As I sat in front of my laptop, trying to muse- I received this e-alert from CNN . I’m not sure how or why I received this, but I am glad I did because it got me to thinking…about cat burglars, art thieves, and heist movies in general. I have an obsession with all things heisty and, by extension, cat burglaresque. A list, though not necessarily the A-List:
* The Thomas Crown Affair (1999): because nothing can arouse a woman like a multi-million dollar art heist. This movie, aside from making Pierce Brosnan, as Thomas Crown, a staple in my fantasy life, will probably always sit near the top of my list. What’s not to love about a wildly successful businessman who craves more adventure in life who decides the best way to deal that is to steal priceless art? Not race cars, not fight dogs, not shoot big guns, no– just steal art in the classiest and most bad ass way. However, were I Rene Russo, I wouldn’t give it back- I think I would flick my Jiminy Crickett conscience into the oblivion and hop onto the chopper.
* To Catch a Thief (1955): Hitchcock does the art heist. Cary Grant is literally “The Cat” and Grace Kelly oozes refinement like I exude Taco Bell cravings. I become depressed; fall more deeply in love with Cary Grant and start shopping for flights to exotic Mediterranean locales and evening gowns in powder blue.
* Catwoman: Lee Merriweather convinced me that a lady crook could run with the big boys, and Michelle Pfeiffer sealed the deal as the most kickass cat-villain ever, so much so that I may just throw up. Maybe not a burglar, but “Life’s a bitch, now so am I.” “I don’t know about you Miss Kitty, but I feel so much yummier!” “Meow.” You sold yet?
* Entrapment (1999): Dang 1999 was a good year. If you’re having trouble remembering this film, this should jog your memory. “No, Sean Connery is Monique’s boyfriend! He may be three hundred years old, but he’s still a stud!”
* Ocean’s 11 (2001): George, Brad, Julia, and Matt. This is my dream team. What I wouldn’t have given to spend a day on this set. I love everything about this film, and of the random 10 people I asked what was their favorite art and/or heist film, 5 people mentioned this one as their #1. It’s got the charm of Rat Pack era Vegas and the humor of classic Carey Grant films (“Did you check the batteries?”) all with some modern flava. Hello Elvis remix.
* The Mona Lisa (16th century): Real art heist trivia for you: did you know that this painting was stolen in 1911 by a Louvre employee? True story! On August 21, 1911 Vincenzo Peruggia entered the Louvre during regular hours, hid in a broom closet until closing time, at which point he hid the painting under his coat and walked out. It took 2 years, but the Louvre eventually got it back. Peruggia didn’t exactly get what was coming to him– he only served a few months in jail because Italians couldn’t blame him… Times have changed slightly: no longer may you simply pull it off the wall- nay, now you must first break into the climate-controlled, bullet-proof enclosure in which it currently resides. Where is the trust?
Speaking of broom closets: * How to Steal a Million (1966): Audrey Hepburn’s father is an art forger (sexiest profession around) who loans a faked sculpture to a museum. Once there, he learns that the sculpture must undergo an authenticity test. Hepburn enlists Peter O’Toole, an art thief she finds trying to steal a painting from her home, to help her recover the sculpture and keep her family secret secret. Hilarity ensues.
* Snatch (2000): Remember when Guy Ritchie movies were good? Me too. This is up there as one of the greatest badass quotable movies of all time, it also has one of my favorite easter eggs of all time.
* The Great Muppet Caper (1981): If you haven’t seen this movie, stop reading this immediately and add this to your Netflix queue– straight to the top. Charles Grodin and his hot lady posse of cat burglars are out to steal his sister’s jewels! He falls in love with Miss Piggy and is conflicted over wanting her to join him and/or making her the fall guy. Muppets intervene; hilarity ensues!
* The worst: Art Heist (2004) starring Ellen Pompeo and William Baldwin. I’m pretty sure it grossed about $12 at the box office. Ms. Pompeo: no one wants to see you when you’re not playing Meredith Grey, and only about 32% want to see you as Meredith Grey. The outlook is grim.
* What Say You: The Italian Job (2003). My sister would hate me if I didn’t include this film, but I’ve found that this movie tends to elicit a very polarized response: Either 2 thumbs wayyy up or 2 thumbs wayyy down. Oddly enough, I’m in the middle. You?
* What Say You Dos: The Score (2001): This one fell into the “eh” camp for me as it was great the first time around, but it was only good the first time. While it does have Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton, the second time around the suspense, which drives the film, is lost. Dis/agree?
*The Rescue Artist (2006): This is not a movie, but a book, and a fabulous one at that, written by Edward Dolnick that further chronicles the heist of The Scream by Edvard Munch. Two thumbs up from this one for this one. Read on!