"Get in the -- house."
Ocean’s 11 is not one of my favorite movies. I like it fine, but I don’t own it, and I don’t plan on owning it. It’s a decent heist movie. Like detective movies, they have little to do with actual thievery and more to do with solving a puzzle. But that’s not why I bring up Ocean’s 11.
Even though it’s not one of my favorite movies, it does contain one of my favorite cinematic scenes. For context, George Clooney’s character Danny Ocean has just finished giving a big speech to his crew, warning them about how dangerous their next job will be. He ended the speech by inviting everyone who wants to come along anyway inside. Matt Damon’s character Linus Caldwell isn’t feeling up to snuff, so he stays outside. He’s approached by a senior member of the crew for the following interchange:
Sometimes we don’t have the confidence to take that next step. We’re afraid. We’re nervous. We’re unsure of ourselves. It’s in moment’s like that we need to find the courage to get in the house anyway. Sure, we might lose, but we’ll never know if we do not play.
But this scene is about more than inspiring. It’s about having respect for yourself, sure, but moreso it’s about respecting others. Danny Ocean called Linus to be part of his crew. He wouldn’t have been called if he wasn’t capable. Linus was chosen because of his skills. When Linus tried to weasel out, he wasn’t just disrespecting himself, he was disrespecting Danny and embarrassing both of them.
Yes, we need to choose ourselves. We also need to accept when we’ve been chosen. Linus worries he’s only been chosen because his father was a successful thief. He thinks he’s just coasting on his father’s name and not really worthy enough to be part of the crew. But if Danny thought that was accurate, Linus wouldn’t be there.
Enter Elliott Gould’s character Reuben Tishkoff. Reuben doesn’t give a damn about Linus’s insecurities. He’s embarrassing himself, the crew, and Danny by trying to exclude himself from the job. He’s telling everyone they were wrong about him and, paradoxically, confirming everyone’s criticism of him (because they do give him a hard time about being “the Kid” of the bunch). Linus isn’t just refusing the call to action, he’s refusing an invitation to manhood. Reuben can’t let him do that. So he gives him a little nudge because he knows Linus will be a better man for it.
It helps that Linus winds up being an integral part of the con.
We all need a Reuben in our lives. Someone who can remind us of our own greatness. Someone who invites us into adulthood and calls us to responsibility. And if we don’t have a Reuben, we can be that to someone else.
But above all, we have to get in the house.
That’s all I have for you today. Lots of writing updates that won’t be of much interest. Suffice to say, I’ve got a few new projects in the pipeline while I work on a few older ones. Nothing much to see here, move along.
Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Had too much corned beef.
Although can you really have too much corned beef?