Scarecrow suggests | Like 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'? Take stock of other DVDs that explore the dangers of greed
Rubbing your hands for more "Wall Street" shenanigans? Try "Boiler Room," "Rogue Trader" and other DVDs about greed and excess.
The premise of "Wall Street" and its sequel, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" — that "greed is good" but ultimately destructive — is explored in several other films on DVD.
"Boiler Room" (2000) follows Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi), a young man too smart for college who's running a casino in his apartment when a headhunter (Ben Affleck) recruits him for an entry-level job at a brokerage firm. His easy success making cold calls to prospective clients earns him a fast promotion and the much-sought-after approval of his federal-judge father (Ron Rifkin). Once he's earned the trust of his higher-ups, Seth is privy to the firm's nefarious practices and decides to refocus his talents on exposing their scam. Nia Long and Vin Diesel co-star as employees of the disreputable firm.
"Rogue Trader" (1998) is based on a true story of how one man's actions brought down a financial giant. Ewan McGregor plays Nick Leeson, a man whose rampant ambition ended up bankrupting England's prestigious Barings Bank. The film begins with Leeson, desperate to move up from his humdrum bank-teller position, accepting a job in Jakarta, Indonesia, to help get the bank out of a jam. His successes gain him promotion to head of Barings' staff at the Singapore International Money Exchange. It's a position that allows him to make unauthorized trades with company money and cleverly cover his tracks without attracting notice. But the world soon caves in on Leeson as he's crippled by debt and the psychological toll of covering up his misdeeds.
Despite its much-hyped flaws, Brian DePalma's adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel "Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990) is a satirical cinematic snapshot of '80s Wall Street culture. Tom Hanks plays Sherman McCoy, a ruthless investor who unapologetically indulges in the excesses his high-ranking position affords him, including the company of a hot blonde (Melanie Griffith). The two are involved in a somewhat accidental death that leads a down-on-his-luck reporter (Bruce Willis) to start the investigation that eventually brings McCoy down.
A much stranger take on the greed and excess of the '80s is "American Psycho" (2000), based on the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Christian Bale, in arguably his best performance to date, plays a competitive, vain businessman obsessed with haute couture, business cards, Phil Collins, facial scrub and serial murder. The juxtaposition of his superficial lifestyle with his brutal dark side makes for a satirical slasher movie. Bale is both scary and hilarious while terrorizing the city, working on his abs and enlightening people with monologues about the music of Whitney Houston.
And for a more comedic look at the dangers of Wall Street dealings, you can't do better than John Landis' "Trading Places" (1983). Randolph and Mortimer Duke (played brilliantly by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, respectively) are old-money Wall Street tycoons so rich they resort to amusing themselves with a social experiment by switching the roles of a poor man and a rich man to see if the former can overcome his circumstances and if the latter will resort to a life of crime. Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are in their comedic prime as the guinea pigs selected for their plan. They team up for a classic Wall Street trading scheme (involving frozen concentrated orange juice) to soundly beat the Dukes at their own game.
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