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A Definitive Ranking of “Getting the Gang Together” Montages

After watching an embarrassing number of movies, we can confidently say that these are the best crew-assembly sequences ever recorded on film

(Warner Bros/Touchstone/Walt Disney Pictures/Universal Pictures/Ringer illustration)
(Warner Bros/Touchstone/Walt Disney Pictures/Universal Pictures/Ringer illustration)

"We’re gonna need a crew for this."

Nothing in a movie amps me up more than when a character says that line, or something like it. That’s because it means we’re about to get a "Getting the Gang Together" montage, hands down the funnest part of any movie that features one. These sequences are equal parts absurd and absurdly entertaining: The idea that a character can expediently recruit the "best guys for the job" is ridiculous, but your eyes stay glued to the screen anyway due to the undeniable mix of narrative efficiency, machismo, and moviemaking irrationality.

"Getting the Gang Together" montages come in many forms — most times, actually, they aren’t even montages, but sequences. The necessity to assemble a large swath of narratively important characters in short order is not limited to one genre. Though usually reserved for action films, the trope has been employed by comedies, sports movies, and even horror films.

But which movie has the best one? To answer that question, I laid out five principles that are crucial to composing a well-done "Getting the Gang Together" sequence. I then watched an embarrassing number of said sequences and rated them on a scale of 0 to 10 based on how well they fulfill each respective principle. You’ll find each principle explained below:

  • The Mission: What’s so pressing that a group of highly trained people needs to be assembled at a moment’s notice?
  • The Sentence: Almost all of these montages are preceded by a single line — it either stands alone or comes at the end of an impassioned monologue — that acts as an overt announcement that a team is about to be built. The line "Looks like I’m gonna need a team for this," is standard operating practice, but the best "Getting the Gang Together" montages get creative with this perfunctory bit.
  • The Introductions: The reason these montages exist in the first place is because there’s not a lot of time to spare — an asteroid is hurtling toward the United States as we speak! The movies get the gang together all quick-like because they want to spend time fighting the actual bad guys (or asteroids). And while there’s only a sliver of time to bring a handful of characters together, there’s even less time to color in their backgrounds. It’s the montage’s job to give the audience a sense of who these people are. This is a herculean task, but it’s also the facet of "Getting the Gang Together" montages that movies have the most fun with.
  • Geographical Distance Covered: Listen, I’m more impressed by a montage if it spans the globe and, logically, suggests that the main character — the team builder — has the time, money, and stamina to travel from Paris to Tokyo to Kabul to assemble a world-saving team that had to get to work yesterday.
  • Bonus Points: I’ll be rewarding bonus points at random for things like team member reluctance (an extremely underrated component), subverting expectations, and actually being a montage.

Now, on to the rankings. (Tiebreakers determined by my personal preference. Deal with it.)

18. ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’

The Mission: To save his brother’s life, Memphis Raines (Nic Cage playing a character with a top-five all-time Nic Cage character name) must steal 50 cars in three days for a British gangster who hates baseball. That’s it. 2/10

The Sentence: "Let’s make a few phone calls and we’ll go from there." When Memphis comes to his old friend Otto (Robert Duvall) for help, it seems like we’re headed toward a really good "assemble the squad" sentence. Otto does that classic action-movie thing where he acts like he’s out of the game before turning on a dime and enthusiastically breaking down the job, detail by detail. How many cars? How many days? What’s your crew? Just when you expect Memphis to drop a cool sentence in response, he bats the conversation back to Otto, who lets out this very measured line. Maybe Otto should’ve stayed retired. 1/10

The Introductions: They do indeed "make a few phone calls" in what is easily the best part of this sequence. "Better Days" by Citizen King plays over a legitimately dismal and odd montage: most of the people Memphis calls are either dead or in prison. It’s basically a failure, which is an interesting twist on the trope. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Memphis sits in an office chair for most of the sequence, leaving only to visit a local body shop to recruit Sara "Sway" Wayland, who is played by Angelina Jolie in blonde dreadlocks. 1/10

Bonus Points: Actually, minus-2 — for making a racist joke about Asian drivers in the montage.

