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Film / Boiler Room

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Boiler Room is a 2000 American crime drama film with elements of film noir, written and directed by Ben Younger and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Ron Rifkin, Jamie Kennedy, Tom Everett Scott, and Ben Affleck.

The film takes a look at the world of "boiler room" (seedy, dishonorable, and often fraudulent) brokerage firms and centers on college dropout Seth Davis (Ribisi), a budding underground casino owner from Queens, New York, who gets a job at J.T. Marlin, a less-than-reputable brokerage firm. However at the time, Seth is totally unaware of the firm's criminal reputation.

Davis' opposition to his disapproving father, a federal judge, drives the plot as he goes deeper into the operation at J.T. Marlin than he'd like, learning how the firm scams its clients. The company runs a "pump and dump" by propping up artificial demand in the stock of defunct companies to unsuspecting investors and selling them shares at prices set by the brokerage firm, which include a large commission to the brokers (up to three dollars a share for a penny stock).

When the firm is done pumping the stock, the investors then have no one to sell their shares on the market, and the price of the stock plummets.

This film was inspired by the real-life experience of Ben Younger, who had gone to a meeting with a friend at an actual boiler room. The friend, who drove a new sports car, claimed " work here for a year, make your million bucks, go to the Bahamas..." and suggested that Younger work there. The firm (which was busted a few years later) offered Younger a job, which he declined -choosing instead to write about it.

The DVD release includes an alternate ending that implies a workplace massacre by one of the cheated clients.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: J.T. Marlin overcharges on the fraudulent stock it sells with the brokers getting a "rip" of two dollars for every share sold. While transaction fees are an industry norm, any investor should always see their broker is "churning" (overtrading on client accounts for the sake of more commissions). Overcharging clients and churning are illegal acts that would get the firm sanctioned.
  • Affably Evil: Michael, who's quite affable while running a criminal brokerage firm.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After finding out that Seth lied about J.T. Marlin, Marty asks him if he made his clients any real money or if he's actually stealing from them. Seth can only look down in shame.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Done between Chris and Seth near the end of the movie.
    Chris: Didn't you learn anything?
    Seth: I learned how to fuck people out of their money. Harry Reynard just lost his life savings. And he wasn't a whale. He was just some poor schmuck, and I took him. I did everything that J.T. Marlin taught me to do... and I made up his mind for him.
    Chris: What do you want me to say? It's what we do here.
    Seth: What, we lie? We're liars?
  • Artistic License – Economics: Seth tells a client that CNBC put a buy reco on Farrow Tech. In reality, CNBC is a TV channel that can only provide economic commentary. They are NOT broker-dealers and have no authority to recommend a certain stock. Only licensed advisors can do that. However, the client may not be aware of this.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Before the interview, Seth notices the guys at J.T. Marlin look like they're taking the 6 to Fulton Street. The 6 actually terminates at City Hall, one stop before. Subway riders wishing to stop at Fulton Street must take the 4 or 5 express routes along the Lexington Avenue Line.
  • Artistic License – Law: At the end of the film, Seth browbeats Chris into signing a sell order for a client so he can make his money back. However, securities transactions have a mandated "settling" period before they go live. Since the FBI will be arriving shortly and freeze all pending transactions, the sell order would never go through in real life. It would be a completely meaningless gesture.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Greg the prick asks Abby why she started dating Seth over him, only for her to tell him that it's his dickish behavior that caused their relationship to go sour.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Inverted. Seth attempts to have coffee with Marty, but it's Marty (the father) who quickly gets annoyed and leaves.
  • Basement-Dweller: Chris is still living with his mom despite making a quarter million per month.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The J.T. Marlin brokers are told to pretend whomever they want to be as long as they carry the bluff. The unsuspecting marks have no clue to verify the broker's real identity. One scene involves a young trainee claiming to be in the business for 22 years when he's a kid straight out of college, while a senior broker pretends to be the firm's president to an arrogant client. Truth in Television as IRL boiler rooms use similar tactics to con people of their money.
  • Bolivian Army Ending:
    • At the end, Seth manages to get out from under criminal prosecution by cooperating with the Feds, but the movie ends just as they storm J.T. Marlin minutes after Seth walks out, leaving it ambiguous exactly what happened to Chris and the rest of the company, or if any of them got away. There's a high chance that Chris did escape, since he was given a heads up by Seth and is seen packing his suitcase a few minutes before the Feds storm the building.
