Soapbox Issues

The Wolf of Wall Street: Morally and ethically revolting

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About a week ago, a few friends and I watched The Wolf of Wall Street. I just went along with them not knowing much about the movie but agreeing to see it because I’ve liked some Scorsese movies and well, Leonardo DiCaprio has been a pretty good actor in recent years. The very first scene in the movie hits you smack bang in the face. Drugs. A lot of it. Still, it’s a movie and I settled back for more.

The movie kept rolling: Sex. Drugs. Sex. More drugs. More nudity. More sex. More drugs. Sexism. Oh and a whole lot of money and narcissism by filthy rich stockbrokers making their millions out of other people’s hard earned cash. I was starting to get a bit revolted despite the odd laughs. No, I’m not a prude. But honestly, there’s only so much boob and cocaine you can take in an hour. And as for the ethics of selling stocks? Well, that was probably even worse. There was also a scene pretty much depicting marital rape and physical abuse. And another candidly mentioning a stockbroker slitting his wrists.

I get it. It’s a satire. Supposedly for us all to think that the protagonist and his cronies are heading down a destructive path while making a buttload of money.

But you know when it stops being a satire and just something in really bad taste?

When you have the actual guy on whom the movie is based make an appearance at the end of the movie.

That is just fucked up.

Jordan Belfort pretty much conned people out of money to make his own millions. Jordan Belfort treated women, including his two wives, like objects. Jordan Belfort and his cronies made money out of other people’s naivety. Jordan Belfort referred to himself as the Wolf of Wall Street despite not having his offices on Wall Street. Jordan Belfort only served 22 months in prison for his crimes. But now, Jordan Belfort has been given a name and a face by Hollywood. One where he is seen like the saviour he appears to think himself as being.

And as for his victims? They don’t get a mention. They don’t get named. They remain faceless.

Through most of the movie, I was unaware that it was based on a true story and was pretty disgusted by the end. Then I found out that it was real and I think I lost it. I felt revolted and empty at the same time. I was in tears as I got home at the injustice of it all. I know the world isn’t fair and that a lot of people get away with crimes. I am not naive enough to assume that everything in life is fair. But don’t make a movie about someone who is a criminal and glorify his deeds as though he is a god. The fact that that someone also makes money out of the movie and books and get this, a motivational speaker is something I fail to comprehend. Michael Pascoe of SMH perfectly articulated my feelings about the movie here.

People like Jordan Belfort deserve to only have their names mentioned in utter disgust.

Have you seen the movie? 

What did you think?

***Linking with Jess on a fired up Tuesday for IBOT***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • karenjonesgowen
    February 4, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Wow. This review pretty much says it all, thank you for it. I’ve seen the trailer and although I enjoy watching the Acadamy award nominated movies I had decided this one wasn’t for me. Now I know for sure. Ugh. Wonder why it was nominated?
    karenjonesgowen recently posted…Planted in Different GardensMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Welcome here Karen! I fail to understand why it was nominated for so many awards as well. Once again, I get it’s satire but somehow, somewhere, it misses the point…and I also don’t think many people get the satire. Especially not when the real con man gets a role in the movie!

  • karenjonesgowen
    February 4, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Wow. This review pretty much says it all, thank you for it. I’ve seen the trailer and although I enjoy watching the Acadamy award nominated movies I had decided this one wasn’t for me. Now I know for sure. Ugh. Wonder why it was nominated?
    karenjonesgowen recently posted…Planted in Different GardensMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Welcome here Karen! I fail to understand why it was nominated for so many awards as well. Once again, I get it’s satire but somehow, somewhere, it misses the point…and I also don’t think many people get the satire. Especially not when the real con man gets a role in the movie!

