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Leonardo DiCaprio Says 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' Is "Not Condoning This Behavior...We’re Indicting It"

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 31, 2013 9:50 AM
110 Comments
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As Movies.com notes, "The Counselor," "The Family," "The Last Exorcism Part II," "Movie 43," "The Purge," "Runner Runner" and "Scary Movie 5" are the only movies this year that managed a lower grade than the C+ CinemaScore recently earned by "The Wolf Of Wall Street." It's hardly the kind of company you'd expect to find the latest film from Martin Scorsese included with, but then again, nothing about 'Wolf' meets ordinary expectations. 

Despite largely positive reviews from critics, a backlash of sorts has started to greet the movie for its party atmosphere that does much to shine the light on the antics of Jordan Belfort and his fellow Wall Street sleazebags, and little on the actual victims of his frauds. The daughter of one of Belfort's real life colleagues even penned an open letter recently, shaming the filmmakers for turning Belfort's crimes into R-rated entertainment, for what she perceived was very little consideration for the innocent people who wound up paying the price. 

And with some criticism now swirling, Leonardo DiCaprio has responded, insisting that the three hour movie doesn't celebrate the actions of the man he portrays. “This film may be misunderstood by some; I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it," he told Variety. "The book was a cautionary tale and if you sit through the end of the film, you’ll realize what we’re saying about these people and this world, because it’s an intoxicating one. I think it’s amazing somebody like Martin Scorsese is still making films that are vital and talked about, and have an element of controversy about them and are appealing to people of my generation. We grew up watching his films and he’s still making stuff that’s punk rock. It’s an amazing achievement.”

Speaking with Deadline, DiCaprio—who is also a producer on the picture—elaborated on why so much of the film is spent on sex, drugs and debauchery. "Number one, because we didn’t want to take a traditional approach to this film. Number two, we very consciously wanted this to be an analysis of the temptation and intoxication of the world of money and indulgence and hedonism," the actor explained. "We wanted to take the audience on that journey, and so we don’t ever see the wake of that destruction until the very end, where they implode. It was a very conscious decision on our part, so the experience would be almost like taking a drug. To me, if you’re an audience member, you want to be completely submerged in the actual film." 

And if you are one of the bros who totally loves the movie because of its wild ways, you might not be getting it. "We wanted it to be from these peoples’ perspective, an understanding of the very nature of who these people are, and why this can be so intoxicating and so exciting for them. By no means is this film a glorification or some sort of promotion of this lifestyle and those who say it is are missing the point entirely," DiCaprio stated.

So, when does the movie pause to acknowledge that Jordan Belfort's methods have horrifying repercussions? Even Leonardo DiCaprio missed it at first. "We wanted people specifically to understand the mindset. During that time period, none of those guys gave a crap about who they were screwing over. They only cared about themselves and their own hedonistic enjoyment and the accumulation of more wealth, and giving into any possible indulgence. Yes, Marty brilliantly holds onto that shot of the woman, holding a bundle of money in her hand with half of her head shaved off. He kept holding on that and only after the fifth viewing did I say, wow, those are his subtle ways of reminding us about our actions," the actor revealed, before once again adding that 'Wolf' does not make any apologies for what it depicts.

"We’ve seen hundreds of movies that have a much more traditional approach to this [kind of material]. I’m sorry for anyone who may misinterpret that, but this is absolutely an indictment of this world and a cautionary tale. More than that, it’s something that is in the very fabric of our culture, the very fabric of the United States. That, to me, is a powerful film. It is exploring human nature."

Thoughts? Does "The Wolf Of Wall Street" spend enough time showing the consequences or is it too caught up in throwing midgets and doing blow? Let us know below after this latest clip from the film.

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110 Comments

  • James D | July 23, 2014 9:02 PMReply

    Everybody here is really talking about how "poisoning", "sinful", and "pornographic" this film was? The point of the movie is to be realistic so you know how the characters felt and what they were going through. The fact your felt disgusted is not a bad thing because that means you have a conscious. However, isn't a directors job is to leave an impression and create a realistic point of view? If its to real for you than you should stick to pg 13. because this is no were no a rated XXX film. A lot of fallacies and insecurities floating around, lets be adults about it.

  • AAA | June 29, 2014 12:54 AMReply

    I work in an industry not unlike the industry depicted in the film (easy work [well, physically demanding, but only if you're a pussy], tons of cash, drugs, and women). We have lots of time to sit around watching movies, or doing whatever though. (Unlike wallstreet though, instead of destroying the lives of people in our own nation, we destroy nature instead). I understand what they say they were going for in this movie, but honestly, all the guys I work with just thought it was an awesome drug-fest like Project X... personally, it was fun, like heading to a rave and getting zooed. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the recession created by people like those depicted in the movie [except the guys that created the recession were smart, and powerful enough to get promoted into consulting positions in the US gov after, rather than have the gov come after them like those in the movie lol]). And another thing in the back of my mind were the people on the other end of the phone. The average person, with an average job, spending forty years working hard just to make a fraction of what the people depicted in the movie (and the actors depicting them) earn in a few months to a couple years. I think the only big mistake made, was to devote so much of the movie to glorifying the lifestyle, rather than showing the end results... but then again, this is only showing the guys dumb enough not to buy out politicians, and make powerful friends. The real deal gets to live large and die of old age filthy rich, with no consequences (at least in this life), because they own the only people that have the power to stop them, or they own their bosses. Boiler Room (2000 movie) did a much better job already at doing what DiCaprio says they were trying to portray with this movie.

