10 Thoughts About Ocean’s 8, After Watching It 57 Times This Week During the Polar Vortex

Illustration for article titled 10 Thoughts About iOcean’s 8/i, After Watching It 57 Times This Week During the Polar Vortex
Screenshot: Warner Bros (YouTube)

There is weather happening outside. During this weather happening period, HBO has been kind enough to air Ocean’s 8 literally every moment of every day, and I was fortunate enough to catch (at least) 57 of these viewings this week. Here are some thoughts.

1. Although the diamond necklace heist was the point of the movie, Debbie Ocean’s series of breezy finesses at Bergdorf Goodman (and the hotel) were the most amusing. So amusing that I considered for a moment trying something similar at Nordstrom, until remembered that I’m a black man and I’d probably get shot.

(And yes, “Commit cool crimes” has been added to the list of “Shit I can’t do because I’d probably get shot,” right after “Knock on a stranger’s door” and “Answer the door when a stranger knocks on mine.”)


2. Also, if you happen to catch me in Pittsburgh and you ply me with enough Godfathers and calamari, maybe I’ll expound on my theory on how the entire heist movie genre is a propagandist ploy to convince us to sympathize with and root for white people stealing shit. If Danny Ocean looks so damn cool stealing a half billion dollars, maybe an entire ass stolen election (or country) can be cool too.

3. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about Awkwafina, and I think that’s maybe the point?

4. I’d never think to name A$AP Rocky on a list of my favorite rappers, and that’s largely due to the fact that he isn’t one of them. There are (approximately) 72 names I’d get to before I landed on him. But I’ve enjoyed his recent work much more than many, perhaps even most, rappers in that 72—Hi Nas!—which makes me question what “favorite” actually means in this context.

Anyway, I also wouldn’t think to name Anne Hathaway on a list of my favorite actresses, but I like her in everything I’ve seen her in. She’s obviously great in The Devil Wears Prada, she was the best Catwoman since Eartha Kitt (which ain’t saying much, but still), and I even thought she was pitch perfect in The Intern. And she kills it in Ocean’s 8 as the movie star whose self-obsessed obliviousness is a performance too.


Basically, Anne Hathaway is the A$AP Rocky of actresses.

5. Rihanna is in this, also.

6. It was kinda wack how, in the end-of-the-movie montage where it shows all the cool shit everyone’s doing with their money, Mindy Kaling ... just goes on a date.


Imagine if she were on a game show.

Host: Congrats! You just won $38 million dollars! What are you going to get with your winnings?


Mindy: A date with a white man!

Host: Umm ... ok. Great!

7. Common has really finessed this elevator jazz rap stage of his career. If you need a bearded lightskint to spit eight spoken word bars in a 17-second TV spot about an app, Common is your nigga. He’s the GOAT of app raps.


8. Why isn’t Helena Bonham Carter in more things? I like her in things, and she needs to be in more of them! If any of the people in charge of putting people in things are reading this, please put her in more things!

9. They needed a better villain. Each scene with the douchy ex in it was a scene I spent reading tweets and pouring the half empty bottles of water that have collected in my fridge into plants. I don’t know the name of that actor, but it should be “Plant Time.”


10. The best line is James Corden’s “You have two of these!” The second best is Rusty Cate Ryan Blanchett’s “There’s barely any Russians who aren’t hackers.” Unfortunately, moments like these are rarer than they should be. Ocean’s 8 is definitely rewatchable, but it’s not as good as it could be, because with a cast as great as its is, it’s just not as fun as it should be.

The heist scene at the Met Gala, for instance, lasts as long as it takes to heat an Eggo. There’s no tension, no audience misdirection, and not even any real obstacles. They steal the diamonds, they leave, Rihanna does Rihanna things while walking down some stairs, and then that’s it. WHERE ARE THE HIJINKS! I WANT MORE TOMFOOLERY! And even though Corden’s insurance investigator brought some comic relief, his arc ends in an equally inert fashion. He’s a thousand percent certain that Debbie Ocean is behind all of this, but he’s just like “Eh, fuck it” and fine with the very transparent and telegraphed framing of the ex-BF.


“Eh, fuck it” actually encapsulates this movie, as it seems to apply to the feelings about making it, the motivation behind the heist, and my feeling each time HBO decides to air it. (“I’ve already seen it 52 times. But eh, fuck it. What’s one more?”)

Of course, you can do worse than “Eh, fuck it.” And I guess that’s the point.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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Ishena Robinson

I started it (also due to the Polar Vortex) but couldn’t finish it. Sandra Bullock just seemed to be trying too hard.