Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Wolf Of Wall Street - DVD Review

          If I had to summarize the Wolf Of Wall Street, I would say that it would be Boiler Room part II meets the Sopranos   Certainly, with Martin Scorsese as the director, you can see the parallel right away with Leonardo DiCapro being the narrator for the movie which gave you the feeling of Ray Liotta when he narrated GoodFellas.   

          If that wasn’t enough, you had these stockbrokers who sounded like the characters that you would see in GoodFellas or better yet The Sopranos.   It was hard to buy into the stupid conversations about degrading women or the cursing that you would hear from Tony Soprano as well as other subjects that I don’t even want to mention here that made me wonder if a lot of people walked out of of this movie after 15 minutes. 

           Much of the movie was built on the debauchery of the brokers who seemed to do everything they could to take a situation and go for as much shock value as possible.  In the beginning of the movie, we see two brokers throwing a midget at a target for entertainment.   Later on, we see a woman who has volunteered to have her head shaved so she would get $10,000 so she could pay for breast implants.  Again, these are the tamer parts of the movie that I’m mentioning.  

           DiCapro, who plays Jordon Belfort, works at a Wall Street firm where you hear the language that is used in Boiler Room such as piker or whale.  He, along with thousands of brokers, lost their job after the market crash of 87.   As a result, Belfort goes to work for a chop shop on Long Island where he can get sell pennystocks and get a 50% rip or commission just like he did in Boiler Room.  

           In this movie, you have no empathy for the characters, unlike Boiler Room.  DiCapro knows the stocks are garbage but he doesn’t care, as long as he makes his money.  As far as his wife is concerned, she says, why sell to people who can’t afford it when you can sell to rich people.  Of course, DiCapro loves the idea and opens his own office.  Even when he marries his second wife, she knows he is a crook but stays with him until he’s about to go to jail.  

            As far as performances go, there are some funny moments with Rob Reiner, who plays DiCapro’s father, although again, it’s a much different relationship than in Boiler Room, where the father is is ashamed that his son has become a con artist.  Kyle Chandler, who probably had the best character in the movie as the FBI agent, again shows what happens when he has to make deals with crooks like Belfort so they can get a lighter sentence for the crimes they committed.  

            Boiler Room, it was a much better movie with a plot.  You had characters who were crooks but you also saw instances where these crooks were hurting people.   The movie moved along nicely on that and Giovanni Ribisi character, who faced criticism from his family, friends, and was torn about what he was doing and wanted to make up for it.   It was one of the many reasons his performance was more believable than DiCaprio’s, who seemed more like Tony Soprano at times, along with his partners, who were nothing more than a bunch of numbskulls.   

            This was an awful movie.  The fact that it was three hours made it even worse.   It was nothing more than a very poor attempt to cash in on a movie that was great, using ideas from other movies like the Sopranos and Animal House.  The difference with Animal House was that at least it was funny.  

            With all the trouble on Wall Street such as insider trading or what happened at Enron, it seems to me that there are more interesting stories that could be made into a movie instead of the pennystock scandal, which was nothing more than a blip on the history of Wall Street.  Books by Kurt Eichenwald, a New York Times Reporter, who wrote a Serpent On The Rock, or The Pru Bache Murder by Jeffery Taylor, which was the story about the grisly death of a millionaire Russian Stockbroker.  

            As far as I’m concerned, Boiler Room was worth more than five stars.  Wolf Of Wall Street gets no stars from me.  Poor movie for Scorsese to get involved in.   Anyone who was in this movie should give their money to charity as well as the people who would suffer for three hours for being in this stupid, awful, depressing, movie.  

Ron Hummer 

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