    • There's an alternate take on this in the unused ending: Seth makes the same deal with the Feds and leaves the building, when a customer whose money he stole pulls up in his car and walks in with a concealed gun. He misses Seth himself, but it's not clear if he went on a shooting spree at J.T. Marlin after their brief run-in.
  • Captain Ersatz: In-universe. J.T. Marlin has a similar-sounding name to the much bigger and more reputable J.P. Morgan. Lampshaded when some J.P. Morgan brokers have a confrontation with Seth and his coworkers.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: All of the J.T. Marlin brokers are Con Men. They're running a "pump-and-dump" stock scam, but project themselves as honest businessmen to outsiders.
  • The Con: As J.T. Marlin is a "boiler room" committing micro-cap stock fraud via the "pump-and-dump" delayed wire tactic, the marks are lured into Too Good to be True returns via dishonest sales tactics. It's only a bit of snooping around, an earful from his father, and a lousy stock deal that force Seth to shut the firm down for good by cooperating with the FBI.
  • Con Man: J.T. Marlin and its brokers are conning unsuspecting investors by selling fraudulent stock deals.
  • Cop/Criminal Family: Marty Davis is a federal judge with future political ambitions, but is embarrassed by his son Seth running an illegal casino from his dorm room. When Seth starts working for J.T. Marlin, which turns out to be a scam brokerage firm, the FBI use the potential destruction of his father's career so Seth can become their informant.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The film reveals the ugly side of the "greed is good" and get-rich-quick mentalities.
    • The brokers at J.T. Marlin are scamming investors of their savings via securities fraud, but project themselves as honest businessmen. Several scenes show the higher-ups altering their records and lining up new office space should the feds shut it down. In a deal with the FBI, Seth copies the firm's records on a floppy disk as evidence.
    • Hoping to make a quick buck, the investors in turn are buying the shares of companies Too Good to be True. The unused ending shows one such client Going Postal after he lost his life savings and family.
    • Trainees are lured with a promise of becoming millionaires, but they're actually paid chump change so they'll be replaced with New Meat when they fluke out. Any sale they make become house accounts, meaning the entire team is working for a senior broker's profits. Management also treats them like crap even if they exceed the requirements.
    • Seth also applied for a job at J.T. Marlin just to go legit and please his father, but doesn't realize it's a scam until he starts snooping around J.T. Marlin's records. Realizing he scammed countless investors, Seth cooperates with the FBI in exchange for a lighter sentence.
  • Dinner and a Show: When Marty starts yelling at Seth and throws his custom poker chips at him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When Abby tells Greg off for the second time.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the alternate ending, Harry decides to go to J.T. Marlin with a gun, the implication being he's going for Seth... right as the FBI is about to start their raid on the building. In fact, this is two-fold, as Harry arrives at the building just as Seth is leaving... and neither man recognizes each other. In fact, after Harry drops the suitcase he's carrying his gun in, Seth stops to help him gather his things.
    Harry: (relieved; to Seth) Thank you... so much.
    Seth: (casually; pats Harry on the shoulder) Yeah, sure, no problem.
    (the two get up and continue walking)
    Seth: (voiceover) I never did get Harry his money back. I think about him a lot, though. I hope he bought that house. I wonder what're the chances I'll ever bump into him one day... hell... I wouldn't even know what he looked like.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Jim Young's New Era Speech to the trainees.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the J.T. Marlin brokers looked a bit stunned at Greg violently shoving Seth for arguing over who gets to keep the 40th account Seth just closed, aside from him dating Abby.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Greg the dickweed doesn't understand why his girlfriend Abby chose to date Seth over him. Not being an arrogant jerkass towards others doesn't register in his head.
  • Executive Excess: Subverted. The "businessmen" at J.T. Marlin are all professional scammers involved in a pump-and-dump scheme and have made ridiculous amounts of cash for the company, but really don't know how to spend it and most of them don't get that much money themselves. When they get together after work at Greg's house, it's entirely empty except for a tanning bed and a flatscreen TV.
  • Family Honor: Marty is constantly worried that his son's underground casino will endanger his own career as a federal judge. It's further exacerbated when he finds out that J.T. Marlin is actually a "pump-and-dump" boiler room.
