And yes, No. 1 is a surprise

The 5 greatest con man (and woman) movies of all time

Last week, we provided the five best gambling movies of all time. We put together a specific set of criteria. This week we delve into con movies. While there is overlap with gambling and other genres, these are movies specifically based on con men (or women) or one big con. A movie like Trading Places has con elements, but it is not the key driving point of the plot. It is a comedy that leads to a con. Movies like that, while great, do not make our list. That would include Wall Street as well as Wolf of Wall Street. So with that specific criteria in mind, here are the top 5:

5) Oceans 11 (2001)

The original was pretty good, but the George Clooney/Brad Pitt remake is solid gold. While it could technically be considered a heist movie, the entire heist is set up by a long set of cons that creates the final plot. The acting is terrific, the story moves fast, and it features some really clever cons along the way, all designed to rip off Andy Garcia's character.

4) Catch Me If You Can (2002) 

Based on a true story, the real gift of this movie is the acting and exchanges between Tom Hanks and Leo DiCaprio, who plays a young check/forger con man who is incredibly brilliant and fills several fake roles, including doctor and airline pilot. DiCaprio is believable, clever, and constantly stays one step ahead of Hanks. A very enjoyable film.

3) Grifters (1990)

An absolute gem featuring John Cusack and Annette Benning, Cusack is a small-time grifter who winds up embroiled between Benning, his love interest, and his grifter mother, Anjelica Houston. He is talented but flawed, and those flaws wind up biting him in the end. If you watch the scene where Benning is naked and tells her landlord "the money or the lady" and aren't, um, moved, well you don't like nudity.

2) The Sting (1973) 

An all-time classic with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, this has been the gold standard for a long time. The acting is off the charts, and the twists and turns along the way make for a roller coaster ride. The original con movie won seven Oscars, including best picture, and still holds up today. It is too easy to make it No. 1 on the list. However...

1) Diggstown (1992)

Some might consider it blasphemy to put anything over The Sting, but if you have ever seen it, you will understand why. James Woods, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Oliver Platt set up a long con that involves boxing. (Because of that, some have tried to classify it as a sports movie, but it really is about the con). Pay attention to what happens early in the movie, because it sets up a dynamic finish. A young Heather Graham only adds to a terrific storyline, and vintage Bruce Dern as the mark - and a con man in his own right who tries to outdo Woods at every turn - is well worth your time. A terrific, fun movie you can watch time and time again.

Art by Jesus Rodriguez

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

It's Thursday and the weekend is coming, are you ready or what?!

Good deed of the day

AICF and Mark Clayton Scholarship Golf Tournament, it's a golf tournament to benefit a scholarship fund and help kids get to college and better their lives. It's awesome. #NerdsUnite

The fall of the AAF

ESPN did an interesting piece about the fall of the AAF. It's an interesting story and obviously everyone is trying to spin things in their favor because there are still lawsuits going on and also there's a PR war going on for "who is to blame" but there's some real meat in this story. It paints Dundon in a better light than I had viewed him in, he transforms a little bit from corporate raider to guy who sees a failing business and is looking to get out. Ebersol does take a big hit in the credibility department, it looks like his first funding partner Fowler was an absolute criminal and is in fact facing federal indictments unrelated to the AAF.

Another issue is Ebersol grossly undervalued the costs associated with running a league. He should have put together about $400 million dollars, instead he thought he needed $300 million and sold a third of the league to Fowler for about $120 million. That's not enough. For his part Polian didn't seem to be realistic about costs associated with the players involved and honestly, Dundon for his part should have done a better job of getting players home and paying vendors, but all of that will get taken care of in terms of legal issues. Great read though.

Sounding suspicious

In one of the weirdest stories in pop culture and sports is David Ortiz being shot in his home country of The Dominican Republic last week. He is now resting comfortably in the United States and all the people directly involved in the overt act appear to have been apprehended. There's a lot of weird stuff to this story, a criminal called The Surgeon and another criminal called Red are involved and now the AG of the Dominican are saying there's someone in the states that's involved in this and that it might be a case of mistaken identity. One of the most famous Dominicans on the island was shot accidentally and was mistaken for someone else? I don't think that sounds very believable. I'm not "Crisis Actor" guy and I'm not trying to go way down the rabbit hole, but seriously a mistaken identity over David Ortiz? Ok.

Why are we listening to these guys?

So one thing that I always think is crazy is that the sports networks always hire former front office guys and head coaches and that gives credibility to the networks. Except when you start thinking about it, how the heck does that happen? Rex Ryan for example was a terrible head coach, but he for sure knows football and is a great defensive mind.

But why should we listen to him talk about running a franchise or making personnel decisions when the Jets were awful under him? Same with guys like Mike Tannenbaum. They know football it's been their whole lives, I agree whole heartedly with that but when they put his resume up on the screen, I'm always like "but why should we listen to him?" It's a weird thing, if they were better at their jobs they'd still be in the league. They aren't semi-retired like Bill Polian, they're on the back half of so-so careers. It's weird, right?

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

So apparently they're working on another Paranormal Activity movie, and before anyone says "why?" do this math, they spent about $15,000 and made over $190 million dollars. They'll be thinking about making these movies forever. If they do in fact make this movie, it'll be the seventh movie in what has become a bizarre and complicated franchise. They got less and less scary and got more and more ridiculous over time and by the end they were a complete joke. It's an intriguing idea to bring the franchise back, even if you do only a little ok and spend $30 million and make $150 million, it's still a great day.

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Thursday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Friday and we'll be bringing more good times your way.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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