play the market, lose nothing

About four months ago, riding on the current trend of neophytes assuming it must be easy, I made the mistake of investing in the stock market. People around me were getting rich without knowing anything and I had a couple thousand sitting in the bank and I figured I might as well give it a shot. Well, at press time, my 3 stocks are all miserable failures and I have no plans to do this ever again. Stupid E*Trade, making it look all fun and easy and shit…

But I recently found a cheap (free) alternative to fulfill my stock market jones, and so far I’m performing swimmingly. I’m talking about HSX. The Hollywood Stock Exchange. And in case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a fake stock market, with many of the same features, the difference being that you buy and sell Movies and Actors (and now Musicians in a separate game), trying to build up your holdings. Star Bonds go up and down based on deals actors put together, how their current films do at the box office, and many other fluctuations (including, apparently, "coolness" level as seen by the AICN-type film-geek crowd – e.g.: take Bruce Campbell, [star of the Evil Dead movies, no box office clout to his name], he is trading higher than George Clooney). The movie stocks are valued based on their predicted box office for the first four weeks of release. (Stocks are offered on films in development all the way up to release.) It’s a helluv a lot of fun and in the month I’ve been playing, I’ve built my account from the $2 million they start you out with, to $3 million. If only this were real money.

I started out going with my heart, buying Jeff Bridges and Paul Giamatti and Arlington Road and such. I lost money. So I put on my ruthless Hollywood cap and started buying shit I’d never see in a million years. Stuff like Teaching Mrs. Tingle and Runaway Bride and Fantasia 2000. Then I started becoming even more sophisticated – buying films I’d heard rumors about through friends, listening to weekday box office tallies and adjusting my portfolio. For instance, Big Daddy hit the 100 million mark on like day 15 (so it still had 2 weeks to go before the stock "cashed out") and I noticed it was only at 105. So I sold other stocks, bought all I could, and made bank. We’ll see if this turns out to be smart: but I had Inspector Gadget at 45, and on a big up day all around for HSX, it went up to 63, so I sold. (I’ll eat my pants if it makes more than 63 million in the first 4 weeks.)

Right now I hold only a couple actors: Clooney and Ben Stiller. But I’m quite diversified (dig the stock talk, baby) with my films: I have massive amounts of Bowfinger, Fight Club, Me Myself & Irene, and Snow Falling on Cedars, and less in flicks like Twister 2, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Happy, Texas.

Anyway, it’s loads of fun and a lot cheaper than the real stock market.

PS: Please, seriously, go to Restoration Hardware (symbol RSTO) and buy things. It would help me so much.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

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Did anyone see this: Ben Stiller was on some wrestling thing on TNT, actually wrestling! I think the schtick was that he looked at some dude’s girl too long while announcing or something and as he left the ring, the wrestler jumped him and kicked his ass. I’m totally baffled. To boot, he was pretty fucking bad at acting hurt and knapping the blows…One of the bartenders where M. works has had 2 scripts reach the semifinals of Nicholl over the years. Then again he’s 42 and has written 14 scripts. Me: 27, written 1 script. But I can't make a Long Island iced tea to save my life, so…