Total: 9


17. ‘Beerfest’

The Mission: To go to Germany and beat a bunch of mean Germans at beer-drinking. Low stakes, but I appreciate the patriotism. 1/10

The Sentence: "We’re gonna put together our own team!" Considering Beerfest is a movie about a beer-drinking competition by the Super Troopers guys, you’d really expect them to have a little more fun with this trope. This feels like a missed opportunity. 2/10

The Introductions: First of all, these intros come with freeze-frames and title cards, which adds a hint of cheesy-but-fun drama. They’re also low-key telling and kind of funny — the standout being Jay Chandrasekhar’s male prostitute intro — and they lay the foundation for jokes that come back up much later in the movie. 6/10

Geographical Distance Covered: It’s not clear how far main characters Jan and Todd Wolfhouse travel during recruitment, but it is nice to see them actually make the trips in person. As you’ll see, many of the other recruiters — action heroes we’re expected to praise — resort to measly phone calls. 3/10

Total: 12


16. ‘The Sting’

The Mission: After a mobster kills his partner in crime, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) decides he wants to con the guy out of a boatload of money. It’s a pretty simple mission, but it seems cooler when Hooker explains his reasoning: "Because I don’t know enough about killin’ to kill ’em." That’s very badass, but also modest. 4/10

The Sentence: "Can you get a mob together?" doesn’t have much of an edge to it, but remember: The Sting was made in 1973. If Paul Newman knew what movies would be like in 1998, he probably would’ve gone into the salad-dressing business way earlier. 3/10

The Introductions: First of all, this montage is great because it’s also a Makeover Montage for Hooker, which you really don’t expect to see in a bromance caper. Redford even gets a manicure! Anyway, like the rest of this montage, the introductions are extremely understated: several times, a guy walks by Newman’s Henry Gondorff and then they rub their noses at each other. It’s old-school cool, but also roundly unhelpful in terms of getting to know these new characters. 4/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Well, basically no distance — Henry meets his pals at various locations around Chicago. 1/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for the guy who immediately quits his job at a bank upon seeing Gondorff do the finger-to-nose thing. It’s basically the Depression era version of Scarface quitting his fast-food job in Half-Baked.

Total: 13


15. ‘The Italian Job’

The Mission: In a film I have to assume was funded by Mini Cooper, Mark Wahlberg’s gang plans to get revenge on their former partner who double-crossed them and killed their leader. They plan to do this by stealing back the gold he stole from them. It’s got an emotional peg, which is good, and heists are always good, too — but this mission does lack a certain urgency. 5/10

The Sentence: There really isn’t one, which is a massive mistake. 0/10

The Introductions: This one’s good because it’s spiritually like a montage, but it’s all contained in one scene. Charlize Theron and Wahlberg sit on the back of a — what do ya know? — Mini Cooper, and Wahlberg gives a rundown on the crew members one by one as they approach. Marky Mark relays a bunch of good tidbits, like how Seth Green’s character is the one who "really invented Napster," and how Mos Def’s character went deaf from blowing stuff up, which for some unexplained reason only made him want to blow up more stuff. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Wahlberg and Charlize do drive somewhere — the outskirts of L.A.? — to meet up with this crew, so there is some distance covered. I wouldn’t brag about it, though. 2/10

Bonus Points: 1 — because I would listen to a book on tape that was just Mark Wahlberg reading cool rap sheets.

