Richard’s Year of Movies — Wall Street, Trading Spaces and Predators

Ah, the 1980s!

I had Wall Street in my Netflix queue for a while because I’d never seen it.  Then it turned out that for this Industry Finance class Hannah’s taking, she had the option to watch that or Trading Places for extra credit.  So I moved them both to the top of the queue, ready for some nostalgia and academic credit.

I wasn’t all that impressed with Wall Street.  Mostly because, aside from Michael Douglas and Martin Sheen, the performances are pretty terrible.  Darryl Hannah, in particular, should just stick to replicants and mermaids, because she’s awful here.  And not nearly the knockout the character’s written to be either.  I found myself getting bored waiting for Gordon Gecko to show up again, but instead of just following him, we have to get the high finance version of Platoon without the Adagio.  And it doesn’t give me a lot of hope for the sequel that’s coming up, since the previews look like we’re getting the exact same story with Shia LaBeaof and an older Michael Douglas.  And no transforming cars.

I never really understood the ending of Trading Places until I started working in a call center for a stock broker.  Then all that insanity with crop reports made sense.  Not that you needed to work for CNBC to understand that Murphy and Aykroyd pulled off some daring financial shenanigans, but it certainly put my mind at ease to finally know what the hell was going on.  This is probably my favorite Eddie Murphy movie, mostly because I think it uses Murphy’s talents best — in service to the story and the character.  And of course, I couldn’t help pointing out John Landis’ traditional “See You Next Wednesday” reference, much to the patient tolerance of my wife, bless her soul.

And to complete my 80s weekend, I went and saw Predators today.  I remember seeing the first film simply because it was a Schwarzenegger movie.  Back then we didn’t have the internet to provide spoilers or buzz or early reviews, so the surprises were all the sweeter, and boy did Predator surprise.  We knew it was Arnold vs. an alien, but we had no idea how damn awesome it was going to be.  The new film doesn’t quite reach those dizzying heights, but it’s a fun film, and it does have one surprise in it — Adrian Brody, Action Hero.  Damn if he doesn’t pull off the military tough guy role.  The end has the same problem the end of Jurassic Park has — no, not pelicans, but that the film doesn’t end so much as just stop.  Doesn’t feel like there’s enough closure to send the audience out on the high note the end credits music seems to think the film has pulled off.

Speaking of keeping myself in the dark, I’ve been on blackout status regarding Inception, to the point where I got actively agitated when the pre-show reel at the theater today showed scenes from it I hadn’t seen before.  If somebody spoils that film for me, there’s going to be trouble.

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