Starring: Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah
Director: Oliver Stone
I'm pretty sure I didn't know what the hell was happening for most of this movie. I don't know anything about the stock market, why it exists, how it works and why people get so worked up about it. I remain willfully ignorant of this because it just seems too much of a headache to learn about something I don't need or think about. Just reading the Wikipedia page on stock exchanges makes me feel stupid and inferior. Despite all the negatives, I still enjoyed the movie.
Part of me loves Oliver Stone and part of me wants to bash his head in for being so melodramatic and painting his metaphors and images with such large brushstrokes. Sometimes he's too earnest to make his point. And supposedly the message from Wall Street is that the "American Dream" is filled with deceit, envy, greed and lust. Also, cocaine! So if you don't already know, Charlie Sheen (looking somewhat bloated and pudgy in this movie - Stone are you trying to say something about those fat cats on Wall Street?) plays Bud Fox, who despite his name, is nothing but unclever, and the only inspiring thing about this yuppie is his determination. He's just a normal stock broker trying to work his way up the ladder to becoming the next Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), the biggest shark in a sea of fish. Somehow Bud squeaks his way into becoming second in command under Gekko's guided hand. And things are starting to look up for Bud, but he's not too careful about his illegal insider trading shenanigans and they soon come to bite him in the ass.
It's a classic tale about the rise to power and subsequent fall and the obligatory redemption of one man. All told through legal and trading mumbo jumbo that I didn't understand. In it's essence, the movie is good, it's just that I don't know if I could stand watching it again. I had to have the subtitles on just so I could at least keep track of the conversations. But be warned about the subtitles, because the person put in charge was either very intoxicated or didn't give a damn about the actual words being spoken. Too many times there were omissions in the text or it moved too fast or too slow. I hate that - it was quite bothersome.
But if you look very carefully, you'll notice that the movie is quite dated. Like extremely dated in that Michael Douglas carries around a brick. Oh I mean a cellphone (hello Zack Morris!). And all those computers only emit weird blips and bleeps and seem to output only a slime colored font. And we're supposed to believe it's slick - which I'm sure it was more than 20 years ago. There's even a bit about watching television on one of those tiny (I mean tiny - the Ipod has more screen space) portable TV sets. It's pretty distracting at points, which is why I guess Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (that's the real title, I'm not making this up. It's so deliciously cheesy, no?) is being made. Here's hoping Shia actually fattens up for the role.
And as one last note, Darryl Hannah has officially become the poster child for 80s drag queens. When she first appeared on screen I literally gave a little gasp and emitted "Is that a man?" No, it was just Darryl being Darryl. Seriously, if she was supposed to represent the top cheese you could get in the 80s, I'm just glad I escaped that era only as a child.