As it so happens, this film is the reason I was motivated to write this series. I had the immediate presumption that any movie with Jonah Hill in it, was not an Oscar worthy film. Seeing as it was nominated in many different things, and I believe even won one, I knew something must be awry behind the scenes of the Oscars. Hill has never been an actor that I would see has an air of “Oscar worthy performance”. Hill is a bit part, he plays nearly the same character in every movie he is in, and after the tenth movie, the character has gone stale. That notwithstanding, I did take the time to view this film, and analyze it the best I can. You will notice I don’t go into very much detail in these, because I very rarely soak in as much as my fellow reviewers around the internet. I want to bring you a look at these films from the everyday perspective. I could not fathom a movie that’s favorite word in the dialogue was the “F Bomb”, as an Oscar winner. To also find out that this movie was “based on a true story” was even more shocking overall, because throughout the movie, I had to keep asking, “Who would actually do this?”. Looking at it objectively, and it being another Martin Scorsese film, I had to know what I was getting into, I just didn’t prepare myself for it.
We find ourselves following the everyday life of a man named Jordan Belfort. Had this name not been an actual person, I would have quickly judged the screenwriters for coming up with a terrible lead character name. It sounds like someone who is trying to sound rich, who just isn’t. Belfort is an aspiring stockbroker, just starting out in a legit trading firm in New York City. When that company goes belly up, and the entire stock trading industry takes a huge hit, he finds himself struggling to find work. He signs up fast, when an opportunity to sell stocks is presented, but the work is not what he expected. The story follows him down this path, and how he takes this strange backwater stock trading idea, and turning it into a lucrative and successful business. Clearly, this particular tactic is mostly illegal, but in the time period it is set, it rides the line.
I won’t go into too much more detail, mostly because I went in with far less information. I am just going to cover certain points that either made or broke this movie. My biggest gripe about this is the run time. This movie rings in just short of three hours long. Its pace is pretty slow most times, so I found it very hard to keep going. Had we not decided to watch this movie in bed, I likely would have given up and gone to bed at the two hour mark. There was no good reason for it to be that long. The content of the story was not enough to stretch over that period of time. If you are on the fence to watch this, I would say don’t based on that fact alone.
One thing I could have gone my entire life without seeing was Jonah Hills penis. I get that the reason it was out was to highlight his mental state at the time, but there was no reason it needed to be out for the viewers to actually see. The allusion was all they needed, but they went for it. I think gratuitous nudity in any movie is pretty unwarranted. I understand that they want to go for realism sometimes, and real is naked in some cases, but the mystery serves just as well as the real thing most times.
I keep racking my brain to trying and come up with things to write about here, but I just can’t form it all into my head. It would be a disservice to you as my readers to ramble on and on about how much I wasn’t impressed with this movie. However, it could have been a much better movie than it was, if they had structured it down to a shorter run time, toned down the unnecessary use of the “F Bomb”, and were a bit more believable with the characters.
This movie should not have been considered for the Best Picture award at the Oscars, because it falls short in far too many ways. Unlike most of my previous articles here, the acting is where it falls short the most. Leo didn’t get his Oscar again, but at least this time it was because his performance wasn’t the best of the options. If you are going to take the time to watch this film, make sure you have a good block of time to watch it. Also, beware Jonah Hill’s penis.