Favorite Wolf Raves

If it weren’t for sour-faced scolds like N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick, the Rotten Tomatoes rating for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount, 12.25) would be in the 90s, which is certainly where the Best Film of the Year deserves to be. So far it’s at 89%, which is obviously fine but man, that Lumenick! He actually calls it “shapeless” — trust me, this is one of the fastest moving three-hour films in cinematic history — and “pointless.” Earth to Lou: when you get past the Belfort particulars it’s a portrait of the financially drunken orgy that American elites have been enjoying since the Reagan deregulations of the ’80s. In this context it’s probably fair to say that Wolf has a point.


Taken this morning by Jett Wells.

“A brazen three-hour cinematic bender of sex and drugs set to the tune of financial chaos, The Wolf of Wall Street is undoubtedly the craziest movie of Martin Scorsese’s career. With an untamed energy that dwarfs any of his crime dramas, Scorsese’s raucous, exhausting display is driven by an eager commitment to vulgarity. As stock market scammer Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio’s unfettered ferocity meshes with Scorsese’s aim of exploring Belfort’s crafty early ’90s rise. Turning his memoir into a vivid portrait of the hedonistic excesses associated with unregulated wealth, The Wolf of Wall Street amps up an absurd volume of entertainment value.” — Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn.

A dynamic and exhilarating portrait of a modern day Rome (ala “Fellini Satyricon”) the feral “Wolf Of Wall Street” rages, pounds and throbs like a riotous maximalist having the time of its life at the greatest party ever staged. If one were to attempt to list out the most debauched and insane moments in the R-rated boundary-pushing picture, one could be here all day. One of the ballsiest and most extreme studio movies to come down the pike in recent years, Wolf seethes with a narcotic-induced fury [for what is] perhaps the most pleasurable and entertaining 140 minutes you’ll see all year.” — Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist.

“All the signs pointed to real-life stock-market story The Wolf of Wall Street being classic, old-school Martin Scorsese: drugs, swearing, big speeches, bigger performances, a spot of social critique and lashings of classic rock. But while many of these elements are present, something unexpected has snuck in alongside them: huge, unashamedly crowd-pleasing laughs. This is without doubt the funniest movie of Scorsese’s career. [It's a] modern tragedy as epic farce, reminding us just how much fun Scorsese can be when he’s in a playful mood.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out.

“Here is a white-collar crime caper that stirs golden memories of the Scorsese back catalogue, often quite knowingly and sometimes to a fault. Watching it is like observing an old dog by the fireplace, kicking its legs against the blanket as it dreams of chasing rabbits in its youth. So many directors have built a career from ripping off Scorsese ; it’s hard to begrudge Scorsese wanting a piece of the pie. He gives us a film that is polished and punchy, chock-full of beans and throwing out sparks. He’s enjoying himself and the fun is infectious.” — The Guardian‘s Xan Brooks.

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  • GigglesForGigli

    Hustle at 96%!

  • Bernie

    Jeff, you of all people should appreciate Lumenick’s review. Why? Because you said it yourself! He basically makes the same points you made a couple of days ago, 1) that the film’s drug depictions are tied to Scorsese’s past drug-abuse issues. AND 2) he compares the movie to SCARFACE, even using the same Scorsese quote you used. Dude, he’s stealing your riffs!

    What you refuse to remotely acknowledge is that to some viewers the film lacks a conscience. As Lumenick points out, the first wife, the dad, the FBI agent — all potentially grounding voices of reason and morality, are all woefully under-written and under-developed. Not to mention not a single victim of the financial greed is depicted.

    In answer to the suggestion that the movie is pointless, you tell us the movie must be viewed within the context of the “drunken orgy that American elites have been enjoying since Reagan.” Where did you get that from? Not from the movie. That comes from your head. That’s like me saying ONLY GOD FORGIVES is brilliant because it needs to be viewed within the context of our male macho pop culture society run amok. Huh? See, I can make context up too! Unless it’s in the movie it doesn’t exits.

