Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Movie Project: The Thomas Crown Affair

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Thomas Crown is a wealthy, fast-living executive who steals a priceless Monet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the fun of it. He meets his match with Catherine Banning, an investigator hired by the insurance company to retrieve the painting and catch the thief. Crown invites her into his life despite being the prime suspect, and they develop feelings for each other.

Memorable Quote:
Let's play ball.  ~Thomas Crown

Both heist scenes are a ton of fun, especially the second one when the police department is ready for Crown and out in full force, yet Crown still gets the best of them.

Obviously you need to take everything in this movie with a grain of salt, as with all heist shows/movies, but the stealing of the second painting (the one that Catherine liked) was a bridge too far. The gates in the room were down and there were men on the roof, and it was never explained how Crown was able to pull that off.

Most interesting piece of IMDB trivia:
In the scene where Thomas Crown is dancing at the party, his tie is untied on his tux, and the top buttons unbuttoned. This is because at the time, Pierce Brosnan was under contract to play James Bond, and a rumored stipulation of that contract, was that he could not wear a tuxedo in any non-James Bond movies.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Watching this one with Mrs. MacGyver Project! "Like no one would notice him crawling under the gate," she notes during the heist.
  • 20:30 mark -- I can't believe he just folds the painting in half like that.
  • Even if the video cameras got disabled in the heist room due to the temperature change, the museum should have video footage in the other rooms that places Crown in the museum.
  • Runner up for memorable quote:
    • "Always get your man?"  ~Crown
    • "Mmm-hmm."  ~Catherine
    • "Think you'll get me?"  ~Crown
  • 52:15 - Catherine drops Crown's stolen keys back into his pocket. "Like he wouldn't have felt that." ~Mrs. MP
  • Uh-oh, it's the love scene! Cover your eyes, Mrs. MP! I remember seeing this movie in the theater with some friends and feeling a bit uncomfortable while this was going on. But probably not as uncomfortable as Thomas and Catherine were doing the horizontal mambo on a marble staircase.
  • It's one thing for Crown to trust Catherine to "take the stick" of the glider, but she's flying pretty close to the trees there. "I don't think she should be doing that," Mrs. MP agrees.
  • Pierce Brosnan = one of my favorite all-time actors (who we saw recently in the making of Robin Hood video) and who I'll talk more about once I review the Bond movies. As with Bond, he was born to play this role of a suave, charming, cocky rich guy.  Rene Russo is equally sparkling as Catherine and gives a truly Oscar-worthy performance.
  • 1:22:07 - I like the smart aleck pyschologist played by Faye Dunaway who was in the original Thomas Crown Affair (which I've never seen). "Oh dear. Peter Pan decides to grow up and finds there's no place to land!"
  • It's not clear why Crown goes through the trouble of making such a detailed forgery (getting the borders exactly correct) only to underlay the painting with "Dogs at Cards" (which is hilarious, by the way).
  • So not only does this priceless painting get folded in half, but it gets painted over with watercolor and then washed off with sprinklers. For someone who allegedly loves the painting, Crown doesn't mind pushing it to its limits.
  • And speaking of the sprinklers, does an art museum actually have sprinklers that could go off over the artwork? At least there's a mechanism to cover the paintings, but the sculptures still get hit.
  • "So if some Houdini wants to snatch a couple swirls of paint that are really only important to some silly rich people, I don't really give a damn." ~McCann
  • Funny how Catherine leaves the priceless painting with the random lady working at the airline ticket counter and tells her to give it to the police.

Final Analysis:
A fun, rewatchable, clever, well-paced movie. It's a goofy premise (a businessman gives up everything to steal a painting for fun, keeps it for one day, then gives it back and is forced to live his life on the run), but who cares, it's a movie. Crown is a likable thief, Brosnan and Russo are amazing, and Denis Leary is good as the down-on-his-luck detective. I'm still trying to get a handle on my tiers -- for now I'm putting this at the top of the third tier.

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