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March 25, 2004

Gordon Gekko

Capitalism and power suits went together in the 80s like peanut butter and jelly, and there was no bigger shark in the dangerous Wall Street waters than Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). The cold-hearted corporate raider was famous for buying troubled companies and selling off their assets to the highest bidder, thereby making himself tons of cash and putting thousands of employees out of work. Gekko lived by the mantra: "What's worth doing is worth doing for money."

Along the way, a young bright-eyed broker by the name of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) made it his life's goal to become Gekko's protege. He was relentless in his quest just to get a meeting with the millionaire, and when he finally did, Gekko liked what he saw. Fox would have to prove his worth through loyalty and results, and while getting those results may not make any friends, Gekko would advise him: "If you need a friend, get a dog."

One the the quintessential Gordon Gekko moments comes when he addresses an entire room full of stockholders. His speech on greed is what defines him as a capitalist and a person:

"The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind..."

Gordon Gekko's greed is what sets him apart from the other wheelers and dealers, but it's also what sets him apart from those who follow the rules and those who break them. Gekko leverages inside information to strike when the time is right, dumping stock and leaving shareholders in ruin. When Gekko takes Bud Fox's advice to buy Blue Star Airlines - the company Bud's father has worked for for years - he sees an opportunity to make more money. The naive Bud watches in horror as Gekko tells the directors the company will be safe, then decides to dump the company so he can make millions and puts many out of work.

Embarassed and upset, Bud makes a deal with a white knight millionaire to save Blue Star and set up Gekko at the same time. Fox succeeds in his plan, costing Gekko millions, but finds himself in heavy violation of insider trading. An engraged Gekko faces Fox once again and admits to some of his wrongdoing before punching him in the face. The real punch comes when it is revealed that Fox was wired, turning on Gekko for the Feds. In the end, jail time is the only destiny for the likes of Gekko and Fox, but unlike Bud, you've got to believe that Gordon Gekko, a man who deals in information, will land on his feet with his eyes still firmly fixed on the prize.

INTELLIGENCE - 8: An extremely intelligent businessman with years of experience behind him.

POWER - 5: Knows how to throw a punch.

VILENESS - 6: In stock trading, there are no friends or allies; there is only money to be made.

SWAY - 9: Gekko will wine and dine you to make as much money as he can off you, then drop you like a bad habit.

PURITY - 8: Greed, of course, drives him, but he knows when he's been beaten.

PHYSICAL - 6: The greased-back 'do was very popular back in the day on Wall Street.


Posted by Destro at March 25, 2004 10:43 AM