Best way to learn how rob a bank? Watch 'The Town,' apparently. Five men in New York were just arrested for a string of burglaries allegedly inspired by the 2010 drama directed by and starring Ben Affleck. The NYPD stated that the group used many of the tricks shown in the film, including cutting power to their target's store and splashing bleach onto ATMs and cash drawers to get rid of DNA evidence. Back in May, bank robbers in Chicago used the same nun costumes that Affleck and Jeremy Renner used in the film.
The New York crew are reportedly responsible for 62 burglaries since August 2010. An NYPD spokesperson said that the real-life burglars made off with $217,000 after robbing delis, pizzerias and other stores in Brooklyn and Queens. Since 'The Town' was released in September of 2010, the NY crew was already in business before the movie came out.
While Affleck got great reviews for 'The Town,' his second directorial effort, and Renner received an Oscar nomination, guess we didn't realize just how inspirational this movie really was.
[Photo: Warner Bros.]
Gallery | The Dumbest Criminals in Movies
10. 'Small Time Crooks'
In a plan borrowed from the movie 'Big Deal on Madonna Street,' Ray and his gang open a bakery next door to a bank and plan to tunnel into the vault. (Extra credit to Rapaport, born to play dumb crooks, who wears his mining helmet backwards, like a hip-hopper in a baseball cap, because he thinks it looks cooler.) Thank goodness Ray's wife is a cookie whiz; after a while, the fruitless heist attempts fall by the wayside when the cookie biz takes off. Still, he has one last, terrifically terrible idea for a jewel theft up his sleeve.
9. 'Saving Grace'
Widowed, broke and facing foreclosure on her house, middle-class, middle-aged Grace and her gardener Matthew use their green thumbs to grow a massive stash of pot in her greenhouse. They're not too good at hiding their efforts (the whole village knows but looks the other way), but when it comes time to find a buyer - well, the pimped-out pantsuit Grace wears to London is worth the ticket price by itself. (Thankfully, the Dungeons-and-Dragons-loving pot dealers they find in the capital are no brighter.) Also a must-see is the sequence where their grand scheme goes up in smoke, making the village a blissful place. Bonus points to Ferguson for writing the hilarious screenplay.
Pretty Much Everybody in 'Snatch' (2000)
Taking a page from Quentin Tarantino, filmmaker Guy Ritchie has specialized in movies about colorful but none-too-bright lowlifes. In 'Snatch,' the stupidity goes transatlantic, as the visiting American gangsters prove no wiser than the local Cockney lads. About the only crooks who aren't total morons in this one are the wily but incomprehensible Mickey (Brad Pitt) and narrator Turkish (Jason Statham). Not surprisingly, they're about the only ones left standing by the end of the film.
7. 'I Love You to Death'
When pizzeria owner Rosalie (Tracey Ullman) decides to knock off her cheating husband (Kevin Kline), lovesick employee Deco is only too happy to take the contract, but after various tactics (including poisoned pasta) fail to do the trick, he subcontracts out to a couple of stoners, Harlan and Marlin, who fare no better. It's no stretch to see Phoenix and Reeves as slack-jawed slackers, but Hurt (who usually plays tweedy academics and intellectuals) brings unexpected depth -- er, shallowness -- to his role.
6. 'Raising Arizona'
Back when Cage used to specialize in playing dumb, his crowning achievement was the hapless recidivist in this early Coen comedy. Despite having married a cop, he falls back into his old ways when the childless couple decide to kidnap one of a furniture tycoon's baby quintuplets to raise as their own. Watching Cage's Hi as a stick-up man stealing a package of diapers is a thing of absurd beauty. Or, as a witness notes, "Son, you got a panty on your head."
Among the colorful neighborhood characters hanging out on the street anchored by the title haircut haven are these two thugs, who steal an ATM but can't figure out how to get the twenties out of it. Their repeated attempts to prove themselves smarter and stronger than the cash machine make for a wry running gag throughout the movie.
4. 'A Fish Called Wanda'
Otto and Ken (Kevin Kline and Michael Palin) in 'A Fish Called Wanda' (1988)
Poor, animal-loving Ken, who can't manage to kill a little old lady but keeps accidentally knocking off her tiny dogs. But he's a brainiac compared to his jewel-thief partner, the aggressive, arrogant Otto, whose ex-lover tells him, "To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs." It's deceptively hard to play this dumb; no wonder the role earned Kline an Oscar.
3. 'Dog Day Afternoon'
In this based-on-a-true-shaggy-dog-story film, Sonny and Sal are the two most hapless bank robbers-turned-hostage takers Brooklyn has ever seen. (Sonny wants the dough to pay for his lover's sex-change operation; the hangdog Sal is along for the ride.) Cazale follows up his not-too-bright Fredo in the 'Godfather' movies with another top-notch sad sack, while Pacino shows how Sonny makes up for incompetence with his unlikely folk-hero charisma.
Jerry's scheme to have Carl and Gaear kidnap his wife in order to extort a ransom from her rich father was never too brilliant to begin with, but the violently bungled execution of the plan makes it all the worse. It doesn't help that they're up against persistent local police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), surely the most cheerful, least neurotic sleuth in movie history. As a result, the most memorably muddle-headed crooks in the whole Coen pantheon see their (not too) carefully laid plans go right into the woodchipper.
1. 'Take the Money and Run'
Woody Allen's first film as a director was this hilarious mockumentary about a persistent but utterly inept bank robber. Such classic gags as the illegible stick-up note ("I Have a Gub") and the gun carved from soap (which a rainstorm transforms into foamy lather) make Virgil the lead inductee in the Dumb Movie Criminals Hall of Fame.
Follow Moviefone on Twitter
Like Moviefone on Facebook