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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/29/2006

Dear George

By Liz Kelly

"Okay, so you're saying it's a good idea to make a sequel to our sequel of a remake?" (Warner Bros.)

I've been watching you since "ER" (sorry, I missed out on the "Facts of Life" era) and, dude, you have totally made it. You are one heck of an actor and blossoming into a great filmmaker. You have managed to hold steady on an upward trajectory for the past several years. Not an easy thing to do for an aging actor constantly challenged by every Jake, Heath and Joaquin.

In case I haven't already said it: congratulations on the Oscar. You so deserved it and, fear not, more will come your way.

You usually seem to have an uncanny instinct for choosing good projects -- "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Three Kings," "Syriana," "Good Night and Good Luck." I say "usually" because yesterday I learned something disturbing. I'm writing now, hoping that it isn't too late to turn this ship around.

George, don't do it. Do not do "Ocean's Thirteen." Even the unlucky digits portend no good can come of this sequel. "Ocean's Twelve" was bad enough. Downright confounding, in fact: An excellent director plus an A-list cast equaled predictable, formulaic and dull. Yes dull. Several reviews at the time agreed. Let's peel off the Band-Aid here, shall we?

"The pilot light of "Ocean's Twelve" is so low a whisper could blow it out, leaving nothing on-screen except a series of outtakes bereft of coherence, much less drama." -- The Washington Post
"Twelve" finally recalls nothing so much as one of those Jaguars that looks like an exotic sports car but is really a gussied-up Ford." -- The New York Times
Clooney and company work it too hard this time. You can tell they're huffing and puffing to stay afloat. But all I hear is: glug glug glug. -- Rolling Stone
But it's hard not to feel slightly insulted when movie stars, some of them supposedly proud of their craft, take to celebrating their part in self-consciously third-rate material and then expect to be rewarded for it. -- The Independent
For his sequel, "Ocean's Twelve," Soderbergh takes the characters out of Vegas via a highly contrived premise, abandons all pretense of being a challenging or exciting thriller and turns the proceedings into a self-parodying farce. -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

There are more.

But I know there are "other" considerations, like box office. "Ocean's Twelve" grossed over $350 million; not too far off the $444 million grossed by "Ocean's Eleven." And I'm sure those paychecks buy a lot of villas on Lake Como, but when does the franchise implode on itself and become "Matrix Revolutions" or, worse yet, "Rocky III"?

Here's the thing, George: We want to like you, but it's hard when you're both squandering your talent (and that of a stellar cast) and playing us for any easy box office win. Stop that.

By Liz Kelly  | March 29, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Yeah, '13' will stink but I find it hard to get too upset about it. GC does these studio movies in order to get the opportunity to do REAL FILMS like 'Oh Brother', 'Good Night', etc. He scratches the studios' back, they scratch his. He plays the game quite well.

Posted by: Roscoe | March 29, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Now a remake of Robin and the Seven Hoods --THAT would be good.

Posted by: Jake | March 29, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Clooney said as much in an interview with without doing "Ocean's 12", he couldn't have done "Good Night....". The profits for one cover the costs of the other.

Posted by: SteveL | March 29, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"Clooney said as much in an interview with without doing 'Ocean's 12,' he couldn't have done 'Good Night....'. The profits for one cover the costs of the other."

Right. And Ocean's 12 is #16 on the Netflix Top 100, so he is making a decent amount of money from rentals as well.

And, even better, he gets to spend a few weeks playing with Brad Pitt and his other boypals.

An aging actor? He may not be young, but he's still got it!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I guess I am one of the minority that actually enjoyed Ocean's 12. Bring on Ocean's 13! That soundtrack to Ocean's 12 was phenomenal too!

Posted by: Ocean fan | March 29, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh Liz! You're missing some great stuff if you only tuned in to George in his ER days. I remember him fondly from Roseanne. He was Booker, the boss at the factory where Roseanne and Jackie worked. He was also a love interest for Jackie. My favorite episode of all time was the "bowling bet" between Jackie and Booker. See if you can catch in on reruns.

