Monday, March 8, 2010

ocean's 11 cons, a decryption

i have a near-stratospheric tolerance for repetition when it comes to watching movies, especially movies i like. take 'ocean's 11,' one of my favorite movies. i've seen it so many times i can quote every line, and i still like it. the thing is, with a movie like 'ocean's 11' with a great heist plot, once you've figured out how all the cons worked, you start to figure out all the con man lingo, if you will. at least i do.

toward the beginning of 'ocean's 11,' when george clooney is first trying to convince brad pitt to rob the casino and asks his opinion of how they would pull it off, brad pitt goes, "off the top of my head, i'd say you're looking at a boesky, a jim brown, a miss daisy, two jethros and a leon spinks, not to mention the biggest ella fitzgerald ever." now, i knew the line after watching the movie a few times, but once i knew practically the whole movie and still wasn't sick of it, i started to figure out what it actually means. pathetic? sure, but also a little bit cool.

if you don't know the movie like i do (a fairly probable scenario), you might not be quite as entertained by all this as i am, which is entirely okay, but i'm going to share the knowledge i've amassed anyway.

the boesky: saul playing lymon zherga, the whale who asks benedict to put his jewels, which are actually TNT, in the vault. if you've seen 'wall street,' you'll know about gordon gekko, who was loosely based on ivan boesky, a wall street trader who was involved in a securities fraud. that's where they got the idea of lymon zherga, an uber-rich bankroller with insider information.

the jim brown: the fight between frank catton, who's impersonating a blackjack dealer, and linus caldwell, who's impersonating a representative from the nevada gaming commission, a fight meant to distract benedict so linus could pick benedict's pocket, getting the security codes to the vault. after watching enough espn classic games with my dad, i learned all about jim brown, who many people hail as the greatest football player of all time. the fight between two characters is called a jim brown because it's a physical confrontation, one of the cornerstones upon which the sport of football is built.

the miss daisy: references the swat truck our con men used as their getaway car. 'driving miss daisy' is a movie about a woman who has to get a chauffeur to drive her around. under the guise of the swat truck, george, brad and the gang can escape without a hitch.

the two jethros: refers to the malloy brothers, turk and virgil. the two jethros are the 'hillbilly, gear-headed types" who are hired to look after miss daisy. in the movie, they provide general two-man work like the distraction they pull with the balloons covering the security camera on the casino floor so livingston can get into the video surveillance room.

the leon spinks: the distraction in the form of disrupting the boxing match. there was this episode of ncis once where the director went home to chicago to investigate the death of his boxer friend. in the episode, they mentioned this boxing match where leon spinks beat muhammad ali, and it was a total upset that no one expected. no one expected the power to go out in the middle of the match in the movie, either, and it created absolute chaos, which was great for our con artists.

the ella fitzgerald: the idea to loop a tape of a robbery over benedict's security system, a robbery which had actually been staged the previous night as a distraction while the real robbery takes place. it comes from a commercial for memorex i saw in my ad production class the other week where a recording of ella fitzgerald's voice breaks a glass, then the voice over says, "is it live or is it memorex?" the concept is that benedict doesn't know if the robbery he's seeing is the robbery that's actually happening.

so that's how watching tons of movies and commercials teaches you about references to heist movies. and that's just 'ocean's 11.' i can do '12' and '13,' too, mostly because i pay attention far too closely to the movies and watch far too many movies.

'ocean's 12':
- when danny and rusty take linus to meet with matsui, they pull a 'lost in translation' on linus, which means they're talking in complete gibberish to confuse him.
- when linus finally talks in the meet with matsui, he tries to come up with his own gibberish, but what he says is "oh let the sun beat down my face, with stars to fill my dream. i am a traveler in both time and space to be where i have been." this is actually a lyric to the led zeppelin song, 'kashmir.' in fact, when danny and rusty haul linus out of the meeting, rusty says, "kashmir? is that your idea of a contribution?" i didn't actually put two and two together until i saw 'fast times at ridgemont high' and heard the song in the soundtrack, recognized the lyrics, and looked it up.
- the 'looky-loo with a bundle of joy' con linus, basher and turk pull refers to them bringing in danny's wife, tess, played by julia roberts. they all agree tess looks a lot like julia roberts, and they bring her in to impersonate the celebrity, who happens to be pregnant at the time.

