Lazy Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

la_ca_1222_wolf_of_wall_street

Premise:  Stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes from rags to riches by selling terrible stocks to gullible people in the early 90s, and perhaps maybe he possibly didn’t do it the most legal way he could think of.  His “poor” life choices eventually landed the real life Belfort in prison, but not after many years of living in a mansion where he took extravagant drugs and had freaky sex on a regular basis.  This movie reminded me of a great line from the show Clone High; when Mr. B asks Principal Scudworth why he’s wasting all of his newly earned money, and Scudworth responds “I watched the first two-thirds of VH-1’s M.C. Hammer: Behind the Music, and if there’s one thing I learned about money, it’s that it never runs out!”  You could say the same for Goodfellas, Wall Street, and Scarface too.  It’s almost like anyone who idolizes these characters never seem to make it to the end of the films…?

 

Pros:

-It should be required that the first compliment given to The Wolf of Wall Street is to the big Qualuudes scene.  Oh my god, what a fantastic scene.  Easily the best sequence of events in any film this year.  Who would have guessed that DiCaprio was brilliant at Jim Carrey-esk physical comedy?  And the Popeye ending was the perfect kicker.  I definitely cackled loudly at this scene (and maybe the entire movie) more than any comedy this year.  Wolf of Wall Street is hilarious.

-This is probably my favorite pairing of Scorsese and DiCaprio.  Leo just works in this movie.  I like him better as a goofy unhinged yelling guy, as opposed to the uber-serious unhinged yelling guy he normally plays.  I don’t have much against the guy, really, but watching him pop’n’lock and twitch around from drugs was perhaps his most entertaining performance yet.

-Jonah Hill was also great as Belfort’s sidekick and business partner, Donnie, who spit out some great comedy lines through his over-sized teeth.  It’s funny to think of the Cartman-like old Jonah Hill from 2008, who now gets to act as best friends to the likes of Brad Pitt and DiCaprio.  I guess he has more range than most of his Apatow buddies…  I’ll always remember him as the guy who yelled at Jay Baruchel for shaving his pubes over the toilet in Knocked Up.

-I enjoyed how the character of Belfort wasn’t such a bad guy until he had one lunch meeting with Matthew McConaughey, and he gave him the advice to do cocaine all the time and steal people’s money.  Then we never see that character again.  

-Even at risk of sounding like a pervert, I appreciate a hefty dose of gratuitous nudity.  And, DAMN, there is a *lot* of gratuitous nudity in this.  Hey, leave me alone!  If Scorsese wants to go all out, let the man go all out!  The guy is an artist!  We see DiCaprio’s butt, too!  A piece of advice: don’t go see this movie with your parents.

-It also set the record for a narrative, theatrically released film using the F-word.  506 times!  No seriously, don’t go see this movie with your parents.

-Up until I saw the film, I thought the lead girl in the commercials was an impossibly young-looking Jaime Pressly, but it turned out to be some Australian actress I’ve never heard of (Margot Robbie) .  She did a pretty good annoying Brooklyn accent.  Gotta have the strong accented woman to counter the insane protagonist, or you wouldn’t have a classic Marty movie!

-For a three-hour-long film, the time flew by.  When I try to think about why that happened for this movie, but not for Pirates of the Caribbean 4; I think it has to do with the directing, the pacing, and the subject matter.  (in your face, Pirates 4, you completely unrelated crapfest)

-Despite knowing how it was going to end (as it’s based on real life), it takes some good twists and turns in the middle, and kept me entertained throughout.

-It’s pretty funny to think about 71-year-old Martin Scorsese directing scenes like this one below.  You know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the movie.

wolf wall street 2

 

Cons:

-The only glaring negative thing that sticks out in my mind about this film is that, in one way or another, the real life Jordan Belfort will benefit from this movie.  I’ve already read that he has to give all of the film’s profit that *he* would make to the government, so that the restitution of his victims can continue, but still…  That *is* helping him climb out of his debt.  I suppose the silver lining would be that the victims are finally getting paid, but at what potential cost?  Even the negative exposure that this film has given Belfort (and trust me, it’s negative, I came away thinking he was a complete jabroni), it will still benefit him with exposure in general.  Now he can sell more books and do more motivational speaking seminars.  If the film is at fault for anything, it’s that I didn’t know who Jordan Belfort was until the movie started getting promotion, and now I’ve had the displeasure of reading about his horrible life.

-I guess another thing of note is that Belfort himself wrote the book for which this movie is based.  So I’m sure it full of Belfort’s exaggerations and misinformation about himself and the way that others thought of him.  I’m sure it’s safe to assume that the lavish lifestyle that we saw in the film is probably touched up to make him look like he had more fun than he actually did.  If you look at any videos of modern-day Jordan Belfort, it’s hard to imagine him being the DiCaprio-esk playboy that Scorsese made him out to be.

 

Final Thoughts:  Despite what may be potentially inaccurate and over-the-top, this is a Martin Scorsese movie, and a hilarious one at that.  He’s a director who hasn’t really lost his touch in his old age, and The Wolf of Wall Street might be one of my favorite of his modern era films.  Just make sure you get all the way to the end, and don’t just stop after the part when Belfort is driving his yacht and snorting cocaine off girls’ butts.

9 out of 10

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