Posted by: K | March 29, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It's the way of America, make as much money as you can...the hell with dignity and tradition....

I so look forward to 13, please make it Mr. Clooney, and I promise to spend my money to see it.

By the way, Where Kill Bill 3?

Posted by: Frankey | March 29, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it will stink and we should boycott it. But how can you get all worked up over Ocean's 13 when someone thinks Travolta, JLo, and Owen Wilson in a Dallas movie makes sense!?!

Posted by: HT | March 29, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

come on, don't be doggin' rocky III. i pity the fool who didn't enjoy that movie.

Posted by: mike c. | March 29, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Rocky 3 is the best of the Rocky franchise. It highlights the struggles of a comfortable, aging boxer who has seen the majority of his success. It also has perhaps the top villain of the 1980s in Clubber Lang (Mr. T) and let's not forget Hulk Hogan as the immortal Thunderlips. What would the story of Rocky (or any boxer for that matter) be without the break (Rocky 1), the climb (Rocky 2), the collapse (Rocky 3), and finally the invevitable fight for world domination against an unbeatable russian (Rocky 4). We will pretend Rocky V never happened, because it didn't.

Posted by: charles | March 29, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Clooney's pre-ER peak was on Sisters, where he played Sela Ward's love interest, then was killed off so he could go do ER. It was a sad, sad day.

Posted by: Barb | March 29, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah it's gonna be awful, but I can't wait.

The thing I've enjoyed about both 11 and 12, is that they get better with each viewing. Despite being typical Hollywood films - 11 relied so much on technology, 12 was super-predictable - there's wit and humor weaved throughout.

I'm super-excited. And, frankly, won't miss J.R. or C.Z-J. at all!

Posted by: Silver Spring | March 29, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree. Ocean's 11 had it's comical moments, Ocean's 12 was insulting. George should have some dignity, given his recent accomplishments, and forgo the 13 sequel. If the goal is to make money, I would think he could still come up with a money-maker that has at least some iota of worth.

Posted by: mddg | March 29, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Ocean's 11 was a really enjoyable movie. I would have walked out too, if not for my film student training to give the filmmakers the respect for having made the film to see it through to the end - AND so I didn't feel like I was out my $10. And I have a feeling people only saw 12 because they enjoyed 11, then became hurt with the letdown. Ocean's 13 won't come close - I bet it will lose money, esp. since Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas will not be making appearances.

Posted by: Mitch | March 29, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

12 was quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Is 13 about saving face? No... It's about the $$$$

Posted by: Bob | March 29, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

the lamest thing was when Julia Roberts' character pretended to be Julia Roberts.

Posted by: stan | March 29, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"You are one heck of an actor and a blossoming into a great filmmaker."

Make sure to read your copy one last time before going to press.

I don't know if this is meant to be a humorous musing, but whatever it is, it's suprisingly dull. I have read funnier copy in high school newspapers. This is a pointless rant about something completely irrelevant.

Posted by: Disappointed Reader | March 29, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Two words - eye candy - at least for the ladies. So long as GC and Mr. Pitt grace that film and are as dapper as they were in O11 and O12, the women will line up to see them and drag their dates. Sure O 12 was mediocre at best, but it was beautiful to watch in terms of the cast and scenery.

Posted by: Marisa | March 29, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Steve L's got it right. "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Three Kings," "Syriana," and "Good Night and Good Luck" were not money-makers. Without the occassional Ocean's Flick, Clooney wouldn't have the clout to get these other flicks made, so cheer on every Ocean iteration and be glad he's going to keep doing the good stuff in-between.

Posted by: Colin Smith | March 29, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Too much fuss around GC.
Yes, he is adored by women (mostly).
But he is not a superb actor and even less - a director.
What he really does - he never loses momentum.
As a cute smart guy he makes money - what's wrong with that?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2006 3:25 AM | Report abuse

You hit the nail on the head when you alluded to box office considerations. Typically, when a sequel makes enough money for another sequel, it's made. O12 was good, but not great. I never mind seeing another sequel on one condition: It's as good as, or better than the previous sequel (the condition being that the previous sequel was good). I suspect that Bourne3 will be outstanding, but I can't make the same prediction about a tentative O13.