  • Jdub | June 26, 2014 7:12 AMReply

    And at the same time their are plenty of other movies that display profanity, sex, and drugs just like Wolf of Wall Street. The only difference is Leonardo Dicaprio plays the main character. You should not judge him for portraying a character either, do you judge Ted Levine for portraying a psycho who skins women in silence of the lambs? No, because it's a character and a job. Wolf of Wall Street simply depicts the lifestyle of what Wall Street was actually like during the time period, sorry they had to be so accurate but it's simply entertainment. If people aren't smart enough not to do blow amongst other substances than they are simply uneducated. Plain and simple the movie portrays that lifestyle whether you enjoy viewing that lifestyle is your decision but do not be so quick to judge producers for portraying the lifestyle truthfully and to their fullest ability.

  • DeeDee | June 25, 2014 1:44 PMReply

    This is the most disgusting movie that Leonardo has ever made, I will never ever watch another movie he is in....we are living in the Endtimes..where right is wrong & wrong is right.
    Sad....world.

  • Jdub | June 26, 2014 6:58 AM

    Calm down, it's a movie, quite different from other movies as well. It's about time something new be displayed. A lot worse has happened in human history so don't say sad world either.

  • cheryl | May 29, 2014 1:39 AMReply

    Saw the movie in a hotel last week. Wanted to shut it down during the first few minutes when this disgusting lead actor was blowing cocaine into a womans anus....This sort of stuff may have actually happened, but the sex involved in this movie should have it at a triple X rating. I have lost respect for the lead actor, Scorcese and everyone involved in the movie...It would have been a classic if it weren't so obsessed with such an enormous amount of hedonism, objectification of women and vulgarity..Love how you guys loved to show women's genitals, but never a mans....You have poisoned the minds of everyone who watched....You just knew that this type of sex would sell....embarrassing...I despise Hollywood....Sad thing is that my 17 and 19 year old snuck into this movie and now their minds are poisoned forever.

  • dddsfd | June 15, 2014 12:08 AM

    Saw the movie in a hotel last week. Wanted to shut it down during the first few minutes when this disgusting lead actor was blowing cocaine into a womans anus....This sort of stuff may have actually happened, but the sex involved in this movie should have it at a triple X rating. I have lost respect for the lead actor, Scorcese and everyone involved in the movie...It would have been a classic if it weren't so obsessed with such an enormous amount of hedonism, objectification of women and vulgarity..Love how you guys loved to show women's genitals, but never a mans....You have poisoned the minds of everyone who watched....You just knew that this type of sex would sell....embarrassing...I despise Hollywood....Sad thing is that my 17 and 19 year old snuck into this movie and now their minds are poisoned forever.

  • Arto Kamera | May 28, 2014 3:00 PMReply

    gg.me/at/watzleft

  • Arto kamera | May 28, 2014 2:53 PMReply

    He says we are Not Condoning This Behavior... We’re Indicting It. How comes we got the opposite feeling? I am french I am fan of Pasolini. But this movie definitely missed the mark.

  • Miranda | April 28, 2014 7:03 PMReply

    I am definitely not a movie credit, but when something is so disgusting, so revolting, and just so plain terrible I'm compelled to at least tell everyone to listen to not see this movie. It's the biggest waste of your time, and you're saving yourself from being positively ill. My opinion of Leonardo DiCaprio has forever been changed. Awful awful awful. . Unless you're a thirteen year old boy who steals his daddy's Hustlers.

  • Miranda | April 28, 2014 7:04 PM

    ***critic

  • SC | April 25, 2014 1:52 PMReply

    Leonardo, the critics and whoever else can say all the positive things they want about this film... But it is clearly glorifying some really disgusting sh**, like prostitutes. And the character "upgrades" his wife, the only character we don't see having sex or naked during the film. Why are all the women in this movie portrayed as a bunch of bimbos and purely sex objects

  • AAA | June 29, 2014 2:04 AM

    The guys portrayed in the film aren't interested in they type of women not portrayed in the film. That is their lifestyle. Guys like that absolutely would not want an intelligent and morally sound woman around, and even if they did, they wouldn't be able to keep them for long, unless they're skilled enough at deception and enjoy the challenge. And hopefully any woman with a grain of integrity wouldn't be caught dead in such an environment. I'd take the type of women portrayed in this film as a compliment, rather than an insult. And if you're upset because you really just think women like that don't exist, I'm afraid you're naive. There are still signs posted from the height of the Roman era in coliseums dating back thousands of years that advertise the prostitutes, and sometimes listing the gladiators they'd slept with. So that other guys or girls could have the same woman a famous gladiator had, at a price. Guys and girls are equally weird about the rich and famous even to this day. And if you think there is a bottom to the abyss of the human soul, you are greatly mistaken. As a good friend of mine once said: "Justification is the name of a demon." No level of debauchery or horror is beyond a humans ability to justify. But believe me what I say it's in your best interest not to dwell on such things. Nietzsche said it best, or at least he's famous enough to have a good ending quote: "...when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Just forget you ever saw the movie.

  • Miranda | April 28, 2014 7:10 PM

    Because it was made by a bunch of misogynistic pricks, apparently

  • Doris Gumner | April 6, 2014 3:46 PMReply

    This was absolutely the WORST film I have EVER seen. It was almost hard-core PORN! I cannot imagine a star like Leonardo DiCaprio filming something like this, nor can I imagine any of those women wanting to get into films so badly that they would play a part like that. It was totally the most DISGUSTING film ever!!!!!

