Monday, August 16, 2010


The boss, Saito, sitting at the head of a designer table, where a boss should sit.

I've always enjoyed dreams. Sex dreams. Goal-oriented dreams. The American Dream.

The latter happens to be one of my favorites. When I sit down to see a film, do I want to be absorbed in the mundane aspects of the day-to-day lives of the fucking poor, inferior, lumpenproletariat? (See: Little Miss Sunshine, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.)

Hell no. I don't worry about money, and I don't like watching other people worry about it. It's fucking boring. Pointless. Indicative of people not trying hard enough. (Perhaps this is why I can't stand reading about welfare).

No. Hollywood audiences like to go to movies to escape. And so movies have made a functional shift, from displaying prole reality to displaying my reality: the world of the hyper-, hyper-rich.

A mere glance at the top-grossing movies this week reveals the truth about what consumers want to see. The Expendables: Badasses (probably rich) blow shit up. Money's no object. Eat Pray Love: Successful, upper-middle-class bitch with a nice wardrobe jet-sets around the world. Money's no object. Cats & Dogs 3D: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: Even I don't need to tell you that cats and dogs don't give a fuck about money. They just laze around and eat, get stroked, play and fuck all day--which just about describes my life every minute.

Enter Inception. A bold, clever, even nightmarish, tale about Corporate Espionage. Say it slowly, let it roll off your tongue. Corporate. Espionage. The two scariest words in the American language.

As a prominent and respected and fabulously wealthy businessman, I've had my share of worries about C.E. Back at Harvard, they taught us the most important lesson any capitalist will ever learn: Don't. Trust. Anyone. That's just the basic tenet of capitalist society, and the main reason why I have my hitman on speed-dial.

But back to the plot. A rich financier pays some dream-stealers millions to fly first-class, wear expensive suits, wine and dine in expensive European cities with bad exchange rates (EURO: 1.2807--invest when the PIIGS get their shit together) and exhibit brief and unsatisfying flirtations. It's a hard world out there for a mind-invading spy. Well actually, I take that back--it's an exceedingly easy world, given that they seem to have every luxury and consumer good they could ever want. The cost is a little bit of stress on the job.

The interactions between the CEO-venture capitalist and Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) were most telling. DiCaprio is essentially bonded to his boss--if he fails, his life and well-being are over. I think we'd live in a better world if the employee-employer relationship were more permanently like this.

Overall, the theme of the movie seemed to be: You are always someone's slave, even if you're living well while enslaved. It's a good message to take home, especially for the lower-classes. After all, that is the American Dream, isn't it?*

Rating: $$$$$ (3 USD / 5 USD)
INVEST : Euro (1.2807), your local mind-invading startup

*That is, except for bosses like me. My "dream" involves golf, Moët, and copious amounts of hookers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Road

Our budding proto-corporations at work, hawking and scrounging for resources

Walking out of the theater, I was left totally speechless for a good sixty seconds (which is when my Blackberry went off). But those sixty seconds at the end of my six-hour lunch break, standing there with one of my mistresses on the way back to my uncle's hedge fund office, I felt like I had a true moment of free-market transcendence.

You see, I have never seen such a stunning metaphor for the perfect libertarian utopia. If you haven't read the book by Cormac McCarthy--which I haven't, of course, though I suspect this fellow might be related to my hero Senator Joe McCarthy (RIP)--this is an excellent story about the cut-throated nature of the Free Market.

In this dark vision of the future, a man and his son travel through a post-apocalyptic America in a quest for capital and resources. Jockeying for survival among other humans (allegories for businessowners), these decrepit warriors compete (kill each other), merge (join forces), and commit hostile takeovers (eat each other) in a quest for dominance.

This nameless family, the man and the son, a clear metaphor for a joint biz partnership—or possibly the American family unit, I'm not sure—essentially wander through the country scouting for (metaphorical) investment opportunity, enjoying some (direct quote) "delicious" Coca-Cola (
KO 57.42 buy) and Del Monte peaches (DLM 10.94 a steal at that!). What I'm getting at is that product placement was fantastic, even in this grim post-apocalyptic world.

The strange thing was, the whole post-apocalyptic every-man-for-himself thing was very emotionally resonant. (I know what you're thinking: MacDougal, you old bastard, don't get soft on me now! But bear with me for a moment.) I was fondly reminded of my days at Harvard in the MBA program, where game theory was always at play and "friendship" was merely way of taking advantage of your enemies in order to steal their contacts and fuck their fiancees.

There's also this thing about the world being destroyed, poverty, some bullshit like that, but that was really only secondary to the main story about the virtues of the free, free market.