Posted by: Cool Steve | March 30, 2006 3:30 AM | Report abuse

Dear George - Never mind the naysayers, make "13." I love the series and always look forward to this group working together. I don't care if you make it to finance another project whom others may think more relevant, make it, enjoy it, and take home an Oscar for nothing else then just having fun. I'll pay to go see it and all the other Clooney fans I know will do the same. When I think about the real crap out there, "13" is something to look forward to.

Posted by: Sheila | March 30, 2006 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I like Clooney's work well enough, and I agree with those that think for every "Good Night" he needs to scratch the studio's back with an "Oceans".

However, his acceptance speech at the Oscars made me turn my TV off. Not that I disagreed with him, but the verbal "superiority dance" he did was snobbish and tasteless.


PS I noticed that South Park's Matt and Trey agree with me.

Posted by: bc | March 30, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Hold on! I'm getting tired of self-rightous movie critics who over-analyze and berate cinema art for no other reason than to see their own words in print and to be controversial. Do you mean to tell me that seeing Brad Pitt eating something everytime he was on screen wasn't funny? Clooney being told he only looked 50 from the neck up wasn't funny!? The fact that all of the 12 for some reason understood Japanese perfectly wasn't funny!? Sure "Ocean's 12" wasn't as complete a movie as "11," but if "13" provides us with another opportunity to see A-list actors having fun, bring it on!

And stop knocking "The Matrix" movies! Name another trilogy since the original "Star Wars" that showed more imagination and originality in cinema art...I bet you can't. (LOTR doesn't count. It's a 50 year old story that was already a classic before it was brought to screen.) OK..."Revolutions" wasn't a great movie in of itself, but did you ever stop to think that the trilogy as a whole gave you an opportunity to be taken to a truly original and imaginative place for a few hours? Stop over-analyzing what Hollywood puts so much effort into bringing to us and enjoy the fact that for 2 hours, you were given an opportunity to leave your little cubical and not sit in traffic!

Posted by: Deep | March 30, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Rocky III was so much better that Matrix Revolutions.

Posted by: boscoe | March 30, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I used to "swoon" over Clooney; not anymore. His distasteful remarks about politics and the President are just inexcusable. To disagree is one thing; to speak the way he does is definitely out of the ballpark.

Posted by: sherri | March 30, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Why is everybody hating on GC? If we all remember one thing then life would make so much more sense and its - The bottom line of everything is always and forever MONEY. The "Ocean's" franchise is a flat out money maker and whether or not you haters go see it, its gonna make money. So believe him when he says "you gotta make one [of these] in order to get another 'Good Night'". Hollywood is a business people!

Posted by: acbetter | March 30, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I am absolutely convinced that Clooney will not make O13 after reading your fresh, witty, insightful, heartfelt, analytical, well-motivated, factual, snappy, original commentary.
In fact, I advise you to quit now. It can't get any better than this. Were you to continue, your readers might think you're only in it for the money.

Posted by: Rick | April 3, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I thought Good Night and Good Luck was the best film of the year. I will spend 10 dollars on Ocean's Thirteen even if I have to walk out of it, as long as it keeps Mr. Clooney exploring the art of film making. Because Good Night was pure ART!

Posted by: Miles | April 3, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with you on Oceans 12 and 13. I thought 12 was terrible, and I fear that 13 is going to be just as bad, if not worse. However, there is one thing that puts my mind at ease about this decision by Mr Clooney. I like to believe that with payday's like this, it can help him make those movies that mean so much, like Good Night and Good Luck. I am going to believe that George is using this monetary leverage to help strong arm the industry and make the movis HE wants and that HE believes are important. As a struggling actor myself, I know that sometimes you take the good with bad in order to get where you want. Please George, please say I'm right about this!

Posted by: Kelly | April 3, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

In case you didn't know, the actors didn't make huge bank on either Ocean's movies. I don't know what kind of high art you're expecting from a heist film. It's supposed to be goofy, and it was. In any case- they make the money-making things like Ocean's 13 so they have the cash to do movies like Good Night and Good Luck. Stop complaining.

