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Entertainment Actor George Clooney and Ocean's Eleven
Monthly Entertainment Column
January 2002

During Matt Damon’s interview with Jay Leno, Damon talks about how he and George Clooney were gambling in Las Vegas and how Clooney could not win a hand at cards and that when he asked for credit because he had lost all his money, the house would not give him credit.  Clooney’s subsequent interview with Leno confirms Damon’s story. 

Thanks to the arts, to entertainment, to novels, plays, and in George Clooney’s case, to feature films, he does win a hand at cards in his movie, Ocean’s Eleven.  Thanks to the fiction of filmmaking, Clooney can laugh at reality and make himself win a hand at cards.  After all, he is one of the movie’s producers.  As the boss, if he says he should win a hand in his movie, even if it isn’t reality, then it is done.  The scene where he wins is while he is in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to recruit “Frank,” a dealer at the table where he is gambling.

But going back to the real world, even his fame and fortune could not get him credit at a casino.  On the other hand, he does use his fame to organize the celebrity concert that raises millions for families of the September 11th tragedy.  Despite all the controversy surrounding this, he did take action and the money raised will, in time, be distributed to those affected by the tragedy. 

Still, it seems that in Las Vegas, fame and fortune, for Clooney, while there on location to make his movie, does not help him win a hand at cards.  Could it be possible that one of the reasons he could not get credit is because his movie is about a successful robbery of a casino, and how the casino owner is portrayed as choosing money over love?  These could be the reasons George Clooney could not get credit.  This is just an assumption, of course, but it is an interesting thought anyway.  Still, his movie and its premise, did not help.

But what the movie does do, despite the premise of the movie, is that it "indirectly publicizes" Las Vegas and that entire "world."  So, because of George Clooney's movie, Clooney should be given credit when he asks, not because of his fame and fortune, but because he is, in fact, "advertising" Las Vegas through his movie.  

As an additional comment on Ocean’s Eleven, the movie could have taken a humorous or serious tone, depending on how Soderbergh would portray it, if, when the crew finally reach the vault, the casino owner, Benedict, excellently played by Andy Garcia, decides to disobey federal regulation and not keep the money “in-house.”  So when the crew get to the vault, the millions aren’t there.  Had the script turned this way, the movie would have taken on an interesting twist.  How would Soderbergh have dealt with this situation?

But how Ocean’s Eleven ends is true to the tone of the movie.  Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts all drive off as they are followed by Terry Benedict’s thugs.  This last scene reinforces Benedict’s dialogue, when he says, “run and hide.”  So the bittersweet ending is excellent as the road ahead for the characters of Pitt, Clooney and Roberts include wealth and love mixed with uncertainty.


 

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