The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Boiler Room

I loved it, Debbie hated it. Too much testosterone for her. Although not a guy flick in the sense of things blowin’ up real good on screen, it is all male, all the time.

You can think of this as the next generation sequel to “Wall Street.” What happens to the young lions who grew up worshipping Gordon Gecko and his philosophy of Greed Is Good? They became stock brokers, making money with rampant disregard for morality, consideration of others, or conscience.

The story follows a young man (Giovanni Ribisi, whose character is repeatedly identified as Jewish, but looks about as Italian-Catholic as they come) who joins a small fringe stock firm as a cold caller. Ben Affleck shows up every now and then to deliver inspirational speeches to the rookies, then disappears again. It’s a weird role. His job function at the firm is never identified and it’s basically a multi-scene cameo. They probably shot all his bits in one afternoon. I mention it because a lot of the advertising promoted him heavily, so you shouldn’t go in with the expectation that he is the star.

There is one featured female in the movie, and the part is downright insulting. It’s a cliche "movie female", put in only to act as a foil for the male character to interact with. She has no reality outside his world. I love scripted scenarios where the secretary is beautiful and instantly falls in love with the unattractive shlub playing the main character for no obvious reason other than it’s written that way. But I’ll give her this much... Nia Long nicely fulfills the "beautiful" requirements of the role.

The end of the movie is far too much a duplication of "Wall Street" (well… the whole thing is, really), but getting there is often a bunch of fun. I really liked the take no prisoners, rapid fire drive of the boys in the calling rooms. I had to stop and look at the release date when one of the guys says, "It doesn't matter. I could sell anybody anything in this market." The movie was filmed in 1999 and released in 2000. It is somewhat comforting to think that many of these guys were out on the street washing cars a few months after the film came out. That may be why it didn't get a lot of publicity.

Oh yes, Vin Diesel plays a major character and this is the first film I've seen him in where he didn't make me want to leap out a window. I found him rather ingratiating. Go figure!

For the parents, this is not a kid-friendly movie. They would be bored anyway and there is a lot of swearing. No sex and no violence beyond one bar fight. The film uses loud, bass-heavy rap music for its soundtrack. Your tolerance may vary.

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