tagReviews & EssaysMoney Ch. 02

Money Ch. 02


To relax and get away from my job and the stresses of not having enough money to pay my bills, I'll watch a movie. I have that Blockbuster home delivery and for twenty bucks a month, I receive an unlimited amount of movies to watch. Only, to make matters worse, to rub my face in what I don't have and wish I had, there have been lots of movies lately about money.

"Greed is good. What's worth doing is worth doing for money," said Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko, in the movie Wall Street. Other than Fort Knox or at the Bush Ranch or at Oprah's Harpo Studios, where better to make a movie about money than on Wall Street?

"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." said Gordon Gekko.

Now, the movie Wall Street was made in 1987, more than twenty years ago. Unfortunately, instead of getting better, the gap between the rich and the middle class has widened and worsened. The United States is quickly becoming another third world country. The world has more sick, more hungry, and more homeless people than it has ever had before.

I remember after I watched Wall Street, I was depressed when Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko, said that about ninety percent of the American public with little or no net worth. It's true and I'm one of them, I thought, as I sat in the movie theatre stunned by my dismal future. Twenty years later, my financial lot in life has not only improved, with the high prices for gasoline for my car, fuel for my home, and food prices at the supermarket rising every time I buy food, things have gotten worse. Moreover, I know when I retire and am on a fixed income, my lot in life will be far worse then than it is now.

I'll be like all the rest of those senior citizens who now must choose between buying their medication, heating their homes or eating. God bless America. What a country of unprecedented greed. We should change our motto from E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one) and In God We Trust to The Rich Get Richer and In Greed We Trust.

I had to leave my beloved Boston and drive more than 100 miles west to afford to buy a home. The average price for a home in Boston is nearly as bad as the price of a home in New York or California. This is nuts. When will it end? When will the middle class receive relief? How can this continue? What's next?

Nonetheless, movies are usually my escape from all the bullshit in the world that hits me in the face like a bucket of cold water as soon as I sit in my easy chair and turn on the news. Yet, although, even the movies about money are usually entertaining, with some funny. Nonetheless, their messages are clear. Without money you are nobody and the movie Trading Places is an example of that dismal thought.

Who could forget Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd playing Louis Winthorpe, III and Eddie Murphy playing Billy Ray Valentine? That was a very funny movie. Okay, Jamie Lee Curtis, too, showing her fabulous tits was good to see, she did have an amazing rack, but the whole theme of that movie was about money.

"Mother always said you were greedy," said Randolph Duke.

"She meant it as a compliment," said Mortimer Duke.

That movie gave me insight to what those who are successfully wealthy think of the rest of us who aren't. They don't like us very much. They think that we are chumps and suckers while they are slick and successful. We drink beer while they sip champagne.

What about The Sting with Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Robert Shaw? That was another movie all about the love of money. That was one of the few movies that I watched that I didn't guess the ending and I commend them for that and for entertaining me like that back in 1973. Nonetheless, even though the message was clear, especially back then in the 1930's, the period of this movie, when times were still very tough after the crash of the stock market in 1929, the writer and director painted a depressing and desperate time that hasn't change with the prosperity of seventy years. If anything, it's gotten worse.

Then, there was Boiler Room with Bed Affleck. That was a disturbing movie about money. Oceans Eleven with the original Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Dean Martin. Honorably mentioned, of course, are the new Oceans Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen with Brad Pitt, and George Clooney. The new Oceans Eleven was good but the sequels sucked.

Glengarry Glen Ross with Al Pacino playing Ricky Roma and Jack Lemmon playing Shelley Levene took Death of a Salesmen to modern day levels. Then, there was American Psycho with Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman corrupted by the selfish evils of society is an excellent movies on the subject of greed and money, as well as were It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney and The Treasure of the Sierra Madres with Humphey Bogart. If you haven't watched any of these movies or if you haven't watched them in a while, I recommend them all to you.

Back then, in 1948 when the The Treasure of the Sierra Madres was made, the censor made sure that the main character didn't profit. He died. Our movies of today not only show the bad guy profiting, winning, and getting away with big fortunes but also it sends the message that money is what it is all about. Our standards have changed with the times, unfortunately, not for the better and now without censorship to buffer reality, explains why so many of us require Prozac to get through the day.

Lastly, rounding out the money movies is Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Casino with Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. Now, Casino was a great movie that was underrated by the critics. Sharon Stone did a fabulous job of acting and DeNiro and Pesci played their greedy parts to Oscar levels. Casino is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love Sharon Stone, only watching casino made me realize that I could never have someone in my life that looked like her, unless I had lots of money, which is what this review/essay is all about, money.

Yet, a movie doesn't have to have a theme of money to make money and those movies that have grossed the most are movies not about reality but more about fantasy. Do you know what the number one top grossing movie was of all time? I'll give you a hint. It was a love story with a ship, albeit a sinking ship and an iceberg.

The Titanic earned 1.8 billion dollars. It's mind boggling. No other movie comes close to earning those revenues. The only two other billion dollar earners were The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at 1.1 billion in second place and in third place was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest a bit over a billion dollars. In fourth place was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with nearly one billion dollars and in fifth place was Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World's End with nearly one billion dollars, as well.

There's a lot of money in movies.

To be continued...

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