  • BleeOz | April 6, 2014 3:44 PMReply

    Typo- Jordan Belfort....

  • BleeOz | April 6, 2014 3:41 PMReply

    It's a movie - If a 17-18 year old isn't smart enough to realize the outcome of living a life in the form depicted of John Belfort earlier lifestyle then, that's their life. If they choose to go that route and aren't smart enough to realize the repercussions, then that's their choice, not the actors or filmakers.
    And mine you , Scorsee is telling a story, through film with actual facts and depictions. You have every right to share your opinions and concerns but need to realize that this is a story not showing people " What" to do but to show what "NOT" to do.

    And I would give dozens of other films that have been brought to the screen but then again judgement would be placed in regards to those as well.

  • Carole Paikin Miller | April 6, 2014 8:58 AMReply

    Do Scorcese and DiCaprio ever stop to consider that many normal, higher minded people who might have given the film a chance had it been more Belfortish biographical, more insightful, more analytical and more victim-centred, won't hang around for the endiclimax? I turned off this crap one quarter of the way into the movie and I know a number of my friends and acquaintances did as well. The trouble with these sorts of treatments is that indeed they highlight the debaucheries in a way that has the hedonistic high of sucking in younger viewers to the lifestyle, without making the point earlier on and getting to the indictment aspect. Sorry, the movie stunk.

  • The Pharaoh | April 5, 2014 12:20 PMReply

    This movie was satanic. Straight up porn and f-bombs every frickijn scene. I'm 25 and it was waaaaaaaaaay too much for me. Hollywood should be ashamed. Pissed me off to no end. Scorses is now on my s#!+ list. You suck scorses. Geez if I wanted to watch this garbage I would have watched a porn flick. I seriously want to punch dicaprio and scorses. Ughh. Horrible plain acting by dicaprio. Only one who was ok was jonah hill. Common damn sense folks....

  • Miranda | April 28, 2014 7:06 PM

    EXACTLY. If I wanted to see this kind g trash I would order it on paperview. I'm no prude, TRUST ME, but this was just a giant shit show that deserves to be locked away, never to be screened again.

  • SC | April 25, 2014 1:57 PM

    Could not agree more!! To me, this movie was like watching an awful 3 hour porn movie

  • Carole Paikin Miller | April 6, 2014 9:03 AM

    Applause, applause, The Pharaoh! Obviously these uninformed, uninspiring, and degenerate producers have far too little respect for the youth of today who maybe would prefer to be inspired, stimulated to think and given more worthwhile movie fare than this crap! Someone - you don't say if you're a male or female - will be getting a fine life mate in you!

  • Jonesie | February 19, 2014 4:57 PMReply

    Given that Leonardo produced the movie, and wanted to play that part so bad, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out he's a sex addict as portrayed in the movie. I found the film funny and deeply disturbing.

  • Marissa Celenetti | February 9, 2014 3:08 PMReply

    Wolf of Wallstreet is a 3 hour sausage and sexist feast made for teenage and early 20's frat boys or males who are at that level of immaturity. They deliberately bribed the MPAA to bring the rating down from NC-17 to R so all the 15 year old boys can see the film, glorify it and repeat lines from it. Big whoop that a woman in her 70's wouldn't enjoy it. It's not made for most women regardless of their age nor for mature men. The women in the film are nothing but props and sex objects. If this movie had Michael Bay's name as the director (same exact movie) no high minded critics would be defending it as though it's high art. It's brainless teenage boy entertainment.

  • Martin | January 26, 2014 11:45 AMReply

    I don't thing that either Mr. DiCaprio or Mr. Scorsese care at all what anyone thinks on this blog or anywhere else in the media, as long as the movie makes money, and they personally make money. To think otherwise would be sadly naïve.

  • Carole Paikin Miller | April 6, 2014 9:05 AM

    Bingo! No doubt if we viewers rebelled against this kind of garbage and didn't go to see it so it bombed as it rightly should at the box office, we'd stop being fed a nauseating diet of this pap.

  • Merryl | January 24, 2014 5:10 PMReply

    I found the movie to be a dark comedy. These guys were a-holes of the worst kind.
    The movie had many funny parts.
    I know many people that watched the Soparanos and thought it was hysterical.
    I personally did not, but again these men were majorly flawed and violent, and yet each week people tuned in to laugh at the antics of Tony Soprano.
    In life, there has to be some humor, even when people lose.
    What about American Hustle, a comedy about Abscam?

  • Andy | January 19, 2014 9:05 AMReply

    I can't believe how naive both Scorsese and Di Caprio are if they think
    that "The wolf of wall street" is not going to encourage people to see
    greed as a justifiable and even enjoyable human trait. There was a great
    opportunity here, but "The wolf of wall street" fails to show the
    devastating consequences that reckless greed has on our society. It's a
    shame that both these incredibly creative minds have channelled their
    powers into such a one-sided perspective of a huge issue. Di Caprio
    states that Scorsese doesn’t judge his characters, but he did choose not
    to show the most important ramifications of his character’s actions and
    to spend nearly 3 hours showing off the most trivial. They say it’s a
    dark comedy, and yes I was laughing, but where’s the dark?

  • StephenW | January 12, 2014 12:20 AMReply

    This was definetly one of Scorsese's best movues because of how insane the story characters were. All of them were made to be hated and the whole movie was based around an antagonist in Jordan Belfort. It beutifully shows the danger in drugs and how they can ruin your entire life your relationships and the way you act. Although Dicaprios character did become rich he was already on the path before he started doing drugs. And that led to all the insanity in the movie and if for some reason you believe that this movie was bad because it had to much "x-rated content" you should really rethink how you view the kind of life he was living. And sure with our movie rating system it should of had a higher rating than X because of all the sex and drugs but then again is it really any better to see people getting constantly killed and seeing genocide taking place. Have we really come to the point where mass murder is more socially acceptable and family orriented than sex?

