Archives for posts with tag: hedge fund

Brad's Status

(((Ben Stiller))) plays Brad Sloan, a disenchanted white [sic] liberal who feels “real pain” at the thought that he, as an idealist running a charity-oriented NGO, seems to have accomplished so little in life as compared with his college buddies who have gone on to become wealthy entrepreneurs. “The world hated me, and the feeling was mutual,” the protagonist helplessly kvetches. This and his talented musician son’s process of selecting a university plunges Sloan into a midlife crisis that brings him into confrontation with his own progressive ideals. (((Austin Abrams))) appears as the son, Troy, who just wants to get through the ordeal without being endlessly humiliated by his father’s displays of insecurity. Brad’s Status is nothing special, but may be fun for Stiller fans.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Brad’s Status is HIV+ and that the film is:

8. Anti-gun. Brad’s wife expresses her anxiety about mass shootings.

7. Drug-ambivalent. A little blond boy is shown snorting cocaine. (cf. Office Christmas Party) He is described as a “spoiled little monster”, but the moment is supposed to be humorous.

6. Pro-gay. Brad is upset at not having been invited to an old college friend’s gay wedding.

5. SJW-ambivalent. The apprehension that children today may become “entitled and pretentious” is accompanied by a vignette of a little girl chastising her father for being “so cisgender”. (cf. no. 1)

4. Pro-miscegenation. Brad’s vision of his son’s future successes includes a black love interest. His wealthy friend Billy (Jemaine Clement) is shown cavorting on a beach with two Polynesian women. A later fantasy sequence echoes this moment when Troy is seen frolicking with a pair of Asian girls (one East and one South).

3. Class-conscious. “You don’t get rich like that by being an eagle scout.”

2. Pro-family. “Isn’t it crazy,” Brad muses to his wife (Jenna Fischer), “how we made this kid and he’s this brilliant, amazing person?”

1.Anti-white. The movie’s representative hedge fund manager is not too surprisingly not a Jew, but a legally embattled white man (Luke Wilson) with the quintessentially WASPy surname Hatfield. “You’re a white kid from the suburbs without a sob story and you’re not even a legacy,” Brad admonishes his son about his chances of getting into Harvard. “We’re the underdogs here.” White viewers may be inclined to sympathize with what Brad is saying, but one suspects that the screenwriter’s intent is to make the character seem unreasonably self-pitying. Indian coed Ananya (Shazi Raja) later scoffs at his “white privilege” and “male privilege” problems. To her, his petty concerns evoke “the history of colonialism […] and the oppression of women and the fucking-up of the environment.” In a seeming endorsement of this character’s perspective, the movie concludes with Brad being moved by her performance of a violin solo from Dvorak’s “Humoresque”. The entitled white guy, by being obliged to shut up and listen to minority brilliance, is moved to a tearful emotion.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

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A very impressive debut feature from Nicholas Jarecki, Arbitrage makes the world of high financial malfeasance seemingly more accessible by examining its workings at the personal and intimate level of one man’s life.  Richard Gere, in a career highlight turn, anchors the film as troubled hedge fund magnate Robert Miller [sic. “Can someone please tell Hollywood there hasn’t been a WASP on Wall St for 30 years?” – @AnnCoulter, December 2, 2013].  Miller is an expert at projecting confidence and has built a fortune on the basis of the trust people have invested in him; but, just as financial activity is largely a matter of trade in illusions, so Miller’s personal as well as his professional life is not so secure as it might appear from outside.  When he loses control of his car and pulls a Chappaquiddick with unlucky French mistress Julie (Laetitia Casta) on a deserted road, the ensuing police investigation, led by Detective Bryer (Tim Roth), threatens a run on his relationships with his partners, investors, his wife (Susan Sarandon), and daughter (Brit Marling).

Finding himself in a major pickle, Miller enlists the help of Jimmy (Nate Parker), the black son of a former chauffeur, and sets in motion a cycle of lies that endanger not only his own security, but the well-being of every other person whose life intersects with Miller’s.  His family situation could disintegrate if the truth of his doings and dealings came out; also at stake are the stockholders who depend on Miller for the good stewardship of their wealth.  When Bryer targets Jimmy as a means to nailing his principal quarry, Miller places Jimmy in the unenviable position of being expected to sacrifice himself, potentially going to prison, for an irresponsible billionaire who may only view Jimmy as an expendable variation on the sacrificial Negro.

Though Miller continues to behave reprehensibly throughout the remainder of Arbitrage, the remarkable thing is that he never ceases to be a compelling and pitiable character.  In action, he is a fascinating man to observe, and his professional dealings display a talent and  admirable charisma that make the audience want him to succeed in bringing some order back into his life.  Gere, so handsome and seemingly serene, is the perfect actor to play Robert Miller and creates a wonderful interpretation.  Susan Sarandon is typically great, particularly in one powerful scene in the denouement.  That her character is absent for most of the film is in keeping with Miller’s experience (in consideration of how he neglects her), but increased screen time for Sarandon would be nice.  Marling and Casta, too, are fine and affecting in their supporting roles.  Jimmy, as written, is never an entirely convincing character, which is not the fault of Parker; but he does serve interesting ends for the story.  Tim Roth, naturally, is diverting in his adversarial role.

Tense and filled with devilishly uncomfortable moments, Arbitrage is very recommendable, affording a rare and human glimpse into a closed society.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Arbitrage is:

6. Anti-drug.  Julie turns to cocaine for distraction after romantic disappointment.

5. Anti-slut.  Julie, though depicted sympathetically, must be punished for the harlot’s part she plays in potentially wrecking Miller’s home, and so dies in decidedly unglamorous fashion in a wreck of her own.

4. Diversity-skeptical.  That Miller’s chosen accomplice, Jimmy, is a young black man from Harlem is a circumstance that complicates and darkens their relationship, partly because Jimmy’s father was one of Miller’s servants.  Jimmy is sensitive on the subject of his ambiguous, mostly business, but possibly also partly sentimental position relative to his father’s employer.  His blackness makes him an easy target for prosecution.

3. Class-conscious.  Detective Bryer resents the special treatment “rich assholes” like Miller receive in the legal system and demonstrates an unwise zeal in his effort to incriminate him in Julie’s death.

2. State-skeptical.  Police falsify evidence.  Statist economic intervention and nationalization of industry in Russia distorts market processes and, while seeming at first to be a boon for Miller, is ultimately the cause of his financial woes.

1. Capital-skeptical.  Though not an anti-capitalist film, Arbitrage knows its subject too well not to concede the vile, illusory nature of much of high finance.  Those who suffer the most from such malfeasance are seldom the authors of the crimes.

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