  • Lee-Anne
    February 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

    A perceptive post. I haven’t seen this film but heard a similar reaction to yours that made me think I wouldn’t bother.
    I don’t believe that branding something satire – especially a film, book, play – involving gratuitous violence, gives it carte blanche to offend anyone and everyone. Sometimes, it’s just – as you say – bad taste, bad values etc. And some vulnerable people, teens especially, might miss the satire and take it a face value.
    For this reason I don’t particularly Quentin Tarantino who everyone else seems to love!?
    🙂
    Lee-Anne recently posted…Blocked, defriended, unfollowed…My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Totally agree Lee-Anne…a lot of people are unlikely to get the satire and all they will see is a man who made big bucks by conning people and now despite having to pay them back, has made a name and also has a role in the movie. Must admit I haven’t watched Quentin Tarantino movies because of the violence…

  • Lee-Anne
    February 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

    A perceptive post. I haven’t seen this film but heard a similar reaction to yours that made me think I wouldn’t bother.
    I don’t believe that branding something satire – especially a film, book, play – involving gratuitous violence, gives it carte blanche to offend anyone and everyone. Sometimes, it’s just – as you say – bad taste, bad values etc. And some vulnerable people, teens especially, might miss the satire and take it a face value.
    For this reason I don’t particularly Quentin Tarantino who everyone else seems to love!?
    🙂
    Lee-Anne recently posted…Blocked, defriended, unfollowed…My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Totally agree Lee-Anne…a lot of people are unlikely to get the satire and all they will see is a man who made big bucks by conning people and now despite having to pay them back, has made a name and also has a role in the movie. Must admit I haven’t watched Quentin Tarantino movies because of the violence…

  • Anisha
    February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Thank heavens, SOMEBODY thinks the same way. I enjoy Scorsese ‘s movies and I love Caprio but this movie made me feel disgusted and the way people are going gaga over the movie. To think that all this was based on a memoir is revolting.
    Wonderful post. You are not alone.
    Anisha recently posted…“I was saving my ten.”My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Welcome here Anisha! And thanks for letting me know I’m not alone…if I had known before hand that it was based on a true story and that the real Jordan Belfort had a scene in it, I would not have spent my hard-earned money to promote him!

  • Anisha
    February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Thank heavens, SOMEBODY thinks the same way. I enjoy Scorsese ‘s movies and I love Caprio but this movie made me feel disgusted and the way people are going gaga over the movie. To think that all this was based on a memoir is revolting.
    Wonderful post. You are not alone.
    Anisha recently posted…“I was saving my ten.”My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Welcome here Anisha! And thanks for letting me know I’m not alone…if I had known before hand that it was based on a true story and that the real Jordan Belfort had a scene in it, I would not have spent my hard-earned money to promote him!

  • stephanie
    February 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Have only seen the trailer on TV, and would certainly not have been on my must see list. I guess such movies are made because it brings the $$ for the movie companies.
    stephanie recently posted…Unintentionally intentionalMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Yeah that’s a possibility Stephanie…but it always makes me wonder how many morals people are willing to let go of in order to make the money! 😕

  • stephanie
    February 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Have only seen the trailer on TV, and would certainly not have been on my must see list. I guess such movies are made because it brings the $$ for the movie companies.
    stephanie recently posted…Unintentionally intentionalMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Yeah that’s a possibility Stephanie…but it always makes me wonder how many morals people are willing to let go of in order to make the money! 😕

  • R's Mom
    February 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I was wanting to watch this one..but now I am skeptical eh?
    R’s Mom recently posted…And So We Did the Challenge – Blogathon Post 31My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Watch it on DVD if you must but don’t spend your hard-earned money on going to the movies…

  • R's Mom
    February 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I was wanting to watch this one..but now I am skeptical eh?
    R’s Mom recently posted…And So We Did the Challenge – Blogathon Post 31My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Watch it on DVD if you must but don’t spend your hard-earned money on going to the movies…

  • Janet @ Redland City Living
    February 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    And here I was thinking it was a comedy! Thanks for the heads up – I’ll be giving this one a big miss.

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx
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    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I think it was supposed to be…but I didn’t laugh too much at all!

  • Janet @ Redland City Living
    February 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    And here I was thinking it was a comedy! Thanks for the heads up – I’ll be giving this one a big miss.

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx
    Janet @ Redland City Living recently posted…Blogger Friendly Restaurant RequiredMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I think it was supposed to be…but I didn’t laugh too much at all!

