Running Diary: Gordon Gekko and the Shenanigans
Holy shit, do you want to know how legendary Gordon Gekko is?
On recent Saturday, Warren Buffett released his much-anticipated annual shareholder letter, and even he couldn’t help himself referring to Gordon Gekko —
“As Gordon Gekko might have put it: ‘Fees never sleep.’”
Is it time for us to enshrine Gordon Gekko inside the exclusive group of movie characters who have a massive popular culture presence that we mistakenly think they’re real people just for a split second? The current members of the club: Rocky Balboa, James Bond and Vito Corleone.
That’s a very, very, very hard club to crack, therefore we need a proper tribute — What about us building a statue of Gordon Gekko in front of New York Stock Exchange? Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last a minute before angry hippie liberals knock it over and camp out around it.…
So here’s the second-best option — I wrote a running diary of the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Yeah, this will do.
0:52 — We open with the scene of a prison employee handing out personal belongings, reciting the items —
“One silk handkerchief. One necktie. One watch. One ring. One gold money clip with no money in it (With a brief pause for emphasis)…”
Then Gordon Gekko walks out of the prison and finds that nobody comes to pick him up. Settles for a taxi, instead.
The whole scene plays out like a challenge — Gordon Gekko, here’s your situation right now… No one loves you, broke like a homeless and eight years older. Can you make it back on top?
04:05 — Who makes the best compatible for a Wall Street guy? An artist? A dumb gold digger? A book smart Ph.D. professor? Or an environmentalist who actively protest against diamonds, so we can have more money to leverage the derivatives to its maximum? Yeah, sign me up for the last option.
06:19 — They say dudes with huge trucks are over-compensating for something small down there. How should we make out for people riding in a sports bike, weaving through a traffic like a madman? Maybe they are still angry that they weren’t the high school quarterback who got all the chicks.
10:46 — We get a close-up shot of a $1.45 million bonus check and the prodigy kid, Jacob, silently computes the exact number of prostitutes, overpriced boozes and Ferraris he now can afford.
13:33 — Oh, I didn’t expect for it to happen this soon… We are treated to an upscale club scene where a exotic-looking Russian introduces herself to the kid with the cheesiest of cheesy line, “Olga from Russia, with love.” Come on, screenwriters. I think we can do better. What about this —
“Olga from Russia. Buy me a drink or the Russian cyberterrorism team will drain your bank account.”
14:18 — Oh, Jacob is not having any of it. He brushes off the world-class pussy because he’s thinking about getting married, pulling the ring out from his pocket to show his buddy. Are we sure that’s a good idea? If there’s a worst time and place to carry around a $100K engagement ring, that’s being a drunk millionaire inside a club with bottomless whiskey flowing in.
18:17 — The fictional investment bank Keller Shift sees their stock price plummeted by half. While the whole thing unfolds, the CEO is walking with his dog in Central Park with shoulders slumped down, looking defeated.
Is this how Dick Fuld feel when Lehmann Brothers turn into a walking corpse? Probably.
27:03 — The CEO walks into the subway platform and steps in front of the approaching train. I don’t think there’s any appropriate joke about suicides, so let’s keep moving.
34:41 — Gordon Gekko, in his first big appearance in the movie, concludes his speech as a pimple-ravaged college boy stares at Gekko like he is Messiah:
“We take a buck, we shoot it full of steroids and we call it ‘leverage’. I call it ‘steroid banking.’”
It has to be up there for the greatest Hollywood-manufactured Wall Street speeches, along with:
Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street —
“Because sometime in the not-so-distant future, you’re pullin’ up to a red light in your beat-up old fucking Pinto, and that person’s gonna pull up right alongside you in a brand new Porsche, with their beautiful wife by his side, whose got big voluptuous tits. And who will you be next to? Some disgusting wilder beast with three days of razor-stubble in a sleeveless moo-moo, crammed in next to you with a carload full of groceries from the fucking Price Club!…. Pick up the phone and start dialing!”
Ben Affleck as the stockbroker in Boiler Room —
“They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the fuckin’ smile on my face.”
Gordon Gekko in Wall Street —
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”
Naming Gordon Gekko twice in the list speaks the volume that we have too many boring finance characters in movies.
41:20 — Here’s a free money advice, courtesy by Gordon Gekko:
“She lies there in bed at night with you, looking at you, one eye open. Money’s a bitch that never sleeps. And she’s jealous. And if you don’t pay close attention, you wake up in the morning and she might be gone forever.”
1:07:02 — Here we have a $20 billion investment presentation, and the pitch deck looks like it was made by a 5th grader and commits the mother lode of Powerpoint sin — using white color font against a bright background.
The Chinese people are rightfully not impressed… until the prodigy kid pitches a $1 billion fusion company with no earnings. NOTHING GETS BANKERS GIDDY LIKE A COMPANY WITH NO EARNINGS!
1:10:50 — Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox makes his appearance, with a model for each of his arms. Should we step in and inform those lovely ladies that Charlie is, indeed, carrying HIV and notoriously discreet about it? Community accountability, and all that.
1:28:50 — Bretton James looks like an awesome hedge fund guy, who, unlike Buffett, lives a freewheeling life. He earns his wealth and spends accordingly. What’s the point of being rich if you don’t live like one? How many of hedge fund guys are like that in the real life? One? Two?
1:40:42 — What’s a Wall Street movie without Switzerland tucking in millions of dollars into secret accounts, away from the government? I promise you, my reader, that I will make a trip to Switzerland and see what’s going on there. Someday.
1:47:02 — And in the end, the girl was right. Jacob shouldn’t have been in bed with the slimy Gordon Gekko. Moral of the story: Listen to your lady. She is probably right.
2:01:14 — Gordon Gekko stares at his computer monitor with a $1 billion account. I guess he makes it back on top. Can we invite him over as a guest speaker and share some Wall Street tidbits?
Oh, right. He’s not even real.
Richard Spiecker writes three columns a week — Give your email below and I’ll let you know when my next column is up.