Who's In It: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Eli Wallach, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, Austin Pendleton
The Basics: Sub-prime mortgage lending stocks phone yelling and suicides because the rates are falling and bears make money and bulls make money and pigs are slaughtered and making money from losing money with the bubble of year-end bonuses bailing out banks with real estate. Those are just words I wrote down in my notebook while watching this movie and I figured if I put them all into one sentence it might make plot-sense to some jerks on the actual Wall Street. My job is just to report that those words are used in this film's script and then to lose almost everything I ever invested with a broker. At the end Susan Sarandon's supporting character goes to work for minimum wage as a nurse's aide but the guys all stay crazy-rich. She needed to be punished.
What's The Deal: There are three movies happening here. One is the romance of Shia LaBeouf with cash, in which he cheats on cash with Carey Mulligan and her meaning-laden fetal ultrasound video. It's boring. The other movie is the one about how the world is going to hell because of terrible human beings running everything and stealing all the money, but ho-hum that's just how it is and maybe you should start stockpiling canned food for when the rioting starts. That movie is boring too, because it's already been on the news and we know how it turned out, so there's nothing for Oliver Stone to rail against. The third movie is about how Gordon Gekko is still the worst person alive. And that movie is AWESOME. More of that guy, please.
The Goofiest Parts Of This Totally Seriousface Movie: It sets up Frank Langella as Shia LaBeouf's mentor, the wise old Wall Street guy who represents the kinder, gentler, honorable days of thieving, lying money men. After his untimely demise, he floats like a ghost near Shia's head when the young man is conflicted. The music cues are great too, gentle strummy David Byrne/Brian Eno songs about "home" every time Carey Mulligan gives LaBeouf the wet-eyed doe stare. (Not a dig at her, though; she's great at that face and I like it when she makes it happen.) And then Charlie Sheen pops by for a second to look weird and act weird, the way Charlie Sheen always does now that he's been sitcom-ruined. So in the midst of all the incomprehensible money-babble, there are still pit stops of entertainment.
What Oliver Stone Thinks Of Wives: The best sequence is an earrings montage. Big, dangling, elaborate Mary J. Blige chandelier earrings on a succession of Wall Street wives at a charity event. It's his way of reminding everyone that these guys have to keep doing what they're doing so that they can decorate their oblivious ladies in the manner to which they've become accustomed to being decorated and what are you gonna do about it? They're mystery creatures who need jewels!
Best Gordon Gekko-ism: When he calls this the "NINJA Generation." No income, no job, no assets. In between scenes where he shows up to spout bons mots I mostly thought about how I need to learn to grow my own vegetables on my apartment balcony.