Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

I like Leonardo DicCaprio movies. Yeah, that's right. I said it. I hope that Leonardo DiCaprio stopped being the cool thing to hate after 1997, but I know there are still some die hards who can never forgive the man for becoming a multimillion dollar bankable superstar by starring in Titanic. I admit, Titanic is popular movie to hate even today. I will even make jokes about it from time to time, too. 

But I will acknowledge that Titanic was a good and competently made movie for what it was. Great? Not really. Great visuals (including seeing Kate Winslet naked) and a sound cast made the film fairly strong, but the hokey love story and long running time really got on everyone's nerves. Admit it, you were probably glad when people started dying because it meant the end was in sight. 

Still, I sat through Gettsyburg which is four and a half hours long. Granted Gettysburg is a lot better than Titanic, but my point is that film length doesn't mean shit. It's story quality, folks. If the story is good then a movie could be five or six hours long and it won't mean fuck all to me. Honestly, people these days are just soft when it comes to the lengths of films. 

Anyway, let me change the subject (sort of) to a pet peeve of mine that actually concerns The Wolf on Wall Street before I get on with things. 

The Wolf on Wall Street isn't a long film. Stop saying that it is one. Including the credits it's one minute shy of three hours. Excluding the credits the movie is only about two hours and fifty minutes. That makes it a "medium long" film to me. 

Here's my metric:
  • Two hours or less is a short movie.
  • Between two and two and a half hours is about average. 
  • Two and half hours to three hours is medium long length movie. 
  • Three hours to four hours is a long ass movie. 
  • Anything over four hours is a test of will. 
Now a movie may seem long because of lack of action or story development, but I don't like hearing complaints about that, either. Unless we're just talking about a terrible movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space or Gigli because those movies feel like they last for days. 

As long as the rest of the film delivers I can take movies being slow in parts.

Now that I've set the record straight on that let's talk about how awesome this movie is. 

This movie didn't feel slow to me at all and it also felt like a typical Martin Scorsese movie without being what I'd typically expect from Scorsese. It had the voiceover work that we all remember from Goodfellas and Casino, but this time the voiceover work often broke the fourth wall. Joe Pesci wasn't there to get whacked, either. I've never really thought of Martin Scorsese as a comedic filmmaker, but he really laid it down here and everyone else ran with it. 

This movie was funny. I'm talking South Park meets Goodfellas. I laughed harder watching this movie than any other movie I've seen in the past two years. Funniest part of the whole damn movie was when Leonardo DiCaprio was crawling on the floor in the "cerebral palsy" phase while on those rare quaaludes. God, I about died laughing. 

Dicaprio really is a fantastic actor, but I love his movies with Scorsese (although I haven't seen Shutter Island yet) the most. They're my favorite director-actor pairing next to Scorsese-De Niro (and I don't think anything will ever top that one). 

There's a lot of nudity and drug use and cussing in this movie. I'm pretty sure this movie holds the record for most F-bombs in a non-documentary film, too. 

However, that shouldn't be a big deal. One of the movie's opening scenes is one of Leonardo DiCaprio snorting cocaine out of a hooker's ass. There's also a midget-throwing contest and a scene later on in the movie where they actually break down the art of throwing midgets. If those opening moments offend your senses then stop watching the movie because it won't get any cleaner. Continuing on with the movie when you know you will hate it and bitching about it later on the internet gets on my nerves more than anything. 

I really liked Matthew McConaughey in this. To be fair, he had a blink and you'll miss it type of role, but I thought he had some of the funniest dialog. When he and Leonardo DiCaprio sat down in that expensive restaurant and he asked DiCaprio how much he jerked off I think I truly began to appreciate this movie for the fine art it is. Masterful, really. 

I thought it was pretty cool to see that guy from The Walking Dead, too. I can't think of his name for the life of me, but you'll know him when you see him. I thought the scene where he and Jonah Hill stood out on the middle of the street was pretty funny, too. 

I've heard folks talk about how unlikeable the characters were and how you couldn't really cheer any of them on, but I didn't see that as much of an issue, either. Like Jake LaMotta was anymore likeable? Or Ace Rothstein? Jesus Christ. Well, Jesus was pretty nice and likeable. So there's one. 

I think I've said about all I've wanted to say about this movie. One of these days I'd like to read the book by Jordan Belfort and actually do some research on the true events, but I'll save that for later. 

