Headscratchers: Ocean's Eleven
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Rigging Ordinary Slots
- In Ocean's 13, Danny's gang has a way to rig the progressive jackpot on slot machines. When they use it in Banks's casino they had to let a random stranger win the money, because of the fancy infrared computer thing. But they can also use it on some ordinary slot machine in the Las Vegas airport. Why not use that to win a lot of other jackpots? That's hundreds of millions of dollars they could walk off with.
- Danny and his crew are far too classy for that.
- That and there's no challenge. What more exciting? Stealing millions on dollars in an Ocean's-esque heist or rigging slot machines?
- THAT, and the fact was that they weren't trying to get money for themselves, they were trying to screw with Bank by letting strangers walk out with all his cash. 'Cause, you know, it was personal.
Livingston and Roman
- In Ocean's 13, Livingston manages to convince Roman to help him rig the blackjack machines, but once he is arrested a spanner is thrown into the works in the form of Bank tracking his fingerprints. Since the group knew ahead of time that Bank had access to the federal fingerprint database, isn't that something Livingston should have taken into account before saving his own ass at the expense of the rest of the operation?
- It's implied that this was part of the Batman Gambit: Roman was comfortably in place and ready to step in, and the FBI agent who arrested Livingston was also an undercover heist member (specifically, Linus' dad).
- True, but Livingston specifically asked Roman to keep his asking for help on "the down-low". Thus, if Roman did so, none of the other crew members would have known that Livingston's arrest was just as planned. It's possible Roman could have agreed to help and then told Danny and the others without Livingston's knowledge, but it still shows an uncharacteristic lack of planning when they have to scramble to keep Livingston's identity and known associates (i.e., themselves) out of Bank's system. And Roman couldn't have turned Livingston down, and then shown up anyway, because when he's arrested Livingston gives the little smirk in the squad car that says that being taken away and his machines replaced is just what he wanted.
- A new wrinkle that is introduced that I just now noticed after rewatching the movie: Well after the point when Livingston is supposedly arrested, he is back on the communicator telling Rusty exactly which slot machine to prime for the back door program, with no surprise from Rusty or anything to indicate that his being there is in any way out of the ordinary.
- I had thought all of the above had been done to throw Terry Benedict off. They knew he had hired Toulour to double-cross them, and thought it likely that he'd be tapping their phones as well, so they made it seem like Roman was outside the plan, and that Livingston getting arrested was a Spanner in the Works, when really, it was all part of their plan.
- The plan was for Livingston to get arrested to fool Bank into accepting the rigged machines. They knew that Bank had contacts with the FBI, but either they didn't take into account the possibility of Bank using that connection to check Livingston's fingerprints and find his associates, or they expected for that search to take more time to begin, giving Livingston the chance to make those changes.
- What did Willy Bank do that was so bad? In the scene where he and Reuben meet, he tells Reuben that their deal is off and that Reuben is going to sell his shares in the casino back to Bank. Reuben does, then immediately has a heart attack. Except that there was absolutely no reason for Reuben to give in. Bank didn't threaten or force him or appear to have any leverage at all. What was to stop Reuben from saying, "Go soak your head, Bank. You can't force me to sell."
- Except the part where, when Reuben asks "What, are you going to throw me off the roof?" Bank says, "If I have to." So, yeah, there was some force involved.
- Bank says, "I don't want to." But if that's the angle, then Reuben was just Too Dumb to Live, going up to a high building in the middle of the night to meet with somebody who would be willing to throw him off.
- Reuben didn't believe that Bank was going to do something like that to him. When he says "What, are you going to throw me off the roof," he's being sarcastic. Essentially, he is telling Bank that Bank can't force him to sell. Until it happened, he didn't expect Bank to screw him over at all. And even if Reuben did expect Bank to try and cheat him out of half of an expensive casino, there's a big gap between a hard-dealing businessman and a murderer. So when Bank suddenly implies that he's willing to kill Reuben, it comes as a shock and a surprise.
- But I thought it's mentioned later that Banks has a history of ruthlessness, surely Reuben's should have seen it coming. On that note, given this is Banks' fifth (or 6th or whatever) casino/hotel, surely he either has the bad rep already or why does he suddenly flip and become evil, it must be one of the two.