Total: 15


14. ‘Major League’

The Mission: To get the Cleveland Indians to lose as many baseball games as possible. Thus, fans will stop showing up, and owner Rachel Phelps can move the team to Miami. This is the rare "Getting the Gang Together" montage perpetrated by a movie’s villain, rather than its hero. Points for originality — but not a lot of points for the actual mission, which sucks. 6/10

The Sentence: "We’ve been losing — what I want is for us to finish dead last." My review of the mission applies here as well. 6/10

The Introductions: Pretty well done, though not as extensive as one would hope. As the Indians GM makes calls to a bunch of presumed down-and-out baseball losers, you get a lot of color and entertainment: We’re introduced to our hero, the drunken, womanizing Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger); Charlie Sheen’s Wild Thing answers his call from prison. And the movie has fun with the idea that no one wants to play for the Indians. Do you know how bad a pro baseball team has to be for their spring training invite to be met with a shrug? 6/10

Geographical Distance Covered: None — the GM does all his recruiting via telephone. 0/10

Total: 18


13. ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’

The Mission: After Veronica Corningstone’s (Christina Applegate) untimely and mysterious disappearance, a now-washed-up Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is called into action to report on the birth of a baby panda at the San Diego Zoo. Low stakes, you say? I guess you’ve never been to San Diego. They love their zoo. 3/10

The Sentence: [Blows conch shell] "News team, assemble!" I don’t think I need to tell you that this is one of the most iconic "Getting the Gang Together" sentences there is. 8/10

The Introductions: There aren’t any — because the news team is already assembled. As Brian Fantana puts it, "We’ve been here literally the entire time you have." While we don’t get a montage, the joke really lands, so I’m OK with it. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Again, none — the news team has been there literally the entire time Ron Burgundy has. 0/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for quickly cutting away from Ron Burgundy to confirm that his punted dog, Baxter, is alive and on his way to join the crew.

Total: 19


12. ‘It’

The Mission: Though a group of seven friends thought they defeated the killer clown Pennywise in their childhood, he’s returned, so 20 years later they must go back to their hometown and vanquish him once and for all. Worth noting: The clown is a real jerk with bad teeth who preys on children and constantly makes bad jokes. To me this is way more daunting than taking out a villain or stopping an asteroid. I hate this clown. 10/10

(Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

The Sentence: "It was time I told the others what’s happened." All in all, a pretty weak sentence, especially because it isn’t even declared to anyone — it’s part of Mike Hanlon’s journal entry that we hear via voice-over. 2/10

The Introductions: They’re really good, actually, considering It was a mini-series. And they stray from the classic montage format, in that each intro segues into an extended flashback revealing how each character’s childhood was affected (read: fucked up) by Pennywise the clown. There are some good notes: Bill is a writer who is absolutely NOT supposed to be a stand-in for Stephen King (it’s just a coincidence that he penned a book called The Glowing); Ben (played by the late John Ritter) is a disheveled, award-winning architect; Beverly is in an abusive, hair-creme-throwing relationship. They’re vivid pictures of who these people have become because of a clown, and they emphasize how important it is that said clown be stopped. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Mike’s not exactly a man of action. He’s a phone-call kind of guy. 1/10

Total: 20


11. ‘Uncommon Valor’

The Mission: Colonel Jason Rhodes (Gene Hackman) assembles a team of Vietnam vets to rescue his son, who he believes has been held in Laos as a prisoner of war for over a decade. In other words: Jason Rhodes wants to infiltrate an unfriendly country to rescue a person who has been unrescuable for 10-plus years. That’s hard-core. So hard-core that the government tells Rhodes, essentially, "Nah fam." Which is why he has to put together a team. 7/10

The Sentence: No sentence to be found here, which is a damn shame because you know Hackman would have knocked it out of the park. 0/10

The Introductions: Considering Rhodes is recruiting a bunch of guys who fought alongside his son, these intros are quite subdued. Rhodes remains the focus of the movie throughout them — you get a few entertaining character notes, but the sequence is more about Rhodes’s unceasing commitment to rescuing his son. That’s nice, but a good "Getting the Gang Together" sequence it does not make. 3/10

Geographical Distance Covered: The movie doesn’t give us hard locations (besides … Houston), but the implication is that Rhodes is traveling all over the United States to put together his team. And that’s after he does a bunch of recon in Southeast Asia, which makes this sucker international. 9/10

Bonus Points: 2 — there is a whole lot of reluctance during this sequence, which makes sense, because all of these characters fought in maybe the darkest war in American history, and now some random dude is asking them to go back.

