One of my favorite movies of all time is Ocean's Eleven. It's far from a masterpiece, yet comfortably rests as a watchable network TV option. Whether its charm is mostly due to the collaboration of an absurd collection of talent, or because of it's witty plot twists, there's a lot to be learned from watching how the heist plays out.
Of course, I won't be talking about Ocean's Eleven. Let's fast-forward to its ugly, and slightly chubbier little brother: Ocean's Thirteen.
If you're looking around wondering something along the lines of, "I didn't know they made Thirteen!" or "Wait, that would have meant they made a Twelve..." then you've missed out on some pretty good television. And by "good" I mean "bad" and by "television" I mean the Hollywood equivalent of Adrian Wilson. The movie is Shrek Three, or the unnecessary third part of The Hobbit, or almost every single Disney sequel.
It's a money grab, the bastardized evolution of a movie's prior success, and that's what we're here to discuss.
Because if something is successful, why not keep doing it until it stops working?
And if you're already successful, then what else is there to do in order to keep things interesting?
We are here to talk about the greatest heist of 2014, and it's not about how Macklemore inexplicably defeated Kendrick Lamar for Best Rap Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.
So please- set the stage...
The story begins on a sunny, white sand beach in Miami, or more specifically, the town of Davie, Florida. Yes, Davie is not on the water. No one watches the Ocean's movies for the honesty.
Miami Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross sits beneath an umbrella, frozen margarita in his hand. A few of his lackeys are standing behind him in tuxedos, briefcases handcuffed to his wrist. Ross is handed a red telephone with the cord drawn to one of the briefcases.
"Sir," one of the lackeys begins. "It's Jeff Ireland. He's begging to have his old position back."
Ross sighs. He's expecting a call from Lake Dawson. Or Ray [Roy?] Farmer. Jeff is the last person he wants to speak with. He hangs up the phone without answering. Another lackey starts to fan Ross.
"Why is it so hard to find good help these days?," Ross wonders aloud, offering the inquiry to the water lapping the sand. " Little does he know that question will soon be answered by the last person he would expect.
A hooded figure in the dungeon of a stadium walks away from a wall of television screens. Included are cameras in every locker room in the country (regardless of sport), a Robo-Saban feed, as well a Schiano-puppet control panel. A fake-parrot cam has relayed the entire scene at the beach to the main in the room. Bill Belichick opens a pair of giant steel doors and reveals a meeting room table.
Already seated are Josh McDaniels, Scott Pioli, Mike Lombardi, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, and Ernie Adams. A seat behind a name tag of "Wes Welker" is the lone vacancy. One person is standing, pacing back and forth, clearing uneasy.
McDaniels looks up from the table and at Belichick. "What are we to do about Welker?!," He cries.
"Now is not the time," Belichick snaps. "I trust him. Are you familiar with Harry Potter? He's clearing Snape-ing. He and Aqib [Talib] knew what they were doing.
"No, we have more pressing matters. Are you familiar with the situation in Miami?"
"Ah, yes," A dashing figure with a dimpled chin steps forward out of the shadows, eating shrimp cocktail. "They are the reason we didn't have home field advantage."
"Nice of you to join us, Tom," Belichick replies, each word more deliberate than the prior. "And yes. If Miami hadn't beaten us, we could have played the Broncos at home and our wind turbines would have buffeted Peyton [Manning]'s passes. There would have been no need for Talib to be hurt. Miami has thwarted us for the final time."
"Hey boss," Lombardi squeeks. "What do you have in mind?"
"Caserio!" Belichick booms, startling the frenetic pacer. "You know what you have to do. Fulfill your duty and you will be well compensated."
The sun is setting on the beach in Davies. Ross is all alone, his lackeys having ended their days. He is getting up from his beach chair and is about to head home, but his red briefcase phone starts to ring. He answers.
"Hello?," Ross inquires. "Is this Ryan Farmer? Whoever this is, do you need a job as a general manager?"
"This is Nick Caserio," a voice hisses in response. "And I believe I could be the answer to all of your problems."
Nick Caserio enters Ross's private jet, wearing a perfectly tailored suit- likely one of Tom Brady's hand-me-downs. Caserio clings a matted leather briefcase to his chest, James Bond video camera surreptitiously watching through the buckles.
"Welcome!," Ross booms, extending his hand to Caserio. "You're just the man I'm looking for!"
Caserio knows his role. He knows that he's the eighth or tenth man that Ross was looking for. But he humors him.
"Well I'm glad to be of service."
Ross and Caserio make their way to the back of the plane where Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and VP of Football Administration Dawn Aponte are seated. This was unexpected.
"You know Joe and Dawn?," Ross inquires, clearly uneasy by their presence. "They're going to be working very closely with you. Joe will be the head coach and the three of you will work together."
It's clear that Ross isn't calling the shots here. Caserio adapts and turns his focus to Philbin and Aponte, the two who helped oust Ireland.
"What a pleasure to mee-," Caserio starts, but is quickly cut off by Joe.
"Let's not waste time on pleasantries," Philbin snaps. "What do you want to do with the franchise. How do you see us winning?"
Caserio is silent, coolly evaluating the situation. He has a clear goal at hand. Miami is the one franchise in the division on the upswing. How can he derail them?
"Well Joe...Dawn...," Caserio enunciates. "Let's not talk about how we can win. Let's talk about by how much."
Ross accompanies Caserio off the plane, his bravado gone, sweat gently dripping down his brow.
"Nick," Ross begs. "I need you here. I can't deal with those two monsters anymore. If you take this job, I'll let you fire them! Please!"
Caserio smirks. His briefcase filled with documents detailing the outline of the Dolphins' five year plan. Coaching strengths and weaknesses. Free agency ideas. Draft concepts. The entire franchise on a microchip.
"Well Stephen," Caserio smiles. "I'm going to need some time to decide."
The final scene takes place back in the underground lair. All but Welker are sitting around the table, champagne poured and villainous pizza being shared.
"They want to use Daniel Thomas as their goal line back!?," Eric Magini crows.
"Mike Wallace wants to score 30 touchdowns?," Crennel laughs. "Can they ever get a receiver who isn't a total diva?!"
Belichick smiles for the ninth time this season. His third of 2014. He knows the Dolphins will sabotage their own franchise, by mortgaging their future in the draft. But having this additional information, so freely given, will only make the upcoming season all-the-easier to dominate.
"Nick," Bill states to the hushing of the crowd. Caserio looks up, eyes brighter than ever before. "I would just like to say congratulations...Mr. Vice President."
Everyone cheers as Caserio's promotion is well deserved. The team wouldn't be where it is without him. He's another piece of the most complex puzzle in the NFL and he wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
"And now for the next order of business," Belichick continues. "How are we going to get the uppity Bills franchise moved to Toronto?"
The film ends with boisterous laughter and the camera fades to black. The final image is that of the Schiano-puppet camera, red dot flashing to indicate that Operation Schiano is still alive and well, leaving the audience open to the idea of Belichick's Fifteen(th season).