  • Fauxtastic Voyage:
    • The "companies" promoted by J.T. Marlin use fancy-sounding names and fake returns to convince unwitting clients that they're legit. When Seth checks the record of one such "company," he notices something is off.
    • The trainees of J.T. Marlin are young men lured with false promises of making big money. Then they are put through absurd requirements at near zero-pay while working for the firm's accounts with the open desire to replace them with New Meat. Even those who make it through are looked down by the senior brokers.
  • Fiction Business Savvy: Greg tells Michael that he has clients who continue to trade with him despite taking huge losses. In reality, nobody would want to buy from anyone who sells defective things.
  • Get Out!: Jim tells a rude job applicant off before the interview even starts.
    "Don't talk to me, don't look at me. Just pick your ass up out of that Italian leather chair and get the fuck out of my sight."
  • Get-Rich-Quick Scheme:
    • Deconstructed. The film reveals the ugly side of this scam. The brokers at J.T. Marlin are knowingly robbing investors of their hard-earned savings via securities fraud. Hoping to make a quick buck on the market, the investors in turn are investing in deals Too Good to be True. The unused ending reveals that one such client plans a massacre after he lost his life savings and family. Seth also applied for a broker trainee role just to earn legitimately and please his father, but doesn't realize it's a sham until he starts snooping around.
    • Lured in with a Fauxtastic Voyage of becoming millionaires, the trainees are actually the workhorses of a pyramid scheme with Jerkass bosses who let them passively burn out so they can be replaced with an endless stream of New Meat. Even if a trainee exceeds the absurd requirements, the senior brokers view them with suspicion. Sales made by the trainees usually become house accounts, meaning they are working for a senior broker's profits.
  • Going Postal: The unused ending has Seth barely dodging becoming part of a (possible) massacre at the offices of J.T. Marlin by a pissed-off scammed client. For further irony, it's Harry, who got scammed by Seth and for whom Seth just arranged a return of his investment.
  • Greed: Since most of the brokers at J.T. Marlin are Gordon Gekko wannabes, they're white collar crooks committing securities fraud by selling fraudulent shares to unsuspecting investors. The scene where Seth watches his colleagues imitate Gekko while watching Wall Street also shows who they truly are. Greg even references the foul-mouthed real estate broker from Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • Greedy Jew: Greg, along with a few other brokers. There are many scenes making references about his background and the public perception of him working for a scam brokerage firm.
  • Hate Sink: Greg, as he's a snooty and condescending Jerkass towards not only Seth, but also towards his subordinates, Chris, and Abby at times.
  • Heel Realization: Seth slowly realizes that not only the stock he's selling is fraudulent, but J.T. Marlin has lined up other office space to use if/when they're busted and are altering records to cover their illegal activities. It forces him to become The Informant in exchange for federal immunity.
  • Hide the Evidence: One scene shows J.T. Marlin's compliance officer altering records to hide their criminality. Seth's deal with the FBI involves making copies of his client files onto a floppy disk so it can be used as evidence.
  • I Have No Son!: Marty disowns Seth after he found out that J.T. Marlin is actually a fraudulent operation. This is eventually subverted when Seth decides to shut the firm for good by cooperating with the FBI and reconciling with his father.
  • Illegal Gambling Den: Before joining J.T. Marlin, Seth runs an underground casino from his dorm room. This worries his father, who fears it will endanger his own career as a federal judge.
  • The Informant: The feds offer Seth federal immunity if he agrees to testify against J.T. Marlin once all the suspects are arrested and threaten to involve Marty in order to assure Seth's cooperation. Seth states he will only do so if his father is not dragged into the case. He and the agents come to an agreement on this, with Seth being kept overnight and allowed to return to work so he could make copies of his book of business onto a floppy disk to be used as evidence.
  • Jerkass: Most of the J.T. Marlin brokers can be jerks at times, but Greg tops the list. He's a rude prick to not only Seth, who was dating his girlfriend Abby, but also to his subordinates. He's also mean and condescending towards Chris and Abby at times.
