Sunday, May 30, 2010

Movies: Wall Street

Thanks to Air New Zealand's personal entertainment devices, which offer 78 films, contemporary, foreign, and classic, I was able to do some catching up on the '70s and '80s. Wall Street was likely on offer in anticipation of the sequel due this fall, and I chose it based on a poorly recalled exchange between two of my best and smartest friends on Facebook (they were actually discussing Glengarry Glen Ros, which I've not seen, so therefore cannot say whether my mis-recollection was forgivable).

That said, I don't know whether any film more completely epitomizes the '80s: it thinks its hot stuff, but its all flash and no content, just like the blond and leggy Daryl Hannah's Darien, whose hero is Laura Ashley. Forget Gordon Gekko's speeches, Martin Sheen's working class exhortations; no scene in the film is more telling than that in which Darien renovates hero Bud Fox's Upper East Side apartment (a hideous post-war monstrosity in a building that no contemporary financier would condescend to enter) with false exposed brick, gold leaf-flecked moldings, and Keith Haring-meets-Jean Michel Basquiat canvasses, after which they make passionate love in silhouette. Shoulder pads and perms you can get in Die Hard, but only Wall Street demonstrates clearly the 1980's perspective on how to hook a big fish. Oh, how I would love to write a paper on gender, sex, and space in the filmic 1980s, contrasting Wall Street with She's Gotta Have It: so much fodder! White/black, masculine/feminine, Manhattan/Brooklyn, big studio/indie. . . it never stops!

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