Boiler Room (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

An update of "Wall Street" to the present. A movie with a good manly adreneline rush, and a lot of misogyny. A good flick because it has a decent little criminal investigation subplot and some strong performances. The weakness seemed to me to be that it got caught in a time warp somewhere between being a drama about Wall Street and being a black comedy about Wall Street, so it mixes credibly real situations with flamboyant exaggeration in a kind of half-reality. But most reviewers thought it was excellent, and I watched it without the FF button.
What the hell is the deal on the popularity of Giovanni Ribisi? I know that people don't always agree on these things, and that there is always room for disagreement. Let's take the topic of Patrick Swayze. I think he "blows", but not everyone agrees. Others think he "sucks", while still others may feel that he "munches" or "bites". And that's OK, because that's what democracy is all about - the free exchange of ideas. 


No nudity in the regular film, a butt shot of Scott Caan in the deleted scenes. The same deleted scene also shows an occasional peek at a floppy boob from an anonymous prostitute as Caan mounts her from the rear.
 But what is there to like about this Ribisi guy? He looks like a vampire. His smile looks so forced and unnatural that it makes Steve Forbes's loony smile seem as natural as those smiling posters of Redford as The Sundance Kid. If you met Ribisi on the street, you would automatically assume that he was a disgruntled postal worker on the way to slaughter the boss who fired him and the co-workers who taunted him, not so much with words as with their healthy tans and unforced laughter at perfectly appropriate times.

Plus this kid is no Edward Norton. He doesn't discard his appearance and personality and find the soul inside each new character, and the body to represent that soul. No, he's always Phoebe's brother on "Friends".

Now when he plays a none-too-bright psychotic who is among the downtrodden, I like him. But as a manly go-getter in an expensive suit, trying to join the good ol' boys of tomorrow? Bit of a stretch for my credulity.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Not a great print - some grain and artifacts

  • Full-length director commentary

  • isolated musical score

  • deleted scenes and alternate ending

Tuna's take:

Boiler Room (2000) shares a theme with Wall Street. A young hustler tries to get rich quick in the stock market working for a shady brokerage. There is a sub-plot involving his father, a federal judge, and a bunch of rather sleazy peers. Like the Michael Douglas character, he is bright and ambitious, and, like the Michael Douglas character in Wall Street, he develops a conscience. Although the scam is different (selling stock in  non-existent companies vs. insider trading), the plot is rather derivative.

That doesn't mean that it isn't well done. They were aware of the comparison. In one scene, all the junior brokers are watching Wall Street,  and reciting the lines along with the characters.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars, and then some. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 83/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 67% positive reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.9 , Apollo users 81/100
  • With their dollars ... it wasn't a smash, hit, but it took in $16 million domestic on a $9 million budget. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ (both reviewers).

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