|Title:||Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (15)
- Born on the Fourth of July
- The Hand
- Heaven & Earth
- Natural Born Killers
- South of the Border
- Talk Radio
- World Trade Center
|02.15.11||Netflix|| Oh how I wanted to love this film. For some reason I still believe Oliver Stone has more great movies in him, and the 2008 financial crisis is a perfect excuse to revisit the character of Gordon Gecko in a new generation. The opening scene is fantastic (also used as the trailer), with Gecko getting out of prison with his 80s mobile phone, seeing a gangsta get picked up in a limo, and being confronted with how the world has changed all in one look on a now-ancient Michael Douglas. Potential is high, expectations are hopeful, come on!|
There are definitely moments. I pretty much loved everything involving actors who are over 40. Unfortunately, the crux of the movie - as was the first film - is the hunger of youth colliding with the wisdom of experience, both dancing with greed, soaked in money. Instead of models, coke, and fashion though we get motorcycles, prime real estate, and casual two hundred grand loans to your annoying mom.
I was with the movie with Frank Langella vs. Josh Brolin. I was really with the movie when Gecko gives another speech (greed used to be good, now it's legal!), but little things, small but consistently strewn throughout the movie, kept reeling me back in. The tacky repitition of bubbles everywhere, the overuse of David Byrne's "Home," Susan Sarandon, the occasional line that's too on the nose or just not written well enough... These things really brought the whole movie down for me because I feel like Oliver Stone is either bowing to studio notes or he just doesn't care enough anymore to fight for it.
And this whole fusion thing... like Austin Pendleton was going to perfect cold fusion at the end of the movie? I get that they used it to show that Shia, doing his best but still limited and - I'll just say it - wrong for the part, still has ideals and integrity and blah blah blah but it's too much. It's too cut and dry. I feel like the original film is much more confusing because the investment banking world IS confusing. The power plays and corporate moves going on ARE complicated. Here, the entirity of corporate maneuvering consists of spreading false rumors. Three times.
By the way, I heard that Google puts kittens in microwaves for fun. I'm not saying that because I have Bing stock, I just heard it, ok!? Spread it through your viral network until random people badger the CEO on the nightly news!
I don't know why I can heartily accept Eli Wallach doing his weird around-the-world sighing smile thing, which is obviously some random combination of muscle spasm and mild choking because he's so damn old, and have such a problem with Shia's accent or Carey Mulligan's haircut but I do.
Perhaps the best example of the little problems overtaking the whole is Bud Fox's cameo. Initially I thought "awesome! It's cool they got him back!" but then he starts talking, giving a succinct one-line summary of his past 15 years and ultimo success. Like he had it prepared for some TV interview where they make you repeat the question so they don't have to show the interviewer. Like Gecko wouldn't have looked up what happened to him? Like he wouldn't have come out with an alcoholic dig rather than dumbly asking "so how ya been?" And most of all, like Bud himself couldn't have thought of something cooler to say to Gordon Gecko!? More than a wasted opportunity, that scene is actively weak in an area that should've been a home run. If they screw something as easy as a Bud Fox cameo up, how are they handling the hard stuff?
Ultimately, the biggest problem I had with this movie is Gecko's sympathizing. Do we even remember the first movie!? Come on. I know it's harsh but I really wanted the movie to end 15 minutes before it did because THAT's Gordon Gecko. The lame reconciliation with Carey Mulligan's smallest headnod in the history of cinema followed by Shia's look down at her pregbelly made me groan. If they wanted us to ultimately sympathize with Gecko, how about having him screw over Josh Brolin in some badass way? Not decide that 1.1 billion dollars is enough to spare a hundred million to fix his minor family problem. It's so muddled and weak. Come on! This is the character whose speech the dudes in Boiler Room memorized and recited to each other for kicks! This is the guy who got out of prison broke and alone and turned himself into a successfull book author, exploiting the problems in the financial worth for legitimate gains as an author. Why is this guy kowtowed by Shia's lame rebuke "oooh you're such a sad man, Gordon. I sooo pity you!!! whaaaa! How's that compared to 8 years in prison!" God I hated the ending. I hated it so much that I saw it coming and actively rooted against it. It just could've been so great! Maybe Oliver Stone had some grand incite into his motives and learning a bit more context would shed some light.
Which brings me to my final problem. Another sad suffering step in the corporate dessication of DVD. My netflix copy of this movie actively had the extras stripped out because it's a rental copy. Same annoying disclaimer at the beginning and end of the movie, an "Extras" link on the home menu, but nothing but random trailers for content. According to Amazon there's a director's commentary on the DVD. I guess because I paid $2 rather than $12 I can't listen to it. This recent trend (I've even had discs like Repo Men and Get Him to the Greek where the special features are actually listed but instead of content there's a 5-second clip telling me to buy the DVD in order to see them) is infuriating because it must take MORE work to strip this stuff out and ship different copies to netflix and redbox than it does to keep just one version. I understand saving on packaging, or printing plain DVD labels rather than expensive full-color passes on each disc, but who's gonna run out and buy the movie they just watched just to see the stupid 7-minute EPK "making of." Most extras suck nowadays anyway, it's just that Stone is one of a short list of director's who actually make their commentaries worth listening to (let's see, Fincher, Edgar Wright, David O. Russell, Soderbergh maybe, and one or two that I'm forgetting). To think that 10 years ago with the first wave of DVD releases, people were talking about seamless branching and mutliple angles and there were musical score audio tracks and actual booklets with the discs... The medium has really declined. There's a truly excellent three hours of solid content (not counting the two commentaries) on The Social Network disc, yet they can't include one extra audio track just because I rented this? Bullshit.