  • Loring | January 9, 2014 4:23 PMReply

    WOLF is another of Scorsese's brilliant moral metaphors to explore what it means to be a Human Being in the United States of Narcissism. Just as in CASINO, grown men and women go bat sh** crazy intoxicated on money and power losing their soul to the "devil," the ego. It's never enough 'til it's too much. Look at the world that surrounds us: it's all about 'getting'...getting it all. The Promise of Perfection, living the 'good life.' Or so it seems. Scorsese asks, 'where's the love, where's the connection to the sacred, where does this pathology end up? Good show, Scorsese!

  • Balls | January 3, 2014 10:46 PMReply

    I totally agree with zedd, this is the worst movie ive ever seen

  • Margery Richardson | January 3, 2014 10:17 PMReply

    Does everyone connnected to this film ,see themselves as so sophisticated, that they don't realize this is just a sleazy double x movie. Obviously our rating system is defunct and I am shocked and disgusted. If they think it is suitable for young people to see, then they are contributors to the moral degradation of our country

  • Maraselah | January 3, 2014 6:54 PMReply

    Well yeah most of Scorsese's movies are not celebratory, but more cautionary. No one should watch Goodfellas and want to stab a guy in the neck. If people really need that explained to them maybe they shouldn't talk about movies.

  • Barbara | January 2, 2014 3:19 PMReply

    Looking forward to seeing this movie today. It is certainly more like today's world than Hobbitt. I enjoy seeing movies that are about things that really happen. I agree with Leonardo DiCaprio who wanted this to be an "analysis of the temptation and intoxication of the world of money and indulgence and hedonism" ... like taking a drug. "None of those guys gave a crap about who they were screwing over" tells it like it is with the rich striving to get rich while the poor starve.

  • Cindy Troublefield | January 2, 2014 1:39 AMReply

    Go to see R rated movies all the time. This one made me sick!! Turned me against Leo, Martin Scorsase and the whole bunch. Didn't take much education to write that script.Waaaaaaayyyyyy to much sex, overuse of the "f" word. Couldn't even think about the plot of the movie because of the shock of the fact that it should be a porn film!! No depiction of the victims on a personal level!!

  • Zedd | January 1, 2014 6:22 PMReply

    I don't care about the moral issues, but the screenplay had some real boners - excuse the expression. Labored dialogue, flat uninteresting characters. Waaaaaaaaaayyyyy too long. Seriously, it may finally be time for a new editor. If he can make sex boring, there is something seriously wrong is Martyland.

  • Lol | April 25, 2014 2:05 PM

    Hey Titre, you idiot. Wolf of Wall Street has more sex and drugs and hookers and filth than Jersey shit shore ever had in it though. WOLF is as bad or worse than Jersey shore.. What a shit comparison. Grow a brain

  • Martin B | January 2, 2014 11:16 AM

    There are any number of legit criticisms of the movie. The whole thing is OTT. It's not enough of a defense to say, "Oh, the movie's supposed to be OTT". Or it's supposed to have bad dialogue. Or unbelievable characters. Or be boring....

    At the point that you're looking at your watch thinking what else you could be doing with your life, it's just plain bad.

  • titre | January 1, 2014 10:56 PM

    why don't you watch something of your level like jersey shore instead.....

  • BEF | January 1, 2014 4:06 PMReply

    If this wasn't a Leo movie released on Christmas day, we wouldn't see this much discussion, or such a low score... it's when more families go to a movie as a family and a lot of people probably don't read The Playlist and didn't get what they thought they were ...

    I do have problems with the film, but I love the discussion that has come from this, though. I'm in the gray middle. Have problems with some choices, but such a great DiCaprio performance and film within a film .... I might be a C+/B- right now. Could re-evaluate later after all this talk dies down.

  • BEF | January 1, 2014 4:08 PM

    Also, people are upset about white collar crime.

    That's good.

    If it takes a movie to voice that, then, that's also good. But let's not stop with movie talk, folks.

  • face to face | January 1, 2014 1:18 PMReply

    He shows a world that depicts people who will go all the way. So after seeing it, will you go that way or the other way?

  • surprised | January 1, 2014 1:12 PMReply

    You know what people should blame? Movies that don't take the boat, movies with not guts.
    Movies that lie to you. Movies that tell you what to think. People who make you believe all the wrong values in a phony way. there is a lot more horror when you see cliche movies, they hide things from you and you only see the surface and believe what they are telling you.

  • state of mind | January 1, 2014 1:09 PMReply

    I want to be part of a movie like that, I don't want to be part of that lifestyle; I've watched martin scorsese movies for years (haven't seen all of them but a lot) and I can say that this man has a generous soul and is always encouraging filmakers from the past and the present. He's a gift and it saddens me to see this being wrongly critized. He's a smart man and he wouldn't do something stupid. And I have to say i was impressed with leonardo dicaprio and Joanh hill, very good duo. they gave a lot. people should bark at the people who did that on wall street, not the artists who try to show all types of behaviors, stories, lifestyles and social classes.

  • captain | January 1, 2014 12:52 PMReply

    Hey, you've got stupid things like the seth rogen, james franco parody of a video clip, people go : "woowowo man, hunhun hunhahhaa, funny, ha!"
    But then you have a movie like this one who simply shows things as they are and people start screaming at them!