Rating: $$$$$ (5 USD / 5 USD)
BUY : Coca-Cola (KO), Del Monte (DLM), other post-apocalyptic resources

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Goldschläger and McDougal: A natural combo

Since we're coming right off an election, before I get on with my review of this film, I want my readers to join me in pouring out some Goldschläger in memory of former New Jersey Governor John Corzine. This guy was a great friend of mine at Goldman Sachs and at Harvard, and an upstanding capitalist. This man knows how to get things done, and knows where a billionaire's place is--in a position of power, preferably one where he can preserve that power and extend it nepotistically. God bless America.

Corzine truly was the Berlusconi of the US. What are we going to do without more people like him in office––people who understand the people of our country (and how much better than them the rich are! Ha!). Oh, that's right, I guess we still got Bloomberg (mayor of New York), Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Corker (R-TN), Jim Webb (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), John Kerry (D-MA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Herb Kohl (D-WI)... I can go on all day, but basically a full 40% of the Senate is comprised of millionaires like me. I guess I feel like my interests are pretty well-represented. I don't know why the US even bothered changing the system of governors appointing Senators in 1913--it hasn't seemed to change the composition! Thanks, America, for recognizing that the rich truly are better than the rest of you poor fucks!

Anyway, back to the movie. Where the Wild Things Are is a cute little parable about offshore tax havens. The protaganist, a sprightly young investor named Max, chances upon an island populated by exotic natives with no minimum wage laws, and apparently no corporate or property taxes either. Using his Western business acumen*, our hero puts the Wild Things to work doing various sorts of menial jobs, bringing the American value of hard labor to the unenlightened natives. (Apparently they don't have union laws on their island! Sounds like paradise to me.)

Max, the de facto company president and primary investor on the island, wearing his CEO crown.

Things start to get kind of messed up when it turns out Max ain't worth his shit as a manager. While the Wild Things are toiling away building Max's new condo complex, typical employee troubles start to simmer up. Max attempts some new-agey remediation and group therapy B.S. (whereas a wise manager would lay them off and outsource the job). Of course, his attempt fails, and Max is forced to abandon his condo-building dream and return empty-handed to his mom's house.

For the younguns, it's a good story about first investments, how they can go wrong, and how important managerial skills are, particularly when exploiting foreign laborers who aren't familiar with the American ideals of mindless wage slavery (which reminds me, retail's looking good right now, i.e. Wal-Mart WMT: 53.62 and Kohl's KSS: 54.46. Invest while wage slavery's still hot in the recession!). Trust-funders like my own kids will appreciate the film for its end moral: If an investment goes sour, you can always come crawling back to mom and dad.

RATING: $$$$$ ($4 USD / $5)
BUY: Wal-Mart (WMT), Kohl's (KSS)
SELL: offshore investments on islands with unenlightened natives

*note that this article has Harvard Business School jargon throughout that non-MBA grads might not understand. Though if you don't have an MBA, you probably shouldn't be reading this movie blog in the first place.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Okay, wow, it's been a hard year for Mike McDougal, MBA. After losing my board position at Goldman Sachs and having to mortgage, then mortgage my mortgage, then time-share (I cringe to think) my properties in Dubai, Vegas, and Manhattan, I was feeling pretty low. I almost had to stoop to taking taxis instead of limos (key word: almost) and even started shopping at Whole Foods instead of Dean and Deluca. Not gonna lie, that was a tough, cognacless three days.

So you'll have to pardon the lack of film-reviews–I was almost on the streets for a while there. Thank god for the commie-in-chief and his "bailout package." They should've called it the "increase-McDougal's-stock-options-package." I was practically force-fed cash by the feds, to the point that I'm sitting pretty again, working a couple hours a week, and even had enough stimulus cash to buy a yacht of my own (I needed somewhere to bang interns that was less conspicuous than the office or the wife's bed). I take back everything I ever said about that terrorist bastard president–he truly is one of Us.

Anyway, I popped this DVD into my HDTV flat-screen in the bar of my yacht while I was doing blow and getting a beej from a 22-year-old Columbia student intern, so my memory of the film's just slightly hazy. But from what I saw between Grey Goose martinis (BUD: 50.55 buy!) and unprotected sex, this latest in the Harry Potter franchise couldn't've been more relevant to our times. What better film to renew our hope in the capitalist system?

Is that a WSJ they're reading?

I know what you're thinking here. You're thinking, "Mike, what the fuck does Harry Potter have to do with capitalism?" But bear with me a second.

Now I don't know if the movie was all that different from the book (I don't read so-called "literature," outside of the good book--that is, the Journal!) but this film was absolutely a parable about capitalism. Think about it. What is it that the little wiz-kids are fighting against? All those earth-toned, turtlenecked Slytherins and dark wizards and hobbits and whatevers don't represent just a fairytale. They represent socialism.

