Breaking The Bank

The common cold has gotten very familiar in this household, a little too comfortable here. My wife is suffering, barely made it through school yesterday, is canceling everything today, which is her busiest day of the week.

I picked up a bit of this yesterday, knocking me out for a big chunk of the day, although I don’t seem as sick. I shall be caretaker today, I think. My son is hiding out, trying to avoid germs, as if that’s going to work.

None of this is serious, although my wife is pretty miserable. There are the usual colds running around in our circle, nothing unusual about this at this time of year, and it does seem as though I haven’t run across anyone with the flu. Maybe those flu shots were spot on this year.

But again, I’m doing OK. Some sneezing. Whatever bug this is, it seems to produce some congestion but not much in the way of wracking coughs. I imagine we’ll all survive.

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Screenshot_2019-01-23 The Academy’s snub of “Ocean’s 8” is still hard - Chuck Sigars, Author.png

I made the above joke yesterday on Facebook, through the sniffles. I think it seemed funnier with the cold. I also wrote one about vitamin D, just laughing at how I sometimes forget if I’ve taken my vitamin and wondering what would happen if I took too many accidentally (I suggested x-ray vision, but the thread turned into anecdotes about taking vitamin D, interestingly).

I don’t care about the Oscars. Haven’t for years. I don’t really pay attention, although I was surprised to see Black Panther get a Best Picture nod (I was happy about it, because it’s sort of a landmark picture, but I can’t seem to get worked up about even good superhero movies). And I noticed that Mary Poppins Returns was a total blank when it came to big awards, although they have some minor nominations (as well as Best Song, so there’s that).

But I really don’t care, don’t see enough of the films to have a stake.

I did see Ocean’s 8, though, the other night, which is why it was on my mind. Let me digress in a couple of directions and see if I can still pull this together.

First, I have affection for heist films. The kind where they dodge laser beams and steal works of art. The kind where the safecracker makes off with something valuable. The cat burglar, the master of disguise, the aging expert.

Sometimes prison-escape movies have the same appeal, but those can get too tense (The Great Escape is a favorite, though). I do appreciate the serious heist flicks, such as The Score (great film), but most of the appeal comes from the funny ones, like the Ocean’s 11 series.

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I honestly can’t tell you much about the sequels, other than I watched them. What’s not to watch? Appealing actors. Quipping, so much quipping. And lasers. But the first one was good, much appreciated and a nice way to get the taste of the Rat Pack version out of my mouth, where apparently it had been living (who knew). It was a movie-movie, old-fashioned entertainment.

Even though we’re talking about criminals, but you know. They’re clever, and the victims are often ruthless corporations or obscenely wealthy people, everything heavily insured. We’re allowed to cheer for the bad guys in these. It’s fun.

 For digression #2, see images below.

Here are eight actors who got paired a lot together in the mind of the public, particularly when first starting out. I don’t have a real preference with the men, although I always preferred Kirsten Dunst to Reese Witherspoon (the latter is a remarkable actress and apparently human being; no slight intended, just a preference).

And I was on the Sandra Bullock bandwagon since Wrestling Ernest Hemingway in 1993, with Robert Duvall and Richard Harris. Small part, just stunned me. I love Julia Roberts and think she’s one of our finest actresses, but Sandra. Sandra’s a favorite.

So there you are. I was always going to watch Ocean’s 8. Took me a while. Finally did.

Just to catch you up, in case you’re not onboard—Steven Soderbergh remade the 1960s Sinatra version with George Clooney as Danny Ocean, the mastermind, and a mess of male stars. Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Casey Affleck...this was a buddy movie from way back, just with a little update and a nod to nostalgia. Lots of charm, lots of cleverness. Lots of lasers.

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So I had an interesting reaction to Ocean’s 8; I thought it was better than the original. This isn’t apparently shared by a lot of people, but I thought about it a lot. It seems gimmicky, just casting women instead of men, but it turns out that’s the charm.

This film had plenty of charm, as well as humor, twists, and tension, but it was missing something and I eventually realized it was the idiotic boys-will-be-boys crap of the first one. Not that this wasn’t enjoyable. It just was nice to see a version where the horseplay and rivalries weren’t part of the plot. These women were all business, even with quirks and character traits that made them distinct and fun to watch.

And no men were involved. Well, one man, who was being set up to take a fall, because he deserved it, but otherwise? Nobody on the inside, no one calling the shots, no one to suck up to or worse. Aside from a brief cameo from Elliott Gould, making a weak tie to the original, I can’t think of a single man from this movie who had anything at all to do as far as moving the plot.

I’m not trying to be modern or progressive or jerk my knees in the direction of yay women! You go girl! Naw. It’s a movie. I don’t see social change coming from the Cineplex, and I love movies.

And I’m not trying to make a larger point. I just liked the movie, for what it was, and thought it was interesting that this little switcheroo produced fascinating results. Turns out that women are better at this sort of thing, or at least they were in this. Sinatra may be rolling in his grave, but I’m calling it.

Chuck SigarsComment