    The opening letter in ALL IS LOST gave the film context. The changing skyline at the end GANGS OF NY gave the film context. The daughter’s song in MONEYBALL gave the film context and meaning. None of that in WOLF. None.

    • Lou Rawls’ Ego

      Yeah, pretty much everyone does drugs (I include alcohol in that). everyone has sex. So?

      Agree, Bernie, this movie is just not as interesting as it could or especially should be from someone with Scorsese’s resume because it fails to demonstrate why these people act the way they do, have the goals they do, etc, besides the typical and trite “I wanna be somebody” American self-loathing.

    • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/ Jeffrey Wells

      Did you see the fucking movie? How clearly do you need your metaphors spelled out?

      “On screen, in bespoke TV commercials, his company – Stratton Oakmont – is presented as a rock of financial probity, a gilded US institution. Down in the boiler room, however, one finds a nightmarish circus of dwarf-throwing contests and rollerskating chimps; a world in which nobody knows anything and the product is vapor. ‘Stratton Oakmont is America!” bellows Jordan, camped out at the front desk like some demented MC. How scary it is to realize that he may just be right.” — from Xan BrooksGuardian review.

      http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/dec/17/the-wolf-of-wall-street-first-look-review

      • Bernie

        Your first point. O-kay… I guess you can piece that together. Thank you Xan. If high-minded viewers wish to infer meaning from the film using the “This is a reflection of all of us greedy Americans” then fine. I’m just becoming more and more convinced that to the majority of the people who are gonna embrace this film, that meaningful notion is gonna be lost on them. And the fact that it will be lost on them is telling.

        As far as your second point. I couldn’t agree more. The quaalude overdose scene will go down as an absolute classic. Personally, I could not breathe, I was laughing so hard.

      • Glenn Kenny

        “On a certain level you can’t really get off on the druggy insane stuff in this film without having been there yourself.” What utter bullshit, and what utter self-aggrandizing bullshit.

        It’s a fantastic movie, a masterpiece, I think, but seriously, you don’t get it at all. What the movie is more closely about, finally, is Kyle Chandler on the subway. Think about it, Jeff.

        • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/ Jeffrey Wells

          I always feel good when I’m on the subway and looking around at all the regular-ass people sitting across from me. That’s fine. That’s my life. I’m down with it.

          • Glenn Kenny

            To whoever wrote the above comment, I ask: What have you done with Wells?

        • roland1824

          Yep. The “You had to be there to get it” may be the single the worst angle to take in support of a work of art. Paramount would cringe at this, lest it turn into an actual meme surrounding the movie.

  • DuluozRedux

    Wolf of Wall Street’s Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio: capitalists pretending to be progressives pretending to be capitalists. How avant-garde.

  • Awardsdaily

    I hope it doesn’t turn out that the Brits love it and the Americans hate it. I liked Lou’s review because almost every thing he said about it that was bad is what’s actually good about it.

    • Bernie

      I read a story today on Deadline about WOLF getting an R rating. There was one particular sentence about how the marketing team has put together a slick ad campaign selling the party aspects of the film to play to the “young, college crowd demo.” Would love to see you in the middle of THAT audience, Sasha! Laughing along with all the sweaty frat guys. “Ha! Look at him dry humping the stewardess! Amarite? Up top!”

      Seriously. That’s what we’re headed for.

      • Awardsdaily

        Oof. But yeah, probably.

  • Perfect Tommy

    Yeah, that Rotten Tomatoes rating is really important because according to RT: Lone Survivor < The Hobbit 2 < Anchorman 2 < Saving Mr. Banks < Her < Frozen = Wolf of Wall Street < Hunger Games 2 < American Hustle < Gravity.

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  • Maurice

    It wasn’t just Reagan. Let’s not forget Bill Clinton’s contribution when he passed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which had successfully prevented this kind of banking catastrophe for over 65 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass%E2%80%93Steagall_Legislation

    • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/ Jeffrey Wells

      Yes, certainly — Clinton fanned the flames and played along. But he was an Eisenhower Democrat, so that made it semi-okay.