Posted by: Jake Card | April 3, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If you are bothered by Oceans 13, don't watch it. Nobody is forcing you. Its that simple.

Posted by: Daniel | April 3, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

> " You are one heck of an actor and blossoming into a great filmmaker... In case I haven't already said it: congratulations on the Oscar. You so deserved it and, fear not, more will come your way."

Was I watching the wrong Oscars or did that narcissistic twit not only manage to thank NOBODY in his acceptance speech, he erroneously declared that blacks were made to "sit in the back of the theater" -- and went unchallenged?! What rubbish! If Ms. Kelly is auditioning to be Clooney's flavor of the month, I'm afraid she'll have a hard time competing with his mirror!

Posted by: lisa | April 3, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

rocky iii was great movie!

Posted by: Wille | April 3, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

If mr. Clooney has to make Oceans 13 in order to facilitate a few more pet projects along the line of Good night, and good luck., I'm all for him doing it. In fact, I'll go and see Oceans 13, just to support him. Clooney is fastly developing into Hollywood (if not the USA's) consience. Anything that wil allow him to keep doing what he does, is OK by me!

Posted by: Mariken | April 3, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

That was cold what you said about Rocky III. Down right cold.

Posted by: Kim | April 3, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I pity the fool who don't like Rocky III. It's ten times better than any of the other Rockys (and I smash the glasses of the man who says the first one deserved the Oscar or even a nomination).

Clooney, you keep on keepin' on. Ocean's Thirteen will be alright with me. Just bring on Anglina Jolie. A mud wrestling match between her and Catherine Zeta Jones should bring in $500 million.

As the boss used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Posted by: Mr. T | April 3, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

BOTH of George's "Oceans" movies were exactly what I want in a movie. Good, fun, escapism! I don't want some depressing, idiotic, uninformed political nonsense. For crying out loud, I even liked "Batman & Robin"! (I'll wait a moment for all the eyes to stop rolling) If I want to be bored out of my skull, I'll watch the evening news. (Actually I won't)

Keep making the fun movies George. That's what the people want. Maybe someday, the suits in Hollywood will finally figure out why people aren't going to the movies like they used too.

Posted by: Give me a break! | April 3, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh for God sake. All these Monday morning quarterbacks! It's Mr. Cloony's life and he can do whatever he pleases with it. Right now he is on top and he has to take advantage of his moment. If he wants to have some fun with his pals and make money on top of it to finance the kind of movies he wants to make, he's ahead of the game and we are all just jealous. Every actor has to do that. What kind of a fantasy land are people living in? They should be paying more attention to the lousy politics our government is indulging in. Keep speaking up George. Good night and good luck!

Posted by: Tina | April 3, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Oceans 13 is just for fun. So don't take it too seriously!
And it brings good money to release projects like good night and good look!!
Oh, maybe Soderberg surprises us all and makes a 13 equall to 11.

Posted by: Stanely Kubrick? | April 3, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Sonderberg has his own reasens to release some movies primery for the box-office. he lays the ground for movies like bubble. in my opinion this is a very clever strategy - and why not sometimes, doing something for fun?

Sorry my english isn't very good. I have learned my english just in movie theaters.
Oh I'm not shure that I'll be Stanley Kubrick.
Realy sorry!

Posted by: Stanley Kubrick? | April 3, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

These movies are fun...not every movie has to be a best picture nominee...

Ocean's 12 wasn't a bad movie, you could tell it was fun for them to make, and it was fun for many of us to watch...what's wrong with that?

Long live Danny Ocean.

Posted by: Joe from So Cal | April 3, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Ummmm.....Excuse me but isnt this the same Georger Clooney who made/acted in: One Fine Day, Batman and Robin, The Peacemaker,The Perfect Storm, and Solaris? Yes he's had some success as of late and I congradulate him on it,but remember folks you talked that way about Steve Guttenburg too.LOL

Posted by: Scot | April 3, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I have to say I agree with the majority of the people replying to this article. If doing Ocean's 13 makes it possible for Clooney to do another movie like "Confessions of a dangerous mind", then I'm all for it. And not only that, but when he does do really good movies, he can call out favors from all the amazing talent he crams into "The Ocean's Trilogy" (I.E., Julia Roberts in 'Confessions').

