Friday, October 27, 2006

Law Movies: Wall Street

Just finished watching Wall Street, an Oliver Stone film, starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas. It also has Martin Sheen (as Charlie's father) and Daryl Hannah.

Great movie. Top notch. It's from 1987, but I think it was way ahead of its time. I've been wanting to see it for a long time. Although it's all about Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, Money, Money, Money, it is a fascinating, microscopic, look at the rise of white collar crime in the 1980's.

I have seen a number of colleagues, and have interviewed with a number of "big-time" lawyers who fit the mold of Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) and Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen). Looking for that pie in the sky opportunity to stomp on somebody else, to take short-cuts and get to the top faster than the next guy. Willing to smudge the books to make themselves look better than the guy in the next office. How many times I have seen somebody pad their hours so that they might one day become partner, so that they might one day be able to look out the window of their cab, and feel justified in their smugness. And I haven't even been a member of the bar for very long.

Bud: How much is enough? Gekko: It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or gained its simple transferred from one perception to another.

Hey, if that's you, have fun. It's not me. Some join the club to kiss their way to the top. But, some do it because they are looking towards the greater good. I like to think I am in the latter category. But, at the same time, it's not easy. I worked nearly 12 hours today. Why? Because I wanted to make more money? No. It was because I couldn't figure out how to close some bloody real estate files so that I could actually report to our client and actually transfer our fees from our trust account to our general account. That is reality for me today. But, I could leave work feeling good about myself, because I was trying my best to be honest and true to myself, and to my clients.

The best line of the film for me came from Bud's dad (Martin Sheen):

Carl Fox: Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life. Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.

Amen to that. Amen to creating something great, something beautiful, something that belongs to me.

Lou: The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don't want to do.

The film was also fascinating, given the garbage that is continuing today in Corporate America (and Canada) with the various corporate criminals being nabbed daily, and finally actually going to jail.

Enough rhetoric for tonight. I hope it sparks something in you, positive or negative. Feel free to comment.


Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely with you on "Wall Street" .. I liked Stone's "World Trade Center" quite a bit, but I definitely miss the day when he made bold statements and great movies all at once, like with "Wall Street"

Adam Letourneau said...

I haven't seen "World Trade Center", but I would imagine it is like many quickly made movies these days that seem to want to capitalize on the morbid curiosity of American viewers - an opportunity to magnify the terror that the suicide bombers (which is what they really were, after all) intended.