Welcome to my new series of mini rants where I explain why certain things deemed to be great, just aren’t any damn good. Today, I start off with arguably Oliver Stone’s most famous film, 1987′s Wall Street. Regarded by many as a great film. After all, its got that great “greed is good” monologue. And yes, that’s a great monologue. But that monologue is less than a minute long in a 126 minute film. Simple math 1/126 of the film is great. And even and English major knows that leaves 125/126 of suck.
Don’t agree? OK, then name one other memorable scene? Come on. Let’s hear it. I think they go to the Hamptons and to a Gym and then there’s some office stock talk. Seriously, I can’t remember anything. Do you recall that Daryl Hannah was in this movie? OK, repeat one line of her dialogue for 20 bucks. Nope? Yeah, I didn’t think so. She had more interesting things to say in Clan of the Cave Bear.
But the main problem is that Oliver Stone employs his typical technique of pretending his audience is composed of neurologically impaired sea monkeys. It’s a movie about a man from an earnest blue collar background who aspires to white collar wealth. He has to question who he is. How do we know this? Because Oliver Stone has his character stare out over the New York City skyline and ask, “who am I.” No, really. That’s in the script. Although Stone did show restraint by removing the subtitles “this is really important” from flashing under Charlie Sheen as was done in the original rough cut.
So we have a movie with an amazing 58 second monologue and then a bunch of crap that is either painfully simplistic or just forgettable. If this movie were a meal it would be a big plate of bland/slightly rancid mashed potatoes with one truly delicious peanut M&M buried inside. Really doesn’t matter how great that M&M is. The meal sucks.
Gladstone is a columnist for Cracked.com, the creator and star of the Hate By Numbers video series, and the author of the forthcoming novel Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. Most of his stuff can be found on his site.