The Essential Films of Wall Street
Hello guys and ghouls and welcome to a special edition of the F*ck Yea Cinema blog. Instead of dishing out my idiocentric opinion’s on a recent film, I thought I’d tackle my love for Wall Street movies in all of their excessive and ridiculous ways.
First I should probably explain why I dig Wall Street movies so much. Honestly, it isn’t even the movies I love as much as I am fascinated by the idea of Wall Street culture and the amount of excess that occurs inside and outside the walls of these establishments. Prostitutes. Drugs. Gambling. Etc. All the things that I do not participate in (as far as you know) and these people just abuse the shit out of it all.
Maybe it is a good example of living vicariously through someone else that has always drawn me to that culture. Having the money to blow on the excess. The ego to not give a shit about what or who you leave in that wake. The adrenaline they must feel essentially playing god with other people’s lives. As Gordon Gecko once said, “I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal.”
Anyways, onto the movies. I’ll be tackling a few of the classics today and couple others that have sort of flown under the radar from mass audiences: WALL STREET, BOILER ROOM, AMERICAN PSYCHO, MARGIN CALL and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.
First up to the chopping block is one of my all time favorite films as well as my all time favorite Wall Street film. I am of course talking about WALL STREET starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen directed by Oliver Stone.
This film just OOZES with 80’s greatness and I love it. Michael Douglas is a fucking a shark and I love it. Charlie Sheen being a disillusioned little boy and I love it.
But the main reason to sit through this movie is to enjoy Michael Douglas’s amazing turn as Gordon Gekko which led him to win the Best Actor award at the 1987 Academy Awards. He delivers some of the best lines of any movie and does it with such vindication and veracity. If you’re like me, you’ll end up wondering if you want that man leading the charge on your company’s merger if you’d rather see him rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life.
What you’ll also find in this movie is a pretty good understanding of what the relationship is between your basic stoke broker and a corporate raider. The small fish and the large shark. A proverb waiting to happen. On top of that, you’ll find yourself acquiring some clarification on what kind of shady games these assholes play on a daily basis. “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” To think these people control money. What is life?
WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?
Come for pre-dickhead Charlie Sheen and stay for Michael Douglas figuratively ripping people’s throats out.
Do you want some young actors putting on their big boy pants and trying to play with the big dogs? Look no further than BOILER ROOM. This movie has Batfleck, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Scott Caan and toping it off with some Jamie Kennedy. It has all the ingredients for some low level trash, but what comes out is an interesting take on the idea of Wall Street culture and how it can affect the ones you love and ultimately how it affects your soul. In a fun way of course.
Ribisi is at the center of this story and also provides the moral core where it is completely lacking otherwise. Always wanting to prove that he is smarter and better than his father makes him out to be, he chooses the one profession that’ll dig his grave from 6ft to 7ft.
This is definitely the most “light hearted” film on this list and is definitely one that appealed to a more general audience than ones who prefer a little prestige behind their films. But I highly recommend it because Batfleck delivers the best speech/line of his career outside of “Tell me…do you bleed? You will.” It also has Vin Diesel playing one of the only roles of his career where he doesn’t talk about family and doesn’t beat the shit outta somebody. I’M LOOKING AT YOU FURIOUS FRANCHISE!
WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?
A bunch of twenty something actors sleezing up the screen in poorly fitting suits and Matt Damon’s lover, Ben Affleck, cursing and talking about his Ferrari.
Everyone loves a good sociopath. And how could you not love one named Patrick Bateman? Of course I’m talking about the protagonist/antagonist of the very controversial film, AMERICAN PSYCHO. Why is it on this list? Well technically it is a horror film but it does actually take place on Wall Street. And honestly some of the best bits happen within the confines of the office.
The best aspects of this film come from the stylization, the fact that it was directed by a woman and Huey Lewis and The News. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll never listen to “It’s Hip To Be Square” the same again. Or look at Jared Leto the same again. That dude gets FUCKED by an axe.
Otherwise, this is an amazing turn by Christian Bale as Bateman. The dude has always had the ability to use his body as his main acting tool and needless to say he went to extremes to make sure he was in top physical condition for the film. He is absolutely ripped. He would then go on to drop 60lbs for THE MACHINIST and then add on around 110lbs for BATMAN BEGINS. Bale needs to write a weight loss book.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT?
Jared Leto + axe = death. Conference room scene involving business cards. Brilliant.
MARGIN CALL is easily the most serious out of all of these films on the list and one is the most eye opening. The movie is essentially about the 2008 financial crisis and goes inside the inner workings of the firm that led to it’s demise.
The film stars a handfull of quality actors including Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey and each character plays their part perfectly. Even Demi Moore plays a significant role in the movie along with The Vision errr I mean Paul Bettany.
MARGIN CALL is also directed by J.C. Chandor who is one of the most promising directors coming up through the ranks right now. And if you want to watch one of the best films of 2014, look no further than A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. Chandor has the most professional grasp on tension and drama without blowing the stakes completely out of proportion. You know things are bad when words get technical/over your head, people start losing their jobs and executives fly in on helicopters.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT?
For the most realistic look into the inner workings of a brokerage firm. Truly fascinating stuff.
And I gotta save the most bat shit crazy for last. By now, everyone reading should have heard of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET starring the second coming of Christ, Leo DiCaprio.
This film has everything. Sex. More sex. Drugs. Quaaludes. Jonah Hill with horse teeth. Midget darts. And enough foul language to kill a priest. It’s amazing that this film was even made.
Basically the movie is the dramatization of the real life exploits of the notorious, Jordan Belfort, who actually makes an appearance at the end of the film. Leo plays the antagonist and gives his most inspired and fully realized talent as an actor in any role that he has played. Daniel Day-Lewis level of acting here, folks!
Another beautiful thing with this film is that it is proof that Martin Scorsese hasn’t lost his touch one bit. And it is honestly his best film since GOODFELLAS other than THE DEPARTED. It also has all of the classic Scorsese staples like voice overs, quick cuts and some nice tracking shots. The only downside to the film is that it doesn’t have Joe Pesci. If you are a fan of cinema of any kind, this needs to be viewed and viewed with an opening. If you are uptight, then you’ll probably have a heart attack.
WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?
Everything I just mentioned. Kyle Chandler saying “Let me give you some legal advice: Shut the fuck up!” And Matthew Mcconaughey with 10min of screen time that should’ve won him an Oscar.
Well there you have it. My rambling 1,300 word magnum opus to Wall Street films. Hopefully you find some pleasure in the insanity but most of all please check out these films. I guarantee that you won’t regret it and you might actually learn something. Or decide to change careers, you soulless bastards.
Check back this weekend when I review the best movie ever, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. My dreams are finally being realized in that film and I will weep uncontrollably through the whole thing.
As always, happy movie watching, friends.