No. 3: "The Italian Job" (2003)
This film tries pretty hard to glorify these likeable heisters, offering a gem of a scene where every partner-in-crime is introduced with a short biography.
The explosives guy is shown in an "aw shucks" fashion when, as a youngster, he makes a toilet explode. (Oh, look, he's all wet. Let's just forget about his choice to enter a life of theft.)
The leader of the gang is shown as a boy stealing a wallet from another classmate. Oh, but it's OK. In fact, it's honorable, because it happens to be from a bully picking on a kid that very moment. How convenient.
The one gal in the gang is there to do the honorable deed of avenging her father's death. He, however, was killed while committing robbery by the actual "bad" guy.
Our next selection shows that love can make it all better ...
No. 2: "The Music Man" (1962)
"The Music Man" is a unique tale, because it has its star try to make good on his con, but in doing so still manages to twist the idea of who is really good.
The music man, played by Robert Preston, wants to go straight after falling in love -- awwww. So the audience is quick to forgive his con-man ways. And oddly, when a co-conspirator comes a-walking into town threatening to reveal the con to the townspeople, and rescuing them from the scam, he's the one made out to be a bad guy.
Shirley Jones' librarian, the object of his affection, comes to his side to help him stay in the shadows, enabling his con. When the gig is finally up, the music man is saved by a miracle that legitimizes his con. No one was the wiser and deception prevails.
Lastly, handsome criminals can't be all bad, right?
No. 1: "Ocean's Eleven" (2001)
This film takes the cake because it's so well made and the characters are so, well, likeable. So it goes the furthest to make bad look good.
The movie itself was shot and edited in a style all its own, featuring swift cuts, dual-screen action, and flashy Vegas colors. Throw in a nice soundtrack and you have pure eye/ear candy for an hour and half!
It offers an all-star group of Hollywood hunks -- George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon -- to play the thieves. And it naturally paints the "good guy" -- the legitimate, hardworking casino owner -- as a "bad" fella.
Finally, it has the female lead show preference for the lead thief. But just because she fell for it, doesn't mean we have to.
These guys vandalize, con, and steal equipment, and then there's the millions of dollars that the casino's customers are going to have to absorb. Yeah, great guys.
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