  • Archana
    February 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    100% agree – my husband and I have been trying.. really trying.. to watch the movie, but just can’t.. there is so much of everything – the drugs, the profanity, the sex, the nudity – it’s not about being a prude, but it is so in excess that it got boring and revolting.
    I knew it was a true story, but didn’t know the guy makes an appearance in the end – WTH!
    Archana recently posted…Losing the Blogathon!My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Exactly Archana! Swearing is fine. Nudity is fine. Drugs are fine. But when it’s all in your face every couple of minutes, it just gets a bit too much to take! And yeah, the guy that introduces DiCaprio’s character in the end is the real Jordan Belfort. I found that out the next day at work. 😡

  • Archana
    February 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    100% agree – my husband and I have been trying.. really trying.. to watch the movie, but just can’t.. there is so much of everything – the drugs, the profanity, the sex, the nudity – it’s not about being a prude, but it is so in excess that it got boring and revolting.
    I knew it was a true story, but didn’t know the guy makes an appearance in the end – WTH!
    Archana recently posted…Losing the Blogathon!My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Exactly Archana! Swearing is fine. Nudity is fine. Drugs are fine. But when it’s all in your face every couple of minutes, it just gets a bit too much to take! And yeah, the guy that introduces DiCaprio’s character in the end is the real Jordan Belfort. I found that out the next day at work. 😡

  • Bake Play Smile
    February 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I haven’t seen it yet but I’m interested just to see for myself what it’s like. I saw an interview with the guy on TV and he seemed so incredibly unrepentant for what he did. Apparently the money the movie makes is going to the victims of his crimes, so maybe that’s a positive?? 🙂

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      If you do see it, let me know your views. I’d recommend watching it on DVD so as to not give him the money though! 😛 Let’s face it — if someone was truly repentant for what they did, they wouldn’t be naming their memoir as something so grandiose or agreeing to play a cameo in a movie! It’ll be interesting to see if his victims get the true compensation they deserve…

  • Bake Play Smile
    February 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I haven’t seen it yet but I’m interested just to see for myself what it’s like. I saw an interview with the guy on TV and he seemed so incredibly unrepentant for what he did. Apparently the money the movie makes is going to the victims of his crimes, so maybe that’s a positive?? 🙂

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      If you do see it, let me know your views. I’d recommend watching it on DVD so as to not give him the money though! 😛 Let’s face it — if someone was truly repentant for what they did, they wouldn’t be naming their memoir as something so grandiose or agreeing to play a cameo in a movie! It’ll be interesting to see if his victims get the true compensation they deserve…

  • Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    February 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    You can tell you are a psychologist by the way you have analysed the movie. I thought the same. To some point you can sit back and think its just Hollywood making the movie excessive, but the fact that its a true story makes it so sad. The fact that he makes money from it is shit too – he was meant to pay back his victims with it which he claims hes done, but apparently thats not the case.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…Mummy Must Have | Nibbly BitsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Haha…I will admit that I tend to analyse movies and books a bit too much but I can assure you it wasn’t the case for this one. Well, except maybe diagnosing Jordan Belfort with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Ah so it’s not really the case that he is paying them back, huh? Don’t know much about that I must admit…

  • Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    February 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    You can tell you are a psychologist by the way you have analysed the movie. I thought the same. To some point you can sit back and think its just Hollywood making the movie excessive, but the fact that its a true story makes it so sad. The fact that he makes money from it is shit too – he was meant to pay back his victims with it which he claims hes done, but apparently thats not the case.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…Mummy Must Have | Nibbly BitsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Haha…I will admit that I tend to analyse movies and books a bit too much but I can assure you it wasn’t the case for this one. Well, except maybe diagnosing Jordan Belfort with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Ah so it’s not really the case that he is paying them back, huh? Don’t know much about that I must admit…

  • E.
    February 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Mr E. and I saw it a few weeks ago. Let’s just say I won’t be letting him choose another movie for us to see in a long time.
    E. recently posted…Operation Move #walk400 Progress postMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Haha…glad to hear that E! 😀

  • E.
    February 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Mr E. and I saw it a few weeks ago. Let’s just say I won’t be letting him choose another movie for us to see in a long time.
    E. recently posted…Operation Move #walk400 Progress postMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Haha…glad to hear that E! 😀

  • Mi
    February 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I had heard some really amazing reviews about this movie, and this is what it has? Well, I wouldn’t wanna watch it then. ! Thanks for the review, saved me a precious hour and half. I’d rather do something better!! 🙂
    Mi recently posted…My school girls!My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      It wasn’t even an hour and a half Mi…it was 3 hours long! 3 hours of my life I won’t get back and $20 I won’t get back! Gah!