  • cat in the hat | January 1, 2014 1:03 PM

    You're right!
    That's funny how a movie like this is the end doesn't get that type of critisism. It's lazy filmaking portraying rich, idiotic guys and it goes nowhere, and they make a fortune with their fast food type of movies. But of course people let those movies shove down their throats because it prevents them from thinking.....Blame the people who participate in those stupidities, not the people who try to open your eyes. Loved this movie, it message is clear but dumb blondes seem to refuse to wake up.

  • queens | January 1, 2014 12:49 PMReply

    You know what movies pissed me off this year: stupid Spring Breakers, the movie is stupid in itself. But since it's so brainless, people don't discuss it. it's just considered like a music video or a video game. Or the movie This is the end where you have careless characters taking drugs, saying mean stuff to each other and still end up dancing to the backstreet boys in heaven with alcohol.

  • 1 janu | January 1, 2014 11:03 PM

    Compare James franc'os perdormace in spring breakers to leonardo dicaprio's performance in Wolf. Dicaprrio is really incredible, james franco looks like a douch next to him. he's the oscar type of winning actor and james is the razzie type actor

  • boyman | January 1, 2014 11:00 PM

    Spring breakers participates in the whole superficial empty messages of movies. iT'S WAS LOW, with horrible performances. wolf has great insight from a crazy world, well acted, crafted and smart.

  • TOOTS | January 1, 2014 3:40 PM

    Spring Breakers blew right over your head.

  • uno dose | January 1, 2014 1:17 PM

    Spring Breakers shows a lifestyle that many of us can identify with; it also wears its irony on its sleeve and shows moral consequences to behaviors. It also alienates the casual viewers with its artiness so it is less likely to be seen for what it claims to not be: empty and mindless.

  • sing us | January 1, 2014 12:44 PMReply

    This movie is different!!! What people should be ashamed of are the movies that are repeating themselves. sometimes it feels like the same movie comes out over and over. I've seen movies that are so hypocritical and hiding in plain sight and nobody sees that. What's wrong with showing a man as he is, with all his errors and flaws? And follow him and see how far he goes? It doesn't mean that you have to love him and cheer for him... People would rather see a movie where everything is going to be "all right"....

  • Reggie | January 1, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    A movie by rich people for rich people. Yuck.

  • hit | January 1, 2014 11:05 PM

    What an ignorant comment reggie, you really, truly didn't get the movie.

  • Malone | January 1, 2014 6:15 PM

    In related news Leo just sold his house for $18 million. Ha, ha.

  • xerty | January 1, 2014 12:58 PM

    Reggie, get a brain.
    Movies have to be about all social classes for all social classes to see.
    So Oz was made only for witches, wizards and midgets? laugh at that one: it's a pure cliché where a loser lies in order to be the big stupid wizard of OZ.
    Or Alien and Star wars: it was ONLY made for extra-terrestrials.
    Twilight: a movie only made for wolves and vampires.
    Cowboy and Aliens: Just made for cowboys and Aliens.

  • camino | January 1, 2014 12:33 PMReply

    Woooowww! This is the first time I see people going that wild for a movie! I think people were so absorbed in the film that they couldn't tell the difference between the film and the people. they are blaming the filmaker, actors, but isin't that a true life story? shouldn't people rebel against people who do that in real life? it touched a nerve. I saw the movie and loved the way it's told, I got all sorts of memories from the 80s and 90s, things on tv, the style etc. I dislike movies that lie to us, that pretend, that make us believe in fake values with undevelopped characters and I think people should rebel against those ones. But as I see, this one doesn't lie and I think it strikes something in people. I think that movie is a turning point in cinema history because it shows you the horror behind a superficial lifestyle. usually other movies glorify superficiality and make people blindly believe that they saw a feel good movie and walk out of the theater as idiots.

  • Some thoughts... | January 1, 2014 11:53 AMReply

    *Running time and repetition is a directorial tool just like lighting, costume design, score etc.
    One of the obvious themes of Wolf of Wall Street is addiction. Addiction to greed and excess.
    An addict chases the "high", going further and further until they become completely numb and the joy and ecstasy of the whole thing is gone. I immediately got the sense while watching the film that that was what the director wanted to portray. It wouldn't have been enough to show a couple scenes of debauchery. It had to keep going to the point of nausea in order to have the intended effect of how dehumanizing addiction to money, sex and power really is.

    *If Scorsese condones this behavior, why does he include the shots of Belforts daughter looking on in horror at her drugged up father? Those shots are clearly not from Belfort's perspective since he had no consideration for the consequences of his actions. The film revels in a certain kind of person's perspective for three hours. It is in the brief moments where it deviates from that reverie that the artist's true nature and opinion lies.

    * We never see the victims because the film is told from the perspective of someone who didn't think about the victims. That was obvious to me from the beginning. Most of us don't need to see the victims because we are the victims. This film is about the same kind of addiction to money, greed and power that brought us the 2008 financial crisis. Sure, most of those Wall Street guys weren't having massive orgies and drug binges, but the film is using the story of one extreme individual to express an idea that goes farther beyond him alone.

    *The film ends on a long still shot of an audience. An audience that has gathered in admiration of Jordan Belfort. The film indicts the audience that glorifies and longs for this lifestyle and behavior just as much as the people who partake in it. How many times did we hear people (ordinary middle class citizens) making excuses for the "Wolves of Wall Street" in 2008? A lot of people out there want that lifestyle.