- It was actually sort of mentioned when Ruben goes on his whole spiel about defending Bank and having faith that he (Bank) wouldn't screw over Reuben as Bank had done to all his prior partners.
- And, besides, they both "shook Sinatra's hand". There's an understanding between guys like that. Unless you're a schmuck. Reuben didn't realize Banks was a schmuck, despite being warned about him. (Y'know, when you put quotes around "shook Sinatra's hand", it looks like it means something dirty, doesn't it? Or is it just me?)
- It's not just you.
- The SWAT officers at the end. Why did they have the containers they had in the first movie? Surely someone thought -that- was odd.
- Who's going to question SWAT officers in the middle of a mission? Besides, they had a good reason for it, they needed to rappel down into the vault with the stopped elevator and then breach the door. So they have gear with them.
- After The Reveal, I figured they brought the hooker flyers in, and carried the money out.
- No, the bags on their backs are clearly empty when they're on their way in.
- And the hooker flyers have left the casino before the "Swat team" arrives (see below).
- In Ocean's 11, where did the flyers filling the bags come from? They can't fit in the trolley Yen hid in. You see him pull empty bags out of the trolley. They weren't brought by Linus (Who had only a small briefcase), nor by Danny (who wasn't supposed to be there, brought nothing). They weren't brought by the "SWAT team", because the bags leave the vault LONG before the SWAT team gets to the vault. How did the bags make it into the vault, so they could be delivered out of it? And the bags HAD to be full of flyers, or Benedict's people would've noticed the fact the bags contained nothing.
- In one of the commentary tracks on the DVD, someone points this out and admits it was a screwup on the part of the writers.
Twice the gear
- So the original plan in 11 was for Danny to be the NGC representative and to go down the elevator alone. That plan died when Danny made himself known to Benedict, forcing Linus to step up. Danny later come up with his own side-plan (not telling Linus or the others) so he can go in the vault and help the others. Except... Why did Linus' suitcase contain TWO sets of climbing gear to rappel down the shaft? If the plan never called for more than one person doing it, why bring twice the gear?
- Nope. Danny being there was always part of the plan; Linus was probably the only one at that point who genuinely thought Danny was actually "out". It was a test for Linus, to have him prove himself to Danny and Rusty. Note how nobody at all is surprised when Danny is in the vault except Linus. Linus's suitcase had two sets of gear because Danny was always supposed to be there.
- And Linus never asked about the second set of gear because ...? And don't tell me he never checked the suitcase, no one would not check on the gear upon which THEIR LIVES depends on.
- Indeed. And if your life is going to depend on the gear, better to double up on it just in case if you can fit it, right?
- I'll grant you that, but that'd be nice if any of this had been shown on film. Admittedly the part about Danny still being in makes sense (coz he's the one that reverse pickpockets the cellphone onto Tess).
- If any of it had been shown on film it would've given the whole sequence away.
- Nope. Flashbacks, like they did for the swat team or Danny putting the cell on Tess. Plenty of ways to resolve this.
- I'm not sure there's much needing to be resolved, really. The most important information (that Danny is there and the whole thing was part of the plan) is given to you by Danny's presence and when he says it was a test to Linus ("You didn't trust me?" "I do now."). Him having two sets of equipment is a fairly minor detail, and a flashback on that would've just been, "Hey, why's there two pulleys?" "Oh, one's a backup."
- Speaking of which, the "backup Pulley excuse" makes no sense anyway. If the pulley stops working halfway down the shaft, it's not like he can pull the spare one out of his ass and use it. He's got 30 seconds and no means of climbing back up!
- Sure it makes sense. You'd wear both at once so you have redundancy on the way down. If one screws up somehow, you've got the other one already attached.
- So besides the distraction to the security team in the info center, what purpose did Saul have? At all? Yen could've easily pocketed with him the explosives to blow the door, seeing as they're not much larger than the pins used to blow them, and the big Ella Fitzgerald (The taping switch) could've been done right after the pinch blew anyways.
- Tying up Benedict's second in command in the info center, so Benedict cannot pass Linus off to him in order to go to the boxing match (He's in a hurry after all), and thus Linus can pickpocket the codes off Benedict. Also, the tapping switch could not wait for the pinch, as Yen would've run out of air.