    • While the J.T. Marlin brokers are all well-off financially, they are still the same low-class louts who have no idea what to do with their newfound wealth. They still hang out in the seedy bars they were going prior, dress shabbily, and act like immature manchildren when partying.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad:
    • After work, a couple of the guys from J.T. Marlin all get together at the house of one of the senior brokers, which is a huge, almost completely empty domicile aside from a few pieces of furniture such as a tanning bed. Seth even asks one of his colleagues if the owner just moved in, but is informed that he's actually been living there for months and has no clue what to do with it.
    • Seth's apartment is this, too. Since a majority of it is used for his illegal casino and he is portrayed as an underachiever, his entire personal life is crammed into a tiny room with a single bed for himself. When Abby visits for the first time, she suggests getting a bed that can accommodate more than one person.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Greg explains to Seth that the firm never sells to women as they will nag the brokers over the stock's performance. The director stated it's also because men are inherently bigger gamblers than women.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During the scene when Seth and Abby are talking in the car, you see the FBI agents pull up and start walking over (to arrest Seth) in the background quite a few minutes before it actually happens.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-Universe. There's a scene where the guys are having a party and watching Gordon Gekko's introduction from Wall Street. Being big fans of the guy, they start quoting the entire thing verbatim. Gekko is actually a Corrupt Corporate Executive who would throw thousands of people on the street for profit and ultimately gets jailed for securities fraud. This is a Justified Trope as the Boiler Room guys are knowingly scammers themselves who project an honest image to outsiders.
  • Missed Him by That Much: In an alternate ending for the movie, one of Seth's pissed off clients, Harry, goes to the J.T. Marlin office with a gun to get his revenge. He pulls up in the parking lot just when Seth himself is leaving the company for his own reasons, and they bump into each other without recognizing the other person.
  • Moral Myopia: In the end, Seth convinces Chris to "do one thing right" and sign a ticket sale making one schmuck client good by stealing from the firm on the market.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Besides realizing that J.T. Marlin is a "boiler room", Seth is horrified that he cheated a guy out of his money and family by selling him bogus shares. Ashamed of this, he decides to shut the firm down for good by cooperating with the FBI.
  • Naïve Newcomer: For all his apparent street-smarts, Seth is incredibly gullible, as he apparently never prior even heard about the concept of a boiler room. Even when he's already working in one, it still takes him quite a while to realise he's participating in a multi-layer scam.
  • New Era Speech: Jim Young's Establishing Character Moment is an introductory rant to the new trainees.
  • New Meat: The trainees of J.T. Marlin are young, inexperienced, untrained, but greedy men lured with promises of making big money. Then they are put through absurd requirements at near zero-pay, all while working for someone else's account with the open desire to replace them with new schmucks. Even the few that make it through their grueling internship are treated with contempt by the senior brokers.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Once Seth does a bit of snooping around and realizes he conned a guy out of his money and family by noting that the firm is not what it all seems to be, combined with getting an earful from his father regarding the dark secret of J.T. Marlin, he decides to shut the firm down for good by cooperating with the FBI.
  • Nouveau Riche:
    • All of the senior brokers have various shades of this. They're well-off financially, but also very clearly low-class and crude, lacking anything even resembling refinement nor having any idea what to do with their newfound wealth. So they still hang in the seedy bars they were going prior, dress in shoddy suits, and act like rowdy frat boys. The best idea what to do with their money for them is to play craps in a corner betting in thousands.
    • When Seth visits Jim's uber-spendy mansion, he finds it barely furnished, with a tanning bed filling the elegant dining room. Seth internally remarks that Jim has no clue what to do with his expensive house.
  • No, You: When Greg asks Abby why she chose Seth over him, Abby tells that it was his Jerkass behavior that turned her off.
  • Pet the Dog: During the group interview, a new recruit sits in Jim Young's seat. Young walks in and politely asks him to move. The guy nervously apologizes and Young assures him it's fine. Then when another recruit calls the first one a dumbass, Young angrily orders the second guy out of the room and offers his seat to the first guy.
  • Ponzi:
    • J.T. Martin is centered around "pump-and-dump" schemes. Once the stock is hyped enough artificially, Michael wraps it up, pays himself and his cronies the real profits before paying his senior brokers their exorbitant fees (which he can afford due to the pumping). He also has enough money to keep the company afloat and pay the trainees chump change. The marks who invested in the fraudulent stock are left with nothing, having been suckered by scammers.
