Have you ever watched a TV show or film that featured a character with the same job as you? Have you ever thought, 'But, that's not how it is at all!' Us, too! So, as part of a limited content series titled MoPOP Movie Reviews, we'll take a look back at some of our favorite films and analyze how museums, art work, and art workers are portrayed.
Numbah five in the series! We’re starting to hit a groove with MoPOP Movie Review content, and this time around we've brought in even more contributors. We don’t know if you knew this about the MoPOP team, but we’re major nerds. Don’t let anyone who works at MoPOP tell you differently. They’re nerds too, and that nerdiness is a huge asset to the museum because where one nerd’s interest drops off, another’s picks up.
As part of their weekly MoPOP Classic AV Club watchalong, Amalia Kozloff (Curator), Brooks Peck (Senior Curator), Chris Moore (Exhibits Projects Coordinator), Katherine Hughes (Registrar), Liisa Spink (Grant Writer), Melinda Simms (Collections Manager), and StefanieTerasaki (Assistant Registrar) got together virtually to watchHow to Steal a Million, and mercilessly roast it. Except, of course, for when they were admiring the outfits, cars, interior decoration, and typesetting present in the film!
Remember, the same rules as previous MoPOP Movie Reviews apply: How to Steal a Million starts with 20 points and gains or loses points throughout the review depending on our staff's assessed levels of realism in the museum/art work fields. Let's see how it fares!
“Nope, you should never do that!”
Jumping right into the deep end of“nope, you should never do that!”thefilmopenswithan art auctionwhere one (COUNT 'EM — ONE) art handlercarries a priceless painting by the fragileedges of theframe up to the block.And,for some unknown reason he’s NOTEVENWEARING GLOVES. And the scene with velvetlayered to “protect”the paintings leaningagainst each other?We’re losing our minds here.Dead.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review:-6 points
Running Total:14/20 points
A Police Motorcade Escorting Artifacts? Complete Nonsense.
We’ve all hadoverly solicitoussecurity guardshovering over us while working on priceless pieces.Chrisoncehad armed guards(with guns!)in Rome as he made mounts for Bulgari jewelry.But the whole procession that happens afterward withthe motorcade? Completenonsense. Asyou mightrecallfrom our commentary ofVelvet Buzzsaw, art-handling trucksstay anonymous to protect artifacts.We’ve never heard of state police escorting artifacts. Security guards? Sure. Police? Nope.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review: +3 points
Running Total:17/20 points
This Happens, But We Don't Recommend It
Generally, you’d want to grab paint from somewherelessobviousthanthe middle of the painting, but,yeah, this is otherwise accurate. Let’s be frank: forgeries always get caught. There are entire sections of the FBI dedicated to catching forgery ringsandlegal action will be taken.If you’re thinking this might be a lucrative, shady side hustle,werecommend against it.
Lasers were around in 1966, but was the technology advanced enough to determine when the beam was interrupted? Well, in 1965 they were able to phase lock a laser, so that would mean yes, but the cost of that kind of security system for one artifact would be ASTRONOMICAL.
Now, let’s look at the rest of the security in the museum: Peter O’Toole was able to waltz right into the back of house security station; doors either weren’t locked or had keys hanging right next to them; andthere were approximately eight guards for an overnight shift,but they were all just hanging out in thebreak room. Yeah, not great. The velvet rope stanchions might have been good for keeping well-meaning guests out, but that’s never really an effective method for keeping committed troublemakers at bay.
In the end, it made us realize how much we appreciate modern security systems with camera feeds going to a centralized location. What an artifact lifesaver.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review:-2 points
Running Total: 20/20 points
All right, look at this gallery that they keep wandering through. There’s acomplete jumble of artistic periods hangingnext to each other with no context.Peter O’Toole sums it up perfectly with, “Wonderful exhibition. So many beautiful things... and so valuable!”It seems that the curators of this museum just mounted random,expensive artworkin a galleryand called it an exhibition!That is notcurating.Curators spend a lot of time developing the themes and context in anexhibitionand, well, CURATING. There’s so much work that goes into making a cohesive experience; not justhanging pretty pictures.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review:-5 points
Running Total:15/20 points
Drop The Scrub Brush And Step Away From The Tapestry!
AHHH. Stop it. Just. Please. Stop. Our housekeeping team would be freaking out. Our Collections Manager was definitely freaking out. Our Preparator is laughing because he’s a bit of a sadist. We love our housekeeping team. They’re incredibly educated and have specialty supplies to make sure that their cleaning of the museum doesn’t harm our artifacts. That said, they don’t touch artifacts. Our Collections team handles cleaning of all artifacts and sometimes collaborates with housekeeping for larger projects that involve being near or removing artifacts.
But what was she doing wrong, really? She was blowing on a painting (we’re learning all about vapor droplets in our breath currently), using a stiff bristle scrub brush on this 17th CENTURY TAPESTRY(!!!), and went under the stanchion to stand right next to it (bumping hazard).
Museum/Art Work Realism Review:-3 points
Running Total:12/20 points
Overall, it wasn’t that bad. Yeah, they exaggerated some stuff and for some reason the bumbling security guard trope made yet another appearance, but we were picking apart some really specialized stuff. Who else would have noticed what a curatorial hodgepodge the gallery was except for a curator?
Final Total For Museum/Art Work Realism: 12/20 points