25 Sep The Death of Nuance
I advertised the fact that I was going to see Wall Street 2 on opening day too much, and now after 73 requests that I review it, I feel a bit of a moral obligation to do so. I did say that I was not expecting a great movie, but I suppose now that I have seen it a bit of elaboration is in order.
The movie was not even close to as bad as I figured it would be. The previews had a way of making you think a rather cartoonish family love-opera was coming, and though the movie included all the nonsensical drama one would expect from an episode of Gilmore Girls, they surprisingly achieved a movie first, with nonsensical drama second. So kudos.
Yes, the movie is almost retarded in its depiction of Wall Stree during the financial crisis, but the first movie, which was a masterpiece, did not exactly burn down barn doors in its depiction. Oliver Stone advertised to those of us who actually have studied the crisis that he has not studied it, but rather was content read the cliff notes (i.e. or more specifically, one or two books). So the institutional villain of the movie buys “Bear” on the cheap (could it be JP Morgan and Jamie Dimon that we are talking about?), setting up the unavoidable reality that the movie was going after Jamie. But when the CEO of the firm he “stole” killed himself, Oliver kind of brought in a bit of an Enron element. And then, when he proceeded to make the movie’s villain a blend of Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and the Dukes of Hazzard, well, let’s just say Stone “overreached” … But it was funny. And nothing cheers me up more than finding myself rooting for the movie’s version of a bad guy. Postmodernism is a funny thing, and if you want to damn a system for being greedy and evil, you are going to have to accept the fact that some of us like what you are trying to damn, or at least like the view at the condo.
The movie’s biggest flaw was not its handling of the 2008 crisis. That coverage did not make any sense at all, and if any movie tries to cover 2008, it is going to suffer from a class warfare/”we don’t really know what a credit default swap is but we think it ruined the middle class” kind of thing. I do believe the idea that Wall Street caused a guy named Johnny to buy a $700,000 house on $50,000 of income is pretty funny, and I especially think that the idea of Wall Street buying and selling Credit Default Swpas causing Johnny to not make his mortgage payment is super funny. So Oliver Stone successfully amused me, and to his credit, he almost always does. But the worst part of the movie was a sort of idiotic environmentalism that somehow lacked any attempt at nuance or credibility. Again, it was funny. But boy oh boy was it lame. And lame is way worse than idiotic. All they had to do was nuance their neo-Marxist greenism, and they would have had me from hell0. But alas, they went the lame route, and even though this short-haired Buhdda in the mountaintop gal who forgot to tell her boyfriend she had $100 million was super good at blogging and loved the ozone layer – A LOT, I was, shall we say, not impressed. The death of nuance indeed.
A fantastically (and suprisingly) entertaining movie, and one I will likely see again (soon). Class warfare is the name of the game in Hollywood, and they are a dying breed of people who actually create from an authentic ideology. No BS from those cats – just raw, lame, idiocy. Ultimately, Oliver Stone lacks the IQ to understand what the real moral takeaway of his movie is likely to be. I think I know, though. And when all is said and done, I am guessing the applications for jobs where people wear suits that don’t look like the ones my mom made me wear to Sunday School are about to increase. So thank you, Oliver Stone. Both for the stuff you did on purpose (make an entertaining film), and the stuff you did without any premeditation whatsoever.