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THE MOVIES

THE MOVIES

THE MOVIES

 

EXPLORING THE PURSUIT OF SUCCESS
Films have often explored and tried to define what it means to be successful. What defines it, how does one achieve it and paradoxically, the sometimes negative consequences of doing so. Here are a few that explore the nature of accomplishment whether it be material, emotional, spiritual or even attaining a timeless quality that endures through the generations.

 

WALL STREET (1987)
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, CHARLIE SHEEN, DARYL HANNAH, MARTIN SHEEN, TERENCE STAMP, JOHN C. MCGINLEY, AND HAL HOLBROOK
‘Greed is good’ was the rallying cry in the 80s. Although it has little bearing to today’s generation and the current economic malaise gripping the world, much of the seeds of the 2007 crisis were sowed in principal during those halcyon days. In those days success was measured in terms of money and wealth.

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It was the era of shoulder pads, peroxide big hair and skin tight jeans (as in testicle strangling tight). Back then Madonna was Lady Gaga, video killed the radio star, and Michael Jackson was still black. Reagan was President and under him ushered in what came to be known as ‘Reaganomics’. Too long to explain here, one noteworthy consequence was the rise of Wall Street financial wizards and sharks that preyed on weak companies. It was the beginning of the rise of the super-rich and the super poor in the US. It was the era of greed.

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This Oliver Stone directed story followed one such Wall Street shark by the name of Gordon Gekko. His unscrupulous rise and dealings would lead to his criminal downfall. ‘Wall Street’ was in fact a warning to the materialistic and hedonistic mantra of that era. The film also starred a fresh-faced and sane Charlie Sheen, as the idealistic young protagonist whom Gekko takes under his wing.

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Yes they did a sequel but nothing beats the original. Also I have an adverse reaction seeing anything with Shia LeBoeuf in it. It involves switching channels.

LINCOLN (2013)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, SALLY FIELD, JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, GLORIA REUBEN, TOMMY LEE JONES AND HAL HOLBROOK
By almost any standard by which we rate success and achievement, Abraham Lincoln nailed it. Here was a man who was elected to the office of the president of the United States. A consummate politician – who was well versed in Machiavellian politics in achieving his goals. And a victorious military leader, winning the Civil war against the Southern Confederacy.

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But there’s more. Lincoln may have had baser motives that drove his policy decisions- for example to weaken the confederate states by destroying their labour force which was made up of slaves, but the net consequence was that abolishing slavery was ultimately a decent act in and of itself. Lincoln (whether he wanted to or not) uplifted the slaves back to being human beings, and at the same time, uplifted humanity as whole.

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His assassination made the man into a near legend now. He is regarded as a role model for not just American values, but for values that transcend differences and appeal to the common bond that we all share. Values that encompass humanity, kindness, standing for truth (against the lie that slavery is a good thing), opposing injustice, ensuring fairness and equality and fighting for freedom for his fellow man.

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As an aside the film signaled a personal career triumph for Daniel Day-Lewis, netting him his third Best Actor Oscar for playing the title character, a unique achievement.

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (2009)
MICHAEL MOORE

What happens when success is built on a house of cards, and it all comes crashing down? Directed by Michael Moore, who brought us ‘Fahrenheit 9-11’ and the eye-opening ‘Sicko’ (a look at America’s dysfunctional health care system), this is a documentary film dealing with the causes and the fallout of the 2007 financial crisis – especially on the poor and Middle America.

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Examine how as the mortgage crisis escalated and credit dried up, companies big and small began retrenching their workers. This led to more defaulters on their mortgages and other debts, leading to more retrenchment and the shrinking of economic activity. The overall result is many people became unemployed and unable to keep up payments; some were forced from their homes. Others could no longer afford insurance. The price for individuals and loved ones is devastating.

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Yet through it all the corporations, the owners and the financiers seem to get off scot-free. Banks and investment firms that had lost billions were bailed out with public money; their executives still got their pay and bonuses while the rest of society had to endure the increased tax burden.

It traces how and why corporations became a feature then dominated the political, economic and social landscape of America – from Reaganomics and the relaxing of financial controls to the current cozy relationship between corporations and politics. The film doesn’t just look at things from a macro-level perspective in terms of policies and organizations but brings viewers in closer to the personal cost that the financial crisis has wrought on individuals and families.

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Moore goes off looking for answers. From walking the deserted main streets to attempting to barge into Wall Street wielding his blow horn like a truncheon, to talking to families on the brink of financial ruin, Michael Moore makes viewers feel his anger, and the pain.

http://www.360celsius.com

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