Other People's Money
Other People's Money is a 1991 film starring Danny DeVito as Lawrence "Larry the Liquidator" Garfield, a corporate raider trying to takeover a small, New England manufacturing company. Opposing him is the company's idealistic president and his step-daughter, a corporate lawyer. The apparently simple morality tale becomes more complicated as it runs up against economic reality.
- Directed by Norman Jewison.
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- I love money. I love money more than I love the things it can buy. Does that surprise you? Money, it don't care whether I'm good or not. It don't care whether I snore or not. It don't care which god I pray to. There are only three things in this world with that kind of unconditional acceptance: dogs, doughnuts and money. Only money is better. You know why? Because it don't make you fat and it don't poop all over the living room floor. There's only one thing I like better. Other people's money.
- [To a roomful of lawyers] TRO? Temporary Restraining Order? Thank you very much. Some crew I've got. Seventeen lawyers on retainer, and you've managed to work it out so that, in a free market, in a so-called free country, I can't buy some some shit-ass stock every other asshole can buy. Congratulations, you're destroying the capitalist system! While everybody else in the world is embracing it, my boys and girls are fucking it up. You know what happens when capitalism gets fucked up? The communists come back! They come out of the bushes, don't kid yourselves, they're waiting in there. But maybe that's not so bad, 'cause you know what happens when the commies take over? The first thing they do is shoot all the lawyers! And if they miss any of you, I'll do it myself. Now, let's see if we can get this small-town judge to change his fucking mind!
- [after Jorgenson's speech] Amen, and amen, and amen. You'll have to forgive me, I'm not familiar with the local custom. Where I come from, you always say 'Amen' after you hear a prayer. Because that's what you just heard - a prayer. Where I come from, that particular prayer is called 'The Prayer for the Dead.' You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you didn't say, 'Amen.' This company is dead. I didn't kill it. Don't blame me. It was dead when I got here. It's too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead! You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We're dead, alright. We're just not broke. And do you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow, but sure.
You know, at one time, there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best god-damn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence, let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future! 'Ah, but we can't,' goes the prayer. 'We can't because we have responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our community. What will happen to them?' I got two words for that - 'Who cares?' Care about them? Why? They didn't care about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility to them. For the last ten years, this company bled your money. Did this community ever say, 'We know times are tough. We'll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer.' Check it out: You're paying twice what you did ten years ago. And our devoted employees, who have taken no increases for the past three years, are still making twice what they made ten years ago. And our stock - one-sixth of what it was ten years ago. 'Who cares?' I'll tell ya -- Me.
I'm not your best friend. I'm your only friend. I don't make anything? I'm makin' you money. And lest we forget, that's the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You wanna make money! You don't care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines! You wanna make money! I'm the only friend you've got. I'm makin' you money. Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe, maybe you'll get lucky and it'll be used productively. And if it is, you'll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves. And if anybody asks, tell 'em ya gave at the plant. And by the way, it pleases me that I'm called 'Larry the Liquidator.' You know why, fellow stockholders? Because at my funeral, you'll leave with a smile on your face and a few bucks in your pocket. Now that's a funeral worth having!
- This proud company, which has survived the death of its founder, numerous recessions, one major depression, and two world wars, is in imminent danger of self-destructing - on this day, in the town of its birth. There is the instrument of our destruction. I want you to look at him in all of his glory, Larry 'The Liquidator,' the entrepreneur of post-industrial America, playing God with other people's money. The Robber Barons of old at least left something tangible in their wake - a coal mine, a railroad, banks. This man leaves nothing. He creates nothing. He builds nothing. He runs nothing. And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to cover the pain. Oh, if he said, 'I know how to run your business better than you', that would be something worth talking about. But he's not saying that. He's saying, 'I'm gonna kill you because at this particular moment in time, you're worth more dead than alive.' Well, maybe that's true, but it is also true that one day, this industry will turn. One day when the yen is weaker, the dollar is stronger, or, when we finally begin to rebuild our roads, our bridges, the infrastructure of our country, demand will skyrocket. And when those things happen, we will still be here, stronger because of our ordeal, stronger because we have survived. And the price of our stock will make his offer pale by comparison. God save us if we vote to take his paltry few dollars and run. God save this country if that is truly the wave of the future. We will then have become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters. And if we are at that point in this country, where we kill something because at the moment it's worth more dead than alive - well, take a look around. Look at your neighbor. Look at your neighbor. You won't kill him, will you? No. It's called murder and it's illegal. Well, this too is murder - on a mass scale. Only on Wall Street, they call it 'maximizing share-holder value' and they call it 'legal.' And they substitute dollar bills where a conscience should be. Damn it! A business is worth more than the price of its stock. It's the place where we earn our living, where we meet our friends, dream our dreams. It is, in every sense, the very fabric that binds our society together. So let us now, at this meeting, say to every Garfield in the land, 'Here, we build things. We don't destroy them. Here, we care about more than the price of our stock! Here, we care about people.' Thank you.
- Kate: So, now you're Albert Schweitzer?
- Larry: No, not Albert Schweitzer. Robin Hood, I take from the rich and I give to the middle class. Well, the upper middle class. Would you care for some caviar?
- Kate Sullivan: Well, for someone who has nothing nice to say about lawyers, you certainly have plenty of them around.
- Lawrence Garfield: They're like nuclear warheads. They have theirs, so I have mine. Once you use 'em, they fuck everything up.