  • Mi
    February 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I had heard some really amazing reviews about this movie, and this is what it has? Well, I wouldn’t wanna watch it then. ! Thanks for the review, saved me a precious hour and half. I’d rather do something better!! 🙂
    Mi recently posted…My school girls!My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      It wasn’t even an hour and a half Mi…it was 3 hours long! 3 hours of my life I won’t get back and $20 I won’t get back! Gah!

  • Deb @home life simplified
    February 5, 2014 at 12:16 am

    So glad I read this. I knew no details of the movie but had considered seeing it with friends. Glad I will choose something else like 12 years a slave
    Deb @home life simplified recently posted…Create before you consumeMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Oh I’m sure you’ll do a lot better with 12 years a slave Deb…it’s one I want to watch and I think will be way more meaningful!

  • Deb @home life simplified
    February 5, 2014 at 12:16 am

    So glad I read this. I knew no details of the movie but had considered seeing it with friends. Glad I will choose something else like 12 years a slave
    Deb @home life simplified recently posted…Create before you consumeMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Oh I’m sure you’ll do a lot better with 12 years a slave Deb…it’s one I want to watch and I think will be way more meaningful!

  • Grace
    February 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I actually found the movie extremely intriguing. Not to say that I agree that Jordan Belfort should be put in such limelight but the truth of the matter – these things happened in the greed of the 80’s and 90’s.
    I heard that the FBI agent that finally put him to jail wrote an article in The New York Times saying how the movie wrongfully portrayed Belfort as a hero.
    I didn’t see him as a hero. I just saw him as the sad and tragic result of greed and deceit.
    Grace recently posted…Of Dinosaur Cakes and MeltdownsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I agree that this happened a lot in the 80s and 90s and probably still does in those avenues but while you didn’t see him as a hero (and neither did I), how many others probably did/do? The fact that he is making money as a motivational speaker is a laughing matter. The fact that he gets a cameo in this movie would show a lot of people who don’t get satire that there is always a way to make money. There is always a sale. The fact that he continues to remain unrepentant (and if he is, it appears to be mainly feeling sorry for himself), is another thing that really gets to me.

  • Grace
    February 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I actually found the movie extremely intriguing. Not to say that I agree that Jordan Belfort should be put in such limelight but the truth of the matter – these things happened in the greed of the 80’s and 90’s.
    I heard that the FBI agent that finally put him to jail wrote an article in The New York Times saying how the movie wrongfully portrayed Belfort as a hero.
    I didn’t see him as a hero. I just saw him as the sad and tragic result of greed and deceit.
    Grace recently posted…Of Dinosaur Cakes and MeltdownsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I agree that this happened a lot in the 80s and 90s and probably still does in those avenues but while you didn’t see him as a hero (and neither did I), how many others probably did/do? The fact that he is making money as a motivational speaker is a laughing matter. The fact that he gets a cameo in this movie would show a lot of people who don’t get satire that there is always a way to make money. There is always a sale. The fact that he continues to remain unrepentant (and if he is, it appears to be mainly feeling sorry for himself), is another thing that really gets to me.

  • Tegan
    February 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I hadn’t heard anything much about this movie so it wasn’t really something that I was going to go and see. After reading your review..I definitely think it is something that I won’t be seeing.
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    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

      I think it was the underlying message of him getting away with it despite all he did that got to me. Sure it was shallow and made you despise their lifestyle but some people probably won’t see it that way. At least don’t spend money to watch it! 😛

  • Tegan
    February 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I hadn’t heard anything much about this movie so it wasn’t really something that I was going to go and see. After reading your review..I definitely think it is something that I won’t be seeing.
    Tegan recently posted…Are you on crack?My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      February 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

      I think it was the underlying message of him getting away with it despite all he did that got to me. Sure it was shallow and made you despise their lifestyle but some people probably won’t see it that way. At least don’t spend money to watch it! 😛

  • Mark V
    March 2, 2014 at 3:06 am

    The trailer for this film made it look less than appealing, but since it was playing at the repertory theatre that I frequent, I decided to give it a chance. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

    I will be totally honest: I really enjoyed the film, and no, I wasn’t aware that the emcee near the end of the film was the real Jordan Belfort (I was wondering what this nameless fellow with the American accent was doing in New Zealand). Actually, I knew nothing of Jordan Belfort beforehand–until the final credits, I wasn’t even aware that it was based upon a true story.

