Monday, September 27, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

I can't believe this movie was tops at the box office this weekend. Sure, I'm one of the people that made it #1, and maybe it was a particularly slow weekend movie-wise but I still find it surprising. Were we all really clamoring to find out what became of Gordon Gekko in the past 23 years (23 years!?)? Wall Street, the original, was an entertaining little movie, back in the day, and even garnered Michael Douglas an academy award for playing Gekko the first time around.

 I have to say I wasn't on the edge of my seat but I was hoping that Oliver Stone might bring something entertaining to the table at the very least. Because, to be perfectly honest, besides what Stone tries to claim about capturing the zeitgeist again, like he did with the whole "greed" angle in the go-go eighties Wall Street with the recent financial meltdown and what have you...The whole endeavor just seemed so weird and off, and because it was so weird it was somewhat entertaining, but by the end I found myself mostly bored really. That might be my fault, since they throw the financial mumbo jumbo fast and furious at you, and at some point I just found it sort of exhausting.  Oliver Stone is much more subdued here than he was in say, something like Any Given Sunday, which looked the byproduct of someone who is just completely coked up. But, that doesn't mean that he doesn't take the chance to illustrate/animate everything here somehow, from how some green technology works, to how a stock rumor is spread, its somewhat interesting to look at, I guess. (Its not like its all THAT subtle, considering all the shots of falling dominoes he uses.)

Ostensibly, though, the movie is as much about relationships as it is about Wall Street and money. Shia LaBeouf is getting married to Gekko's daughter, he is in need of a mentor afte rhis original mentor commits suicide, Gekko is estranged from his daughter, and they both want revenge on an oily stockbroker (I don't even know what his proper title might be) who destroyed LaBeouf's company and sent Gekko to jail many years ago. Surprise, it wasn't Bud Fox. Brolin is probably the best here. And Gekko's motivations seem to change from scene to scene, partially because the writers seem to want to keep people guessing, but you pretty much know how everything's going to end up. So there's a lot about family and loyalty, and none of it really gels. Because here's the thing, besides Carey Mulligan, as Shia LaBeouf's fiancee and Gekko's daughter, running a liberal website and LaBeouf trying to hook up with some green technology endeavor that involves lasers (seriously). I can't shake the fact, and this might have been Oliver Stone's point, that these guys are all jerks that had some part in bringing about this economic meltdown to the U.S. and the world. I mean great, you are trying to make money and screw other people out of money and "take revenge" but in the back of my head, everyone is just kind of an a-hole. I found that there is actually very little as far as characters to root for, because either they are actively jerks, or they are uninteresting, and in the end they all were or are playing on the same field that caused such a catastrophe. I dunno, maybe Oliver Stone hit the zeitgeist in the wrong way. In that, right now, we don't want to root for any of these people to make any more obscene amounts of money. Not the right time.
In the end, its talky and really only tangentially interesting. I mean, if you are into it, there is no reason to run out and see it right away, honestly. Wait to some rainy day when it happens to appear on TV or arrives in the mail from Netflix.

Also whats weird is that there are at least two different scenes that make the original Wall Street and what happens in it seem really insignificant, especially in the lives of these characters. And in the original movie, he played it up to be such an epic story (sort of like with this one). It just seems like on odd way to go to me. Maybe its a commentary on the passage of time or what not.

One night thing is that they filmed at scene at my alma mater, Fordham, on their main campus up in the Bronx. Shia LaBeouf's character apparently went to business school there. Holla. Speaking of LaBeouf, he and Carey Mulligan (his fiancee and Gekko's daughter) both look way young for their roles, which isn 't entirely their fault, but they also don't come off as very convincing. I do not get how LaBeouf has gotten this big, or gets these roles. He's never been that convincing. A friend and colleague of mine have a theory that he is Steven Spielberg's illegitimate son, and he is secretly pulling the strings of his career behind the scenes. Just a thought.

Also, just because its funny, he's not too bright:


  1. Yeah, I'll bet this was interesting to see in light of the current economic climate. I generally like Oliver Stone's work though I also feel it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He can get pretty ridiculous. I'd probably like to see this, but like you said, I won't run out anytime soon to do so.

    Shia LaBeouf's fame escapes me too. It's as if doing "Transformers" was this amazing career launcher and now he's just a big name that will draw people to the box office. He's probably working on "Transformers 3" now isn't he? At least Megan Fox had the smarts to get out of that nonsense. Incidentally, did I ever tell you that her older sister is a guidance counselor here in St. Lucie County? I sometimes find myself in trainings with her. Strange.


  2. Like I said, its worth a look. But, like someone smarter than me said, its basically a stroll down Whoops Lane.

    Yeah, Shia LaBeouf's celebrity baffles me. I mean he isn't the only famous person whose celebrity baffles me, but he keeps getting these big tentpole gigs. I dunno, I guess someone sees something in him. He also seems to be the king of "Sequels Made 20-some odd years after the original".