At 7:13, Mike pulled into the adjacent parking lot, where the anxious crowd of cyclists glared at him with icy stares. He hurried to retrieve his Cannondale R3000 road bike from the bed of his gray pickup truck. As he approached the group, he realized that we had been waiting for his arrival for some time. His confident response to the tension was, “Sorry I’m late, somebody tried to steal an old person today.”
Nobody asked any questions, and that perplexed me. That was, until Mike explained where he worked and what actually happened. Apparently, he worked at a retirement home, and this was more of a common occurrence than I initially realized. My hopes for a great story about a diabolical caper were quickly dashed. Rather than an elaborate series of hi-tech events leading to a heist of octogenarian proportions, I was told that the family just started moving their father out of the home without providing written notice thirty days in advance. That didn't stop my imagination from creating the caper that I originally desired.
My first thoughts were of Ocean's 11 (the remake, of course). Carl Reiner would obviously be the old man trapped in the evil Bellagio Retirement Home against his will. While his illegitimate son, George Clooney, would be the debonair leader of this rag tag group of criminals. The core group of Clooney's cohorts would be standing out front of the home in an assortment of nondescript costumes, so as to hide their true identities from Andy Garcia, the money grubbing owner of the home.
The men would complete their surveillance undetected. Clooney's decision to all dress as Ben Affleck allowed them to go completely unnoticed. Casey Affleck was the mastermind of that plan. He knew better than anyone that even the people who did recognize them as Ben, wouldn't really care to say anything to him, nor would they care to listen to anything he had to say. Matt Damon wholeheartedly agreed.
Brad Pitt would be the head of the secondary crew of overtly attractive, yet slightly scruffy criminals. He would lead with a suave sensibility, but with a demeanor of aloofness that only Mr. Pitt could provide.
The plan was simple, yet complex. Confusing, yet easy to understand. Delicious, yet full of vitamin C. They would distract the uninterested and lethargic staff of the Bellagio Home with an assortment of reenactments from a few of the famous actors' most brilliant scenes plucked directly their most popular movies without express written consent from movie studios who owned the rights. That was least of their devious deeds that evening (but could turn out to be the most costly).
On the front lawn by the oversized and obviously pretentious dancing water fountain was Matt Damon. He was reciting a scene from Good Will Hunting. The people watched in awe as he remembered every line that he wrote years prior. Throwing out his speech from the Harvard bar where he tore the pony-tailed Yuppie a new one by citing Marxian history, Gordon Wood's theories of pre-revolutionary utopia, Vickers' Work in Essex County and so on. The crowd would smile in enchantment, and their numbers would grow into scores of people before he concluded his soliloquy. He finished with the payoff lines comparing Harvard's tuition and the knowledge learned to what one could gain for only a “dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.” As he did so, the infiltration team had easily snuck past the home's security staff and was making their way to free Carl Reiner. Surprisingly, Ben Affleck was in the crowd, and asked what movie that was from. Apparently, he had forgotten the Oscar winning lines he claimed to have co-written.
In the front hallway of the home, they were eventually stopped by the receptionist. At that point, the next thespian would put her in a trance with yet another famous monologue. Don Cheadle fell into his character, Paul Rusesabagina, from the movie Hotel Rwanda. He spoke with great emotion about the plight of the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda, and uttered soft pleas for help or rescue. He called for intervention in his war-torn country, and shouted sweet words of wisdom pertaining to the genocide of his people. Don was struggling to choke back the tears he was producing without assistance from glycerin or a director's “motivation.” He finished strongly by saying, “But when you say goodbye, say it as if you are reaching through the phone and holding their hand. Let them know that if they let go of that hand, you will die. We must shame them into sending help.”
The receptionist wiped the ever growing flow of tears from her cheeks, and removed her glasses to clear the salt and fog. As she did so, the remaining members of the crew moved swiftly past her and into the elevator. They were almost there.
They reached the floor where Carl Reiner was being held captive against his will, and at the request of his family (C'mon Rob Reiner, would you have what he's having?). Carl was on the fourth floor of the pretentious retirement home, and they knew they had to hurry. Matt Damon is only interesting for so long, and Don Cheadle was about to go into a monologue from Hotel for Dogs (a contrasting movie, and a very different hotel).
They searched for the answer to life, the universe and everything. His name was Carl Reiner and they found him in room 42. If they were to escape they needed Brad Pitt to provide the necessary diversion. Carl Reiner, in his infinite wisdom, whispered to Brad to remove his shirt. Neither male nor female could resist the allure of Pitt-abs. He walked 37 paces in front of them, and once they approached the elevator, he veered off toward the cafeteria. He was not purposefully leading the ab-gazers astray, he just had a hankering for pudding, and he knew this was the place to get it.
George Clooney and Casey Affleck stayed behind to complete the final step of their plan. They couldn't just spring Carl from the home without anyone noticing he was gone. No , they had to leave a “ringer” in his place.
Without invitation, Julia Roberts had embarked on the journey with them that night. Through quick thinking and never-ending intuition, Clooney had devised the coup de gras. They bound the arms and legs of Julia Roberts, gagged and sedated her, then proceeded to removed her makeup. She was the perfectly hideous replica for Carl Reiner. They staff wouldn't be able to tell the difference unless they looked close enough to see her lack of an Adam's apple. By the time they did such a thorough examination, the crew would be halfway to Las Vegas or Boca Raton. A perfect plan indeed, carried out with perfection. The only hiccup in the design was that they accidentally left Ben Affleck waiting for them at the dummy rendezvous point. Then again, maybe that was their intent all along. Just an elaborate way to finally be rid of the talentless ham actor that has ridden the coattails of the famous for too long. Well played Matt Damon, well played.