t fit through the hole, and then saying you planned it that way.
Nothing undermines your class war against rich casino owners like accusations of being a white supremecist. So Danny Ocean hires both a black guy AND an Asian guy, and so should you include them, if only on the fringes of your circle of associates.
Fortunately, these two are able to double up on other useful skills. The black guy is great at picking lots, jacking cars, and adds some much needed ghetto cred by always speaking like an uneducated cockney from the rough side of town. The Asian guy is great at Kung-Fu and gymnastics – yes of course they’re essential skills for robbing a casino. How many casinos have you robbed? Exactly, so shut up. Also, although it’s never shown, I presume he’s exceptional at eating noodles, accounting, and karaoke. Because, you know, when you’re demanding the audience process all these clever red herrings and complex deceptions of casino security systems, you’d hate for someone to be confused by any ethnic characters acting outside of their stereotypes.
Lesson? You know the more I think about this, it’s not a light-hearted tale of grand larsony, but rather a blatant sexist and racist – oh no wait, George Clooney just smiled at the camera and said something witty. Never mind, everything’s fine. Um, the lesson is, multiculturalism is great. The Chinese are good at Chinese food, we’re good at our specific things, and we all get along.
The Guy With Money
Skill: Having Money.
Because he can buy you things, this dude is essential for ever group. Actually probably not for the group who’s just robbed a casino. That would explain why they were so keen to undertake the robbery. The Guy With Money is usually really uncomfortable to hang out with and only gets to stick around so long as he’s paying his way often enough, and financial independence from a casino robbery would make him totally superfluous.
But don’t you go robbing a casino. At least not for money. If it’s just for kicks, I’ll allow it. There’s a saying which Ocean obviously adheres to, which goes “You’ve gotta spend money to make money”. But I prefer to live by the much less eloquent phrase, “If you’ve already got somebody else’s money, just live happily off that for a while and don’t risk going to prison”.
Lesson? Money has never bought anybody happiness. But it has bought them things. And I’d much rather be unhappy with material possessions, than unhappy and naked and lacking material possessions. In fact I imagine that would be seriously contributing to my unhappiness.
But also I’m lazy and don’t want to work for any of my own money. We therefore arrive at the conclusion that you getting things for your friendship, and him getting friendship for money, makes everyone if not happy, then at least content.
The Hilariously Mismatched Duo
God only knows why you’d want some comic relief on such a highly strung and incredibly difficult endeavour of robbing a casino, but at least when they complain about not getting much screen time because their only job is to drive the getaway car, they’ll distract everyone from all the plot holes.