    • The inner workings of J.T. Martin are the classic internship pyramid scheme. Lured in with tales of making big money, the trainees are actually paid potatoes until they can break through their impossibly high sales quota. Any sale they make becomes a house account, meaning the entire team is working for the company's profits. Management openly expects the trainees to simply fluke out and thus never have to pay them any real money, while people like Seth are seen as outliers rather than the expected result.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Hey, Kid: GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!"
    • Marty calls Seth a "piece of shit" once he finds out the reality about J.T. Marlin.
  • Pretender Diss: At one point, the J.T. Marlin stockbrokers run into a group from J.P. Morgan, who proceed to mock them for being small fish in the financial world. It's implied the J.P. Morgan brokers know something is wrong with J.T. Marlin.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Jim Young, the HR manager and one of the senior brokers, gives one to the trainees.
      Jim Young: Goddamn it, you fucking guys! I'm gonna keep this short, OK? You passed your Sevens a month ago. Seth's the only one that's opened the necessary 40 accounts for his team leader. When I was a junior broker, I did it in 26 days, okay? You're not sending out press packets anymore. None of this "Debbie the Time-Life operator" bullshit. So get on the phones! It's time to get to work! Get off your ass! Move around! Motion creates emotion! I remember one time I had this guy call me up, wanted to pitch me. Right? Wanted to sell me stock, so I let him. I got every fucking rebuttal out of this guy, kept him on the phone for an hour and half. Towards the end, I started asking him buying questions like "What's the firm minimum?" — that's a buying question. Right there, that guy's gotta take me down. It's not like I asked him "What's your 800 number?" — that's a fuck-off question. I was giving him a run and he blew it, okay, to a question like "What is the firm minimum?" — the answer is zero. You don't like the idea, don't pick up a single share! But this putz is telling me, you know, "Uh, 100 shares" — Wrong answer! No! You have to be closing all the time! And be aggressive. Learn how to push. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Ask them rhetorical questions! It doesn't matter. Anything. Just get a yes out of 'em! "If you're drowning and I throw you a life jacket, would you grab it? Yes! Good. Pick up 200 shares. I won't let you drown." Ask them how they'd like to see 30, 40% returns. What are they gonna say? "No? Fuck you? I don't wanna see those returns?" [some of the trainees snicker] Stop laughing. It's not funny. If you can't learn how to close, you better start thinking about another career. And I am deadly serious about that — dead fucking serious! And have your rebuttals ready. A guy says call me tomorrow — bullshit! Somebody tells you that they got money problems about buying 200 shares is lying to you. You know what I say to them? I say: "Hey look, man. Tell me you don't like my firm. Tell me you don't like my idea. Tell me you don't like my fucking necktie. But don't tell me you can't put together 2,500 bucks." And there is no such thing as a no-sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock, or he sells you on a reason he can't. Either way, a sale is made. The only question is — who's gonna close? You or him? And be relentless. That's it. I'm done.
    • Marty gives an earful to Seth after finding out that J.T. Marlin is a boiler room:
      Marty: Hey. I spoke to Howard Goldberg over at Prudential. You lied again, you unbelievable piece of shit. You lied to all of us. He told me about J.T. Marlin. It's a chop shop, Seth. You've been selling their shit all this time. How many people have you fucked over? Tell me, how many? All that bullshit about them wanting you to know how the business works. The great training program, remember? All the profits you made for your customers? Did you do anything for them, Seth? Tell me, did you make them any money at all? [Seth can only look down in shame] Oh god. I'm done with you, Seth. This is it. I've had it. I don't want to see you again. I don't want you to come to the house. I don't want you to call. This is worse than the casino, Seth. You've been stealing. Look at me. [Seth looks at him] You're destroying people's lives.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of the film, Seth tells Chris that he was arrested by the FBI and was ratting everyone out. After angrily lashing out, Seth tells him to sign a slip that would allow one of his victims to get his money back and to leave before the FBI raids the building. After taking care of business, Seth excuses himself to go to lunch. In the next scene, Chris can be seen quickly packing up everything on his desk that would incriminate him and hightailing it out of there.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Early in the film, Seth and the gang watch a scene from Wall Street, complete with Chris and Michael acting out the parts.
