Why don’t I like Heist stories?

So here’s something I’ve been puzzling over.

I like Mystery stories- ones where a clever character tries to puzzle through a challenge and then put all the pieces together to solve a problem. (Murder, Puzzle, whatever.) And you would think that I would like Heist stories (Ocean’s 11, Leverage, Lupin III, etc) just as much, if not more, because they’re just the flipside of mysteries. Heck, they’re even better than mysteries in theory because the characters are hyper-proactive, usually very smart and capable, and everything is working toward a clear goal. It’s a total recipe for successful storytelling!

But, they leave me as cold as the gold they steal.

I don’t hate them. I don’t even dislike them. It’s just on the whole they just hold nearly zero interest for me, and I’m actually puzzled myself as to why. Heck, I’ve even written one or two of them for KFAT over the years (the most obvious being the second season premier of Twin Stars) but when it comes to reading/viewing/listening to other people do them it just doesn’t click.

I can also think of a few recent heist-esque movies I liked, like MI: Ghost Protocol (didn’t like the ones before it, though) and Fast Five wasn’t bad either. (Not great, but fun.) Although I have to think hard to find Heist stories I liked, and these came to mind because they were recent.

Maybe it’s one of those things you either like or you don’t, and I just don’t. Not sure.

Anyone else out there feel the same way?


5 thoughts on “Why don’t I like Heist stories?

  1. I’ve loved Heist movies for a long time… but I think my favourite versions of them all involved “Stings” of some sort. I love the intricacies of a good Sting operation in a heist. It’s one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about watching “Leverage”, although the Heisting isn’t as much as it once was.
    Strangely enough, I love Mysteries, but I think I’ve said it before “Police Procedural” shows leave me absolutely cold. You seen one of those “NYPD Blue” “The Wire” “Law and Order” “Hill St. Blues” “CSI” You’ve seen them all.

  2. Heist movies are stupid. They have the worst writing, the worst characters, everything. So, I’m not surprised you hate them. That said, they have one redeeming feature: the twist. Ideally, the twist should happen onscreen sometime in the middle of the show, but not be revealed until the very end. Take The Thomas Crown Affair. A picture is stolen. The thief replaces it, quite publicly, with another one from his collection. How the switch back to the original will be made is the only good part of the movie, but you have to wait until the very end for the reveal. I love The Thomas Crown Affair because of that twist, and it’s made all the better by having to wade through the awful dialogue, characters, etc. But I realize that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

  3. >Heist movies are stupid. They have the worst writing, the worst characters, everything.

    HAW! Seriously; tell us how you REALLY feel. Actually, I think you’re kinda right…. kinda. Heist stories have the need for an interesting caper at their core. The characters, setting, durned near everything else is just window dressing. Problem is; most writers aren’t smart or inventive enough to come up with something beyond “guys sneak in and steal something.” Mysteries are similar, but it’s easier to pace out a mystery ‘cos the key component…. the mystery itself…. has typically already happened. The heist is a mystery that’s currently happeneing; requiring a LOT of juggling.

    Don C.

  4. Actually, bad writing is a part of the formula, just as is having guys going into someplace to rob something. This works for The Thomas Crown Affair, Oceans Eleven, Hudson Hawk, and many more. The movies wouldn’t have as much payoff without it. Now, this isn’t to imply that every line is bad. Heist movies feature smart-alecks capable of getting off a few zingers, but they usually can’t maintain a conversation. Because of that, I have come to see it as a feature, not a problem.

  5. >I have come to see it as a feature, not a problem

    I think it can be both. I don’t think it’s an INHERENT problem though, since it’s not a component actually neccessary to the genre. Instead it’s a convention; accepted and applied by lazy or uninspired writers. (Kinda like how Japanese cartoons don’t HAVE to be about kids collecting things and making them fight, or comic books not HAVING to be about superheroes.)

    Don C.

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