- So then I guess I'm going to ask why the explosives needed to be in the briefcase in the first place. Is there any other reason that other than Rule of Cool?
- Well, you gotta get a briefcase in the vault anyway, may as well get the explosives down there while at it? Yen's already in a tiny box with 6 empty duffle bags and an air bottle, guess every bit of free room he gets he will like?
- But they ran those explosives under the possible eye of casino security. I guess they were lucky that only Benedict handled and observed the explosives, who knows what might have happened if someone more specialized took a look?
- Look at how Benedict searches the case. He just lifts the tray holding the explosives out and puts it to the side, disregarding it entirely, because he has no reason to suspect that the "jewels" were anything besides what they looked like. You'd probably need to do a considerably more indepth study on them to figure out what they really are, and it's highly unlikely that's part of the place's standard operating procedure.
Also, having the explosives in the briefcase gives Saul an excuse to be in the security room. If he's not there, he can't distract Benedict's second in command, and the whole thing goes to pot.
- I meant, why did the explosives have to be the jewels in the first place, not why they needed the jewels— but I know the answer to that, because it's cool. I thought it was cool, too.
- Not just because it's cool, but because they know the briefcase will be searched carefully and the best way to keep the explosives from being discovered is to make them look like something that's supposed to be in the briefcase. Saul tells Benedict he has something valuable he wants stored in the vault, Benedict opens the case and sees "jewels," and sets them aside to search the rest of the case for anything hidden, which he doesn't find because the only thing "hidden" in the case is the one thing he's already stopped paying attention to.
- Also, the pinch can't be used to do the camera switch: You can't hack a network if it's powered down. They had to do the camera switch before or after the pinch went on. No other way around it.
- The second reason Saul was there, other than what's been mentioned above, is because he needed to provide a distraction (faking a heart attack) for when Linus is inevitably spotted on the cameras. He goes down, the camera operator runs over to help, and Livingston loops the camera's feeds while they're not looking.
Tess and Terry
- In Ocean's Eleven Tess tells Danny she left him because she was tired of his dishonesty and that she was fed up with him putting his "work" above her. Why on Earth did she go for Terry Benedict then, considering he's the epitome of the workaholic and while Danny's only a thief, Benedict's reputed to be a murderer? There's no way she could have missed the fact that Terry's married to his work and there's no way she could have not heard the rumors.
- Coz, probably that Terry laid some sweet moves on her. He offers her a job that lets them see each other at work (thus negating the workaholic part). Presumably Terry's skills at romance outweigh a few rumors. Also, the scene seems to indicate that it's not the stealing she objected to, but that Danny had lied on being a thief.
- Regarding Saul, why is he always eating Life Savers? I mean, wouldn't a constant intake of sugary candy make ulcer pains WORSE?
- They're not lifesavers. They're Tums, or some other ulcer-helping medication.
- The somewhat infamous use of Tess's resemblance of Julia Roberts as a plot device brings up a number of questions involving the Celebrity Paradox. The most obvious one is, of course, why does no body recognize Danny, Rusty, and Linus as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, not to mention the rest of the Eleven. Made worse by the film's All-Star Cast, making every character played by an actor people would recognize. This brings up the additional, smaller question of what the in-universe Julia Roberts was doing rather than filming Ocean's Eleven at the time she was (Assuming the movie doesn't exist in this universe, otherwise the Eleven would be rather creeped out about the film perfectly imitating their lives), which opens the floodgates for a whole ton of other questions involving whether or not actors and movies exist in the Ocean's Eleven universe... The only possible comprehensible explanation is that all the actors that exist in our universe exist in theirs, but Julia Roberts is the only one that looks the same in both, though this leaves questions about the Ocean's Eleven movie's existence open, and doesn't cover the effects that the actor's different looks would have on their careers in-universe as opposed to ours... Yeah, it's a bit of a Headscratcher explosion.
- Just because Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis exist in their universe doesn't mean anyone else has to.
- And furthermore, Reality Is Unrealistic. I work with a guy who has a strong to Noah Antwiler. That doesn't mean the guy I work with is Noah Antwiler nor would I think anything other than "Hey, that guy looks like The Spoony One." I do call him "Spoony", though.
