Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Sting: Lessons Learned, or Not

Larry Miller of the Daily Standard ponders why it is that we love movie criminals and notes the real live ones are not cute or cuddly.

A nice distraction [excerpts]

EVERYONE'S SEEN "The Sting," because it's a great movie. Well, I guess not everyone, but you know what I mean. And it's still a great movie. Newman and Redford are wonderful (I've always wished the two of them had made more together), and the rest of the cast is as good as it gets: Robert Shaw, Eileen Brennan, Charles Durning, Harold Gould, Ray Walston, Dana Elcar, and many others. The great George Roy Hill directed--he passed on not too long ago--and David S. Ward wrote the script.

As you know, "The Sting" is about con men, and they're all cute and cuddly and funny. Heroic, too. The cops, on the other hand, are vicious and corrupt, the FBI is manipulative and conniving, and the murderously vindictive "mark" is a banker. But that doesn't seem to matter, does it? Why do we love movie criminals so much? Why is crime so entertaining?

THIS IS IN MY HEAD FOR A REASON. I met a real con man last week, the day after I saw "The Sting." Not on a screen, not at a party, not in a meeting. At my home; at my front door. I wasn't doing research, either. He was trying to con me. They're not cute or cuddly; they're sociopaths with no feelings for others whatsoever, and they smell a score on you like vampires smell living blood. (Movies again: Strange.) And if they thought they could end your life with no threat to themselves and take everything you have, they would do it with no more thought than stepping on a cockroach.

Read the remainder here if you're so inclined.


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