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Money Night Extravaganza is off and running, It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation…. just like this one!
That’s right, Forrest MillerConan NeutronJ. Andrew World and Kristina Oakes are joined by long time regular and Oliver Stone Scholar J.G. Michael of Parallax Views to talk about Wall Street.

Oliver Stone tackles the greed and excess of the 1980s in an intelligent but also dazzlingly staged way. A film that catalogued a dark mindset of an entire era, a ground zero of villainy and amoral behavior around wealth and power that still holds sway this day. Stone was in his sweet spot here, taking on institutions in a flashy and engaging way that just wasn’t done. Prescient as can be. Take this quote:

 The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy? It’s the free market. And you’re a part of it. You’ve got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I’ve still got a lot to teach you.

yeah, that’s from a movie from 36 years ago!

This movie was shot and put out into the world with a remarkable turn around time.. shooting from April to July 1987 and then released in December, between July and December, was Black Monday. 

The single largest drop (22% in one day!!!) in the Dow Jones since 1929.
That kind of eerie prescience and insight seems to follow Oliver Stone around. 

So many idiots came away from this with all the wrong lessons. Michael Douglas’s god tier performance as the horrifically sharklike Gordon Gekko is amazing, as is Martin Sheen’s supporting role as Bud’s father (played by real life son Charlie Sheen), portraying a character from a time that was dying a lifelong labor man, who knows the dignity of work.
Martin Sheen and Michael Douglas are in a tug of war over Bud’s soul and for most of the movie, the Working Man doesn’t stand a chance.. 

Some of the beats will seem familiar now as we are used to hearing and seeing these stories at this point. It is a radical critique of the free market wheeling and dealing of the market. It came out at a time when that community was not only showing the cracks, it was exposing it as the confidence game that it was.

How much is enough? Fascinating that it isn’t the mechanisms of greed under fire here, but the morality itself that drives them.

This film was also a tribute to Oliver Stone’s father who was a stock broker and who died in 1985.

It’s cynical and it became the quintessential portrait of Wall Street in fictional film, for the next couple decades. Most of which we are covering this month!

It’s also very good.