So Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps began filming in New York this week, and I stumbled across an interesting article in China Daily that posed the question, "Why does Gordon Gekko continue to resonate on Wall Street?":
I would submit that he doesn't only resonate on Wall Street, but that he has in fact become a quintessential American character with broad appeal across the spectrum. Love him or hate him, everyone in America knows who Gordon Gekko is. And I'll bet the sequel will be a blockbuster because of it.
It got me thinking about the movies that define Wall Street. I'm not talking about the movies that make a caricature of Wall Street, I'm talking about the ones that really deliver the goods. I thought about my favorites and what I loved about them, and I think it might make an interesting discussion.
Here are the Top 5 movies about Wall Street as far as I'm concerned:
1) Trading Places - Not only is this movie hilarious, it is perhaps the most accurate portrayal of commodities trading ever made. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd are priceless in their role reversal, and Randall and Mortimer Duke play the rich old white guys to perfection.
2) Wall Street - What do I really need to say about this movie? It defined a generation, drove me into the industry, and it's timeless. A true masterpiece.
3) American Psycho - Another generational hit, this one for the generation of bankers after mine. Aside from the violence and gore, this movie captures the sheer vapidity of Wall Street like no movie has before or since. It's bone.
4) A Good Year - The ultimate movie about exit ops, what's really important in life, and going out while you're on top. Russell Crowe plays a British bond trader at the top of his game who inherits a French vineyard from an uncle he hasn't spoken to in many years. In the process of getting the property ready for a quick sale, he comes to realize that he's sacrificed everything worthwhile in life to become someone he doesn't particularly care for.
5) Boiler Room - A frighteningly accurate portrayal of the penny stock shops of the early 1990's. Ostensibly modeled after Stratton Oakmont, the movie exposes the high-pressure sales tactics and outright scams that dominated the realm of penny stocks for well over a decade.
A couple of honorable mentions:
Other Peoples Money - Devito is hilarious, and Penelope Ann Miller isn't too hard on the eyes, but it's not a top 5 movie.
Bonfire of the Vanities - Decent flick, but pales in comparison to the book.
As for worst Wall Street movie ever made? It is this piece of shit, hands down:
Go ahead and watch it, I dare you. Two hours of your life you'll never get back.
Did I miss anything?