Monday, April 11, 2011

Money Never Sleeps! It Just Takes Naps.

Last night's film was the original "Wall Street" starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a corporate maven who is just trying to make companies more efficient and durable. Of course, he gets viciously double-crossed by a conniving sneak named Bud Fox (played by Charlie "Winning!" Sheen, who does his best to not snort an 8-ball while punching the female castmembers). Fox brings Gekko all sorts of ill-gotten information, while kissing up to Gekko, and Gekko mistakenly uses this info to make some terrific stock transactions. This is all during the 1980s when people actually could make money on the market! Gekko of course runs afoul of his protege when he tries to buy out a failing airline so that its assets and employees can be bought up at a premium by its competitors. (In other words, win-win! This is what you're supposed to do with failing companies that can't be turned around) In one laughable scene, the representatives of the various labor entities at the airline actually seem to favor 20% across the board pay cuts in order to keep the airline afloat! Clearly the director, Oliver Stone, has never heard of the Teamsters. Of course, learning that Gekko is planning to break up the dying company instead of wasting millions of investors' cash trying to fruitlessly save it, Fox uses his contacts to drive up the price through rumor, getting Gekko to blow lots of cash trying to buy the stock, then using rumor again to drive the price down, forcing Gekko to sell at a loss to a "white night" investor who agrees to keep the dying company intact. (Let's dispense with the logical problems here. 1) Why would any smart businessman agree to buy the company and keep it intact and lose money down the road, just to get back at Gekko? Emotion is one thing, but if he was an intelligent investor he'd never touch the deal--especially on Bud Fox's suggestion, knowing Fox was a weasel anyway. 2) It never really explains how Fox's rumor mill is able to drive the price up and down so quickly, but let's assume for the sake of the story that he can. 3) Wouldn't some lawyers have a problem with the conflict of interest in that Fox is behind the initial buyout and his father is one of the union reps?) Clearly, we all learn a valuable lesson here: don't trust a sneaky little weasel! Oh, and if you hire your girlfriend to be your interior decorator then your place will look like crap.

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