    For those who say the film was excessive: that was precisely the point. In regards to certain viewers not understanding that it’s meant to be satire, even going so far as to idolise Belfort, well, that’s their fault, not mine. Why should I miss out on a great movie just because others might not understand that it’s a satire and Belfort is a scumbag? Also, since the film was based on Jordan Belfort’s book about his dealings on Wall Street, perhaps Belfort’s appearance in the film was part of a package deal. And even if he hadn’t appeared in the movie, he still wrote the thing, so JB’s appearance on screen shouldn’t trouble you as much as you think.

    I don’t think anything of Michael Pascoe’s review. The man is a dope (he also lies in his article, claiming that Scorsese’s film is a remake of some rather obscure movie named “Boiler Room”, which it isn’t). I live in Australia, and Pascoe is on a show called “Sunrise”, possibly the worst “news” programme in existence (and that’s saying something). Pascoe works for the biggest media tycoons in Australia, the type of folks (billionaires) who would gladly snort coke and retreat to tax havens along with the Jordan Belforts of the world. Pascoe works for the corporate media, themselves a big bunch of swindlers and dirtbags. Also, Pascoe is a financial advisor, he encourages people to buy shares, so he’s basically a wannabe Jordan Belfort (and would sell his soul for even a skinny slice of Belfort’s financial cake).

    I wonder if the same folks who hate “The Wolf of Wall Street” also hated “Raging Bull”. After all, that was a film by Martin Scorsese, about a man (Jake LaMotta) who beat his wife and got sent to prison, and that film won a tonne of awards (and yes, it was a true story, and LaMotta worked as an advisor on the film). I really think that people need to come up with better reasons why they like/don’t like certain movies.

  • Mark V
    March 2, 2014 at 3:06 am

    The trailer for this film made it look less than appealing, but since it was playing at the repertory theatre that I frequent, I decided to give it a chance. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

    I will be totally honest: I really enjoyed the film, and no, I wasn’t aware that the emcee near the end of the film was the real Jordan Belfort (I was wondering what this nameless fellow with the American accent was doing in New Zealand). Actually, I knew nothing of Jordan Belfort beforehand–until the final credits, I wasn’t even aware that it was based upon a true story.

    For those who say the film was excessive: that was precisely the point. In regards to certain viewers not understanding that it’s meant to be satire, even going so far as to idolise Belfort, well, that’s their fault, not mine. Why should I miss out on a great movie just because others might not understand that it’s a satire and Belfort is a scumbag? Also, since the film was based on Jordan Belfort’s book about his dealings on Wall Street, perhaps Belfort’s appearance in the film was part of a package deal. And even if he hadn’t appeared in the movie, he still wrote the thing, so JB’s appearance on screen shouldn’t trouble you as much as you think.

    I don’t think anything of Michael Pascoe’s review. The man is a dope (he also lies in his article, claiming that Scorsese’s film is a remake of some rather obscure movie named “Boiler Room”, which it isn’t). I live in Australia, and Pascoe is on a show called “Sunrise”, possibly the worst “news” programme in existence (and that’s saying something). Pascoe works for the biggest media tycoons in Australia, the type of folks (billionaires) who would gladly snort coke and retreat to tax havens along with the Jordan Belforts of the world. Pascoe works for the corporate media, themselves a big bunch of swindlers and dirtbags. Also, Pascoe is a financial advisor, he encourages people to buy shares, so he’s basically a wannabe Jordan Belfort (and would sell his soul for even a skinny slice of Belfort’s financial cake).

    I wonder if the same folks who hate “The Wolf of Wall Street” also hated “Raging Bull”. After all, that was a film by Martin Scorsese, about a man (Jake LaMotta) who beat his wife and got sent to prison, and that film won a tonne of awards (and yes, it was a true story, and LaMotta worked as an advisor on the film). I really think that people need to come up with better reasons why they like/don’t like certain movies.

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