    * It seems to me that a lot of people are upset because the film doesn't use the same old conventional norms of wagging a finger at this behavior and instead tries to take a much more provocative (albeit controversial) approach. Scorsese is trying to change the form (whether successful or not) and in turn has started a fascinating conversation about people like Jordan Belfort. I definitely think Martin Scorsese is trying to make audiences angry with this film. It just seems they're more angry at him than Jordan Belfort.

    * Please stop with this archaic film-school term, "character development." Believe it or not, some people go through life without any introspection, without ever changing. Are we not allowed to make films about those people? At the end of Dr. Strangelove, have any of those characters gone through any sincere change? The world is suffering from a nuclear holocaust and they're having an absurd conversation about procreation. The same "procreation obsession" that lead to nuclear war in the first place. Zero hint of any humility, wondering how they let it all happen. There are countless examples of successful films where characters go through zero character development. Those also tend to be films indicting the characters. (Speaking of Kubrick, I'm pretty sure A Clockwork Orange is told from the sole perspective of one despicable character, basking in the joy and ecstasy of his actions. Kubrick was passionately attacked by critics and audiences for "condoning" acts of violence.)

    * I have often wondered, what is more deserving of praise... A perfectly made, great film, that recycles that same old conventional storytelling techniques? Or the film that tries to do something different, change the form, tell a story in a novel way, but fails?

    I don't know if Wolf of Wall Street succeeds or fails, but it's got us talking more than any other film this year.

  • simulacrum | January 13, 2014 4:42 PM

    Well said.

  • Reggie | January 1, 2014 12:38 PM

    Most of the people defending it sound like PR flacks to me.

  • Rudy | January 1, 2014 10:11 AMReply

    Leo just sold ONE of his houses for $18million. He has had an endless string of supermodel girlfriends. Obviously he identifies with this guy, even subconsciously, and that's why the movie glorifies his lifestyle.

  • FINGER | January 1, 2014 11:34 AM

    He's still bought and sold by these people. So is Scorsese.

  • gedronlacy | January 1, 2014 9:31 AMReply

    Stop folks...it was a great film. If one is too holy to view it then keep your asses home. C+ score..whatever. One of the best films of the year in my opinion. Thank you Marty and Leo for creating a look into self infliction because frankly if i see one more super hero film i am going to barf...Art? That is purely money...Break the rules!!! Make films with interesting stories. Stories that push the boundaries of what we can conceive and what we are use to seeing. Happy New year!!

  • steve barr | January 1, 2014 3:31 AMReply

    Congrats Marty ! Wolf has just become the feature with the most f-words in history with 506 add to that 422 from Casino , 300 from Goodfellas and 257 from The Departed . That's almost 1,500 F-words . Happy New Year Marty you are one suave F-word .

  • Blake | December 31, 2013 10:34 PMReply

    What makes me nauseous is Leo trying to lecture America about morals. Barf. Go off on your yacht full of supermodels and huckster for that monster but for all that is holy, don't have the nerve to MORALIZE while you do it.

  • leon | January 1, 2014 7:53 AM

    Good point especially as lately DeCaprio's life style has looked not that dissimilar to Belfort's fantasy. There's also the ugly question of how rich this movie adaptation has made Belfort and where the proceeds go, cause aren't his victims still out of pocket?

  • Alex | December 31, 2013 7:19 PMReply

    A 3-hour, $100-million critique of gluttony and greed.

  • Leeman brothaz | December 31, 2013 5:59 PMReply

    The film did not transcend the underlying theme that greed is not good - it transcended that greed is good! There wasn't enough character arc and development but just wild entertainment. Perhaps it's because they didn't want to do a traditional film...however it comes across that they were glorifying this character. While "Wall Street" glorified Gordon Gekko, it had a theme, a moral to the story as seen in the character arc of Bud Fox. This movie didn't show us anything new and if anything, tried to show us the same old material we already know about Wall Street's greed and over-lavish life style. For a finance guy like me, it was just fun and wild entertainment.

  • cholly | December 31, 2013 5:09 PMReply

    The film is aimed at politically uninformed people and Martin Scorsese fans who in their fandom are unaware of the depths of mediocrity his work has fallen into in the last 20 years. The amount of excusing and apologizing for it is disgusting. But I suppose that is to be expected. Hollywood isn't used to people challenging it.

  • speaker | December 31, 2013 5:08 PMReply

    I find some of the critisism for this movie immature. I don't think we saw the same movie. People throw things and they don't seem to know anything. this movies clearly shows that there is nothing to be proud of by leading this type of life.

  • swing | December 31, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    Films like those are important. There are people like this in the world, they truly exist. I'd rather see a really well crafted film like this to open my eyes than a hypocritical hollywood movie with a stereotyped narrative that suffocates its characters and lead them in a phony path they haven't understood just to look politically correct. This film doesn't say: I'll try and fit into a mold to please you. It's opening doors for different types of stories. From afar, hollywood is scary because there seems to be less and less freedom to create. it's sad. So I really enjoyed this one because it was so different.

  • roll | December 31, 2013 4:36 PMReply

    When I saw it, I had the best time! Couldn't wait for people to stand up and not make movies like everybody else. I also think some people in Hollywood will feel jealous of not being apart of it because it's very innovative!!!

  • best | January 1, 2014 11:10 PM

    I'm with you on this. people seem to follow each other like sheeps. and they propose something different. I wish I could act in a movie that is so well made. it's intelligently done. The subject matter is gross (stock brokers, tiefs, drugs..) but seen through that point of view was in credible because those characters are just careless and shameless instead of trying to change them to become hollywood characters. by looking at them that way you see them realstically, as they were and behaved. truthful approaches always make people think.

