I decided to challenge myself and really open the doors of my film knowledge and take on “The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide”. It’s 808 pages of movies and movie reviews from some of the most knowledgeable movie people you don’t know. It’s a book put together by a staff that praises, and destroys, some of our favorites and not so favorites. You can read the rest of my series here.

Just a quick refresher: each episode, I’m going to tackle three films from three different categories. Two films will be films I’ve never seen before and one will be one I’ve seen before or own. For the new films, well, new to me, I’m going to review them like a typical FTS review using the TOAST Rating system. But, for the films I’ve seen, I’m going give a quick paragraph or two about why I like or don’t like the film. We’ll try to include the poster and trailer for each film. “….and here. We. Go!”

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In this episode of Versus The Scarecrow, I take a look at films that center around a big score. Say the words “Heist Film” and I’m in. I don’t care how many people are stealing what from where, just give me an intricate plan, stifling amounts of tension, a few twists, and I’m happier than a clam at high tide. I review Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, the French noir classic Rififi, and reflect on the original Ocean’s 11, all the while being disappointed that I’ll never get to be in a heist.

Ocean’s 11 (1960) Directed by Lewis Milestone. Starring: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. IMDB says: “Danny Ocean gathers a group of his World War II compatriots to pull off the ultimate Las Vegas heist. Together the eleven friends plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night.”

“It’s simple enough… in my book brave rhymes with stupid, and it still does.”

I love this movie. It’s a 60s cool Rat Pack film that is all about a heist in Las Vegas. With a cast like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, Cesar Romero, Joey Bishop, Red Skelton, George Raft, and many many others, where can you go wrong? It’s fun, it’s intricate (for it’s time), and it has my favorite ending to a film ever. EVER!

What I didn’t like about the movie was the expectations it set for me when I went to Las Vegas earlier this year. Here I am, thinking Vegas is going to be all slot machines, women in gorgeous dresses, live music everywhere, and just an overall “cool” feel. Walking through the Flamingo, all I got was neon lights, scantily clad women, slots, neon lights, minimal live music, and this feeling of make a bet or get out of here. Now I’m not blaming the film, because I had a ball in Vegas, but the film has a powerful nostalgia about it that makes you yearn for a time you never lived in. I’d love to walk around a casino where everyone is in a suit, women are in dresses, there’s live music at the bar, you have to operate the slot machines with a real handle, and smoke indoors. I don’t even smoke! But I’d like to know that’s an option.

The ending to the film is something I will always remember. It’s Just a line or two of dialogue, and then a pan shot of the entire group, fading to them walking down the Vegas Strip. It’s hard to talk about it without spoiling it, but the film is worth watching for that scene alone, much like the Soderbergh Ocean’s 11 is worth watching just for the Bellagio fountain scene. It’s a scene I look forward to and it’s a scene that’s hard to duplicate in style and tone.

Get hip and check this film out and let me know what you think. Do you prefer this or the Soderbergh version? What do YOU think of the ending? (without giving too much spoilers) Let me know!