Consider Harry Potter's life story. Poor kid, grew up in a broom closet, inherits a vast fortune from dead parents, now he's a famous for being famous a lá Paris Hilton. See what I'm saying? He's a trust-funder!–an inheritance baby, like me and my kids and most of Wall Street. Harry Potter is the epitome of the American dream, and proof that you can be rich by doing no work whatsoever. Hell, that's what American capitalism is all about.

But Harry's a swell little motherfucker, and he definitely deserves all those sacks of galleons he's squirreling away. (I guess they don't have estate taxes in the wizard world, or else really good interest rates in the Goblin banks). And so far, he's turned out to be a pretty good investor. That broomstick he bought (FBOLT: 12.3 Buy! Great product placement), the military-prototype invisible shield bullshit, his security detail and his grades and girlfriend and drugs (I'm just assuming) seem to be working out pretty well for him.

Voldemort, on the other hand, is a poverty case-in-point. He's got tons of followers but no investment strategy. If he's so "powerful," why does he seem to be squirreled away in old squats, rather than raising money from his legions? Doesn't he have a business plan? If I had enough investors who'd drunk my Kool-Aid (KOOL: 23.03 Sit on this one), you can bet I'd run my empire out of Bermuda, that's for sure, not some dingy dark recess.

You know who else wears all black? Socialist Beatnik freaks. Prof. Snape pictured, with former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

The only real reason I can think of that Voldemort wouldn't take advantage of his power to raise capital is that he's running some kind of grassroots organization. The movie hints at this, but it's clear that Voldemort doesn't want money, just people to believe in his cause. Yeah, you heard me–he's essentially a community organizer. And everyone knows they never win.

If you haven't apparated yourself out of this mental recession yet, I highly recommend Harry Potter. Nothing beats watching a scrappy young trust-funder weasel his way out of various crimes just by using the power of his name. What can I say, I can relate–I do it every fucking day.

Rating: $$$$$ (4 USD/5 USD)
Buy: Grey Goose (BUD) Firebolt LLC (FBOLT)
Hold: Kool-aid (KOOL)

PS: Since writing this article, I uncovered some more literary evidence that Voldemort's character is a metaphor for Marxism. According to the Wikipedia article I had my underlings summarize for me, Voldemort's apparently also a "half-blood." Half-wizard, half-human. Probably that kind of biracial upbringing contributed to his fucked-up views. Remind you of any other socialist starlets?

Saturday, August 2, 2008


For an immortal being, Hancock is one sorry bastard. If I'd been around for the last 3,000 years, I would've spent at least some of that time building and maintaining a good portfolio, so I could sit on my ass and drink Mojitos in the Bahamas when I didn't want to fight "crime."

And speaking of crime, let's give a hand to the slew of recent superhero movies and their inability to address any ethical issue beyond bloodthirsty violent crime. You guys leave a lot of legroom for freewheeling white-collar "investors" like myself. Let me be the first to thank you, Hollywood, for turning a blind eye to other so-called modern "moral issues," like the environmental and human rights violations in my business's factories in Myanmar. No kidding I'm thankful--I'm getting rich hand over fucking fist because of it.

Okay, back to the film. Our eponymous hero is your typical poverty-stricken, Obama-supporting, Black Panther welfare king, spending his money on bottles of Old Jim Whiskey (OLW: 1.20) and basically boozing around the clock. On the bright side, though, he doesn't get hurt and doesn't age, much like Ann Coulter. Opposite Hancock is the do-gooding, whiny-ass liberal Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a PR guy who has stupidly devoted his life to encouraging corporations to donate to charity. Memo to Ray: Capitalism doesn't need your goddamn help. We already commit regularly to the greatest charity of all: The Free Fucking Market.

I thought there was going to be some toothy moral about a poor black man rising out of poverty or some shit, but thankfully the directors had some sense in them and avoided this route. The movie gets confusing after the middle, and turns into typical fantasy shlock, but redeems itself in the end when Hancock stops his alcoholic ways and repents to the Gods of the Free Market by turning the moon into a huge corporate logo. I am not even fucking kidding you. My group has been trying to get adspace up there for years. We could really use a superhero who fights in the name of marketing, like Hancock.

RATING: $$$ (3 USD / 5 USD)
BUY: Dasani (KO: 53.14), Old Jim Whiskey (OLW: 1.20)
SELL: your inhibitions about plot cohesion

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


What kind of Al Gore-loving Hollywood pinko ever approved this fucking piece of Marxist trash? To start with, why, just look at the titular robot. See those sad, sagging camera-eyes and rusted metal frame? He's filthier than the emo-loving guitarist scumbag that my daughter took to Exeter's prom. In fact, Wall-E himself is a trash bot! That's right, that little robo-scumbag probably turned to a career in trash collection when he, too, couldn't get into Robot Harvard, and neither Wall-E nor my daughter's emo fag can ever expect anything good in life now.