  • Blevins | December 31, 2013 10:36 PM

    You couldn't sound less like a real person and more like a PR firm.

  • how | December 31, 2013 4:34 PMReply

    Incredible, incredible film. I think the people who look at it and want to act like those characters or see them as big time stars have got it wrong. If they are attracted to that, it means that they don't have enough judgement to see this kind of lifestyle from a distance. I loved this film and I was repulsed by their attitude. people have to learn how to watch movies and have to ask themselves why they find it attractive when it clearly shows unhappy people in society trying to feed off other people's hardwork. I think Martin scorsese is the best. he is truthful.

  • sicii | December 31, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    "Wolf" truly shows all the things that have been thrown at us since the early 90s....
    It's completely different from the clichés of Hollywood.
    It just shows you that those kinds of people exist, that it's not because they work in an office that they are necesserely reliable and serious. You have to keep an eye on people, and it's not because they are in a certain social position that they deserve to there or got there by being honest and working hard. A lot of movies from hollywood are horrible and yet, it's presented in such a phony way that you believe those are good values. this movie takes you backstage and puts everything upfront sort of saying; there it is, with the good, the bad, the ugly etc... it's honest and love that

  • pol | December 31, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    "It's not an artist's job to project a social message onto people. "

    Apparently you didn't get it either. That's exactly the artist's job. If he hadn't, we wouldn't be talking about it.

    Wolf: Scorsese's Best Film?
    http://wp.me/pwAWe-3dF

  • tyty | December 31, 2013 4:20 PMReply

    this movie is amazing!!!!

  • Fellow | December 31, 2013 3:25 PMReply

    It has weaknesses that Marty's movies usually don't. Script, story. Excessively long takes. The fact that Leo did the commercial is the real moral dilemma. That became a problem when Leo started talking. You can't claim to be criticizing a guy you're promoting.

  • Robert | December 31, 2013 3:03 PMReply

    It's not an artist's job to project a social message onto people. Jordan is clearly a despicable person which is clear to anyone with a brain in their head and if the audience can't see that, it's their problem. I don't think people really understood how dark the ending was. Actually among the bleakest movies I've seen in a long time, even for Scorsese; however, this is far more subtle than something like Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. While everyone is saying it "glorified" his behavior, please explain how you came to that conclusion. Yes, the party scenes are funny and entertaining, but he is clearly stealing money from average Americans, he rapes and beats his wife, and could have possibly hurt his daughter and killed others driving home on drugs. I really don't see that as glorification. Not to mention he feels no remorse for what he has done (in similar vain to Goodfellas), that is how he is. He doesn't care. YOU and I might but the real people on Wall Street do not. Glorifying what he had done would have resulted in him actually caring and regretting that he's a thief so the audience feels some kind of sympathy for him and there you go his wife forgives him. Thing is, he only cared because he got caught.

    And to the ending. People look at this character as if it they could never do something like that. That they could never become THAT greedy and self obsessed. And yet, then ending proves that wrong. Everyone is capable of it and that fact that he has a whole audience watching him at the end that wants to become just like him, they know what he's done, they know what happened to him, and yet they, average people, still want the lifestyle he had. And here's the kicker, the closing shot is an image of the audience, like a mirror, looking right back to the real audience suggesting that under the right circumstances, anyone can do horrible things. Because you know some people are going to walk out of this movie and want to become just like Jordan.

    Concluding that this is just a movie that displays the elegant and attractive lifestyle of Wall Street brokers seems to me like a really shallow and dull viewing of this movie. But to each their own.

  • TW | December 31, 2013 4:42 PM

    Welcome to satire? Biting is not a word used to describe this movie. Scrambling to make excuses for it?

  • Robert | December 31, 2013 4:26 PM

    I think this is a more of case of people wishing this movie projected a social message. This is a clear example of Hollywood not telling the audience what to think, it just is presenting the information of what happened.

    "A funny movie about the people making off like bandits while the rest of the country suffers?"
    Welcome to satire.

  • twin elf | December 31, 2013 3:18 PM

    "It's not the artist's job to project a social message onto people" I think this is a case of people projecting a social message back onto the artist (or is that allowed?). Hollywood in its typical self-obsessed blindness seems completely unaware that people are capable of thinking other than how they are told to think. A funny movie about the people making off like bandits while the rest of the country suffers? GREAT idea!

  • Nick | December 31, 2013 3:03 PMReply

    I just saw it last night. I feel like the easiest way to look at the film and it's flaws is to compare it to Goodfellas. Jordan Belfort and Henry Hill aren't all that different from each other. Both show the grandiose highs that they reach. Both act in morally reprehensible ways to get ahead. Both even "sell out" their friends in the end. The difference to me, is that when Henry Hill commits his crimes we are very aware of the consequences. People are beaten up, murdered, go to jail, etc. In The Wolf, there are no consequences until the guy from The Walking Dead goes to jail for 3 months - but then he gets out and boom, right back to hookers and blow.

    It's sex, drugs, and wild extravagence for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and in the last five minutes he gets a divorce, hits his wife, steals his kid, crashes his car, goes to jail... Except we barely see him in jail, and then he goes right back to making money hand over fist. I guess that's supposed to be a commentary on our incredibly weak justice system, but there's so little time spent talking about it it seems more like an afterthought. How much money did he ultimately lose? Why was it so easy for him to pay off people in prison? How did he pull that off? How long did the people he ratted on go to jail? How many of their clients went bankrupt because of his practices?

