Money and Its Effect on People, Societies, and the World
May 20, 2012
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Money and Its Effect on People, Societies, and the World
Introduction A couple was talking about their finances one night. The husband was getting madder as the talk went further. Finally, he exploded by saying, ???If it were not for my money, this house would not be here!??? The wife calmly replied, ???My dear, if it were not for your money, I would not be here.??? Money affects almost everything in the world today and has played a major role in plots in movies throughout the history of Hollywood.
The Plot ???Brewster??™s Millions??? is a movie based on a novel by Richard Greaves in 1902 and remade several times. The 1985 movie version saw Montgomery Brewster, played by Richard Pryor, as a long time minor league baseball pitcher. His best friend and catcher Spike Nolan, played by John Candy, got into a bar fight after a game one night and was thrown into jail. The following day, their manager informed them their team, the Hackensack Bulls, was releasing them (Hill, 1985).
By sheer luck, Brewster was spared having to stay in jail because a rich uncle, who had passed away, had a proposition for him in a video will. All Brewster had to do was spend $30 million dollars in 30 days, and he would receive all of his rich uncle??™s estate – $300 million. However, there were some stipulations to this challenge. Brewster could not tell anyone what he was doing or risk losing it all. In addition, he could have no assets, whether liquid or fixed. All he could have was the clothes that that he came into the office with (Hill, 1985).
Money as a Means
Money, throughout the movie, was used as a basis for social interaction. In fact, other than his best friend Spike Nolan and the Hackensack Bulls, all of the people Brewster met during the movie was a direct result of the money. It is interesting to note, however, when Brewster had to return to the law office with nothing to get the $300 million, the only people that were still with him was his best friend and his accountant Angela Drake, who saw the true side of Montgomery Brewster at the end (Hill, 1985).
For Richer or Poorer The movie, to me, showed a distinct separation between the rich and poor throughout the movie. For example, when Brewster wanted to rent an entire floor of penthouses, the clerk looked at him and thought he was joking because Brewster was still in his Cubs shirt and jeans (Hill, 1985).
Again, as with the entire movie, when the clerk found out who he was, he did rent them for substantially more than the regular price. Brewster knew what was like to be poor and tried to help out those that were less fortunate. However, there is a saying that goes, ???I make money but it does not make me.??? Unfortunately, the money eventually made Montgomery Brewster.
Social Implications It was interesting to note that at the beginning of the movie, Brewster and Spike hung out at a local bar. However, after he became rich, he threw parties for hundreds, if not thousands, of people(Hill, 1985). Therefore, I think the movie was trying to say that the richer one gets, the more ???friends??? they acquire. Money does bring people together ??“ whether for good or bad intentions. One area that money does influence is politics.
Political Influence It is no secret that the more money one has, the better the chance of getting his or her voice heard. Brewster decided to run for mayor of New York City under the name of ???None of the above.??? His intention was to get rid of money, but his platform spoke to the voters of New York City. It was his money, combined with his image as a ???regular joe??? that appealed to the voters. Consequently, he was elected to that office, but had to resign from it because it would have meant residual income, which was not allowed in the challenge (Hill, 1985).
Money as a Measure
Part of the stipulation of the challenge was that Brewster had to get value out of his money. Interestingly enough, he did not ask Angela the value of any of his transactions before he enacted them (Hill, 1985). . Therefore, the value of the goods and services he purchased throughout the movie were based on his assumptions and not fair market value.
Brewster did some eccentric things to get rid of the money which totally irked Angela. Angela did not know what was going on.. All she knew was that she was supposed to keep track of the receipts of Brewster. For example, he bought new uniforms for his baseball team, flew them in by three helicopters, and set up an exhibition game between his team and the New York Yankees (Hill, 1985). . Being an accounting major myself, I would get irate as well if I saw one of my clients throw around money frivolously.
Other than the time Brewster wrote a check to the accident victim, he paid cash for everything else. Even taking into consideration his challenge, he should not have carried that much cash on him. In fact, after he found out he was rich; he withdrew $3 million in cash as spending money. Spike said, ???No one carries that much money on them. Are you crazy??? (Hill, 1985). Common sense says he was crazy. However, Spike did not know the challenge Brewster had. Consequently, Brewster did not think he was crazy even though others thought he was.
Money as Matter
Warren was Angela??™s boyfriend, who was hired by Brewster to design his offices. Warren was also employed by the law firm in charge of executing his uncle??™s estate. If Brewster failed in his attempt at spending the $30 million, the firm would get full control of the estate and Warren would become a full partner in the firm (Hill, 1985)..
A meeting was set up where the partners of the firm and Warren devised a plan to ???accidentally??? forget to give a receipt to Angela (Hill, 1985). Ultimately, the plan failed but it does show that some people will do anything for money ??“ even if it is illegal. Therefore, it was the money that brought out the true colors of people in his inner circle.
In one scene, Brewster was rear ended by someone. When the person found out that it was Brewster he had ran into, all of a sudden, he developed whiplash and severe pain. Having to get rid of the $30 million dollars, Brewster wrote a check to the ???victim??? for $300,000 ??“ even though the ???victim??? was not hurt at all (Hill, 1985). It was because of the job Brewster had to accomplish. To me, money did not change Brewster as a person. It did, however, change others.
Money affected the characters differently throughout the movie. Brewster??™s intentions were good, but it was the influence of others that led him to poor decision making. On the other hand, however, Angela was very conservative so every time Brewster spent money lightheartedly, it angered her. Interestingly enough, Spike??™s view of Brewster never changed throughout the movie, nor did Brewster??™s view of Spike (Hill, 1985).
At the beginning of the movie, Brewster was handling his newfound stardom easily. After all, he had never had such notoriety being a baseball pitcher for ten years for a AA baseball team. But, as the movie progressed and his disdain for the money grew more, he was not equipped to handle the pressure that the wealth brought to him.
Conclusion ???Brewster??™s Millions??? was a movie about how money affects everything ??“ and it does immensely. It is the source of economies; the source of how one feels; and the source for one??™s behavior. Consequently, money also shapes how society looks at people and determines who is a true friend or just an acquaintance.. For example, when Brewster was poor, hardly anyone knew him. When he became rich, almost everyone knew him because he was all over the media with his spending habits.
Albeit there was some eccentric spending in the movie, it was justified to Brewster because of the challenge ??“ even though others, like Angela, disapproved of most things he purchased. Would the character in the movie acted differently had they known about the challenge They most certainly would have and he would have completed the challenge pretty easy. Money, in this movie, was used as a means to measure what really matters to a person.
Hill, W. (Director). (1985). Brewsters Millions [Motion Picture].