Monday, January 13, 2014


Wherein this post searches for a center of gravity

     Dear Mr.'s Scorsese and DiCaprio,
          I've read a wide array of the reviews and articles and have seen you both interviewed. Since the 1970's I have broadcast and published my admiration and respect for your movie making and story telling genius Mr. Scorsese. Many of your films are among my all time favorites.  Mr. DiCaprio I have been impressed by your acting since the days of Gilbert Grape. Still, I have been arguing with myself since seeing WOLF OF WALL STREET.  
          I'm still not sure if I think it is a brilliant lampoon of money hustlers told as a dark comedy, high slapstick, a political lancing of some of the noveau 1%, an indictment of the morality, or lack there of, of Wall Street, a contact high, a celebration of libido, history, the highest use rate of the F-Bomb in film history, a precise portrayal of a cretin, a religious affirmation of the evil of greed, a remake of ("...greed is good...) WALL STREET on steroids and a lot more cocaine, a disgusting exploitation film, your joke on everybody else (can you believe we are getting rich on making this kind of film?) or all of the above or some combination there of.
        Clearly you left your mark.  I'm still trying to approximate some judgement on this 3 hour romp.  For sure you immerse your viewers into the maelstrom of Jordan Belfort's rise and high life style. You seemed to recreate the sales room, lavish parties, drug use, sex, opulence and mindless and pointless lifestyle with your directorial and acting brilliance.  You got terrific supporting roles Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Margo Robbie, and others. Matthew McConaughey's chest pounding chant cameo is one of those scenes you'll never forget. Robbie Robertson's musical supervision was brilliant.
      I guess I'm inclined to think that what you've made is a multi-million dollar cartoon.  You were able to reduce a time, place, ethos and personalities to big screen tragic-comedy cartoons.  Leo, your lude induced crawling scenes made buffoons and jack asses of anyone ever so loaded, or anyone who would desire to be so loaded.  
     Gentlemen you have created a cinema work that will, as you know, especially you Martin with your love for film history, live for decades.  I guess you have provided 22nd Century sociologists a core sample of western decadence, worship of money and hedonism that no historian could do so graphically.  
      I'm still wondering though about the older woman who wandered into the theatre a little more than half way through.  My guess is she was "theater hopping" joining a film in progress after the movie she paid for had ended.  She came in slowly, not looking at the screen so as to amble to a seat in the row in front of us.  She sat down at the moment that cocaine was being snorted off the buttocks of a young woman while the f-bomb was offered up and carnal athletics ensued.  She was up and out of her seat much more rapidly than she wandered in.  Would love to have been able to read her thoughts.  Her action drew a few snickers from those of us who by now had become somewhat sated and even bored by the outrage and sexuality.  And on that reflection I realized that you Mr. Scorsese had accomplished a great deal.  Your three hour assault so deadened our senses to such excess that we sort of expected it, even accepted it as normal behavior, of those whom we watched. Touche'!
    Did we laugh, yes.  Was it comedic, yes. Was it wretched excess, yes indeed. Did we get it, yes. Does it say something about the quality of life and even morality, yes. But I bet that while some of us will give this thought, contemplation, look for morality or signs of political statement, see it as brilliant comedy, there are other's, future Jordon Belforts or Gordon Gekkos, for whom you have raised the bar.
    And finally Mr. Scorsese you have pounded Oliver Stone. His crafting of WALL STREET, good as it is, was not nearly as immersive as WOLF OF WALL STREET, cartoon and morality tale in one.  BTW, how many times was the F-bomb used?
    After dinner last evening and while cleaning up, Lana said to me she wanted to try something to clean the bottom of a Revere Ware pan.  She said she had heard about a combination of salt and lemon juice.  Our original Revere ware pans are dated to the beginning of our marriage. 
Here, is what ensued.

     By the way, I scrubbed as well.

     See you down the trail.


  1. I loved it...but what a wonderful selection of really good films out there right now...Dallas Buyers captured a very tough time, great acting...12 Years a Slave...brought tears, great acting, American Hustle...intimate smiles, great acting. Can't wait to see HER

  2. You didn't say how hard you scrubbed or for how long you both were at it. (BTW, I'm talking about the Revere ware, not the movie.)

    1. figured you meant the pans! not that long. Maybe five minutes a pan. depended on condition of the pan. I was surprised how well it worked.

  3. I haven't seen this movie and I'll probably pass. Everything I've heard leads me to believe I wouldn't enjoy it. But I think I'll try your scrubbing technique on our copper pans.

  4. I thought there was probably 2 hours and 10 minutes of an absolutely brilliant film. But alas, also 50 minutes of utterly self-indulgent film-making.

    Oh, for what could have been.

  5. Sometimes in art you have to go overboard to make a point and make it stick. To watch something like "Wolf of Wall Street" and expect it to scrupulously stick to "the facts" (as if anyone knows what they were/are, is to miss the point of what is being portrayed, which is outrageous, damaging, destructive, demeaning behaviour. Is there anything portrayed in the movie that did NOT go on?, though perhaps not to the extent shown. (e.g., counting the f-bombs completely misses the point. This movie will stay with me, and I hope and expect that it will cause many Americans to think at least twice about investing in the stock market, especially HOW they do it. And I speak as someone who has invested for nearly 60 years.