The blogathon comes with a list of assignments, and today’s is to write about five favorite movies. I decided to twist the topic a little and list five movies about money. All of these are great fun, for different reasons (Bonfire of the Vanities, for example, is a train wreck), and they all talk about bubbled that happened long before this last one.
Today’s selection is:
Trading Places (1983), with Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Lee Curtis, is a great story of social class and commodity trading both. And, of course, it has a hooker with a heart of gold. This is a lot of fun, and it’s explanation of commodity markets is pretty good. And yes, traders are known to make all sorts of ridiculous bets.
Wall Street (1987). This movie hit the zeitgeist: a market bubble, corporate raiders, and the immortal line “Greed is good.” Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko displayed the worst of the greedy, yuppie culture of the times. It’s a great one. Make sure you get this one and not the sequel Money Never Sleeps, which apparently is horrible.
Bonfire of the Vanities (1990): This movie is based on the wonderful Tom Wolfe novel of the same name about the super-rich of the Wall Street era. It’s also the subject of a wonderful book by Julie Salamon called “The Devil’s Candy” about the making of the movie. Salamon’s book tells how the movie became a total and complete disaster; you have a movie about money that ended up losing a lot of money. It’s worth putting on your Netflix list if only to see Tom Hanks pull off his role, Bruce Willis almost pull off his role, and Melanie Griffith play Melanie Griffith.
Barbarians at the Gate (1993): This HBO movie is based on the 1990 book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. Some semesters, I’ve assigned the book in class; I showed the movie once, but it has gratuitous nudity, and I don’t want to have any students complain. James Garner is hilarious as a good-old-boy CEO, and its portrayal of the work of financial analysts is on the mark.
Startup.com (2001) is a documentary about the mania of the dot-com bubble, when everyone wanted to be a zillionaire with any half-baked idea. Pay your parking tickets on line! Does that sound like a game-changer, or what? There are many unintentionally hilarious moments in the movie, such as when our hero complains that the people at Kleiner Perkins “don’t get it”. Yeah. I could tell I was the only financial person in the theater because I was the only one laughing at that.
Tomorrow, I’ll do five movies from emerging markets