The Ocean’s Twelve Effect

Ocean’s Twelve is my favorite movie ever. Period. Over the years, I’ve found that the Ocean movies can serve as a universal conversation starter. The conversation always goes something like this: Me: Hey man, cool shoes. Him: Uh, yeah. They’re good sneakers, I guess. Me: Anyway, I’m Max Block. What’s your name? Him: Uh I dunno…I gotta go dude. (At this point, I know I have to pull out my ace if I want a new friend.) Me: Dude, you know what I just saw? Ocean’s Thirteen. (Other guy immediately smiles.) Him: Oh yeah, did you like it? Me: Yeah man, I thought it was alright. I mean, Eleven was better, of course. Him: Haha yeah, classic heist. Me: You know, it’s a shame Twelve was so bad cause otherwise it would be a mad trilogy! Him: Yeah man, I know! What did you say your name was? I’m Brad. Me: I’m Max. A few minutes later the conversation ends on a happy note with an exchange of phone numbers and a mutual appreciation of good cinema. But after making the majority of my friends using this conversation starter, I’ve been forced to admit, I liked it when Julia Roberts played Julia Roberts. I liked the goofy plot and the Night Fox character. I liked the silly but infinitely entertaining banter between Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt’s character) and that French chick. I especially liked the first half of the movie, when the Ocean’s crew are bumbling around. I liked seeing George Clooney come out on top. Sitting here writing this, I’m consumed by all the times when I could have said, “Hey, let’s watch Ocean’s Twelve.” Instead, I held my tongue for fear of endless social torment. But I now have promised never to pass up an opportunity to view my all time favorite heist movie, even if others may disagree with my taste in movies. I’ve realized that my relationship with Ocean’s Twelve mirrors the relationship so many kids share with unappreciated or unpopular movies. Certainly there are a lot of kids who would like to go over and sit with the loner Ben Talarico described in his article “The Road to Prevention” last week, but perhaps the fear of a negative response weighs move heavily in these kids’ minds than they would think, consequently holding them back from kindly reaching out to their peers. I call this the Ocean’s Twelve effect. This effect is one of the central problems with social networks everywhere. The reverse principle, the Star Wars IV effect, dictates how viral groups on Facebook work. Star Wars IV is decidedly less entertaining than any of the three new Star Wars installments, not to mention all three Ocean’s movies, however many. And those who may secretly agree with me, will instantly claim that “A New Hope” is the best Star Wars movie of all time. Well, when a stupid Facebook group shows up, and enough popular kids join it, you have the Star Wars IV effect. I mean, honestly, there is one good light saber fight. Really. I do not have solutions to either the Ocean’s Twelve effect or the Star Wars IV effect. There is no way to make people change their taste in movies or clothes overnight. Someone could even point out that I may just be claiming to like Ocean’s Twelve because no one else does. I assure you; I love that movie. Perhaps the best we can hope for as a society, or on a smaller level as school, is to have the Star Wars IV effect work to our advantage. In other words, hope that one day all of those kids who once feared the reaction from their peers will decide to go sit with the lone wolf. I hate to seem that crude. I guess everyone is used to enjoying a fluffy buffer of terms like “social norm” and “tipping point.” But the bottom line is, it’s up to those once fearful, or perhaps even still fearful, kids to take the jump. Max Block is a Junior from Norwich, Vermont.