The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf-of-Wall-Street-e1388673221297

Leonardo DiCaprio existed before Titanic (uh, the movie). I’m always surprised that people don’t remember this. The dude was on Growing Pains, for crying out loud. He’s spent twenty five years acting. He has more credits to his name than a lot of actors twice his age. He’s done comedy and drama, psychological thrillers and epics. He’s one of the few big-name actors I can still believe in any role. I don’t watch his movies thinking, “That’s Leonardo DiCaprio pretending to swim/fish/fight/whatever.” He embodies the characters he plays, enabling me to forget who he is long enough to believe the performance.

Do you get that I like him? That I have much admiration for his skill? That I think he’s just swell? Good. Because it wouldn’t be right to completely trash this movie if I didn’t mention that first.

The Wolf of Wall Street (AKA The Longest Movie Ever Made) was difficult to watch–primarily because I spent half of it wondering when the credits would finally roll. I think anyone who writes a great deal gets to a point where they edit automatically. They examine everything with a critical eye. Dialogue is dissected for relevance. Every scene is considered for effectiveness. Performances are weighed based on facial expressions, tone of voice, body language.

Performances here were great. Mr. DiCaprio knows how to act and he didn’t fail here. Jonah Hill nailed the creepy/funny supporting role, and Matthew McConaughey was…well, Matthew McConaughey. That might be the last nice thing I have to say here.

Many, many scenes could have either been cut or trimmed. With a machete. I understand character-building. I get that every fictional world needs a firm sense of environment. I’d never argue that. This film, however, went much too far. It’s like the director thought that two hours into this, I still hadn’t comprehended how disgusting these people had become.

I HAD.

When I watch a movie I’ve been looking forward to, I settle in. I get snacks, a drink, and kick my feet on the couch because I have no intention of getting up until it’s over. With The Wolf of Wall Street, I found myself wandering around the house, using BS excuses to leave the room. Honestly, I can’t tell you how long this movie was, only that I was ready for it to be over long before it was.

The worst part is that, with proper editing, this could have been fantastic. The hook was good. From the commercials, I knew this was my kind of movie. It’s suits displaying their jackass-ishness for the world to see! It’s Leonardo Di-freaking-Caprio! It’s fun! It’s funny!

And it was. About half the time. The other half I felt like I was being beat over the head with points already made. As if the director looked at the script pre-production and decided this could make an epic movie…if they strung it out long enough.

My opinion? It would have been better if they hadn’t.

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4 Responses to The Wolf of Wall Street

  1. Jack says:

    Was never a fan of Dreamboat Leo until the guys over at http://nerdlunch.blogspot.com suggested I watch Inception. I was very impressed, and while not a total convert, view him now in a much more positive light. In the notes, writer/director Christopher Nolan said about his star, “I used live sets for the destructive action scenes, which means a blown take could cost an extra couple of million in redressing the set after the lost shooting day. What I quickly learned about Leonardo was his dedication to his craft. If I told him I needed him rounding the corner at the bottom of the stairs eight seconds into the shoot, I knew that’s where he’d be [paraphrased].”

    For long, tedious movies, see also some of Kevin Costner’s works, particularly Wyatt Earp and Dances With Wolves, both agonizingly long stories that could have been better told in half the time. Costner did the research on those (apparently he’s quite the historian), and his feeling seems to have been that once he ferreted out some detail of the man or the setting that he was portraying, it was worth inclusion, even if it was just the guy’s style of spitting tobacco. I suspect that when you find a movie like this that drags on for agonizing hours, there is someone highly placed behind the scenes who can’t bear to let go of any of the work he did to get the movie to the screen.

    Nice piece of work here, although I’m afraid I won’t be buying your used DVD; perhaps you might consider investing in a marketing course…

    Hope your having a great weekend,
    ~ “Blimprider”

    • elletodd says:

      Been a really long weekend, but I’m glad you stopped by!
      I didn’t mind Dances With Wolves, though Wyatt Earp tried my patience. It can be done well, occasionally, but longer movies should never be the go-to approach. I think you’re probably right about the reasons behind the decision. As much as I get too attached to some of the things I’ve written, there is a point at which you just have to say, “Cut it!”
      If you change your mind about the DVD, let me know!

  2. datmama4 says:

    I’ve liked DiCaprio in pretty much everything (though I’ve never seen this one and now won’t waste my time on it). One of the things I liked is how hard he fought against being stereotyped as the Pretty Boy. It forced people to see that the guy really can act.

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