    He spends the whole movie winning, then wins some more. The end.

  • hank | December 31, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    why wasn't Goodfellas about the victims?

  • CHAMMY | December 31, 2013 3:09 PM

    Oh, I didn't know the mafia was behind the decline of the United States, as Wall Street is. Good comparison.

  • Jimmy | December 31, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    I'm kind of ashamed that all of you people are so quick to universally hate this movie, as if it is any different than "Goodfellas" or any other landmark film that was hated upon release but then universally loved in the future. While we continue to criticize this, lets think back on "Fight Club" and its "warped" message, lets think of any Lats Von Trier film that has been release...Do you really think that the reason this movie was made is to glorify living a life of greed and hedonism? Have you completely forgotten all of the essential Scorsese films that have had themes that range throughout the entire spectrum? It's sad that Dicaprio has to justify to his audience why he decided to star in a particular movie, that many people are walking away from and realizing its message. If you walk out of the theater thinking Belfort was a hero and inspired by his life, that's your fault. My friends and I all loved it and all laughed about how ridiculous Belfort was as a character because we didn't see it as a literal film. We saw the things he did as absurd and judged his character based on those actions. All the moviegoers complaining about the films existence should do the easiest thing they can: Not see it! Maybe the movie will not make a profit and Red Granite will no longer take risks on films like this but by discouraging other people from it is ridiculous. It's a movie and audiences should be able to decide for themselves how they perceive Belfort's actions to be.

  • AE | December 31, 2013 7:37 PM

    For me, he's just too turned on by style and mythologizing outlaws to trust with these characters, it's all about machismo, and there's more than just a few 'idiots in the world' who lap that stuff up. Though King of Comedy is an exception, nothing like Wolf or his gangster films, it's odd, awkward, and feels like real life. KOC's Rupert Pupkin is arguably less of an idiot than Scorsese's gangsters or Wall St. gang, but check out how stupid, ridiculous and painfully human he's allowed to be in that film.

  • d | December 31, 2013 6:08 PM

    AE, the gangster movies all throughout film history from the 30s to The Godfather to the Scarface remake... none of these had anything to do with that? It's not Scorsese's fault that there are idiots in the world who think the people depicted in Goodfellas or Casino look admirable. As for Raging Bull, you must have seen a different movie than I did.

  • AE | December 31, 2013 3:11 PM

    I hear you Jimmy, but if anyone did anything to raise the profile of gangsters to superstar status it was Scorsese, some of us have had a problem with him since the black and white/slow motion shine job he did on Jake La Motta. His movie's are slick, glossy, beautifully designed and then cast with the most glamorous actors around, already it's game over, the men may be bad, they may be evil but in Scorsese's hands they're sexy as hell. Personally, I don't think Scorsese tries hard enough to rough it up, he's too in love with a beautiful image, Fellini had the same problem with La Dolce Vita, was there anyone who didn't want a taste of that decadence after seeing it..?

  • Bud | December 31, 2013 3:02 PM

    Easy, TR, we are lucky that we lowly imbeciles are lucky to have IMPORTANT people like Jimmy instruct us on what we should or should not think and say. 'Cause we should all go spend money on this movie before deciding we wasted our money. And not warn our friends that it's trash, so they can feed us more trash in the future. See?

  • TR | December 31, 2013 2:43 PM

    "All of YOU PEOPLE ..."

    OMG. Some folks just can't stand to have differing viewpoints expressed. Let's hope that Jimmy doesn't find a way to get too much power over others. Free speech will be the first right to go!

  • Refly | December 31, 2013 2:36 PM

    This movie shamelessly rips off Goodfellas (narration, etc) but is so inferior to it that it is actually discouraging to me as a Scorsese fan. Obviously as a producer Leo is trying to fight the backlash for monetary reasons, but it rings totally hollow for him to claim this movie is not actively celebrating this dude when he did a commercial for him (available on youtube). One person's 'ambitious film' is another person's spectacle of exploitation. I never felt this way about a Scorsese movie before, but to me that criticism rings true this time.

  • Carbonna | December 31, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    It's a movie. Not great and not horrible. It started fairly strong but lost steam all the way. Some of the dialogue was actually laughable, (not in a good way) which surprised me. A lot of scenes should have been shortened. Way too long.

  • Marradonna | December 31, 2013 2:55 PM

    I agree about the dialogue. I thought some of the actors may have been getting creative with the script and it didn't get cut when it should have. Marty, it's finally time for a new editor.

  • 1250 | December 31, 2013 1:56 PM

    So you're saying that not only is it morally reprehensible propaganda, but it sucks as well? Imagine that.

  • christian slater | December 31, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    "This film may be misunderstood by some..." Sounds like the film was designed to be different things to different people. That hardly takes it off the hook from glorifying one of the most heinous crimes in our culture. On one hand the film looks to play to the callous, obscene genre of comedy that Jonah Hill is well established in. On the other, it's supposed to be seen as "art" by Scorsese afficianados. Careful though, cineastes are aware of a thing called socialism/Marxism, (at least I would hope they are).

  • Bonnie | December 31, 2013 1:35 PMReply

    Please spare me your self-congratulatory explanations, Leo. This movie does NOT "explore human nature". That would require some degree of artful reflection. It simply sensationalizes and depicts it. Then hopes to be rewarded financially for it by the very same audience who were already screwed over in the original story. So now, this person has allies who sensationalize him. I am completely disgusted. How clueless can these people be? This movie is by the rich for the rich.

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