- As someone who looks a lot like Harry Potter (and that was before I got glasses), I'll say that most friends of celebrity look-alikes learn quickly not to bring it up.
Julia Roberts ploy
- Why, exactly, was the Julia Roberts ploy necessary in Ocean's Twelve? The actual plan involved them getting caught (so Rusty could get Isabel back), they just figured they would get caught after pulling the (staged) job. All the ploy did was get the others arrested as well, when they could have easily just stayed put when everyone was picked up in front of the museum the first time. There's no reason for it. 1) The Night Fox already thinks they're busted and he's won, they don't need to actually fake the attempt for his benefit. 2) Getting Isabel back happened during their extradition, which happens either way.
- The Julia Roberts plot was necessary for the Night Fox's benefit. If he saw all but three of the Eleven get arrested, and the other three just walked away, he would be more suspicious than if the remaining three tried a new job. Especially since walking away would mean Benedict would have them killed. They had to look absolutely desperate to get the job done.
Benedict Outsourcing his Beatings?
- Why does Benedict hire an outsider to beat up Danny. Besides the fact that he runs the risk of Danny overpowering the guy (Since he's not restrained or anything), he's already got two sizeable goons who do his goon work for him and whom he clearly trusts enough to send them to find Danny. Not counting that bribing two guys is harder than one.
- Deniability. If Danny (or someone else who gets this treatment) tries to sue Benedict over it, it's easy to shift the blame onto the random bruiser who is not legally on his payroll. If he had his actual thugs do it, it would be too easy to nail him to the wall.
Lasers (Ocean's Twelve)
- Don't the lasers need a set of receptors? The point of laser grids is that the alarm is sounded if the beams are BROKEN, if the lasers AREN'T shining on a receptor. These lasers are pointing at empty floor.
- Not if they are Laser Distance Measuring devices.
- And in case that isn't a problem, the grid is said to be changing "randomly". Night Fox would need access to the RNG, and calculate a dance hours in advance. If he were THAT deep into the network, couldn't he just shut the lasers off?
Lasers (Ocean's Eleven)
- In the elevator shaft scene, why have the lasers red? They're supposed to be hard to pass, but making them visible makes it a lot easier. How about invisible lasers?
Banks not going to the cops? (Thirteen)
- Why is Danny so sure Banks isn't going to the cops after what Danny and his crew did to them (While leaving a ton of evidence behind)? Part of their plans hinged on Banks having contacts with the cops, so why the sudden change in character?
- Because going to the cops is against the thief rules. Oh, he hasn't cared much about the rules before, but he's got enough illegal stuff going on that if he calls in the cops, it will take every other thief in the country two seconds to get him nailed to the wall. Bribing some cops for access to their database is one thing, but he can't afford to have them actually looking over him, his hotels, or his finances.
- What illegal stuff? The contract with Reubens? If that was so easy to prove the illegality (And Reubens signed the damn thing), Reubens wouldn't have gone catatonic. He'd have gone to court. What else is illegal in his casino? the waitresses-as-models things is explicitly a legal loophole (And not one the cops would care about since it's more civil than criminal law anyway). Otherwise for everything we see him do he goes out of his way so it can't be considered illegal (Get papers for the chefs to show up on time rather than have them work under the table. Get the city council to change the signeage leading to the casino. Etc...). The only remotely illegal thing he'd have is tapping into the FBI fingerprint databanks, and he can just cover that up by removing the computer involved and burying it somewhere deep in the Nevada desert. Banks has no reason to go to the cops. Plus seeing as Banks stands to lose his casino, even if the cops find something illegal on him, it'll take them years to prosecute and he might be able to escape it. And the cops finding another crime doesn't exonerate them from arresting Danny and Cie for the crime the committed. There's no "The guy we robbed was a douche so it's not a robbery" in Nevada law.
- Banks can't call the cops because he has no proof Danny was behind it, at least nothing that would stand up in a court. Also, similar to Terry's situation in Eleven, calling the police would mean admitting that you were outwitted, garnering further humiliation. There was also the fact that given how Linus' parents have been able to pose as FBI agents, they'd be able to sabotage any possible investigation.
