Wednesday, January 20, 2016

There Were Surprisingly Few Drug-Induced Deaths

I watched Wolf of Wall Street with some coworkers over the weekend. I think they got it in their heads to watch it because the night before, they had all been going on about how great an actor DiCaprio is, and a different coworker started ragging on him, in part because, as an Irishman, he was pissed Leo kept taking Irish roles that ought to be going to Irish actors, damnit. They were all at least a little drunk, as you might have guessed.

It's a well-acted Scorcese movie about a bunch of guys being really awesome salesmen and using that to sucker people into buying crappy, horrible stocks, and make themselves tons of money. The movie didn't do anything to disabuse me of my notion that, so far as people like myself are concerned, the stock market is just a big shell game. Three-card monte in a fancy suit. It works for these guys, though, enabling them to spend large amounts of money on prostitutes and drugs. Much of what they're doing is illegal, but they're rich, so even when the FBI comes down on them, it doesn't amount to anything. DiCaprio's character, Jordan Belfour, says near the end that he was initially scared when he went to prison, because for a moment he forgot he was rich, meaning of course, he went to rich guy prison, with tennis courts and stuff. I didn't forget that at any point during the film. I was actually surprised he went to jail at all.

It's a funnier movie than I expected, though most of the stuff I laughed at was them getting doped up in various ways and acting like idiots. Especially the scene with the really old ludes that had become delayed reaction drugs. Although, I was hoping all during that scene that Jonah Hill's character would die. For whatever reason, I don't like Jonah Hill. Every character I've seen him play, I've wanted to see get punched in the face repeatedly, and he's not even usually playing that bad of a guy! But he was here, so that was nice. It didn't seem egregious to want that particular guy to die.

The movie is remarkably effective in making me almost like these guys. The camaraderie and friendship was impressive, and at times I'd catch myself almost admiring it. Then I'd remember these guys were total assholes and decided it would be fine if they all died together in a coke binge or something.

Jordan doesn't really learn anything, except maybe to be more lowkey about scamming people. Which is why he ends up doing those seminar things where you teach people how to be successful realtors or whatever. I wasn't expecting some major character turn - this is based on a real guy, so a neat character arc was out the window - but at some point I expected he would decide to take what he had and get out? Which was foolish, Jordan's defining character trait seems to be an absolute confidence in himself, that he can figure out the loophole, or talk enough bullshit to cloud the issue until he can escape. Given that, I shouldn't have been surprised he kept on as he had, just changing a few details of how he's making his pitch.

No comments: