Life Lessons from Danny Ocean

The inaptly named Ocean's Eleven series (better to call it Ocean's X?) is a superior example of the caper movie. I'm referring to the recent version and not to the original Frank Sinatra film, which I regret to say I could not get into. The plots of the original and remake are quite a bit different, anyway.

It's not clear how one would number all eleven of the Eleven, but it is clear that #1 is Danny Ocean (George Clooney), #2 is Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), and #3 is Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). It fascinating to consider how the three characters manifest the three components of the Freudian psyche... aah, who am I kidding? What's great about these movies is the cool.

Danny Ocean perfectly exemplifies Paul Kyriazi's Rule #5: "Always dress up, even at home alone." The guy always has a dress shirt and jacket (even when being released from prison), is never underdressed, and yet always looks comfortable.

Ocean's Apophthegm is also worth remembering (as heard in Ocean's Thirteen):

Always play the game as if you have nothing to lose.

But my favorite principle out of the Ocean's X series is this (not stated explicitly, but demonstrated): When you're cool enough, everything you do becomes cool.

For example, as a rule TV and movie characters set their cell phones to vibrateor else use a neutral "phone ringing" sound. This is to avoid distracting the viewer with contemplating the character's choice of ringtone. Rusty Ryan is a noteworthy exception, as we get to hear a cheesy bubblegum-pop tune whenever his phone rings. He is secure enough not to worry what we think of his ring tone.

Danny Ocean also well illustrates a corollary that certain irritating people I know fail to grasp: The cool need not always be the smartest guy in the room. Consider this discussion from Ocean's Thirteen about the Greco security system, among tech guru Roman Nagel, Danny Ocean, and right-hand man Rusty Ryan:

Roman: The data is analyzed in real time in a field of exabytes.

Danny: Exabytes?

Roman: You know what a terabyte is?

Danny: Yeah, it's a....

Rusty (sotto voce): An exabyte is a million terabytes.

Danny: Right.

Roman: The Greco is housed in an impregnable room. Shock-mounted, temparature-controlled, and it locks down if it even senses it's under attack, If it locks down, they wouldn't even be able to get out of the room.

Danny: Couldn't we just shut it off? You know, cut the wires?

Roman: That could work. Better still, kick the plug out of the socket.

Rusty: Seriously.

Roman: Short of walking into the room with a bloody magnetron around your neck... You know what a magnetron is?

Danny: Something that screws up the Greco?

There is also an amusing bit of byplay later on where Danny is watching Oprah on TV and drinking wine, which in my book is just about the least cool thing a person can do. Most likely the writers wanted to underscore the point with the most extreme example they could think of.

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