Friday, January 17, 2014
3 Thoughts on The Wolf of Wall Street
1. It's brilliantly excessive - I usually have issues with long movies; I can't fully explain it and I completely understand the counterargument of letting a director create their full vision (and also, if something is great then why wouldn't one want to keep watching it?). Personally, for me, I just prefer stories that are tight and concise. Two hours is long enough to sit in one spot and focus on one thing (first, I'm female and, like the cliche, my brain moves in a million different directions; second, I get really bad back pain from sitting for too long (from a childhood injury), so around the two hour mark, I need to get up or face days of pain). As much as I love movies and as much as I would love to sit in a theater ALL DAY, it just isn't realistic. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way. I can feel the audience getting impatient during long movies (the rustling of bags, checking phones, shifting positions). That said, The Wolf of Wall Street - a three hour long movie - went by so quickly that I was actually surprised when it ended. The length is part of the movie. It's excessively long; as it's ridiculously funny and outrageously horrific. Could it have been edited down to a two hour movie? Absolutely. It's just one of the few that didn't need to be. There isn't one moment that isn't pure entertainment.
2. Leo and company - How many times should Leo have won an Oscar by now? I count 8 (This Boys Life, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, The Aviator, The Departed and Django Unchained). Of course, that's purely based on his performances and not necessarily who he was competing with, but my point is that he gives us an Oscar-worthy performance pretty much every time he steps in front of a camera. This is no different. Will he win an Oscar for it? Probably not. It would actually be pretty ironic if he finally did, because this isn't his best role and it's not the best acting performance of the year (McConaughey owns this year). I would still be ecstatic if it happened. This is probably his funniest role, but there is also that sinister charm that he excels at. The scene with him and Kyle Chandler on his boat really captures it all. It's just so, so good. Leo is not the only acting success of this movie, though. Jonah Hill is fucking perfection. Just imagine the kind of pressure on his shoulders; stealing scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio, with Martin Scorsese watching his every move. People can snark all they want about Jonah Hill being a "two time Oscar nominee", but I just think it proves that his performance in Moneyball wasn't a fluke (and also, he's always been solid - Superbad, This is the End - just because they are comedic roles, doesn't make them any less difficult). Also, expect to hear the name Margot Robbie excessively over the next few years. I spent a great deal of the movie trying to figure out what I knew her from (it was Pan Am), but also fascinated at how absolutely stunning she is; like a real-life version of a Barbie doll. When the movie was over, I commented to my best friend how beautiful she is and he said "oh I know, her skin is flawless" (this threw me into a fit of giggles - leave it to my bff to notice flawless skin on a beautiful woman who gets completely naked! That would probably make more sense if I prefaced that with the fact that he is gay.). I should also note that aside from her beauty, she was really great in the role. She's fairly new, so again, that had to be an intimidating experience, but I think she nailed the part even better than a lot of seasoned actresses would have.
3. The "morals" - There was a lot of "controversy" about whether the movie was glorifying Jordan Belfort's hideously obscene lifestyle, but I didn't get that experience at all while watching it. Honestly, if at any point in this movie, you want his life, then you're probably a douchebag. The only part I can sort of understand is when he's fucking one of the most beautiful women in the world. I get that, sure, but then once you see how she really feels about him, how would anyone want that? I fully believe that the scariest people in the world are wealthy, entitled, white males. Most bad experiences that I've had with the opposite gender have been with this type of man; one who is used to getting what he wants and doesn't behave well when someone tells him "no". For me, this movie gives insight into the ugliness and destruction that these men create. It's a sad, pathetic and lonely lifestyle, falsely identifying itself as "the American dream". There is absolutely nothing admirable about it. One can still laugh and be entertained by his story though, without considering it a "glorification", as I did.