2013. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie.
If you, like me, are a normal person, you too would have bought 100 tickets to see The Wolf of Wall Street before you’d finished watching the trailer. You probably didn’t need 100 tickets to see the one film at the same time, but you didn’t want to get a shit seat and that trailer made you feel like spending money.
What with the snare drum and Kanye panting into the microphone and Leo dancing like a jellyfish and Margot Robbie’s legs and Jonah Hill throwing cash and beer into the air and screaming like a chubby rockstar, that trailer is just too much excitement to bear. 100 tickets please.
Turns out that trailer is actually just a shortened version of the movie. The trailer does in 2:15 what the movie does in 3:00:00. That bit where Leo says:
My name is Jordon Belfort, the year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars which really pissed me off because it was 3 shy of a million a week… was all this legal? Absolutely not. We were making more money than we knew what to do with.
That? That right there? That’s the plot. In its entirety. That little scene where Matthew McConaughey rhythmically thumps his chest, says “fugayzi, fugasi, it’s a wasee, it’s a whoozy, it’s fairy dust” and whistles through his teeth? That’s Matthew’s contribution to this film. In its entirety.
A three-hour trailer for someone else’s life, jam-packed with more sex, drugs, booze and shenanigans than you could fit inside Nigella Lawson’s pantry.
A series of ludicrous and mostly hilarious anecdotes about wealth and indulgence loosely tied together by a flimsy thread of chronology.
The Wolf of Wall Street is far from Scorsese and Leo at their combined best. It is not The Departed. It is not Gangs of New York. It’s not even Shutter Island. It is not complex, surprising, intelligent or even particularly memorable. It is pure popcorn cinema. Having said that… I really love popcorn.
And so I happily munched away for the full three hours, even occasionally laughing hard enough to spray little wet popcorn crumbs into the hair of the person in front. You know you’re enjoying yourself at the movies when the person in front of you isn’t.
Now there is a fart in this room that must be acknowledged – a LOT of people did not like The Wolf of Wall Street. No no no, not one bit. Not even the bit where Leo eats a fistful of expired Quaaludes and slinkies himself home from the Country Club. Actually, especially that bit.
What explanation can I offer to or for these critics?
Perhaps they didn’t notice Margot Robbie (seems unlikely). Perhaps they didn’t notice Jonah Hill (also seems unlikely, albeit for vastly different reasons). Perhaps some jerk behind them kept guffawing wet popcorn into the back of their head (possible, and I’m sorry). Or, perhaps, at a more profound level, they found that no matter how ‘entertaining’ it might be, The Wolf of Wall Street was a reprehensible commercial for a life of moral turpitude.
100 tickets please.