Genre Grandeur – Heist Movies: Ocean’s Eleven & Ocean’s Thirteen

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This post is part of MovieRob’s Genre Grandeur (or Guesstimation) series. Thanks to my pal Ted S. for his review of one of his favorite films of the genre.


I lost count on how many times I’ve watched these two Ocean’s films; I’m going to pretend that Ocean’s 12 never existed; the self-indulgent film was an embarrassing to everyone who’s involved in making it. Don’t get me started on the whole Julia Roberts pretended to be Julia Roberts sequence. I wanted to punch the writers and director Steven Soderbergh for thinking that we the audience would be that stupid and thought it would be a fun scene to watch.

Well speaking of Soderbergh, in the early 2000s, he’s the director every actor wanted to work with. If I remember correctly, two of his films in 2000, Traffic and Erin Brockovich were box office hits and got nominated for best picture at the Oscars. He received the golden statue for directing Traffic. So of course there were big expectations for his next picture. Opened during the holiday season of 2001, Ocean’s Eleven was one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned two sequels. Of course the cast was probably the big draw, packed with three A-listers George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts; veterans Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould and young up and coming actors such as Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and Scott Caan.
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Recently paroled Danny Ocean (Clooney) decides to get in touch with some of his old buddies including black jack dealer named Frank Catton (the late great Bernie Mac) and Rusty Ryan (Pitt). They hatched a plan to steal money from two Las Vegas casinos during a big boxing match that could be worth more than $130mil. The casinos are owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who happens to be dating Ocean’s ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). In order to get their plan rolling, they need some funding from Benedict’s rival Reuben (Elliot Gould). With backing from Reuben, Danny and Rusty went and recruit the rest of the team.

What I love about this film was the chemistry with each of the actors; they were all believable to me as a team on a mission. I especially love the bickering between the Mormon twins (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan). The script was well written and the actual heist was very clever and fun to watch. Unlike some other heist genre film, there were no twists or backstabbing from someone in the team. They finished their mission and everyone got paid.

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After the disastrous Ocean’s 12, Soderbergh decided to fix his mistake from the second sequel and brought the team back for another heist in Vegas. In Ocean’s Thirteen, the team’s mission this time is revenge. After Reuben was left for dead by his former partner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), Danny and Rusty wanted to break Bank’s brand new casino. Unlike the second sequel where I felt the actors and filmmakers were having fun but we the audience were left out. In this film, Soderbergh brought back the fun and I had a great time with it; heck I think I liked it better than the first film. The heist itself was quite clever, instead of stealing the money from the casino for themselves, Ocean’s team decided to let everyone win big. Speaking as someone who goes to Vegas regularly and gambles there, I would have loved to be involved in this heist.

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Pacino w/ Ellen Barkin who’s quite the scene stealer in the movie

These two Ocean films aren’t the best in the heist genre but they sure are fun to watch. Maybe because it’s set in one of my favorite cities to visit Las Vegas, it’s the reason why I can’t get enough of these films.

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Well, what do YOU think of these two Ocean’s films? Which of the trilogy is your favorite? 

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25 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Heist Movies: Ocean’s Eleven & Ocean’s Thirteen

  1. PrairieGirl

    Hey Ted, I’ll certainly have to see 13 now, seen 11 but nice to know I can skip 12. And who knew about you and your frequent trips to Vegas to contribute to the economy there? Cool!

    1. Hi Becky, I think you’ll enjoy 13 if you like Ocean’s 11 but yeah skip 12, I don’t know what they were thinking when they made that sequel.

      I love Vegas, been there many times and I’m going back in May!

      1. PrairieGirl

        Oh, yes, I liked 11 a lot. I’d like to go to Vegas someday just to see the Bellagio fountains… enjoy your May trip 😉

        1. You’ve never been to Vegas? You should go there someday even if you’re not a gambler, there lots of fun things to do and see. And yes the Bellagio is a great place to visit, I’ve stayed there a couple of times and have had many meals at their restaurants. My girlfriend and I are going to have a brunch at their new restaurant when we go back in May!

    1. You should give Ocean’s 13 a watch, I know that many people decided to skip it after the awful Ocean’s 12. But I think Sodebergh fixed what went wrong with the second sequel and brought a lot of fun back into the franchise.

  2. I’d say it’s a tie. They both have their appeals. While I understand your dislike for the 2nd one, I truly loved the performance by Vincent Cassel as the bad guy. Can’t get enough of him.

    1. I totally forgot about Cassel in Oceans 12, I should find clips of that on youtube. He certainly make for a menacing and charming baddie.

    2. Hi Cindy, sorry I missed your comment. Yeah I really enjoyed Cassel’s as the villain in Ocean’s 12 too but wish they focus more on how the team go against him instead of some other crap they included in the film. I guess I had high expectations for the sequel since I loved Ocean’s 11 so much.

  3. Ocean’s 12 is actually my favorite of the 3. Of course it was self-indulgent which is part of what made the film so much fun. It looked like a bunch of guys having a good time. Not really caring about if the film was going to be good or not and going to Europe. Plus, it was very funny such as the scene of Matt Damon reciting lyrics to “Kashmir”.

    1. That’s my problem with Ocean’s 12, the actors and filmmakers were having but I didn’t so I hated it. That’s what I love about 11 & 13, the actors were having fun along with me the audience.

    1. You know I sort of dislike Julia Roberts for even participated in that scene, she used to be my favorite actress. I never really forgive for doing that scene, lol. You should give Ocean’s 13 a watch, it’s a lot of fun.

  4. Ocean’s 12 is a bit of a dud, but you get to see Vincent Cassel going totally over the top in that glorious way he does. It is a terrible film, but as long as I end it before it ends, I’m okay.

    1. I like Cassel’s character in Ocean’s 12 and wish they focus more on how his character and Ocean’s team go against one another. The whole film was just a self indulgent mess.

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