Various articles about negative reactions to The Wolf of Wall Street have been posted by bored entertainment journalists over the last three or four days. This has led to at least one article (by Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson) about why everyone is piling on. The snake is eating its own tail. The more these pieces appear, the more Average Joes are probably saying to each other “gee, negative reaction…maybe we should take a pass?” Once this syndrome starts, there’s no stopping it. Self-perpetuating.
Point #1: It’s probably true that older conservative types, a certain percentage of women and various none-too-brights have a problem with Martin Scorsese‘s film, but it seems inconceivable that viewers with a smidgen of smarts and social perspective wouldn’t be allied with the 75% of Rotten Tomatoes critics who admire it. Point #2: The heart of the afore-mentioned articles is Wolf‘s C grade from Cinemascore respondents. Cinemascore staffers always talk to viewers on opening day/night, and it’s likely that a good percentage of those who saw Wolf on Christmas Day were soft impulse types who went looking for a fun crazy comedy, or because they’re fans of Leonardo DiCaprio or Jonah Hill or whatever. The vast majority of moviegoers don’t read reviews, are under-educated and under-read, and they don’t want to know from metaphors about America’s financial elite. But that’s okay. By the slovenly standards of American culture it’s perfectly acceptable to misinterpret or flat-out miss the point of the best film of the year.