Old Releases: Very Tiny

Last night, watched WALL STREET 2 on HBO.  To put it all in an uncharitably Hollywood manner, it was has-been Oliver Stone’s story about has-been Michael Douglas/Gordon Gekko’s return to the world-stage at the moment of has-been America’s too-typical financial crisis, complete with soundtrack by has-beens David Byrne and Brian Eno, and even a blood-chilling appearance from soon to be has-been Charlie Sheen as “Bud Fox” – boring, aged, empty, ugly, rich, and pointless, with a goddess on either arm – not to mention Josh Brolin desperately searching for scenery to chew, Shia LaBoeuf desperately searching for a Transformer, and Carey Mulligan desperately searching for better lighting.

No offense to Eli Wallach, Sylvia Miles, and Susan Sarandon – whose appearances in bit parts rather painfully underline a theme of time passing never to return – the most arresting moment in the movie might have been the 30-year-old Talking Heads song “This Must Be the Place” playing over the end credits, a nostalgic final flashback to a lost moment of American pop-cultural vitality.  The “Naive Melody” was already a bit of a New Wave oldie when Stone used it twice in the original WALL STREET.  20+ years later, he can fill up his whole movie with Byrne & Eno, and it was difficult for me to tell whether the songs were really as poignantly awful, musical shirts on a cinematic dog, as they sounded, or just seemed that way suspended in encrusted sentimentality, patchwork plot, and desktoppish “generated media” in place of grown-up cutting.  Taken as a movie, WALL STREET:  MONEY NEVER SLEEPS is a gloopy mess, but it’s also a winningly cornball, left-populist utopian quasi-historical quasi-document of a fairy tale melange in which once-upon-a-time criminal banksters finally turn over their wealth for the sake of green-hued super-science, politically courageous internet start-ups, and properly socialized family values – the bright shiny has-been future as a big happy party on a Manhattan rooftop in Spring, all our Gekkos exposed or reformed or evolving, Austin Pendleton a genius, and Stone himself a creature of high cosmopolitan art… 

If you squint just right – it’s all true, and you almost want to hear “Tiny Apocalypse” again…

…but not really.

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