Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. (IMDB)
Writers: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort(book)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Run time/Rating: 180 Minutes/ R
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
It took me no longer than half of a day to go out and see The Wolf of Wall Street. I had been anticipating it ever since I first heard about the film more than a year ago. A story about a Wall Street “wolf” who conducts million dollar business deals during the day while abusing drugs, booze and hookers during the night – and daytime too, actually. Me being a late 20’s man in the sales business, this movie is pretty much made for me. Add Scorsese and Leo to the mix and the increasing buzz leading up to its Christmas release date that it is an all-out orgy and drug fest. It took me no later than the Noon show on Dec. 25th to get to the theater and see it.
That being said, it has taken me more than a week to get my thoughts down about it.
People as usual, asked me if it’s good. And what is it really about. It has taken some time for me to figure that out but I have since realized that the answers to those questions are; Yes, really good, and it is about gluttony, addiction, and America.
The story of Jordan Belfort could have more truthfully been titled The Wolf of Long Island because Belfort only spent a few months actually on Wall Street. He started his training at a legitimate firm on wall street as a young man in the late 80’s and with the tutoring of a coke snorting and martini drinking boss (Mathew Mcconaughey, who gives one of the funniest scenes in a movie with many) he passed the exams to become a licensed broker in just a few months. His first day on the job with the world in front of him, the market suffers the biggest crash since the great depression. This lands a man who isn’t used to failing out of work and looking through the classified ads.
He turns up to a shady looking firm in Long Island that hasn’t seen a suit and tie in its existence and tries to figure out what the hell they actually sell. He learns that they work exclusively with penny stocks, stocks that trade for only pennies and although the deals aren’t large, a broker makes a 50% commission on each deal rather than only a few percentage points at the big firms with the “real stocks”. Belfort, seeing the dollar signs on a 50% commission jumps right it. On his first call, he re-sets the bar along with the rules on how to sell a penny stock. Within a year he opens up his own firm Statton Oakmont.
At his new firm he is the king. He is followed closely by some of his most trusted friends from his childhood and one new close companion who he picked up along the way. Donney Azoff becomes Jordan’s closest friend and partner in crime. These two are as bad for each other as they are hilarious to watch. Played by Jonah Hill, Donny is one of the best characters that I can remember watching on the screen. A smart man but a terrible one who along with Jordan makes millions of dollars to go along with his millions of flaws including the fact that he is married to his cousin. His is so funny in every scene he is in.
As Jordon’s company grows and becomes increasingly on the wrong side of the law, he gets more and more pressure from an approaching FBI investigation. All while his home life with wife Naomi(Margot Robbie) is struggling to find its place amongst all of the drugs, hookers, and money making. It all leads to an incredible climax of quaaludes, booze, cocaine, and boat sinking.
The Wolf of Wall Street showcases some of the worst people that walk around the world with us. They are over indulgers, cheats, thieves, liars and abusers. The movie does not hold any punches or judge them for who they are but rather just lays it out there, sometimes hilariously, and sometimes gloomily. I suspect that people will take the movie in completely different ways, when I watched it I felt a intense desire to laugh which I succumbed to constantly but also felt an underlying guilt and nervousness. Not that much, I just enjoyed it as a movie, but at times you know you shouldn’t be laughing. Scorsese and Leo really made a great piece of art with this one. A comedic/dramatic masterpiece!
Large Popcorn with Butter
I just finished watching the bonus feature called the Wolf Pack. It is somewhat informative and of course consists of the usual everyone blowing smoke up each other’s asses about how great they all are. Which they are in this film. But what it made me realize more than anything is that I am really bothered by the very vocal minority which up roared about how this movie glorifies what these people did. First of all, filmmakers, directors and actors can make a movie about whatever and whoever they want and they can make it however they want. It is an art form and it should not be judged whether it is offensive, or insulting, or really much on anything at all other than is it authentic. Unfortunately due to all of the push back they received about 5 minutes of the 17 was dedicated to defending themselves. They will not get any push back from me.
Large Popcorn with Butter…again!