Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jason watches THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

(I spent a lot of time debating internally whether to use this opening line or not, but here goes...)

I knew it was supposed to be horribly, over-the-top misogynistic, but I didn't expect it to be so funny!

Okay, so Martin Scorsese's biopic on Jordan Belfort is very well made and entertaining. All the criticism has been about whether or not it glamorizes Belfort's life and about the running time. For what it's worth, I thought the three hours flew by. As for the first point, I am seriously shocked that there are people--people I respect...people whose opinions about movies I respect--who argue it isn't glamorizing his life. He actually includes a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"-type voice-over in one scene (Robin Leach isn't credited on IMDb, I don't know if Scorsese used him or an impersonator.) If this isn't a glamorous depiction of being filthy rich, banging whores, and doing tons of drugs...I don't know what is.

And now I wanna try quaaludes. Dammit, I'm not even into drugs but that's how much this movie glamorizes them! (As for banging whores...that sounds exhausting. As for owning a mansion, Lamborghini, yacht, helicopter...that sounds like a lot of upkeep. But doing quaaludes--that looks like fun!)

And yeah, there are ways of analyzing it that makes it not-so-bad. Primarily that Scorsese is holding a mirror up to Belfort--and the society that created him. So take that anger you feel at the movie and turn it on Belfort, turn it on Wall Street (there's an argument to be made that the title refers not to Belfort but to the "Wolf" that is Wall Street,) turn it on America (there's a wonderfully pointed scene where Belfort waxes rhapsodical about how his firm--Stratton-Oakmont--is the embodiment of the American dream.) But you know what...it's also perfectly fine to turn it on Scorsese. I mean, he made the damn movie and intentionally ignored the actual victims who, remember, exist in real life. And I understand he's telling the story from Belfort's point of view, so ignoring the victims is a reflection of that. But if you show the FBI agent who took him down riding the subway home, you can devote a minute or two to the victims (counter-thought: maybe he doesn't actually ride the subway, if the whole film is Belfort's P.O.V., maybe it's Belfort imagining that he takes the subway when in fact he drives a reasonably nice car.)

Or, I don't know, maybe you can just fantasize about being obscenely rich and enjoy all the naked ladies on screen.

Running Time: 180 minutes
My Total Minutes: 347,315
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