Saturday, February 1, 2014
Movie review: Wolf of Wall Street
Having been in the sales field for a bit and dealt with their type extensively as a colleague and a sucker where I lost something in the neighborhood of 30k usd, I had mixed feelings about this uber alpha salesguy Jordan Belfort
Sales guys are a peculiar sort. They are usually rather shallow,gauche and garish. They are usually average or below average intelligence. Indeed Ive seen many smart guys actually get stupider when they enter this field.Did I mention that they are a bunch of crass nouveau riche douche tools?
Having been a sales guy in a company dealing with B2B events, the gold standard is Scott Ragsdale.,the Chairman of Naseba. An impressive person indeed -an Ironman champion whose awesome physical endurance matches his ambition.
But reading his blog is a very tiresome process as he is a fan of Ayn Rand and her views dominate his world view. Her "philosophy" if you can call it that is responsible for much of the cruelty, coarseness and vulgarity in the modernity world. Specifically sad to say in the libertarian conservative world to which I am very sympathetic
Mr Ragsdale seems to imply that if you are not making tons of mucho dinero like he is then you are rather worthless. Less said about his incoherent political(a Randian who supports Obama and dismisses the "whacky right wing"?) and social views(women are better employees than men) the better. I had better stop talking of this thin skinned Mr Ragsdale as oddly it is rather easy to aggravate him!And will spend a good chunk of the blog whining about the criticism and threatening various legal (and implied illegal) actions using his (admittedly impressive) contacts. I have been on the receiving end of such threats before and came out relatively unscathed. Still best not to indulge in bravado and more provocation than necessary.
I had been a victim of a different type of fraud than in WoWS where the enterprise is legit logistically speaking but are selling their customers overhyped stock. I OTOH was taken in by smooth talkers whose entire operation was a scam- Shin Kong Wedbush based in Taiwan but registered in China
Similary the Wolf of "Wall Street" is really set up in Long Island and the guy is really more of hyena and vulture than a wolf and mostly lower middle class types of Jewish and Italian types created the very Waspish sounding Stratton Oakmont which invokes Ivy League bluebloods and the Social Register
Misdirection via deceitful branding is how they present themselves. I was pitched by a smooth talking "Richard Franklin" whose linkedin page showed all sorts of fancy degrees from Columbia Business School and Wharton.
I didn't do any more due diligence. More fool me. I was out $30k usd (at that time my life savings) and had restart from scratch. Thank god I wasn't married and have any other dependents
So it was interesting from this movie what goes on from the other side of the curtain
Martin Scorsese paints a hyper charged picture of a macho larger than life group of high testerone roguish risk takers living in a haze of cocaine powder and perfume of whores. A group who just sees their investors as marks and numbers and nothing else.
In other words pretty much every other Scorsese movie since Goodfellas
Goodfellas, Casino and Wolf of Wall Street are pretty much cookie cutter Scorsese. The Departed is a wonderful exception as it is a remake of an excellent Hong Kong feature
Ethnic Italian/Jewish hybrid from wrong side of the tracks makes good in illegal ventures and enjoys the ride and perks utterly oblivious of bourgeois morality. The downfall comes due to fatal character flaws(usually involving women) and Feds close in and put an end to the party.
This is not to knock Goodfellas. I absolutely love that movie -not a dull moment in it- but I feel sorry for those who watch Goodfellas AFTER watching its million knock offs and derivatives(including Scorcese's own work).
It is how viewers cant get riled up about John Carpenters Halloween (1977) because they
saw the inferior derivatives first.
Or how people cant feel the incredible power of Wagner( though mostly in discrete moments) due its pop corn versions in Star Wars movies. Only Robocops theme IMO comes close to its original majesty and oddly enough it meant to be satire of right wing heroism and Randian corporatism
I think Mr Scorsese should try some new narratives. Its not without a coincidence that he was celebrated for The Aviator and The Departed but less so for this movie Casino and Kundun( a wannabe Mishima- Schraders far superior Philip Glass biographical opera)