Total: 21


10. ‘The Muppets’

The Mission: Chris Cooper (he has a name in the movie, but I like to think this movie’s villain is real-life actor Chris Cooper) is going to buy the Muppets’ studio and tear it down so he can drill the land for oil. The only way to stop him is to raise $10 million, and the only way to raise $10 million is to put on a show. There are probably other ways, but Kermit the Frog has a limited set of talents. 2/10

The Sentence: Spiritually it’s, "Don’t you see, Kermit? It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets," which is really great because it calls back to the Muppets’ early days. But the sentence in The Muppets actually comes after the gang is rounded up. That’s when a robot chimes in: "Mr. Kermit, may I suggest we save time and pick up the rest of the Muppets using a montage." It’s clean, it’s direct, it’s exemplary. 7/10

The Introductions: This one plays more like a "Where Are They Now?" montage, giving you a glimpse of everyone’s post-Muppets career. I like it because it really commits to the movie’s conceit that after The Muppet Show, the Muppets’ lives are just as sad as everyone else’s. Fozzie Bear is an abused cocktail bar singer in Reno, Animal is in a group home, his rage barely in check, and Crazy Harry is vandalizing national monuments. This sequence is real and harrowing. 6/10

Geographical Distance Covered: We know for sure that Kermit et al. go from L.A. to Reno to the Rust Belt. From there, it appears they at least travel between New York City (to pick up Sam the Eagle, who is hosting a Fox News show) and Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California (where Scooter’s working). It’s all within the continental United States, but still, that’s a good deal of bouncing around. 6/10

Total: 21


9. ‘Sing Street’

The Mission: To impress a girl, Irish teen outcast Conor Lawlor books her to be in his band’s music video. Only problem is, he doesn’t actually have a band. This is the purest, most universal mission on this list. 8/10

The Sentence: "We need to form a band." Clear and straight to the point, made all the better because Conor makes this face immediately after delivering the line:

(The Weinstein Company)
(The Weinstein Company)

Score: 5/10

The Introductions: Impeccable, dryly funny, and perfectly in line with all of the teenage awkwardness that’s surrounding this entire mission. First, Conor goes to recruit a musical virtuoso named Eamonn who won’t stop talking about his pet bunny, then he goes knocking on the doors of a handful of other outcasts from his school. It’s wildly endearing. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Conor does not go beyond the city limits of Dublin, so it’s minimal. 1/10

Bonus Points: 2 — one because all of the teens’ Irish accents really give this sequence a boost; another one because the whole thing culminates in the newly formed group debating what their name is going to be, a perfectly satisfying coda to a "Getting the Gang Together" sequence.

Total: 23


8. ‘Space Cowboys’

(Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

The Mission: A faulty satellite is hurtling back toward Earth, and, for political reasons, NASA can’t let it just crash or burn up in the atmosphere. They cant to fix the bug affecting the satellite instead, and the only person who can do the job is a 69-year-old Clint Eastwood and his gang of ’50s-era Air Force pilots. To recap: No one’s lives are in danger. Amachine just needs fixing. It’s weird that this movie came two years after such extreme space thrillers like Armageddon and Deep Impact. 3/10

The Sentence: "Send my team up. … Clock’s ticking, Bob, and I’m only getting older." A big theme in Space Cowboys is "Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones and James Garner are pretty old, right? Well GUESS FUCKING WHAT — they can still rock and roll," so it’s important that Eastwood’s character gets that comment in there at the end. It really hammers home the film’s lesson that senior citizens can also use computers. 6/10

