Wallstreet DVD Review
2-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition (1987)
Wallstreet was made in 1987 by writer and director Oliver Stone and starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Darryl Hannah, and John C. McGinley. A young stockbroker after months of persistence finally bags the big fish, Gordon Gekko, a man whose presence and lifestyle he idolizes. He shuns his blue collar background in pursuit of greed and impatiently engages in illegal insider trading.
I first watched this movie after a book called “Now Showing” claimed it to be one of the best 25 movies….ever, I guess. I must say, all in all, it was a good movie. I actually really liked Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen’s work in it and I believed their relationship. The pull of an actual father and son relationship really added to the authenticity of the roles. I finally got to see Michael Douglas just the way I like him — being a bad guy, someone getting the best of him, and not seducing women.
Michael Douglas plays a big Wallstreet player who has money falling out of his eyeballs and is idolized by Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox. Fox is taught to bend and eventually break the rules to get ahead and get that cold hard cash. This movie is all about greed. Douglas’ character likes to buy out the majority of shares in a company and then liquidate it getting away with a quick buck. When Douglas gets going into a lengthy monologue, he oozes confidence which is amazing considering the pressure he was under. Bud Fox grows a conscience when he sells out his father’s company to this same fate and decides to fight against it ruining everything he’s worked for. This was one of those roles that really made Charlie Sheen stand out and become a celebrity in his own right and brought the extra challenges of that responsibility with it. There is an appearance by Darryl Hannah as random home decorating girlfriend who is very comfortable in her way of living and leaves Fox the first time it gets tough. I thought it would be more dramatic and more of a point of her being in the movie, but there really isn’t and it ended up being a waste of screen time and just one more thing for him to lose on his fall from grace. She is a symbol of the rewards that can be earned by a fast way of living stepping on others and her substance is very shallow. Again I really loved seeing someone get the best of Michael Douglas, even if they couldn’t get away scot-free and had to face the music. Shows the value of time, hard work, and morals over getting rich quick with some family values thrown in too.
Probably an undervalued asset to this film is one of my favorites, John C. McGinley whom you’ll remember as one of the Bob’s from Office Space and his role of Dr. Cox on Scrubs. Always there to heckle and mock his good friend and has some of the best one-liners in the movie. Actually three of the main five lines people quote from this movie can all be attributed to this character he developed.
This is especially a great movie for men and/or people who love business and stocks. This is one of my husband’s all-time favorites and many men can quote it readily.
The first part of this review I wrote three years ago, but now I’ve gotten my hands on the 20th anniversary edition with special features and I want to gush about those for you. First, there is a new commentary by director, Oliver Stone. He is a precise fellow! Stories are told of how filming is going on and he isn’t even looking through the camera, he is following along word for word in the script to make sure his actors don’t miss a moment of his dialogue. Before Michael Douglas, Stone considered Warren Beatty and Richard Gere for the role of Gordon Gekko which both declined when the script was in an earlier form. Apparently Gere still wonders where his career would have gone if he had gotten the script that Michael Douglas got to shoot. Douglas had a heck of a time with the lines. There was so much to his monologues and dialogue and much was shot in long takes. When he finally put in the time and memorized his part better, he was able to put in the performance that was needed. The commentary reveals more behind-the-scenes information as well as Stone’s apparently neurotic tendencies. So many times after a line is said, he commented on how so-and-so of some magazine or whatever complained about THAT line but why he justified it being important to the script. If he really was that confident behind each one, he probably wouldn’t need to expain, right?
Also, there are two featurettes: “Greed is Good” and “Money Never Sleeps: The Making of Wallstreet”. Greed is Good focuses on what this movie meant to that audience in 1987 and how real brokers took it to heart and how some began to idolize Gekko as well and even asked Charlie Sheen to open accounts for them so they’d be able to say they had an account with Bud Fox. It’s pretty entertaining to see how this became a bit of a bible and how every single day, this movie is quoted on the floor of the stock market. It is also brought up how tempting it is to try and take shortcuts in the business and what their field of work really means to brokers and their families. The Making of Wallstreet is based more in the behind-the-scenes information again and what it did for the careers of individual actors and what they struggled with. Darryl Hannah had issues with the development of her character and didn’t believe women could be like that but Stone assured her that there are gold-diggers like that out there.
The deleted scenes are minimal and don’t seem to add much to the movie. But I’d say the commentary and featurettes are great for fans of this movie. If you like this movie, you should also check out “Boiler Room”. It has VERY similar themes, cutting corners, a father/son dynamic, and the actors even quote entire scenes from “Wallstreet.”
With the sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps coming out on April 23rd this year, I’m very excited to see what has happened with Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko and his new protege played by Shia LaBeouf. Also Casey Mulligan who starred in one of this year’s Best Picture nominees “An Education” will be making an appearance so I am looking forward to that!
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