Posted by: Andy | April 3, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the funniest line in the whole letter was that George Clooney was "one heck of an actor."

Posted by: Mr. Critic | April 3, 2006 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm with the rest of the people above. Don't be hating Rocky III. C'mon, granted it wasn't as Oscar worthy as the first two, but as a popcorn movie, it's fantastic!!! Sly, Mr. T, and Hulkster in one movie?!? That's without even mentioning "Eye of the Tiger". Good luck getting that out of your head now.

Posted by: Ian | April 4, 2006 1:42 AM | Report abuse

And the real shame of it is this, you're gay George, even Teri knows it.

Posted by: Terry | April 4, 2006 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Ocean's 12 was a disappointment after the outstanding Ocean's 11.

The heist in 11 was great, well thought out and entertaining, in 12 it was a totally boring afterthought.

If they come up with an entertaining heist for Ocean's 13, I'll pay to see it.

Posted by: Ryan | April 4, 2006 4:27 AM | Report abuse

didn't you hear?

George told us: If there was no oceans 12, there would have been no Syriana nor no Good night and good luck.

He uses the no brainer blockbusters ones to finance the little ones.

Please guys, pay more attention or do more research. You are being paid as an entertainment journalist.

Posted by: spaceship789 | April 4, 2006 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Without Ocean's 11 and 12, we would not have the following excellent films:

Welcome To Collinwood
Far From Heaven
Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind
The Jacket
Good Night, and Good Luck.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
The Good German (2006)

Section Eight (Soderbergh/Clooney) must live on!

Posted by: Mexican | April 4, 2006 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Ocean's Twelve wasn't any better or worse than Good Night and Good Luck, both were complete and utter wastes of my time.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is still Clooney's masterpiece.

Posted by: Kenneth M | April 4, 2006 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Clooney's one cool cat in my book, and there aren't too many of them swinging around hollywood in these days of CGI wizardry and camera tricks!!
Harrison Ford springs to mind in terms of presence, but he's lost the plot completely ever since he jumped on the hollywood 'duplicate/remake' train that started with Fugitive, and recently called in at Firewall (what a waste of everybody's time and effort!!)
Syriana was a great film (even if I was left wanting more at the end of it), and Clooney manages to do what he does in that film without carrying all the baggage that so many A list actors today can't seem to shake. De-Niro smirks and grits his teeth too much, Pacino shouts a lot, and Connery is always a smart arse!!

Posted by: iznt | April 4, 2006 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Well I am not sure to say make it or not, But I will say its better if you make it. For two reasons:

1. We all will get to see more of you.
2. No one can judge the success before an attempt.

Matrix Revolutions might not have been as good as the previous ones, but what about "Lord of the Wars" It kept getting better.

I am fan on yours and you are among those actors to me for whom I don't need to read the reviews of movie before watching it. When I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony, I was thinking WOW! this man is saying he will be back home empty hand, what better can one say when he is to return with an Oscar.

Though this was not my first Oscar guess even before nomination, I though it wasn't all that tough.

Gimme 13

Posted by: Johnny | April 4, 2006 6:43 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry I made a type in the post above.
It's "Lord of the Rings" I donno how I made such a mistake.

Posted by: Johnny | April 4, 2006 6:46 AM | Report abuse

The Ocean's films are just capers and appeal to all us star-struck viewers who wish that we could be pulling the heist and the birds. The original Oceans 11 was crap and only gained notoriety for the antics of its cast off-screen. Clooney may make these movies to finance his 'serious' projects but the studios will inevitably lose money as more and more people watch the films on dodgy dvds. That's entertainment!

Posted by: steve | April 4, 2006 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I look at like this....You are a big boy and you do whatever you want

Posted by: Whatever | April 4, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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