Ocean's 11 was a fun, popular movie that featured maybe the slashiest relationship to grace the big screen since Paul Newman and Robert Redford stopped working together* (to the regret of all, or at least all with any taste, and if you don't know why, see The Sting, goddammit). George Clooney and Brad Pitt had enough sexual chemistry that the UN should probably have been called in to search for weapons of mass slashiness; I mean, there are scenes that might as well come with subtextual subtitles on the DVD. ("Attention slash fans: and then they had sex.") Or maybe they could just place a discreet symbol in the lower left corner of the screen in parts that beg for some added guy-guy action. Which is most of them.
So why is there not more slash for this movie? I've actually listed every story I've read and would recommend in this fandom below. (NOTE, added 06/09/2005: no longer true; now we have better archives and way more FF. Yay!) It's not a long list. A list of every story ever in this fandom wouldn't be all that much longer. And yet there's more subtext in this movie than in Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow and all. There're more Slashy Moments in this movie than in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and I'm talking about the extended edition. And yet you could inscribe this entire fandom on the head of a pin, and still have room for two George Clooney/Brad Pitt RPS stories, assuming there even are any.
And I really, really want to see some activity in this fandom - and I'm not proud; I'm more than willing to beg and plead and whine and, actually, most people who know me would say that's not anything new or different, but still, it's something - before the sequel comes along and potentially fucks it all up. Because Catherine Zeta-Jones is in the next one, and Julia Roberts is still in the next one, and I just don't know how much subtext can survive that duo. Although I suppose it opens up the possibility of Tess/Whoever Zeta-Jones Is Playing femslash.
Hence this post, which is my attempt to scare up some interest in the fandom. If you write something in it, or about it, or even whine at your friends to write something in it, let me know, OK? It'll make me happy, and given the weeks I've had recently - home repairs, and then home repairs, and then the kind of repairs that necessitate leaving one's home altogether - I'm ready for happiness.
DANNY OCEAN is the guy whose grin makes you forget to count your change. And the cards. And your fingers. When the movie opens, he's just been released from prison after a four-year sentence. And what does he say to the first comrade in crime he meets? "Seen him?" The him in question is Rusty Ryan, without whom he apparently cannot do anything, and who he apparently urgently needs the second he's out of prison. I don't know what this says to you, but to me it says "Attention slash fans: and then they had sex." Danny Ocean is played by George Clooney in dark suits.
RUSTY RYAN is Danny's long-time partner. (In confidence schemes and robberies. And, I am totally convinced, in bed.) While Danny was in prison, Rusty got so bored he ended up ripping off rising young actors, which is so much a part of California tradition that it isn't even illegal here. (In fact, it's the official sport of Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes, and Pacific Palisades.) But he'd really like to get back to breaking the law. What luck for him, then, that Danny has a plan. Rusty, meanwhile, has an oral fixation. Seriously. This movie has the most eating scenes of anything not titled My Dinner with Andre, and they're all Rusty consuming whatever he can get his hands on. (Slashers: on your mark, get set, go!) Rusty is played by a gracile Brad Pitt in light suits, shiny shirts, and other things that hint at a '70s revival just enough to cause flashbacks in people who took bad acid back then.
TESS OCEAN is Danny's ex-wife. She didn't know Danny was a con man, a thief, and a liar, but she's supposed to be intelligent. She can't walk in heels and has the least flattering lighting, makeup, and hair work ever done to Julia Roberts, but she's supposed to be beautiful. She's dating a casino owner, but she's supposed to be looking for an honest guy this time around. I'd like to blame Roberts for creating such a totally unconvincing character, but I'm afraid the prize has to be split with the screenwriters. She plays like someone added in late, when they realized a) that they could get Julia Roberts and b) Clooney and Pitt had apparently gotten an alternate version of the script ("And then they had sex"), and people might suspect them of giving blow jobs unless they had a beard present. Yes, Hollywood people still think that works. (See also: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, et al.) I don't know why. It's something they put in the water in the movie studios, maybe.
TERRY BENEDICT owns casinos, runs casinos, loves casinos, and walks like a man with serious hemorrhoid problems. He's mean. And mean. And then some mean. Also, he blew up a gay man's casino, he stole Danny's wife (in an extremely nebulous way), and he bankrupted some guy's brother-in-law's tractor dealership. Which allows us all to feel good about Rusty and Danny (and assorted other hangers-on) stealing $160 million from him. So that's all right, then.
LINUS CALDWELL appears in some slash, possibly because he's played by Matt Damon. Or maybe just because he's ineffably dorky, and he fucks up a lot, and he's therefore strangely lovable. He's the eleventh member of the team and the other victim of Danny and Rusty's con (but, hey, don't worry; he enjoys it, unconvincing protests and all). He's a pickpocket and the son of a pickpocket, which probably teaches us something tragic about crime and families and cycles of abuse, except that the criminals in this show are as tragic and suffering and abused as my dogs, so that's one lesson we won't be learning here.