- No evidence, other than the giant drill. Linus' fingerprints around the stolen display case, Roman's fingerprints all over the tempered card shuffling machines, employment records of two of Danny's known associates in the factory that produced the tempered dice, the fact Danny pretty much confessed to it on camera (What casino doesn't have cameras on its front entrance, and Bank's are capable of measuring pupil dilation and heart rate so I doubt they can't register sound), the fact that Danny's known accomplices have left their finger prints on all the stuff. But yes. No evidence was left behind.
- In the first movie, tunneling to Benedict's Vault is said to be impossible because he has such good security measures "If a groundhog nests within a thousand yards, they know about it." So why is it that in the third film, Banks' casino (With even better security) has no such sensors? They'd have picked up the drill weeks before it even got close enough to the tower's foundation. Heck, wouldn't the drill have triggered every casino in town with such sensitive sensors?
- It's implied that Benedict was the only one with sensors like that. Banks is paranoid, but all the paranoia in the world won't help you if you don't think of the possibility that someone might tunnel in.
- So wouldn't Benedict be calling the cops LONG before they come to him to finance the second drill?
- Most likely Banks just thought they were the small earthquakes that he was warned about previously.
Get people out of the casino with their winnings
- In 13, it's mentioned the plan revolves around getting everyone in the casino out before they can lose their winnings by playing more. Fine. Except... The people running out during the "earthquake" are running out with their chips - not money. Only Danny's friend who beat him up in the first film cashes out his chips - the rest are seen grabbing their stacks of chips and running out. Those are worthless until they cash it in. So by the end of the film, Banks hasn't lost any real amount of money. So for one, they'll have to return to the casino anyway, where they are likely to play again and lose their chips back to the casino. Furthermore, since Banks knows he's been had (Coz Danny more or less rubbed it in his face), and the Thirteen have left a ton of evidence behind (Stolen diamond, giant drill in a tunnel somewhere, magnetron cellphone, tempered machines), he's in a position where he could just decide to refuse to cash in the chips since they were obtained illegally, and are stolen goods. Effectively he's not lost much money (And what he's lost is likely insured) so it seems far from certain he's not going to meet those financial benchmark he has to meet to keep his seat running his casino.
- He can't report the Thirteen or otherwise claim the money was made illegally for the same reason as above: An investigation would result in everyone finding evidence of all his far more illegal dealings. As for the chips, they don't really care about hurting the casino. If Banks gets kicked out due to the scandal, then they don't care that everyone returned and lost all their money again. Alternatively, they may have had another way of keeping the money out of his hands. Benedict might be able to poach the customers by offering to buy the Bank chips at normal value. Though that might be illegal, if it's not, it would be a profitable way to screw over Banks while maintaining good publicity.
- Except that Benedict has no reason to buy back the chips. That would lose him money, since none of those chips represent money the person ever invested in his casino. Sure, the people might then spend it all at his place, but he's essentially giving over half a billion in free games, which is both out of character for him, and never mentioned in the movie, AND a bigger sum than what all three of his casinos contained in money on a particularly busy night in Eleven. So even if we agree on the "Banks can't go the cops coz of nebulous crime stuff", that still leaves Banks with no loss of money till people cash in those chips. You say they don't care about hurting the casino, but they do. That's the ENTIRE reason. Banks has to clear a specific sum of profits in his opening month. The very reason they staged this, is to hurt the casino so it cannot clear that sum. You might say they want him kicked out over a scandal, but that runs contrary to the very thing they say on screen as the goal for their operation. It might be true in another script, but not in the one that was actually filmed.
- Because it would be further scandal and humiliation if Banks were to suddenly revoke what thousands of people believed were legitimate winnings. Even if Banks were to try and go public over the sabotage, the casino's reputation would be ruined anyways. Banks' partners would most likely prefer to eat the loss and let the whole matter be quietly forgotten rather than make a big stink about it.
- Except they won't eat the loss. If they honor the chips when it opens the next day, then people will just start gambling again and the casino recoups. That's basic gambling theory AND what the characters literally say will happen. If they don't honor the chips, they don't lose anything either since no money was paid out.