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.

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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