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The Con is On

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To do a good con artist movie requires a deft hand. You don't want to make it so complicated you need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out---on some level it has to be plausible. You want your audience to come along with you for the ride to see whether the characters get away with it---but it's also fun to be conned a little ourselves as we watch. What works best is a combination of the two---let me in on it but hold a little something back for the big reveal! Here are my favorites.

The Sting---the standard by which all such movies should be measured. Robert Redford and Paul Newman at their absolute best--- handsome, cunning, charming. Robert Shaw is the perfect foil---you can't wait to see if they get away with this. Big Oscar winner.

Catch Me If You Can--- another one with a big name cast---Tom Hanks and Leonardo Di Caprio. All the more entertaining when you realize it is based on an actual person doing these things.

The Music Man---an old musical from 1962, this is quite a lot of fun. Do you remember that Ron Howard wasn't always one of today's best known directors? He started life as a child actor and is adorable in this movie.

MatchStick Men---clever and stylish. See Mels' earlier post 'Nicholas Cage Reconsidered'. Definitley worth a look.

Paper Moon---another one previously recommended under Pick of the Week. But like Matchstick Men, it is good enough to deserve a second review---excellent performances, including an Oscar for the very young Tatum O'Neal.

The Producers---we have both copies of this zany musical from the bizarre mind of Mel Brooks. The original with Zero Mostel and Gene Hackman, and the remake with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

You will have to go elsewhere to get Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Caine, but it you have never seen it, make the trip. It is worth the effort---absurdly funny.


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