Danny has just gotten out of prison. He finds Rusty and they rob some Tiger Beat cover boys, which is how they flirt. Then he proposes robbing three Las Vegas casinos, which is how they do foreplay. And then they put together a team of – surprise! – eleven guys. Rusty does the acting and the eating; Danny does the sleekness, the planning, and the picking of pockets.
Then they rob three Las Vegas casinos, which in this movie you can do if you have enough costumes and bad wigs and cars and cameras and construction equipment and cheap 1950s science fiction movie special effects. And a very elaborate plan involving many, many players, most of whom have to do exactly what you want without ever knowing the plan or wanting to help you. But this beats the original Ocean's Eleven, which showed us that you could rob any amount of Las Vegas casinos if you had enough liquor. And, really, I think someone would've noticed that by now.
Incidentally, the only way the movie makes any sense at all is to assume that Danny and Rusty are conning their own teammates, especially one Linus Caldwell. So tell me this: why is there no threesome Danny/Rusty/Linus fic? Huh? Huh?
Oh, and there's some stuff with Tess. If you want to know about the unconvincing heterosexual subplot, you're just going to have to see the movie; I can't be bothered. Hell, Steven Soderbergh could hardly be bothered, and he directed the damn thing.
Helpful Information for the O11 Newbie
-Where to Start If You Don't Know the Canon-
My advice would be to rent the movie. I mean, c'mon, it'll be two hours out of your life, and a slashy two hours at that. But if you won't or can't, you can read the IMDb plot summaries. I mean, it's not like there's much in the way of plot in this movie. Just heapin' helpings of directorial prettiness and human prettiness and slash and giggles.
-Where to Start Reading O11 Fan Fiction: Stories I Recommend-
Because there's so little in the way of, you know, fiction in this fandom, I'm going to list off every story I know and like in the whole damn fandom, except the one about Rusty's eating habits, which I cannot for the life of me find. Know of another good one? Leave a comment. Want my list of dubious, questionable, and, um, unrecommended fics? Leave a comment.
The Story That Got Me Started, and, Honestly, You Could Not Choose a Better Beginning: Confidence Men, by Dorinda. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. Also hints of Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean. This is the story that should have launched a thousand fics; it is one of the best pieces of FF I've ever read in any fandom. And it's also the first piece of FF I read in this fandom. Those are the reasons why it's coming first; the others will appear in alphabetical order. You can read and enjoy this story even if you've never seen the movie, but you'll appreciate it a hundred times more if you have; it's so good and in character and in canon it feels like scenes they forgot to film. And this is an NC-17 fic, so I think I'm speaking for all of us when I say: damn, I wish they'd remembered.
The Story That Is Essentially Gen, Gay Stuff and All: Among Thieves: On a Scam, by Zahra, aka hackthis. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan implied, Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean non-explicit. This is a different wonderful version of the Danny/Rusty backstory, told in little flashes from Rusty's point of view. And, seriously, folks, this really could be considered gen; the movie is every bit as slashy as this story. Or at least that's how I view it. Feel free to disagree. But you'll have to read the story and see the movie first, and by that time you'll be too overcome by waves of slashillation to complain.
The Story That Made Me Believe in and Then Love an Impossible Pairing: Drive, by Jess, aka scoutmol. Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell, Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean non-explicit. Rusty would never do Linus. The chemistry was all with Danny. Right? Well, Jess made me believe in this pairing, totally. Because if Danny loves Tess – and I can't buy that, but I'm willing to take it on loan – that leaves Rusty in hell. Because, well, let's just say I won't even borrow the idea that Rusty loves Tess, or Catherine Zeta-Jones, or a showgirl with a tragic tale, lockpicking talent, and a great ass, or whoever is going to prove his total heterosexuality in the next movie. And Linus? I see this Linus, not in the movie, but in the future. But maybe that's only 'cause I've read this story. So read it, OK? It's one you can totally read if you haven't seen the movie. But you can only see how impressive this is if you know the canon.
The Story About the Cons Inside the Con: Leave Emotion at the Door, by Zahra, aka hackthis. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan, Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean non-explicit. Another Rusty point of view story, another one about Rusty in love with Danny and Rusty wondering if Danny loves him or not, and if so, how. And it's done in an original and right and in-canon way. Plus, this story hits on the many iterations of cons covering other cons that you either see in the movie or you don't. I see it. So of course I love this story. And you notice how all these authors are dealing with Tess? Better than the movie did, that's how they're dealing with Tess. I love fan fiction writers.
