On this week’s Movies vs. Capitalism, hosts Rivka Rivera and Frank Cappello are joined by comedian and podcaster Jamel Johnson to break down the 1983 Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd comedy Trading Places.

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A rough transcript of the episode is available here.

Wealth inequality in the United States has skyrocketed as corporate interests have captured our government and politicians. Today, it feels like there are a few ultra-wealthy individuals at the top pulling all the strings, while those of us without obscene wealth are stuck playing a game that’s been rigged from the start. Forty years ago, Trading Places was already raising the alarm about this phenomenon.

In today’s interview, the team digs into the “nature vs. nurture” debate explored in the film. They also praise the film’s satirical depiction of the crusty upper class, while pointing out the film’s problematic racism and sexism. Finally, Jamel attributes the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s in part to the success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

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For next week, we’ll be watching the 1997 film and cultural phenomenon Titanic.

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