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Film / Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, a sequel to Wall Street also directed by Oliver Stone, was released on September 24, 2010. Michael Douglas returns as Gordon Gekko, with a new protagonist, Jake Moore, played by Shia Labeouf.

"Tropes Never Sleep":

  • Advertising Campaigns: During the original airing of the pilot of $#!+ My Dad Says, special ads for Money Never Sleeps - which would open the next day - were headlined "$#*! Gordon Gekko Says".
  • Affably Evil: While Gordon was more Faux Affably Evil in the first film, here he's a straight example of this trope and by the end of the film he's dropped the "Evil" part.
  • Anti-Hero: Gordon morphs into this.
  • As Himself: The movie features not only famous person lookalikes, but also several people playing themselves, including Warren Buffet.
  • Batman Gambit: Gorgon Gekko's plans.
  • Bus Crash: Gekko's sonnote  has died of a drug overdose by the time of this film. His mother was apparently so distraught by this she eventually had to be committed to a mental hospital;note  it's implied she may have passed on as well.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Happy Birthday, Louie!
  • Demoted to Extra: Bud, the protagonist of the first movie, appears in exactly one scene. Despite that, it's basically just a self-aggrandizing cameo for Charlie Sheen that runs very counter to his original character and the lessons he previously learned.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's revealed that what happens to Louis Zabel's firm was revenge by Bretton James for when Louis refused to help with a deal gone sour eight years earlier. While Bretton was able to recover from that, his revenge was tanking Zabel's company altogether and creating a global financial panic in the process.
  • Driven to Suicide: Louis Zabel (Jake's mentor) jumps in front of a subway 20 minutes into the movie when his company is about to go under.
  • Enemy Mine: Gordon Gekko and Jake Moore team up against Bretton James, a thoroughly despicable stock gambler who has wronged them both.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Gordon seems to draw the line at defrauding clients versus the insider trading and company liquidation he was guilty of in the first movie. Double Subverted as he defrauds his prospective son-in-law/student only to pay him back with interest at the end.
  • Foreshadowing: The Francisco de Goya painting Saturn Devouring His Son foreshadows Gordon Gekko's betrayal of his daughter at the end of the film.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: All of the characters wear suits in morally ambiguous shades of grey. The villain, Bretton James, wears a demonic red suit.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Gekko goes 360 degrees in his hero-or-villain status. The ending shows that he does redeem himself.
  • Ironic Echo: "Is that a threat?" "Absolutely."
  • Kick the Dog: When Louis Zabel is pleading with the other bankers to buy the toxic debt from him, even at a fraction of what it was worth only days before, they agree, but only for $3 a share vs their original market price of $38. Louis asks to raise the price by a dollar, so that his company doesn't "look like a bunch of pussies". Julius nods his approval, but Bretton firmly replies, "Three." The expression on Louis's face looks as if he'd just been punched. It likely contributes to his suicide shortly after.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Gordon Gekko, who else?
    • Bretton James also is impressed at Jake with convincing the Chinese investors to agree to finance fusion research, but then goes and diverts the money to an underperforming investment just to avoid threatening his fossil fuels investments. When Jake learns about this, he insults Bretton, who takes it as Jake's letter of resignation and tells him to keep one of his motorcycles as a part of his severance package.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: One of the more extreme examples, where neither Jake nor Gekko take any of Winnie's values or opinions into consideration - her only purpose it to serve as a leverage for their "trading".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Churchill Schwartz is a very, very obvious version of Goldman Sachs, right down to the article Jake Moore writes about them, the excerpt of which we see is literally taken word-for-word from Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone now-classic article about Goldman Sachs with only the names changed.
    • Bretton James is also pretty obviously heavily influenced by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, although going so far as to call him a copy is probably stretching it.
  • The Quiet One: Julie Steinhardt is the most taciturn of the bankers.
  • Scenery Porn: The brief establishing shot of the Catskills in autumn just before Jake goes up to ride motorcycles with James for the weekend therenote 
  • Shout-Out: The subplot with the Cracker Jack ring references Breakfast at Tiffany's.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer:
  • Smug Snake: Bretton James, who gives even a guy called Gordon Gekko a run for his money.
  • The Social Darwinist: Subverted by Gordon Gekko, who seems repulsed by the outright criminal behavior of modern Wall Street.
  • Stealth Pun: Before Jake tries to get revenge against Bretton James for destroying Zabel's company, his friend Robby comments that "It's a dish you stick to cold, pal." Jake responds that "I'm about to serve it up hot, Robby." However, his initial efforts achieve only paltry success. Much later, though, he finally manages to get true revenge against Bretton — with the help of a website called Frozen Truth.