Sent this morning — two previous requests have been sent over the last week or so: “Please consider chatting with me briefly about The Wolf of Wall Street, Oliver. Your Wall Street perspective alone demands…er, requires this. In a sense you and Gordon Gekko/Michael Douglas fathered Jordan Belfort — he was one of those “greedy little shits” of the late ’80s who got into stockbroking partly because Gekko’s swagger and “greed is good” speech turned him on. C’mon, man — you created him. In a certain sense, I mean. Henry Frankenstein didn’t mean to create Boris Karloff‘s “monster” either, but that’s what happened.
“I also need you to address the view that The Wolf of Wall Street is the new Scarface. (I riffed on this on 12.13). Like Scarface was in ’83, Wolf has been decried by older conservatives, slow-on-the-pickup critics, industry lightweights and in some cases women. Wolf‘s crime, they feel, has been its failure to deliver sufficient payback to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Belfort, for seeming to enjoy the amorality of its lead characters at the expense of some moral scheme. Or for being too long or too excessive in its portrayal of Belfort’s wild-ass shenanigans. Over-the-top excess is very clearly the point, of course.
“Just yesterday New Yorker critic Richard Brody said that Wolf scolds are just as laughable as critics of Howard Hawks‘ “Scarface, who insisted on pedantic additions and inserts plus the subtitle ‘Shame of a Nation.’
“Oliver, please — this movie and what it’s been going through has your name and legend and personal history all over it. Even if you’ve said or written something I haven’t seen on the web, I’d be grateful if you could please discuss it with me directly. Supporters like me are trying to steer the conversation so that Wolf at least gets Best Picture nominated. Ditto Marty, Leo, Jonah Hill, Terence Winter. Please call today. We could do a ten-minute chat.
“Thanks again for telling me to go to the Cu Chi tunnels. Took almost an hour to get there with Saigon traffic and whatnot, but worth it. I wish I could have visited Saigon in the ’60s. It’s way, way too built up and almost Vegas-y these days. Hanoi is a much nicer, more aesthetically pleasing city to roam around in.” — Jeffrey Wells, HE