The Introductions: I love ’em. James Garner’s a pastor who "has a flock." Donald Sutherland’s a roller-coaster builder ("That’s perfect," Eastwood says in the movie, obviously speaking as both a character and the film’s director). And Tommy Lee Jones is a pilot who gets paid to take people on joyrides. The group chemistry is palpable and it’s a whole lot of ridiculous fun, which is exactly what these sequences should be. I also love how all of these guys — who again, are almost 70 years old — are almost immediately on board with going into space. They have no reason to be this gung-ho — it’s not like they’re fighting for their country, or saving the planet. Now that I’m thinking about it, I guess they all just wanna be young again. Now I’m sad. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Clint starts in D.C. From there he travels to two unknown locations: first the church to pick up Garner, then the amusement park for Sutherland, which, based on weather and topography alone, appears to be located in California. After that, he goes to Utah to scoop up Tommy Lee Jones. Give or take a few hundred miles, that’s a trip of about 3,500 miles. Good stuff. 6/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for Jones’s feigned reluctance, which allows him to pull a fast one on his old buddy. Old guys can still have fun, ya know!

Total: 23


7. ‘Fast & Furious 6’

The Mission: First thing you need to know: Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive, after seemingly dying two movies ago. Objective no. 1 for Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is to bring her home. Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) also has a mission, and that’s to capture a very bad but skilled villain who is selling a WMD to the highest bidder. The amount that Hobbs sweats as he relays this information suggests the stakes are very high. But it’s pretty standard saving-the-world stuff. 5/10

The Sentence: "I need your help, Dom — I need your team." This is great for two reasons: first, because after pile-driving each other through multiple walls in Fast Five, the idea of Hobbs and Dom working together was inconceivable. This line is a turning point in the franchise. The second reason? Because it comes right after Hobbs says, "The last damn place I wanna be right now is on your front doorstep selling Girl Scout cookies." Haha, what bro? 8/10

The Introductions: Six movies in, Fast & Furious knew its crew. Showing Roman (Tyrese) flying in a PJ with a bunch of models on their way to Macau, Tej (Ludacris) acting like a techie Robin Hood who makes cash rain from ATMs, and Han and Gisele talking about "settling down" over a meal in Hong Kong are all pitch-perfect moments for these characters. To cap it off, Dom has a sit-down with Brian to recruit him — but also to talk about, yes, the virtues of family. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Dom uses government agents and cellphone calls to round up his crew. The only time he actually gets off his ass is when he drives to Brian’s house. So lazy! 2/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for Brian O’Conner’s reluctance, which is conveniently wiped away when Mia assures him that fighting an archvillain is more of a testament to family than staying at home and helping take care of their firstborn.

Total: 23


6. ‘MacGruber’

The Mission: The archvillain Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) has stolen a nuclear warhead, and he and his team of killers plan to use it — unless MacGruber (Will Forte) can stop them. It’s hard for me take this seriously, because the movie expressly demands that you don’t. 3/10

The Sentence: "I’ll just have to put together my own team … of killer-stoppers." I know MacGruber’s purpose is to parody the very thing we’re here today celebrating, and that its ranking on this list should in turn be adversely affected, but honestly? This is a legitimately good sequence, and this sentence is near perfection. 9/10

The Introductions: MacGruber’s recruits are played by professional wrestlers like Chris Jericho and the Big Show, a move that made fun of The Expendables months before that movie even came out. You don’t really get to know the characters, but the montage hits all the right notes, as a good parody should. 5/10

Geographical Distance Covered: MacGruber rounds up his crew in his Mazda Miata. The movie doesn’t let you know where exactly he’s going, but there’s some considerable ground covered here. 4/10

Bonus Points: 2 — for being an actual montage, and for subverting the trope by having the entire gang get blown up immediately after they’ve been assembled.

