Friday, February 4, 2011

My Fave Con-Artists

I know this sounds bad, but I'm sure you've been in this headspace before. Ever see someone in a movie pull off an awesome con, and think - I could do that!

I realize in the movies it's very much glamourized, but who cares. It's oh-so-much-fun to watch, and you end up rooting for them to pull it off.

First off, we have The Frighteners (1996). A Peter Jackson film, pre-LOTR, with some ground-breaking visual effects for the 90s.

Michael J. Fox plays an exorcist of sorts who gets the ghouls outta yo house. What you learn fairly quickly into the film is that he's really just a psychic with the ability to see and speak to ghosts. The ghosts causing the hauntings? You guessed it. His pals. They've teamed up to con scared homeowners into forking over dough to exorcise the spooks. Fox's character walks around with bullshit paranormal detecting devices as his buds shake the pots and pans, and even make an infant fly around the room. Good stuff.

The plot gets intersting though as townspeople start dying, and Fox's character realizes there's more sinister things out there than the little game he's playing, and as the only genuine paranormal communicator, it's up to him to figure it all out.

Next up we have Dennis Quaid and Draco the dragon in Dragonheart, also from 1996. Bowen (Quaid) is a successful dragon-slayer way back in medieval times. Too good. His personal quest for revenge (ie slaying all the dragons he hates) ends up almost putting him out of business, when he realizes he's slayed them all. All but one. Draco remains, voiced by none other than Sean Connery, and the unlikely due team up. Draco for reasons of remaining alive, and Bowen for financial gain. To remain employed.

They travel from village to village, Draco terrorizing the locals, and Bowen riding into town all brave and shit, offering his services as a slayer. Draco goes down, disappears, Bowen gets paid, and they meet up later to do it all over again. And of course, since it's a family friendly film, they become good friends and respect each other, and take on an evil king at the same time.

Enjoy this stupid musical montage of Bowen and Draco, to get a taste at least.

In The Brothers Grimm (2005) Matt Damon and Heath Ledger play the famous story-telling bros. The movie starts out with them in a barn, spouting curses and trying to trap and be rid of a witch. We learn quickly that this is a similar scenario to the ones I just described. The witch (actor in a wig) and the bros are in cahoots to make money from scared village people. Things go awry when the Grimms are busted, and must go on a special mission to save their skins from exocution. Soon they realize that the black magic they falsely defended against is more than just stories.

Skip to the 5:00 mark to see the con in action.

Heartbreakers (2001) gives us our first taste of the femme-fatale type of con artist. Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt play a mother-daughter duo, bent on marrying, divorcing, and swindling rich dudes outta their cash. Obviously it's full of shenanigans, and for a second, as a woman you might watch and go "this is the way to go," before slapping yourself and going "what am I saying, I don't wanna marry Gene Hackman."

Honourable Mentions:

Wichita and Little Rock in Zombieland (2009)
The money-grubbing ladies in Mad Money (2008)
The Ocean's 11 gang
Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002)


Jen said...

Are you guys reading my mind. I watched Heartbreakers this week. First Kevin smith, now this... you guys get out of my head lol.

Mr. Mike D. said...

The Brothers Bloom... best con movie of all time. Also, check out Confidence with Ed Burns & Dustin Hoffman, and Shade with Sly Stallone.... great!!!!

Angie said...

Jen, the answer is yes: We are reading your mind.

Mike, thanks for the suggestion, we'll check it out for sure!!