Weekend Movie: If You Own a Single Share of Stock, You Need to See This.

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THE TESTAMENTS: THE SEQUEL TO THE HANDMAID’S TALE: Margaret Atwood’s novel, just released with great fanfare, is the publishing event of the year. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” published in 1985 and reviewed on Head Butler a few years ago, has sold 15 million copies — the sequel could sell that many in a year or two. (To buy the hardcover from Amazon, click here. For the Kindle edition, click here. For the audiobook, click here.)
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Six out of ten Americans think a recession is coming our way within a year. Some of this is simple terror that a madman is in the White House. Just this week, he’s considering giving Iran a $15 billion line of credit if it will come back into compliance with the deal Obama negotiated and which they were complying with until he tore up the deal. Just yesterday, after 6 people died, he called for a federal ban of e-cigarettes, but 20 kindergarteners, 22 people at a Walmart, 49 at a nightclub and 58 at a concert are shot and killed — 28,000 gun deaths a year — and there’s nothing he can think to do. And, on the economic side, he believes tariffs hurt the other guy; he will be stunned when tariffs on Chinese-made goods kick in and the price of iPhones soars. Wall Street? The indicators are worrisome, but the Dow still climbs. For now. If you own a single share of stock, you need to see this movie. The good news: it’s terrific, a real nail-biter.

The first thing to understand: you’re no longer a “client.” You’re a “counter-party.” On your own. Caveat emptor. But as the poster for this movie has it: “Something big is going down.” Because what’s going down is a venerable Wall Street firm. And you won’t know why until it’s too late. This movie, better than any documentary, shows you why and how that can happen. [To buy the DVD from Amazon, click here. To buy or rent the video stream, click here.]

The problem is mortgages. Not good ones. Crap, bundled together and deodorized, so the package looks shiny. But they’re not really worth much, and now there’s a reckoning. There’s a tough decision to make. Well, really not — the firm must sell this worthless crap to clueless buyers. If it doesn’t…

At 4 in the morning, the CEO arrives. Of course he’s Jeremy Irons, and he’s slicker than snail snot. And tougher. “There are there ways to make money,” he says. “Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat.” But this moment requires a fourth way: a fire sale. No one in film has ever said “so .. we .. may… survive” better.

Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Simon Baker and Demi Moore give impressive performances. To varying degrees, they care. Jeremy Irons doesn’t:

So you think we might have put a few people out of business today. That it’s all for naught. You’ve been doing that every day for almost forty years, Sam. And if this is all for naught, then so is everything out there. It’s just money; it’s made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don’t have to kill each other just to get something to eat. It’s not wrong. And it’s certainly no different today than it’s ever been. 1637, 1797, 1819, ‘37,’ 57, ‘84, 1901, ‘07, ‘29, 1937, 1974, 1987— and whatever we want to call this. It’s all just the same thing over and over; we can’t help ourselves. And you and I can’t control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react. And we make a lot of money if we get it right. And we get left by the side of the road if we get it wrong. And there have always been and there always will be the same percentage of winners and losers. Happy foxes and sad sacks. Fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there’s ever been. But the percentages — they stay exactly the same.

This is a film for grown-ups (and their smarter kids). For viewers who don’t need white hats and black hats, unsullied saints or satanic sinners. So gather the clan, microwave some popcorn and watch closely. And then ask yourself: Should I sell everything?

This article originally appeared on The Head Butler.

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Weekend Movie: If You Own a Single Share of Stock, You Need to See This.