Boiler Room (2000)

“Think money can’t buy happiness? Well look at the fuckin’ smile on my face!” Ever wonder who those assholes are that call you between the hours of 6 and 9 PM, usually while you are just sitting down to dinner, offering you a deal on a home water purification system, a timeshare or a great opportunity on a penny stock that’s about to take off? Enter the sordid world of Boiler Room, a quality flick that follows a college dropout named Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) who runs an illegal gambling operation out of his rented house. Seth desires to find a legitimate job, something that will make his father proud – so he becomes a stockbroker and joins a sleazy brokerage house that specializes in bogus initial public offerings – the kind of place where all of the brokers quote extensively from Gordon Gekko in Wall Street and blow their money on expensive cars and wide-screen TVs in every room of the house. Seth starts bullshitting his way to the top of the profession, using every known high-pressure sales tactic known to man and raking in tons of cash in the process. However, he still can’t win the respect of his father. Things really begin to go downhill after Seth rips off one of his “clients” big time, after which he actually starts to develop a conscience. The film, which kind of reminds me of a younger, dumber version of Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), was written and directed by Ben Younger. The solid cast includes Vin Diesel, Jamie Kennedy, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Nia Long, Ron Rifkin, Tom Everett Scott and Ben Affleck (who gives a great “motivational” speech to the new brokers!). Apparently, this flick has become a cult classic among telemarketing operations across the country. Remember that fact the next time you decide to pick up the phone from an unknown caller pitching you with some bullshit line. The film’s tagline proclaimed, “Welcome to the New American Dream.”

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