Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Money Monster

Year 9, Day 136 - 5/16/17 - Movie #2,631

BEFORE: Julia Roberts carries over again from "Mystic Pizza" and gets me back to more current movies.

THE PLOT: A financial TV host and his producer are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

AFTER: This is another one of those "one-room" type of stories, like "Ex Machina" or "10 Cloverfield Lane", only the room here is a TV studio that gets taken over by a gunman.  The problem with setting something in a confined space is that it usually creates a film that is not very visually interesting, or one that can be boring without the interaction with the outside world.  But thankfully a TV studio is in touch with the outside world, and also the story wisely leaves the confined studio about 2/3 of the way in.

The inspiration for this story is most likely Jim Cramer's show "Mad Money", which caught flak back in 2009 from Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" for its practice of recommending that people continue to buy stocks while not being able to predict that the U.S. economy would tank.  After acknowledging that many people may have lost their entire savings by following uncertain financial advice, the show then began running a disclaimer emphasizing the show's education and entertainment value over its status as a financial advice program.  Yeah, right.

The IMDB "Goofs" section tells me that this situation is extremely unlikely, with a director choosing to stay on the air after a gunman takes control of the studio.  It's more likely that this decision would be taken out of her hands by the network, to avoid broadcasting a shooting - but didn't that happen on air a couple years ago when a reporter got shot, live on the air?  So you can't really say that this CAN'T happen.

There's more to the story here, because the lone nut here might have a valid point about corporate malfeasance, but that's not likely to happen in the real world, where investors lose their fortunes and have no right or manner to complain.  This film was probably in production for a few years, but I think could be taken as prescient if you carry the dissatisfaction over to the political arena and take this as a metaphor.  How many times has a lone assassin with a gun changed the course of U.S. history?  And if a corporate CEO can use international politics to affect stock prices, then it's an easy jump to a President using politics to further his investments.  Is it time to impeach yet?

I used to have stock in Marvel Comics, back when they were a publicly traded company.  I wasn't a mogul or anything, I think I sank about $800 or $900 into buying shares, but it was money I was willing to gamble with.  My investment got me an annual stock report that was in the form of a comic book and the chance to attend the annual shareholders' meeting to have it signed by Stan Lee.  I did that for about 5 years back in the late 90's, but at some point Marvel bought up a bunch of smaller companies - a toy company, a sticker company, etc. and built up so much corporate debt that they filed for bankruptcy, making my stock essentially worthless.  I was given the opportunity to trade in my 40 shares for 1 share in the reorganized company, provided I kick in some more money, which is where I drew the line.  I decided I was better off buying a few shares of Disney, and then a few years later, Disney bought Marvel, so I was back in the comic-book business.

Also starring George Clooney (last seen in "Tomorrowland"), Jack O'Connell (last seen in "Unbroken"), Dominic West (last seen in "28 Days"), Caitriona Balfe (last seen in "Escape Plan"), Giancarlo Esposito (last seen in "Alex Cross"), Christopher Denham (last seen in "Shutter Island"), Lenny Venito (last seen in "St. Vincent"), Dennis Boutsikaris (last seen in "In Dreams"), Chris Bauer, Emily Meade (last seen in "Young Adult"), Condola Rashad, John Ventimiglia (last seen in "The Notorious Bettie Page"), Aaron Yoo.

RATING: 5 out of 10 Icelandic hackers

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