P.S. - Perhaps the best thing about this movie was that it came out in theaters on Christmas. That says it all, really.


  1. I get so irritated at people who complain about movies like this. What do they want? To watch the same freaking thing over and over again. So what if the characters are unlikable, that's life.

    I used to get pissed off at Roger Ebert because he would give movies a bad review if he thought bad characters didn't redeem themselves or get properly punished in the end. What the fuck, Roger?

    Anyway, I haven't seen it yet but I can't wait. It's on my mailing list from netflix but hasn't been available to send yet.

    About Leo - I think he's fantastic. I remember when he was real young and the first thing I saw him in was Gilbert Grape. I thought they actually hired a mentally challenged actor to do that part. He was so good in that movie, it's hard to believe. I had a friend that had a brother that was a lot like Arnie (the character Leo played) and it amazed me how close Leo was to that kid. Fast forward a few months (or a year) and I don't know Leo's name or anything but just remember him from Gilbert Grape and I'm flipping through the channel s and there he is on MTV hosting a video show while promoting his new movie The Basketball Diaries (another must see). I'm looking at him and it dawns on me, "hey, that's Arnie. So I watched the MTV show and the promo clips they were showing of The Basketball Diaries and I went the next night to see it. He was great in it and I've been a fan of his ever since.

    1. I haven't seen either The Basketball Diaries or Gilbert Grape. Over only seen a couple of his earlier movies like Romeo and Juliet (that was a while ago and I can barely remember it) and something called The Beach. I really do need to go through some of those earlier movies, though.

  2. The best ones from when he was teenager - early 20s are:

    The Basketball Diaries
    Gilbert Grape
    This Boys Life (with DeNiro)

  3. I just finished watching it and I loved it. That was quite a wild ride. That may be as funny as Scorsese (or Leo for that matter) has ever been. That was a huge role for Leo. I think he was in every scene in the movie (plus the voice over). I have seen 3 of the 5 movies that had the best actor nominations and all 3 were great performances (Christian Bale, Leo and Matthew McConaughey) and strangely, all 3 were based on true stories.

    By the way, Shutter Island is awesome too so you need to see that one soon. Don't read anything about it, just see it.

  4. I was reading about Tommy Chong on Wiki and about his arrest and imprisonment for selling bongs on the internet and came across something that pertains to the Wolf Of Wall Street.

    In 2003, Chong became caught up in two American investigations, code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, which tried to trace drug traffic and users through businesses selling drug paraphernalia, mostly bongs. Operation Pipe Dream was run from Pittsburgh. US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania Mary Beth Buchanan oversaw the case. The estimated cost of Operation Pipe Dream was over $12 million and included the resources of 2,000 law enforcement officers.[15] Fifty-five companies that sold drug paraphernalia over the Internet, which is illegal, were the subject of the investigation and Nice Dreams was one of them.

    Chong was charged for his part in financing and promoting Chong Glass/Nice Dreams, a company started by his son Paris. His case never went to trial, as his attorney negotiated a plea agreement with the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania's Office. He admitted to distributing 7,500 bongs and water pipes on the Internet through Nice Dreams, a family company. Chong agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for non-prosecution of his wife, Shelby, and his son, Paris. Chong cooperated with the government and was the first of the Operation Pipe Dreams defendants to plead guilty.[15]

    At Chong’s sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania Mary McKeen Houghton said in her arguments that Tommy Chong "used his public image to promote this crime" and marketed his products to children.[16] U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan also was present at the sentencing in Pittsburgh and released a statement to the press stating, "there are consequences for violating the law, even if the violator is a well-known entertainer like Thomas Chong."[15]

    While Chong argued for community service and home detention at his sentencing, the district judge, Arthur J. Schwab, denied his requests and sentenced him to 9 months in federal prison, a fine of $20,000, forfeiture of $103,514, and the loss of all merchandise seized during the raid of his business.[16] Chong served his sentence at the Taft Correctional Institution from October 8, 2003 to July 7, 2004. He was a cellmate--or "cubie"-- with "The Wolf of Wall Street" Jordan Belfort, and is given credit for encouraging Belfort to write his memoirs. They have remained friends ever since.[17]

    1. So we have Tommy Chong to thank for this movie. That's awesome.