The Story That Triggered This Post: A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action, by musesfool. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. This story is built around one of those scenes that might as well be subtitled for the convenience of slashers, although I didn't pick up on that until after musesfool wrote this, so maybe she just took that scene and made it her own. Elevator sex, pure and dirty and from Rusty's point of view. And why are almost all these stories from Rusty's point of view? I'm not complaining, mind you – I'll take any good FF you've got going in this fandom, and I'd be grateful for stories like these in any fandom. It's just – why is Rusty's head so much easier to get into than Danny's? That, um, didn't come out exactly right. Think I'd better leave it where it lies. Moving on.
The Story with the Best Opening Lines in the Fandom: The Road to Reno, by grey_bard. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan, Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean non-explicit. Those opening lines work as a perfect summary of the story, too, so if you want to know what the story's about, hey, point and click. Or take this other summary instead. Sometimes, you need a little help from your friends. Sometimes you need it most when you don't even know it. And you should never trust – or, hell, look twice – at a woman who takes your dog.
The Story That Made Rusty and Tess Equal in Every Way, and Really I Would Have Thought That Couldn't Be Done: See What You're Worth, by SA, aka sathinks. Rusty/Danny/Tess, non-explict. This isn't exactly a true threesome; it's Rusty and Tess in the time Danny's in jail, orbiting around this huge missing body in their lives. It's also a view of Rusty and Tess that I've never seen before - both of them conned, both of them taken by Danny. It's a strangely sweet relationship, a strangely bittersweet story, and it's wonderful. Maybe the best part about it is the look you get at Danny, what you learn from the shape he leaves behind.
The Story That Reminds Us That There's a Perfect Resolution to Romantic Triangles, and, Curiously Enough, It Also Involves the Number Three: Six to Eight Months, by Cherry, aka cherryice. Danny Ocean/Tess Ocean/Rusty Ryan. I love this story because it fixes the Danny/Tess v. Danny/Rusty problem, and fixes it in a way that is totally believable for all three characters. Because, let's face it, Tess has got to be at least a little bit dirty, a little bit bent, or how the hell did she ever spend more than two minutes with Danny without boring him to death? And Rusty's got to be more than a little bit fluid, more than a little bit of a shapechanger, or how did he lead his life with Danny? And Danny – well, Danny's the pivot, the body around which this whole thing orbits. And you could pretty much say all that about the movie, too.
The Story That Just Fed an Unhealthy Pairing Addiction: Trading in Your Own Name, by Gale, aka iphignia939. Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell, Rusty Ryan/Danny Ocean suggested. This is another look at Rusty/Linus, and again the author shows us something that isn't quite in the canon, but could have been. This Linus is a little less finished than Jess's, and he's very very in character, which is tough when you have such a small amount of canon to go on. Gale has a good feeling for Linus; she knows where he lives, apparently, and this story is worth it for the Linus backstory alone. And it's also worth it because Linus is the only happy ending it's easy to see for Rusty if Danny really does make the biggest mistake of his life and buy into Tess.
New! The Story That Proves That If You Don't Open the Door, Eventually Opportunity Goes off to Have Sex with Matt Damon: Could Be, by Serafina, aka serafina20. Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell. And with this fic I a) give up on the whole alphabetizing the stories thing and b) declare Rusty/Linus an official O11 pairing. Our little fandom is growing up - now it has two pairings! Pretty soon it'll be walking on its own and everything. One of the prerequisites for Rusty/Linus appears to be a straight Danny, and I was obscurely proud of the way Rusty handled that in this one. Because actually this Danny is maybe not so straight, but when you wait eventually you lose your chance, you know? The guy you're expecting to beg might just meet Matt Damon in a bad hat, and the next thing you know he's moving on and leaving you with the woman you married. How cool is that? (Or uncool, if you're Danny. But we aren't.)
New! The Story That Explains Rusty's Tattoo, and Also Proves That Rusty Not Only Went to School but Actually Paid Attention: Hand-Magic, by guede_mazaka. Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. You know, Guede has an excellent point here, and it's one I hadn't previously considered; what the hell is someone whose job it is to blend in, go unnoticed, and steal like a really excellent thief doing with a tattoo that extends to his hand? I mean, I love the tattoo - I share with Guede just the tiniest hint of an ink kink - but it makes no sense. Or, you know, maybe it does. 'Cause do you remember anything about Rusty's hands except the black pattern? This story wins bonus points for making Rusty into a geek, something that I hadn't thought possible, although again it makes a lot of sense, given his taste in shirts. But here we have geometry-doing, graph-making Rusty, and damn if I don't buy it. Him. Which just proves that Guede should spend a little more time dwelling 'mongst the Eleven. But if you've read this far, you already knew I thought that.
* Newman's wife once said that if he ever left her, it'd be for Redford. I don't know what to call that – Subtext? Text? A cry for real-person slash? – but I love it.