Idol Chatter

oc13_idol.jpgIn a summer of blockbuster sequels and mixed reviews, I found the latest sequel, “Ocean’s Thirteen,” to be surprisingly fun and wonderfully done. Even though it wasn’t very new.
Where “Ocean’s Twelve” sought to go deeper but confounded audiences and fans with its complexity, “Ocean’s Thirteen” moves closer to the original, both in plot and setting. If you wanted “Ocean’s Thirteen” to be realistic or reflective, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But in the caper tradition of suspending reality, or the James Bond/Indiana Jones tradition of rooting for the good guys, this sequel’s a good one.
Here are five reasons to like it:
5. Family fare: Any movie that a family can watch together is a great movie in this day and age. Whether you’re a parent of teens, a twentysomething with parents, a member of the sandwich generation (living with your parents and kids), or anyone looking to connect with someone you don’t easily find things in common with, Danny Ocean’s crew is great.
4. Superstars: Very few Hollywood franchises manage to keep an all-star cast of this size together. And it’s awesome. Not since the Lethal Weapon and Star Trek serials has a film series kept its cast so much in tact, and these guys are by far a stronger collection of superstars. Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac and others are all stars in their own right, and they’ve found a way to stay together in a day when most actors (and their agents) choose otherwise. Add Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin to this round, and, incredibly, even Julia Roberts isn’t missed (too much).

3. Characters: Danny Ocean, Frank Catto, Linus Caldwell, Willy Bank, Rusty Ryan, Basher Tarr, Terry Benedict, Saul Bloom, Virgil and Turk Mulloy, Livingston Dell, Terry Benedict, and Abigail Sponder are the kinds of characters–especially the repeating ones–that are strong enough to allow us to like them in the series rather than just seeing the prime actors taking their turns.
2. Relationships: Especially if you’ve watched the first two in the series, there’s something endearing about watching the relationships taking shape among the main characters–Danny and Frank, Danny and Linus, Frank and Linus, Danny and Terry, the brothers Mulloy, all of the “thirteen” with each other, and especially all of their fondness for Reuben.
1. Faith: Movies like this don’t get made if there’s not something about us–deep inside–that wants to see good guys beat bad guys, down-to-earth guys beat the rich guys, nice guys beat the mean guys, old-fashion guys beat the tech guys, and authentic guys beat the fake guys.
Even though “Ocean’s Thirteen” isn’t a particularly deep movie, I think it’s a deeper part of us that is drawn to it, even if the story isn’t too spectacular and the plot unsurprising.
–Douglas Howe

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