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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


The Boycott Begins
By Will "The Thrill" Viharo
Exerpted from

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I am opposed—ideologically, philosophically, culturally and every which way—to most remakes, including the impending rip-offs of beloved sci-fi classics Forbidden Planet and Barbarella, neither of which could possibly be improved upon in any update. In boycotting the remake of the Rat Pack classic Ocean's 11, my whole point in a nutshell is this: Why not create something totally original, that is as significant to our era as those films were to theirs?

Plundering the past for ideas is nothing new, but at least please give the new version its own identity by calling it something else. Case in point: Stephen Soderbergh's needless but inoffensive remake of the classic noir Criss-Cross, which he called The Underneath. It wasn't nearly as good as the original, of course, but the fact that he chose to give the remake a new moniker allowed us to reckon with it on its own terms, and reduced inevitable comparisons.

Now Soderbergh has completely blown it, and alienated me forever. Like he cares.

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For one thing, he isn't even a true fan of the original Ocean's 11—he simply wanted to update the concept of an all-star heist flick. Fine. Not even Sinatra has a patent on that idea. But why not create new pop culture instead of warming over a legend from another time and place? The original Ocean's 11 was a time capsule travelogue of Classic Vegas, and a grand showcase for the timeless, matchless charisma of the Clan. The plot was incidental, and hardly cried out for a modern spin. The fact is, Ocean's 11 is widely regarded as the Rat Pack flick (though they subsequently made several films together, detailed in my article in the Fall/Winter issue of ATOMIC Magazine). Remaking it is on par with remaking I Love Lucy. If you really just have to get together a bunch of movie stars and have them hold up Modern Vegas—ugh—go ahead…but don't call it Ocean's 11, that's been done already!

In a recent interview, Soderbergh expressed disdain for what he deemed the "smugness" of the original. Newsflash for Stevie Blunder—that detached attitude is called COOLNESS, you clueless snob! Frank, Dino, Sammy, Angie D., Richard Conte, Cesar Romero and company were really cool, they don't have to act cool, like Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts and Garcia will lamely attempt. The trailer for the remake looks like Mission:Impossible 3—another pop culture franchise taken over and ruined by a pointlessly revisionist, egomaniacal, irreverent mentality. On Letterman lately, someone told me Dave asked Julia Roberts if she'd seen the original. She replied she'd tried twice but couldn't get through it. What a bimbo! Obviously the marketing minds behind this mess want to sucker in potential fans of a Rat Pack remake (even though the Rat Pack is not even referenced in the new film or on its soundtrack), and here a star of the remake disses the beloved source material on national TV! Pitt, Roberts, and Soderbergh are the most arrogant airheads in Hollywood, the direct antithesis of what the Rat Pack and Ocean's 11 were all about.

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This is culturally criminal, and I won't just sit back and let it happen without a fight! As for George Clooney—I actually like George. He has an old fashioned charm and is one of the few charismatic movie stars we have today, relatively speaking. He's fine in stuff like O Brother Where Art Thou and From Dusk Till Dawn—but not in roles originated by Frank Sinatra, a true icon and legendary talent. Sorry, George is not "Danny Ocean"—that role belongs to Sinatra for all eternity! Can you picture Sinatra as ER's Doug Ross? Would you even want to? And Brad Pitt? Ever see that bum on television interviews? He's a slob, the stylistic opposite of Dean Martin, the King of Cool! And I guess Matt Damon is today's feeble answer to the suave sophistication of Peter Lawford? That says a lot about the pitiful times we live in. Don Cheadle is one of several token black guys in the new 11, but he is not "Sammy"—even though he effectively played him in the HBO biopic, and was in fact the best of that bunch.

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How could all this be allowed to happen? From now on, when you walk into a typical video store and ask for Ocean's 11, some pimply faced punk will hand you a fucking Brad Pitt movie. Kids today need to be edified about classic cool and historical pop culture—to casually and cynically "re-imagine" our past for modern minds is ripping off their present and our cultural future, not to mention our sacred past, which we will ALL be relegated to someday, remember.

Ocean's 11 is and will always be a Rat Pack movie—and these modern bozos are the anti-Rat Pack. That's what my sign will say: BOYCOTT THE ANTI-RAT PACK!

Addendum: Will's boycott was subsequently covered by The San Francisco Chronicle and Entertainment Weekly, as well as in this article from The Las Vegas Review-Journal How about the reaction on the East Coast? Check out this article from Orlando Weekly, which mentions Swingerhead bandleader Michael Andrew.

Behind in your reading?
Check out past ATOMIC features.

Dear Dottie
1999 Articles List
2000 Articles List
2001 Articles List
2002 Articles List
2003 Articles List
2004 Article List
Classic Holiday Movies
  Holiday Gift Guide
The Ocean's 11 Boycott
The Tao of Lucy:
50 Years of Laughter
Frederick Ziv, R.I.P.
Freaks and Shrieks:
Classic Horror Movies
Dena DeRose:
Live at the Algonquin
Goodness Had Something
to Do With It: Mae West
The Saga of a Laughing Giant
60th Anniversary of Citizen Kane
Unity In a Time of Crisis
Good Swing Comes to Those Who Wait
Theatre Review: Preview of Murder
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
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Will & Monica: A Lounge Love Story
For Dancer's Only:
Catalina's Casino Ballroom
WWII Comes To Life
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Ride the Moulin Rouge
The Last Word In Johnny Boyd
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Dita Von Teese:
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Legacy By The Bay: USS Hornet
Swing Cats Help Local Charity

Hippy Hippy Shakin' Siblings:
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