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Smarter by the dozen

Dip your toe in our 'Ocean's' roundup of all you need to know about the film

By Alison apRoberts -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Monday, December 13, 2004

"Ocean's Twelve" is sailing high on a sea of good buzz, with strong box office and glowing reviews. That means people will be talking about it - at work, at holiday parties, at the grocery store and even at the Laundromat. You might want to prepare.

First, you should get your feet wet with a little background. "Ocean's Twelve" is a sequel to the 2001 movie "Ocean's Eleven," itself a remake of a movie of the same name released in 1960.

In the new movie, it has been three years since Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his debonair crew of thieves pulled off an astonishing heist to clean out $160 million from the Las Vegas vault of Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). The guys have been trying to lead the legit life, though they are ill-suited to it.

When Benedict shows up with a deal - pay him back, with interest, or die - the guys get back on their old career track to pull off a few amazing heists in exotic places. Master criminal competition, plot twists, virtual treasure and steamy encounters take place in an exuberant, stylishly told story.

Following are a dozen things you ought to know about "Ocean's Twelve" and its predecessors so you can join in the conversation when the new movie comes up - whether you've seen it or not.

1. COUNTING IT UP: No. 12 of the new movie takes the gang into an equal-opportunity direction by bringing a woman into the boys' club. Julia Roberts plays the dame - Tess Ocean, wife of Danny Ocean. The two are on a marital roller coaster that has brought them to their third wedding anniversary for the second time when the movie begins.

2. TAG, YOU'RE IT: The tagline to the new movie is "Twelve is the new eleven." The tagline to the "Ocean's Eleven" remake of 2001 was, "Are you in or out?" The tagline to the original movie of 1960 was "That Big One!!"

3. TALKING POINTS: There are a few memorable lines in the new movie that you might hear repeated at parties.

* "What are we stealing?" - Danny Ocean (Clooney)

* "Next time I see you, I'm arresting you." - Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), with whom she once was extremely friendly.

* "Nothing costs nothing." - Terry Benedict (Garcia)

* "A looky-loo with a bundle of joy." - Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) describing a ploy the gang will use.

4. LINE IT UP: If you want to dazzle friends with your recall, whip out a few memorable quotes from the previous "Ocean's" movies.

From the original of 1960:

* "Hello, this is a recording. You've dialed the right number, now hang up and don't do it again." - Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra)

* "I'm so drunk, I don't think I could lie down without holding on." - Shirley MacLaine in a cameo.

From the 2001 movie:

* "Look, we all go way back and uh, I owe you from the thing with the guy in the place and I'll never forget it." - Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould).

* "You're a thief and a liar." - Tess Ocean (Roberts)

* "I only lied about being a thief; I don't do that anymore." - Danny Ocean (Clooney)
"Steal?" - Tess.
"Lie" - Danny.

5. GOING GLOBAL: While the earlier movies were strictly Las Vegas, the new one takes a worldwide hike, hitting Amsterdam, Italy's Lake Como and Rome. For Clooney, the Lake Como scenes made for some no-commuting shooting - he has a home there.

6. NEXT STOP: Some scenes supposed to be at an Amsterdam train station actually were filmed about 12 miles away in a Haarlem train station. Pretend you recognized it to impress your friends (and get that Hollywood continuity job you always wanted).

7. UNCOUTH STARS: While discussing production in Rome, Clooney and Pitt had trouble getting back into their hotel after going jogging because the doorman thought they were vagrants.

8. IRONIC MOMENT: The makers of the new movie reportedly got a little spooked about the possibility of real-life crime while shooting in Sicily, when suspected Mafia members were sighted near a filming location.

9. CHOWHOUND: Rusty Ryan (Pitt) was eating in almost every scene in the remake of 2001. In the new movie, he seems to be continuing the motif, almost incessantly chewing gum, and he does some impressive chomping, especially during a crunchy corn chip scene.

10. CAMEO ROUNDUP: There's a tradition of stars making cameo appearances in these movies. MacLaine made a memorable, though uncredited, cameo as a ditzy drunk woman in the original movie. Henry Silva and Angie Dickinson, who both appeared in the original 1960 movie, made cameo appearances during a fight scene in the 2001 remake.

We don't want to give anything away about the big cameo star of the new movie, but we'll give you a clue: If you have a sixth sense, you'll figure out who it is. This movie has an added bonus in the form of a very funny self-impersonation by a superstar.

11. WORKING AN EXTRA SHIFT: The original movie was a chance to reunite for the Rat Pack, including Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. And maybe they weren't paid like movie stars are these days, as many of them were performing shows in Vegas clubs in the evenings while shooting the movie in the mornings.

12. CASTAWAYS: Actors who were considered but didn't end up, for various reasons, in the 2001 movie and this latest one: Mark Wahlberg, Bruce Willis and Danny Glover.

Sources: Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), Bee news services.

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