Total: 23


5. ‘The Avengers’

The Mission: Loki, Thor’s villainous but charming brother, has stolen the Tesseract, something that is very dangerous and important — we know this because in The Avengers they say the word "Tesseract" approximately 1,026 times. The Avengers’ mission is to retrieve it and apprehend Loki. We’re told that basically the future of the universe (the real one, but also the Marvel Cinematic one) depends on defeating Loki. 8/10

The Sentence: There isn’t one, but there is something in its place. A cold open covers Loki’s hijacking of the Tesseract, and someone asks Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, "What are we going to do?" Right then the screen cuts to black, and The Avengers title card appears. People in movies always talk about how "showing is better than telling," so I guess this is pretty good. 7/10

The Introductions: Even though you already know the characters who comprise the Avengers, each gets a little vignette to refresh your memory: Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson) recruitment of a reluctant, in-hiding Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is interesting and remarkably empathetic; Captain America being approached while pounding away at a punching bag in a nondescript gym is neither of those things. In all, your opinion of this sequence depends on how deep your Marvel fandom runs. Mine is pretty middle of the road, so: 3/10

Geographical Distance Covered: This is tricky, because in The Avengers it’s not just one person doing the assembling. Nick Fury calls Phil Coulson, who calls Natasha Romanoff, and the three of them tackle recruitment together. If we judge them as one entity, the trio travels to locales like India and New York City to round everyone up. Still, it’d be more impressive if Fury or Coulson did all of this on his own. 6/10

Total: 24


4. ‘The Replacements’

The Mission: All the professional football players are on strike, so interim head coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman’s back, y’all!) has to quickly assemble a team of scabs who (a) can play football relatively well and (b) have no problem crossing the picket line. An extremely illogical but entertaining premise, albeit a less-than-pressing one. 5/10

The Sentence: McGinty: "I want total control of my team — I wanna be able to recruit anyone I want, no interference." You know the montage is coming, and you know it’s gonna get weird. 7/10

The Introductions: Football obviously lends itself to recruiting, and in my opinion, this is one of the best constructed "Getting the Gang Together" sequences in cinematic history. Hackman’s McGinty (with his two assistant coaches by his side) throws down a list of potential players and gets right to business, relaying stats, résumé notes, and amusing anecdotes for each player. You see Jon Favreau doing crazy SWAT team stuff, Orlando Jones showcasing 4.2-second 40 speed while chasing down a shoplifter, and Rhys Ifans thriving as a degenerate gambling soccer player. And tell me you don’t learn everything you need to know about Keanu Reeves’s quarterback character from this exchange:

Boom — that’s the movie. Less than 10 minutes in, and you know you’re getting a motley crew that’ll deliver the entertainment, and a redemption story that sports movies were born to tell. 10/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Unlike in Uncommon Valor, Hackman’s character in The Replacements does all his recruiting from the cozy confines of a boardroom in Washington, D.C., traveling only a block or two to pick up Shane Falco from his houseboat. 1/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for the speech McGinty gives Falco to get him on board. "Why don’t you take a chance? Rather than hang out here scraping crap off the bottom of someone else’s toys" is a line that has stuck with me since I saw The Replacements in the theater in 2000. A fear of barnacles is why I’m here today.

Total: 24


3. ‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’

The Mission: To topple Iceland’s youth hockey reign and lead the United States to a gold medal in hockey at the Goodwill Games. Now, I have no more clue what the Goodwill Games are today than I did when I first saw this movie at age 6, but trust me, this was a daunting task for Gordon Bombay and his Ducks. The Iceland players wore all black, looked 15 years older than everyone on the Mighty Ducks, and were coached by a guy named Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson. That guy was so scary that people were like, "No, Wolf doesn’t describe him well enough. We need to also nickname him THE DENTIST." 8/10

The Sentence: "Let’s round up those ducks." It’s cute — as is the fact that Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) uses a duck whistle to get his players’ attention, as if a bunch of 13-year-olds are going to respond to an adult man blowing avian mating calls at them. (Shockingly, they all really do.) 4/10

