Boiler Room

Release date: February 18, 2000

Anyone who says money is the root of all evil, doesn’t have it. Or a wife.

Boiler Room, suits, cars, money and bad credit. This film taught me a lot about the stock market; almost as much as 2 For The Money did with gambling. Besides Gone in 60 Seconds, this is my Giovanni Ribisi film. A film that lacked all ethnicity and tried to say it had by reminding us Vin Diesel’s character is Italian. They’re all white guys and Jews.

Written and Directed by Ben Younger, Boiler Room stars Giovanni Ribisi as a 19-year-old dropout Seth Davis. Having a really rocky relationship with his family, especially his Father who is a Federal District judge; Seth decides to join J.T. Marlin, a brokerage film at the offer of one of his friends. What follows is a mash-up of personal torment and the truth behind some investment firms. Boiler Room has fantastic storytelling and should have gotten a re-release when the economy tanked in 2008.

WHAT WORKED:

– Vin Diesel. Before there was The Fast and The Furious, and before there was The Pacifier there was the smooth talking, deep voiced Italian of Boiler Room. Probably being the second most redeemable character in this flick, Chris Varick is the mentor to Seth and the calm hand of the office. Unfortunately Diesel has strayed away from roles like this, which is sad because I feel he could do so much here. (Bonus fact: Diesel is a D&D player. I want to have him as my Dungeon Master.)

– Giovanni Ribisi. I have a really troubled “viewing-relationship” with ol’Gio. While in his youth I really enjoyed his work. I absolutely loved him in Gone in 60 Seconds. But his roles like in The Rum Diary are complete bull. He’s become a character actor in films that do not require such performances. Yet, I can look back to the days of his acting glory. His delivery of a young man, not knowing what to do with his life, only knowing that he wants to be good at it is awesomely connectable. It’s this kind of reality that creates an attachment beyond, “Yeah. Isn’t Ribisi the dancing wacko from Ted?”

– The story. It’s the age old story of “man versus himself,” yet told in (then) contemporary times. There’s so much personal torment within Seth. The fear of not living up to our parents expectations is something many of us share. Add the fact that he’s got Greg Weinstein (Nicky Katt) a senior broker who’s trying to hold him down out of jealousy, and the FBI is slowly stalking him in attempts to take out J.T. Marlin only create a story with many levels of interest.

– BEN AFFLECK. Yes, the man who could play in any film; even Jaws. My boy Ben Affleck plays a quick talking foul-mouthed recruiter for J.T. Marlin. His monologue while recruiting Seth is worth watching this film alone.

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WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The music. I once heard pro-wrestling Kevin Nash say that there was a surge of white guys being allowed to finally listen to rap in the mid to late 90’s. I believe this film took this to heart. A film about stocks filled with white Jewish guys with some pretty heavy rap playing in the background just feels odd. Very odd. I get it though. I understand that they didn’t want to pinhole themselves because of the very white cast. Why not use “gangsta rap?” Well, I know why not to use it: because it just doesn’t fit. At all. #FailSauce

– The FBI. I’ll leave it plain and simple: flat and one dimensional.

THE LOWDOWN:

Want a great portal to the year 2000? Boiler Room is it. The suits were expensive but horrible cheap by today’s standards. The music sucks and everyone’s dream car is a Ferrari. But what you get when you watch Boiler Room is a solid 118 minutes of good movie. The personal monologues about live, careers and money really define a young person’s search for purpose and a place in this world. Boiler Room is a calculated film that continues to rise on my market. Boiler Room is Verified Awesome.

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