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The Social Network & Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

 

 

 

The Social Network

The Social Network
*****
Columbia Pictures
Running Time: 120 minutes
PG-13
Director: David Fincher.

Hardly a day or two passed after I had seen “The Social Network,” a flash on television announces the 26 year old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth 6.9 billion.  Jesse Eisenberg plays an Oscar worthy performance as Mark Zuckerberg, the devious Harvard nerd, founder of Facebook (eclipses MySpace) burning and betraying partners along the trail to substantial wealth.  Zuckerberg and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) are sitting across from each other, each has a beer, in a conversation clearly not on charitable terms leads to Erica breaking up with an unruffled Mark Zuckerberg muttering his own dismissive retort.  Immediately, Mark retreats back to his dorm room for a “little” revenge by posting Erica and every Harvard co-ed on the Internet as “Hot chicks.”  Simmering over rejection by women and then drinking beer with the fellows,Zuckerberg and a selection of guys create social networking from which Facebook emerges.

Zuckerberg collaborates with another Harvard student Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) , a good friend and originally a co-founder of Facebook, in turn their friendship  sours down the road once Zuckerberg severs the ties with Saverin, once Facebook is well on it’s way to be very successful.  The friendship is never mended.  Neither is Zuckerberg’s business by “handshake” with the Winklevoss twins Tyler and Cameron (both played by Arnie Hammer) to write a code for a social networking site honored by Zuckerberg. He makes two more enemies by his conniving tactics in addition Zuckerberg is called before the Harvard University Board  with his accusers there furiously contesting his dishonest tactics.

All the rigmarole starts in the fall of 2003 at Harvard as flashbacks between the advent of the controversial rascal’s doings and his (Zuckerberg’s) self-righteous rhetoric before the Board.  Beneath his near genius mind lies avarice and a self-serving vision.

Superb writing by Aaron Sorkin (“Charlie Wilson’s War,” A Few Good Men”) worthy of an Oscar nomination along with Eisenberg’s outstanding performance as is the strong supporting cast, i.e. Justin Timberlake, as Sean Parker, founder of Napster from Silicone Valley, womanizing along the way.

 

 

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
****
20th Century Fox
Running Time: 133 Minutes
Rated PG-13
Director: Oliver Stone

The first (1987) “Wall Street movie’s theme is “Greed is Good;” the second Movie “Wall Street: Money Never”1987 Sleeps” theme asks “Is  Greed Good.”  The open scene Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released from prison and no one there to meet  him outside the prison to welcome his release.  (At the end of “Wall Street,” Gekko goes to prison.)  The newly released slick capitalist becomes motivational speaker for business people where at one meeting he meets Jake Moore (Shia La Beouf), an aggressive trader for Bear Stearns and the boyfriend of his distant daughter Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan).  Mr. Moore is a disciple of his elder mentor Louis Zabel ((Frank Langella)when tragedy strikes the elder he blames Bretton James for the mentor’s fate.

Gekko is released from federal prison before 911 prior to the stock market debacle in late 2008.  Not unlike “The Social Network” premise, greed gets the best of the man regardless of his exceptional abilities.  The title “…Money Never Sleeps” implies greed never sleeps an unfortunate sobering reality as ambitious Jake Moore will realize if he didn’t know it before.  “money is a bitch that never sleeps,” Gekko laments.  “Time is the access of life not money,’ he continues to say.  But will he heed his own advice?

Most of the story takes place seven years later, Gekko’s book ”Is Greed Good?”  gets much notice among the public and as I said before the theme of Oliver Stone’s sequel.  When Gekko gazes at the stock markets in the Fall of 2008, with shock and amazement he sees an abrupt downturn in the markets causing worldwide panic.

As always, Michael Douglas has no shortage for words(perhaps even verbose at times) as he’s being fitted for a suit a picture of Kirk Douglas is in the background.  Even a cameo of Charlie Sheen elicits a chuckle.  Shia La Beouf’s character Jake Moore serviceable but not spectacular.  Josh Brolin, however, as Bretton James, use to trade with Gekko currently an archenemyof Gekko,the former is very convincing  as a   ruthless business tycoon.

“Wall Street; Money Never Sleeps,” is a reminder there are a lot of Gekkos out there and avarice is one of seven deadly sins anyone of any class, ehnicity,  religion, or sex can easily fall into.  The movie is worth seeing.

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