The Wolf of Wall Street

Director: Martin Scorsese
Year Released: 2013
Rating: 3.5

Frenetically ambitious broker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) learns a bit about the business, loses his job and eventually realizes he has to start from the bottom, selling penny stocks and starting his company in a garage with the assistance of toothy Donnie (Jonah Hill) and guys better suited to peddling weed. The arc is familiar - nothing-to-something then something-to-nothing, with addiction to narcotics and promiscuous behavior and marital problems along with way - and the way Scorsese (along with screenwriter Terence Winter) treats Belfort's 'reign' is as if it were an immoral circus. I'm not positive it works as a satire of '80's excess but it is admittedly amusing as "pure entertainment" (with an accomplished filmmaker telling the tale) - the scene where Belfort crawls around after taking too many Quaaludes is more funny than cautionary, for example, and throwing midgets and shaving women's heads and dancing on table tops is common buffoonery in most college fraternities (that's it, precisely: Belfort turns Wall St. into a frat-inspired parody of itself). Women throughout are regarded purely as objects (aside from one of Belfort's loyal employees), but that shouldn't come as much of a surprise since, to Belfort, the world is a hedonistic playground to acquire riches and bitches well after the point one should reasonably curb one's appetites (for money, for cocaine, for frivolous luxury items). The chemistry between Hill and DiCaprio is strong, with Hill making a niche for himself as the Ultimate Best Buddy (as he was with Brad Pitt in Moneyball).