“Ocean’s 11”: I Still Have Some Questions

I saw the 2001 version of “Ocean’s 11” at a pivotal point in my young adult life. At the time, I was broke and in grad school but dating a software person who owned a fancy BMW and loved going to Vegas. When I wasn’t in Vegas with him, I was attending grad school classes, microwaving canned ravioli for breakfast, and dreaming about Vegas. I didn’t gamble, so my affection for America’s playground didn’t make much sense. It still doesn’t, especially since I don’t drink anymore. My love for Vegas is a mystery, but it’s no secret.

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody be the dinosaur.
The Vegas airport, January 2020.

So, yeah, I love this movie. I’ve casually dropped “They say taupe is very soothing” and “I don’t have time for you circus animals” into too many conversations. For a long time, I rewatched the film every few years; but I hadn’t seen it in a while, so I revisited it recently. And while it (mostly) held up, it also raised quite a few questions that I have (mostly) ignored until now:

  • Why was the MGM Grand the third hotel when it was nowhere near the Bellagio? (Bonus question: Over the years, how many tourists have gotten confused trying to find it? Please show your work.)
  • Where did Danny get the capital to start everything (flights, hotel rooms, etc.) before getting buy-in from Reuben? Did he just have huge credit card limits? A Sarah Conner-style mausoleum filled with cash instead of guns?
  • How did Danny get the security guard to let him borrow the blueprints of the hotel vault? Did he pay him off, like he paid off the guy who was supposed to beat him up? Again, with what money?
  • If Danny bought plane tickets, especially with a credit card, didn’t that tip anyone off that he’s traveling across state lines? Or were electronic purchases not tracked back then like they are now?
  • More importantly: Did anyone else look at the blueprint outline of the vault and think, “Hey, that looks like a dick”?
  • When is the trend of wearing shirts and ties in the exact same color coming back, and can we do anything to stop it?
  • Why did anyone work with the Mormon twins when they were so annoying and fought all the time?
  • Is taupe really very soothing?
  • Am I supposed to believe that there was warehouse space available right behind the Bellagio? If so, it’s condos now, right?
  • Wait, so paying cash for a car gives you a better deal than financing? I thought dealers preferred financing.
  • How could Terry not have seen that the crew was staying in his hotel? The same guys hang out in the casino all day and play multiple characters on the property. There was always someone watching in his hotel, but apparently not at the guest elevators?
  • Was I truly expected to believe that Linus (a dork chomping gum in a beige windbreaker, who was this close to getting caught during a major break-in) successfully spied on Terry (the security-obsessed owner of three huge casinos) all damn day with no one noticing?
  • Is there actually a curator position at the Bellagio, and if so, how do I apply?
  • How did Linus trail Tess for days — to the point where he knows her job title and can tell if she and Terry are in “a snit” — but doesn’t know her name?
  • How did I never notice that a version of “Clair de Lune” played the first time we see Tess?
  • How did I never notice how homophobic and misogynistic this movie is?
  • Did Tess and/or Terry live in the hotel, or were they just getting ready for the boxing match there? If they were just getting ready, what kind of a discount does he get? He seems like the kind of guy who’d charge full price, even for himself.
  • So the discarded employee uniform in the elevator wasn’t a huge red flag? And no one saw anyone changing on the elevator cam? How has Terry not been robbed, like, ten times before?
  • Why did Tess get so pissed off when Terry asked her to leave so he could take a work call? FFS. I close my study door and use earphones on all my work calls so no one else hears, and I live with one other person who also wears his earphones all day. It’s called confidentiality, Tess. Look it up.
  • Am I the only one who thought Rusty’s hand/arm tribal tattoo was out of character for someone so slick and aloof? Or does he have a wild backstory, and why wasn’t that in the sequels?
  • Was this movie the reason that Vegas hotel rooms now have minibars?
  • So Tess left Terry Benedict because, in a private conversation to save his company, he verbally chose $160 million over her? THAT was a dealbreaker?

And my biggest question of all:

  • In what universe is there a Bellagio fountain show going on and NOBODY is stopping to look at it???

Copyright 2021, Sarah A. Ruiz & What the Kids Were Watching/Quail School Media. All rights reserved.