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In Praise of The Wolf of Wall Street

I love this crazy movie. It is often on cable or pay cable and I find myself watching it mid-stream, as I did last night.

If you’ve only seen it on television, I have to explain one important thing. The infamous “lemmon” (quaalude) sequence—which seems to go on forever, in a good way—is “bone dry” in the film itself (referring to the soundtrack: no music).

I saw this at the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz upon release (Christmas, 2013) and the audience was in such hysterical laughter (none of them more than me) that that’s all I remember—just endless, endless guffaws.

You think it can’t get any funnier, and then it climaxes with a Popeye joke—cocaine being Jordan Belfort’s spinach—and I think my stomach hurt.

I have mixed emotions loving this movie so much because the characters and their world are so completely despicable (which I think is the point).

I mean, I hate these people. I’ve met some like that in real life and I run the other way.

But in a movie...they’re just so stupid, but so completely human. Maybe it’s a “bro humor” thing?

The movie breaks so many rules with how foolishly the characters behave, how they undercut the drama by being such idiots—and yet everything works.

Well, it’s Scorsese, Terence Winter, and the biggest stars in the world—duh.

There’s something to the fantasy wish fulfillment of having all that money, and the movie “blowing the whistle” on how corrupt and idiotic our society is—probably both, at the same time.

We have a system where these cretins destroy people’s lives in pursuit of the stupidest things...and then we worship them? How messed up is that?

But it’s exactly the truth.

The movie is certainly a masterpiece of black humor.

It’s worth noting that the “divorce fight” near the end is such a powerful piece of drama—I usually turn the movie off right before that, because I find it so upsetting. But I watched it last night. Wow.

As you may have heard, the production of the movie itself was the result of a huge international corruption scandal. Hashtag irony.

Anyway, thanks Marty, for another masterpiece.

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