The Introductions: Nearly perfect execution. You’ve got Charlie (Joshua Jackson) at his most kiss-ass-est, and ginger nerd Averman at his nerdiest. Goldberg is working at a deli, and the gang ruins a romantic moment between fellow Ducks Guy Germaine and Connie Moreau. (Guy’s "I was this close" is iconic and you cannot tell me otherwise.) All together, these character introductions prep you for the rest of D2, and let you know that you’re watching one of the best sequels since The Godfather: Part II. 9/10

Geographical Distance Covered: All of the assembly occurs within the borders of the Twin Cities. But: The recruiting seems to take place all over those large metropolises, and Charlie does it all on roller blades. 3/10

Bonus Points: 1 — for dispatching the Hawks, the villains of the original Mighty Ducks film, within the montage.

Total: 25


2. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

The Mission: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) wants to rob three Las Vegas casinos, mostly because the owner of said casinos is having sex with his wife. Three points for stakes, three points for pettiness. 6/10

The Sentence: "You gotta be nuts … and you’re gonna need a crew as nuts as you are. Who do ya got in mind?" Delivered by Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), this line is fun and exuberant, just like Ocean’s Eleven. 7/10

The Introductions: We have to judge Ocean’s Eleven on a curve here, because its "Getting the Gang Together" segment is less a montage and more the first half-hour of the movie. But they do use that extended chunk of time wisely. All of the team members are introduced in impeccable ways: Brad Pitt’s teaching a very dumb Topher Grace how to play poker, the Mormon twins (Scott Caan and Casey Affleck) are racing monster trucks against remote-controlled toys, and Don Cheadle is a chav chagrined to be working with crooks beneath his pay grade. It’s elaborate, vivid, and amusing. 7/10

Geographical Distance Covered: Now this is what I’m talking about. In assembling this team, Clooney travels from New Jersey to Los Angeles to Las Vegas, back to Los Angeles, then to San Diego, St. Petersburg, and Chicago. That’s 7,102 miles of travel for Danny Ocean, who is on parole and not even supposed to be crossing state lines. 7/10

Total: 27


1. ‘Armageddon’

The Mission: Stray meteors have just blown up part of New York City, much to Eddie Griffin and Mark Curry’s dismay. (The ’90s were so good.) Turns out the meteors are a sign of something worse: an asteroid big enough to end mankind. NASA’s guys can’t do anything about it. The only solution, of course, is to send a bunch of oil-rig guys up to space to drill into the meteor and blow it up from the inside. Again, the ’90s were so good. 9/10

The Sentence: "If I do this, I’m gonna wanna take my own men." That’s the essential sentence delivered by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis). It’s boilerplate, but the preceding impassioned speech Stamper delivers about how oil drilling is an art passed down through generations is what gives it its heft. Also, I really like how Billy Bob Thornton’s NASA director responds with, "You got it," immediately. You expect a government official to have some qualms about sending civilians into space, but nope. 5/10

The Introductions: This montage is scored to the Beatles’s "Come Together." A1 song selection. Secondly, it’s a tried-and-true montage, cutting from character to character as Willis and Liv Tyler relay relevant bullet points ("We call him ‘Hound’ because, well, um, he’s horny," and stuff like that). Meanwhile, as the FBI approaches these characters to bring them in, each and every one of them assumes they’re being arrested for something, which tells you everything you need to know. Not only are these some bad hombres, they all actually self-identify as criminals. 9/10

Geographical Distance Covered: The only recruiting trip Harry personally makes is to what appears to be somewhere in Texas to get A.J. (Ben Affleck). By that point, Harry’s already stationed at the NASA base in Houston. Pretty light lift, distance-wise. 2/10

Bonus Points: 4 — one because the gang’s price for getting shot into space and facing almost certain death is "We don’t wanna pay taxes anymore," which is hilariously reasonable. The other three bonus points are because this "Getting the Gang Together" montage directly leads to two other classic movie things: the "Training the Gang" montage and "The Walk." You know The Walk; it’s that slow-motion strut any group who’s about to save the world does. The Walk may have peaked with Armageddon.

Total: 29