The Wolf of Wall Street, and other random thoughts about the movies

For a while I was going to the movies every week. I’d pick out a new release and see it either Thursday night at midnight or early Friday morning. And then I’d come back and write up a review. This lasted for a while, all the way from last March up until I saw Gravity. But then I missed a week and I just never got back in that groove again, which is too bad, for me anyway, because going to the movies is great.

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I’ve seen a few since Gravity, but I didn’t want to get right back into the reviewing. For example, I saw Twelve Years a Slave, but way after the initial release, and so I didn’t want to show up much later with my two cents. There was also this rule that I made up where I wasn’t allowed to read other reviews before I had seen the movie, and I found that, if I wasn’t doing it immediately, of course I’d wind up reading a review, or even just hearing other people talking about it.

Like Anchorman 2, I haven’t seen it yet, and I haven’t even read any reviews. But I heard that it was terrible. Which, I have no idea what my original reaction would have been had I just seen it before talking to anybody else. Maybe I would have laughed. But now, I’ll never know, I’ll eventually see it, either just before they pull it from the theaters or, more likely, sometime much later after it’s out on TV or Netflix, and I’ll go into it thinking, eh, not that funny.

I don’t know why I had to go into my movie watching lull now, the one time of the year where there are like twenty-five huge movies released every week. When I was doing the weekly reviews, I’d have back-to-back weeks where all of the options were terrible movies. Like Burt Wonderstone, or The Host, or The Internship. And now it’s like, even if I wanted to play catch up, there’s no way I’d be able to watch everything. American Hustle is out, there’s a new Cohen brothers movie.

Tonight I saw The Wolf of Wall Street, which came out on Christmas, so yeah, it’s too late for a review. But I wanted to write something about it, and so this is what I’ve got so far, half a blog post about movies in general. But this movie, and here’s the spoiler warning, lots of spoilers, I’m basically going to be writing here as if everyone’s already seen it, so if you’re at all interested in not having someone who has seen the movie talk to you about what happened in the movie, stop now.

The whole movie, it’s about this real life guy who makes a ton of money as a con man on Wall Street. I was sitting there in the theater, I was thinking, OK, there’s not much going on here. Leo is making tons of money and living like a rich prick king. There’s nothing really being said, it’s just the main character acting like an asshole, leading up and up and up and finally he gets in trouble and goes to jail.

I was thinking, it’s boring, there’s not much of a story. And then there’s the ending. He’s out of jail and he’s giving a speech at one of these “How to get rich” seminars somewhere in New Zealand. And he’s just doing the same shit, over and over again, and the camera faces the audience. The last shot is of the people in their seats, looking up.

I thought, man, it’s like a mirror, everybody in this theater looking at the screen, everybody in the movie looking back in the opposite direction. The film ends, the screen goes black and a title card reads, “Based on the book by …” and I don’t even want to write this guy’s name, I don’t want to acknowledge his presence more than I already have, I don’t want this blog post to pop up on a list of results for his name.

But it was this huge joke. He goes to jail, whatever, he’s still a rich con man. He wrote a book. He optioned the movie and a huge director took on the project. And here I am, I’m staring at these people in New Zealand thinking, man, who shells out money for these garbage seminars? And then it hit me, I’m sitting here, I just shelled out twenty bucks for this garbage movie, a plot as cheap and nonexistent as the junk he peddled on Wall Street.

And so yeah, he got me, I contributed to this guy’s fortune, his fame, even totally unknowingly, I was still part of this mass fleecing. I thought, wow, I’m so stupid, but really deep for having such a great insight, but mostly stupid, but also really, really deep.

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