    • Later, Greg specifically references Glengarry Glen Ross when training Seth. Ben Affleck's introductory rant to the new trainees is also an obvious send-up to Alec Baldwin's scene in that film as a foul-mouthed real estate salesman.
  • The Social Darwinist:
    • In his introductory rant to the trainees, Jim considers those living paycheck-to-paycheck weaklings.
      Jim: Let me tell you what's required. You are required to work your fucking ass off at this firm. We want winners here, not pikers. A piker walks at the bell. A piker asks how much vacation time you get in the first year. Vacation time? People come and work at this firm for one reason: to become filthy rich. That's it. We're not here to make friends. We're not saving the fucking manatees here, guys. You want vacation time? Go teach third grade, public school.
    • This is actually what the senior brokers at J.T. Marlin do: promise a young New Meat with big money, then place absurd requirements on them so they'll eventually be replaced with a new sucker. The lucky few who make it are viewed suspiciously by management. Plus, management is also happily willing to let the trainees be Cannon Fodder while the senior brokers set up shop elsewhere (under a different name) if/when they're busted.
  • Taking the Kids: One of Seth's victims invests his family's life savings on a worthless company, and after several heated arguments with his wife, she takes the kids and leaves him alone in their home. Once he realized the man lost all of his savings, Seth regrets his actions and decides to scam the company and give the guy his money back right before the Feds swoop in. However, it would be meaningless as Seth knows the FBI will halt all transactions, meaning the sell order would never go through in real life. A deleted ending shows the man planning to go postal.
  • Terminology Title:
    • Securities industry term for brokerage firms that specialize in defrauding unwitting customers.
    • There is another term for "Boiler Room", which is a room full of people that are selling pretty much anything. It doesn't have to be illegal, but it's generally considered a poor way to do business, as the people are "fuel for the boiler", and are used up and thrown away: the idea isn't to have a positive work environment, it's to get people that need money, squeeze any utility out of them, and then dump them when they're no longer useful.
  • Vanity License Plate: Greg the douchebag has one that says "2 RIP", referring to the exorbitant fees the Marlin brokers are getting on their lousy stock deals.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Boiler Room was inspired by the real-life rise and fall of Stratton Oakmont, which was under constant FBI scrutiny and its owners being booked for securities fraud. Director Ben Younger also used elements of his interview at another boiler room that was busted around the same time.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The J.T. Marlin brokers like to project themselves as honest businessmen, but are fraudsters in reality.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Chris and Greg are having this sort of relationship, even if it's mostly about vitriol, rather than friendship.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: The film revolves entirely around Seth going to work at a brokerage firm (which he later realizes is in fact an illegal operation) to earn enough money to impress his father Marty, who's a federal judge. It actually endangers his father's career when the FBI's Financial Crimes unit catches wind of it.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Greg the prick doesn't understand why Abby started dating Seth. His arrogance is what made the relationship go sour.
  • White-Collar Crime: J.T. Marlin is a "pump-and-dump" scam, where the shares of fake companies and speculative penny stock are hyped through false statements. Once the crooks "dump" their holdings, the price falls and the investors lose money.
  • What If?: The final shot of the film, right before the Feds swoop in, has this monologue:
    Seth: I'm plagued by "what ifs" these days. What if Greg hadn't come over that night? What if I hadn't forgotten my bag... or seen Michael walk into the building that day? What if I had skipped over Harry's card? What are the chances? What are the odds? That's what I think about. Hey, I ran a casino. It's the next step I gotta figure out, 'cause I'm no lottery winner. I tried slinging crack rock, and I never had a jump shot. I gotta find a job.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist:
    • Once Seth joins J.T. Marlin, he's unaware that it's a scam conning unsuspecting investors through a "pump-and-dump" operation. It's only when Seth does a bit of snooping around, gets an earful from his father regarding the dark truth behind J.T. Marlin, and after he cheated a guy out of his money and family by selling him bogus shares does he realize that he's been duped. Realizing he duped countless investors of their hard-earned money, Seth decides to shut the firm down for good by cooperating with the FBI.
    • The trainees are lured in with a Fauxtastic Voyage of becoming millionaires, when they are actually the workhorses of a pyramid scheme with subpar wages and Jerkass senior brokers who ill-treat them even if they make it past the threshold. Management also encourages them to quit so they can be replaced with an endless stream of New Meat.