“Did you guys get my email about the cool idea I had?”
“Is this the idea where we sit on the couch and watch movies for four hours?”
Dan doesn’t mince words. It was clear to all of us that he was not enthralled with the idea of watching two movies in a row.
“Yeah, but it will be really cool. It’s Frank Sinatra Vs. George Clooney. We’ll watch the original Ocean’s Eleven with Frank Sinatra and then watch the new Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney. Then we can argue about which one is better.”
Stacey, Dan and Mike were concurrent: George Clooney is better. Sight unseen, they were certain that the original Ocean’s Eleven couldn’t hold a candle to the new one. I hadn’t seen the original, so I couldn’t defend it. Then again, who could beat Old Blue Eyes? George Clooney? I think not. The point of contention was not the aversion to watching old movies that they all have. It was the four hours on the couch, which is something that I can do on a TV binge without even thinking. I didn’t even see that coming.
We decided to watch the original last Sunday and compare it to what we remembered of the new one. We got Free Wheeler Pizza from the old Mad Platter building and sat down to an evening of smooth talkers and one big Las Vegas Heist. There was only one rule: we would fast forward through any singing.
There was nothing that I remember from the new Ocean’s Eleven. Daniel Ocean hasn’t just gotten out of jail. Daniel Ocean is still married to his wife, even though she has walked out on him and got an unnamed job. Daniel Ocean isn’t even the idea man. The idea man is anguishing over the project with a sidekick that builds card houses. They pick up one of their accomplices at a burlesque show and we had to have an argument about exactly what a burlesque show is.
Best Line (said to a stripper at the Burlesque show): “Honey, I want to take you home and spread you on my waffles!”
Worst Line (said by Angie Dickinson to her husband, Frank Sinatra) “Danny, we both know that you love one thing and that thing is danger.”
We fast forwarded through the gratuitous singing of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin. We suffered through so many scene changes and different players that we were confused. All I know is the Electrical Man has lung cancer so he wants his share to pay for his kid’s college. “With your share, you can buy your kid a college.” I had that strange feeling that comes with old movies when I realized his kid is probably old enough to be my father by now.
All of this, and we only lasted thirty minutes. We turned off the original after only thirty minutes. When I finished fast forwarding through Dean singing to himself at the piano before a gaggle of platinum blondes walked in, they all agreed that they couldn’t take one more minute. We popped out the DVD of the original and popped in George Clooney. I would like to say I was outnumbered, but even I was cringing at the corniness of it all. I wanted to see a real heist.
You can’t imagine how much more pleasurable it was to watch the new one after just seeing thirty minutes of the original. We saw George Clooney walk into the strip joint to pick up Brad Pitt and we all recognized it, “The Burlesque Show!” At Elliot Gould’s fancy house, we saw the Chinese Acrobat sitting on the diving board, “The House of Cards!” When the big fight started, they panned over the celebrities who were attending the fight and guess who we saw, “Angie Dickinson!” Julia Roberts looked eerily like the young Angie Dickinson. Since we had only seen thirty minutes of the original, that was where the little in-jokes stopped for us. I wonder how the movie would have been for us had we been able to watch the whole damn thing.
Next time, we’ll do it right. We’ll do The Thomas Crown Affair. It’ll be Steve McQueen Vs. Pierce Brosnan! Pierce Brosnan is the best James Bond we’ve had since Sean Connery. Who could be a better Thomas Crown? Then again, it’s Steve McQueen! All he needs is a fast machine! Hard call. Who do you think will win?