Let's get started on the plot, which Al Gore and John Kerry probably collaborated on with Disney and Whole Foods Market. (By the way, DIS 31.64--sell this piece of trash now if you have any sense in you.) A rogue hippie robot is left on a deserted planet to clean up the trash by himself (he gets his energy from solar--how California is that?). We slowly unravel the story through the subtext: Earth got too polluted, man moved to resort spaceships far away until it got nice again, yadda yadda yadda. What a delusional warmist fantasy. Everyone on Wall Street knows global warming is another leftist lie to get humans to stop exercising our fundamental right to consume, consume, consume. Consume.

Even if global warming is as bad as some say, I'm sure we'll be able to rely on private R&D to come up with some solution before we ever have to move off the planet. Unfortunately, Wall-E tramples on this notion, as in their future, no human ever works a job, and instead sleeps, eats, and rides around all day on their hovercrafts drinking sodas and watching TV. This all thanks to the mega-corp Buy & Large, which, in the film, seems to be the only visible logo throughout, and evidently owned half the planet before divesting and sending mankind into space. (Memo to investors: These guys got the best product placement I've seen in ages. Buy BNL stock [BUNL: 45.87] now. Sell before 2100.) Large advertisements for the company are visible everywhere in the film, along with flashing billboards that say "ECONOMY!" in the ship's bay. It reminds customers what they're contributing to, I guess? Seems like a good idea. Perhaps this might convince Americans to open their wallets more. Imagine large "ECONOMY!" billboards splattered every few yards in Time Square, between the other ads. It makes me feel patriotic just thinking about it. (Note to self: look into buying adspace in Times Square.)

Yet if you take a closer look, this fantastical vision isn't even the capitalist utopia. Nope--it's the communist utopia. But what else would you expect from Walt "Marx" Disney and Steve "Hussein" Jobs? (owner of AAPL: 159.88. Sell IMMEDIATELY). Think about it--no one in Wall-E's delusional sci-fi future ever WORKS. Unless they're living off inheritances, this is not cool. I certainly didn't see any poorhouses on this space resort, which serve a healthy function in any society, that being to punish those lazy fucks that refuse to contribute to said society.

Yeah, so this movie is somehow suggesting that humans would move off the planet someday if it gets too trashed? No shit! That's the whole fucking point of economics--you gotta do what's cost effective, follow the market! If we leave this shithole for the hippies and immigrants to clean up, good riddance--I already got prime property on the moon with a great fucking view of Terra Firma. Hell, maybe with less gravity, it'll be easier for the riot police to drop-kick the fucking worker's rights protesters--like the ones that keep popping up like zits at my company's factory in Burma.

Furthermore, when it comes to this idea of the earth getting too trashed, I just can't stand environmental themes. The so-called "environment" is just another leafy, boring idea that gets in the way of progress. Fuck, I try to avoid vegetables and fruits as much as possible--why the hell should I care about Nature? The environment is one of those disorderly, messy things we learned years ago to write off as another "externality." I slave away all day screaming into my Blackberry, playing golf and banging the maid. Why should I care about something that raises gas prices and tells me not to drive my Escalade? You show me an environmentalist and I'll show you an insecure bastard who turned to environmentalism when he found out he wasn't shit as a businessman. Fuck Wall-E the robo-Mexican and fuck this liberal trash. Don't show this to your kids if you don't want them to end up like Tipper Gore.

Rating: $ (1 USD/5 USD)
Divest from: Apple, Disney
Buy: Buy 'N Large (BUNL: 45.87) for long-term

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

It's hard for me not to like a movie about a guy named after a red state. Then again, it's hard for me to like a movie where the main character doesn't desire the spoils of his labors. Does the American Dream mean nothing to these fools? Granted, it's about on par for those pinkos Spielberg and Lucas.

To be honest, I'm not sure what drives Indiana Jones to do all these crazy stunts. Apparently, he's some sort of professor, so he's not motivated by cash or something. (I can't say I relate.)

At the very least he seems to love pussy and cars as much as I do. It don't get much more American than that!

I can't say I understood much more of this film in any context, other than that Indy spent most of the film running from shit and chasing after some piece of oversized jewelry. I am on the board at De Beers, so I can sort of relate with the mission statement. But when it turned out that this jewelry was actually cursed–well, actually, as a De Beers board member, I can relate to that too. Aw, goddamnit, now I'm gonna have our third-quarter loss prediction revision on my mind for the rest of the night. Fuck this film.

Rating: $$ 1/2 (2.5 USD / 5 USD)
Buy: De Beers (DBB), Indy® Whips Inc (IWI)