'ocean's 13':
- the 'susan b. anthony' the characters keep referring to is a reference to the susan b. anthony dollar distributed by the us mint in the late '70s. it looked very similar to a regular quarter, so lots of people fed them to slot machines and vending machines, not realizing how much they were worth. in the movie, it's when they rig a slot machine so that the next quarter someone puts in will pay out the jackpot, then leave a quarter lying around so an innocent bystander can get the jackpot without realizing what just happened.
- the 'billy martin' danny offers to al pacino's casino owner character, willy bank, is basically a last chance to reinstate ruben after bank cuts ruben out of their partnership deal, with the idea that if he rejects the billy martin, danny and the rest of ocean's 11 will hit his casino. billy martin was a baseball legend, who later managed the yankees. he was forced to resign because of his drinking problem and his negative attitude, but was reinstated when the yankees fell into a slump later on.

that's it, that's all i know. clearly, i've watched these movies far too many times, but i still keep watching them, because they're still good.


  1. this shit is sick and your a sick fuck

  2. I'd like to dispute your description of the "Ella Fitzgerald." It isn't about the tape looping. It's about the EMP that blows out the power of the casino. That's why Rusty says "the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever", because they would need a huge device to emit the EMP (electro-magnetic pulse).

    For what it's worth, the memorex commercial has nothing to do with anything. Ella was said to have a voice that could shatter crystal long before memorex ever decided to make a commercial.

    1. hey dude, the emp was a last minute change to the plan so there is no way rusty could have been referring to the emp.

    2. I don't think the method of the black is the key here, but the mere fact that they shut off power. Ella Fitzgerald could sing "lights out", so Rusty is saying we need a big way to cut the power to a chunk of the city.

  3. Oh, and by the way... you plagiarized this from:

    written in 2004.

  4. I disagree with the Ella Fitzgerald argument as Rusty lists the needed cons before Bashers original plan to knock off the electricity is foiled by those workers. Its only after that does Basher mention that they need a pinch to complete the job.

  5. Well, whether this is plagerized or not (I'm going with the latter and say paraphrased at best), this blog answered a lot of my questions. Especially the Susan B. Anthony. That one was killing me! Couldn't figure it out.

  6. Thank you for spending the time doin this. I dont know why i hated oceans 12 so much when it came out but after seein it so many times i love it. The movies r really amazin. There so entertainin its off the charts. Very rarely can i watch a movie over n over again but just like another movie u mentioned fast times at ridgemount high i can n actually n enjoy

  7. This is copied word for word from the trivia section on imdb. Nice try, dude. Maybe next time you try to rip off something don't steal it from one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Ass.

  8. Thank you for posting this. And thank you haters for reminding me why society sucks.

  9. If anyone can direct me to some more decryption for 12 I would greatly appreciate. There is a brainstorming scene in the movie, of multiple brainstorming scenes of course, when the guys are bouncing what sounds like random ideas around. If anyone can tell me about the numerous ideas in that scene it would make my day. Thanks.

  10. You are my kind of person, whomever you are. I didn't think anyone besides me paid that much attention to movies they loved.

  11. Great job, thanks for the info!

  12. You forgot Irwin Allen. When Linus yells at Reuben and says "he's doing an Irwin Allen" this is in reference to the "Master of disaster" filmmaker Irwin Allen.

  13. Ella Fitzgerald was the black out "lights out.". Which means that Leon Spinks was not the black out. Whoever wrote this is a dumbass. He's just making shit up to suit his own opinion. Also a Jim Brown is not a fight. Football has nothing to do with fighting. Leon Spinks is a guy you don't see coming, a guy you'd never suspect. Linus. A Jim Brown is the running back, the grease man, the Amazing Yen.

  14. That was incredibly helpful. I'm glad you watch so many movies :-)