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.
- 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.
- 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.