Greed: like, so over
They’re making another Wall Street: the film that defined its era with pin-stripe-suits and cigars and lunch being for wimps and Darryl Hannah looking slightly confused throughout, like she wandered off the set of Splash and swapped her fin for Armani.
And yeah, it was all 'zeitgeist' and epoch-making and whatever but really, Wall Street was just one of a bunch of 80s films of the “dude gets filthy rich but it ain’t all that” variety. Except usually they were screwball comedies with a bawdy Bette Midler and a souped-up Richard Pryor and maybe a Tom Cruise flash of teeth. Course there were variations on the same theme. There was the “poor dude becomes rich dude” (Risky Business, Big, Brewster’s Millions); “poor dude moves in with rich dude” (The Toy, Outrageous Fortune, Down and Out in Beverly Hills) and my favourite, the always salutary “poor dude and rich dude swap lives” (Trading Places, Big Business).
And if the 80s were saturated with “dude gets corrupted by the system” films, so too has Hollywood always bent and swayed to the neuroses of each era. So the 70s had your “dude tries to beat the system” (The Graduate, Bonny and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, All the President’s Men) and the 90s your “dude says fuck the system” (Slacker, Suburbia, Reservoir Dogs) and lately, as war rages and the world warms, we’ve had a whole slay of totally-right-on “system, what system?” flicks, where snaggy Clooney-types stroke their beards and furrow their brows and curse at the inhumanity of it all (Syriana, Babel, etc).
So if Wall Street II has Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gecko getting out of jail twenty years later, his jowls mysteriously tighter and his eyelids pinned to his brows, having been deprived of life and liberty but not, evidently, the services of an expensive Beverly Hills surgeon, maybe we’ll see him forsake the corporate thievery of years gone by and ask not whether greed is good but whether it’s ecologically sustainable, non-GM and carbon-neutral.