The Oscars, Movie Quotes and Finance

oscarThis week-end features the 88th annual Academy Awards. I am much more interested in the Oscars this year than usual, partly because I have seen many more of the nominated films and performances than is typical and partly because I saw so many good ones in 2015. However, the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture is the film I liked the least of all the nominees. So I’ll be hoping for an upset. Still, even losers get swag bags worth a cool $200,000.

In any event, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the great movie quotes of 2015 and apply them to the world of finance. Here are my top ten, in no particular order.

  1. “I’m gonna have to science the sh** out of this.” (The Martian). That’s a fair approximation of what money management should be but isn’t – data-driven, evidence-based and with a fighting chance to make it home safely as a consequence.
  2. James Donovan: “Aren’t you worried?” Rudolf Abel: “Would it help?” (Bridge of Spies). Said every money manager ever.
  3. “My name is Max. My world is fire and blood.” (Mad Max: Fury Road). Said every hedge fund manager ever.
  4. “Tell me the difference between stupid and illegal and I’ll have my wife’s brother arrested.” (The Big Short). With too many hedge funds, it’s hard to tell the difference between stupid and illegal.
  5. Kate Kavanagh: “What was he like?” Anastasia Steele: “He was polite. Intense. Smart. Really intimidating.” (50 Shades of Grey) That sounds like it could be someone meeting a famous hedge fund manager for the first time.
  6. “Join the IMF and see the world. On a screen. From a closet.” (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation). Hedge funds are hiring analysts.
  7. Dr. Kathari: “Heard you fell down. Was that the first time you fallen?” Rocky Balboa: “Without being punched.” (Creed). All too often our behavioral and cognitive biases knock us down and, when they don’t, our own lack of skill does (no punch required).
  8. John: “This could very well be the greatest conflict between America and Germany in our nation’s history!” Gail: “Crack a book, John.” (Pitch Perfect 2). Does John write hedge fund (perfect) pitch books?
  9. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around the dark. Suddenly, a light gets turned on and there’s a fair share of blame to go around.” (Spotlight). That’s pretty much money management in a nutshell.
  10. “Truth is like poetry. And most people f***ing hate poetry.” (The Big Short). Self-explanatory, but still really hard to fix, no?

Now let’s do the same thing with some of the all-time great movie quotes (again, in no particular order). Most of these can be seen in the video link below.

Here goes.

  1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone with the Wind (1939). Established hedge fund managers re performance, given what they are paid.
  2. “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” On the Waterfront (1954). What tends to happen when advisors don’t put marketing first.
  3. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The Wizard of Oz (1939). Prospect in front of a typical broker.
  4. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Sunset Boulevard (1950). After cleansing the portfolio in order to get the quarter-end picture taken.
  5. “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” All About Eve (1950). Client buys a typical actively managed fund from a broker.
  6. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke (1967). Clients reading fund marketing materials.
  7. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Apocalypse Now (1979). Overheard the day S&P’s SPIVA report comes out.
  8. “The stuff that dreams are made of.” The Maltese Falcon (1941). When a money manager gets on a lucky hot streak.
  9. “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Network (1976). Increasingly, advisor clients the world over.
  10. “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Casablanca (1942). Overheard at a get-together among consultants and managers.
  11. “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Why CNBC never asks their manager guests about their track records – they symbiotically need each other after all and nobody wants to get eaten.
  12. “There’s no place like home.” The Wizard of Oz (1939). Why so many funds are closet indexers.
  13. “Show me the money!” Jerry Maguire (1996). “I feel the need – the need for speed!” Top Gun (1986). “See in this world there’s two kinds of people in this world, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig.” The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). “I drink your milkshake!” There Will Be Blood (2007). “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” Back to the Future (1985). “Ever since I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster. To me that was better than being president of the United States. To be a gangster was to own the world.” Goodfellas (1990). Said every hedge fund manager ever.
  14. “I’ll have what she’s having.” When Harry Met Sally (1989). Most money managers most of the time.
  15. “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?” She Done Him Wrong (1933). Every marketing pitch ever.
  16. “Round up the usual suspects.” Casablanca (1942). Consultant recommendations.
  17. “After all, tomorrow is another day!” Gone with the Wind (1939). The day after S&P’s SPIVA Report comes out.
  18. “You can’t handle the truth!” What every manager wants to say to consultants (but rarely clients).
  19. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Jaws (1975). Never said by a hedge fund manager to a client. Ever.
  20. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” To Have and to Have Not (1944). Hedge fund managers talking to consultants.
  21. “If you build it, he will come.” Field of Dreams (1989). Every high-frequency trader ever.
  22. “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forest Gump (1994). Never said by an advisor about a recommended portfolio.
  23. “I’ll be back.” The Terminator (1984). “I want to be alone.” Grand Hotel (1932). “Well, nobody’s perfect.” Some Like It Hot (1959). Spoken by fund managers immediately after the SPIVA Report comes out.
  24. “Plastics.” The Graduate (1967). Every manager talking his book.
  25. “We rob banks.” Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Today, they’d be hedge fund managers.
  26. “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” Now, Voyager (1942). Never uttered by a hedge fund manager about fees. Ever.
  27. “Houston, we have a problem.” Apollo 13 (1995). Every advisor and money manager at one time or another.
  28. “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” Dirty Harry (1971). Accurate translation of broker talking to prospect.
  29. “You had me at ‘hello.’” Jerry Maguire (1996). Consultant talking to famous hedge fund managers.
  30. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Wall Street (1987). Duh.
  31. “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” Gone with the Wind (1939). Advisors justifying high cost funds.
  32. “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!” Scarface (1983). “No wire hangers, ever!” Mommie Dearest (1981). Big banks to employees when the market turns.
  33. “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” The Graduate (1967). Prospect to broker.
  34. “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939). Explaining the black box strategy.
  35. “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Consultants about their work.
  36. “Open the pod bay doors, please, HAL.” 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Managers to their systems during a flash crash.
  37. “Toga! Toga!” Animal House (1978). “My precious!” The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (2002). Overheard at all the big banks the day bonus checks arrive.
  38. “Who’s on first.” The Naughty Nineties (1945). Client asking broker about performance.
  39. “Cinderella story….” Caddyshack (1980). Looking for the next hot new manager.
  40. “I’m the king of the world!” Titanic (1997). Bonus checks cleared.
  41. “Are you not entertained?” Gladiator (2000). CNBC raison d’être.
  42. “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” Braveheart (1995). Clients, finally starting to wake up (but most still die anyway).
  43. “As if!” Clueless (1995). Hedge fund managers, fearing they might have to take lower pay if they don’t perform.
  44. “These go to eleven.” This Is Spinal Tap (1984). Describing the hot new strategy.
  45. “They call it a Royale with cheese.” Pulp Fiction (1994). In the old days, on Wall Street trading floors, on Friday mornings, while carbo-loading after a Thursday night out with clients.
  46. “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Every hedge fund investor the day they get in.
  47. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” The Wizard of Oz (1939). Wall Street marketing.
  48. “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Overheard before a client meeting.
  49. “To infinity and beyond!” Toy Story (1995). Every tech pitch ever.
  50. “I see dead people.” The Sixth Sense (1990). Brokers looking at other brokers.

3 thoughts on “The Oscars, Movie Quotes and Finance

  1. Pingback: 02/28/16 – Sunday’s Interest-ing Reads | Compound Interest-ing!

  2. Pingback: Unbound Collection, Save on Car Rentals, Norway, Contadora

  3. Pingback: 2016/03/04 | BLOG SYNCHRONICITY

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