No doubt many central Illinoisans visited a local theater over the holidays as they were trying to eat use-’em-or-lose-’em vacation days. We tend not to do movie reviews — different strokes for different folks — but the list of offerings this year was so substandard, on the whole, that we can’t resist.
Case in point was Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was three wasted hours that we’ll never get back in a finite life, a movie with so much pornography and profanity in it that we’re amazed it was able to secure an “R” rating. You always run the risk of getting tagged as hopelessly ancient when you object to such, but we are not exactly prudes here. If there was anything more to this tale than snorting cocaine and popping pills, engaging in orgies and screaming curses in between just generally immoral, criminal financial behavior — repeated ad nauseam — we’d like to know what it was.
Greed and excess on Wall Street are no longer a story line, they’re a given. The primary criticism here should not be that the film glorifies a bad guy but that its primary elements appeal to the lowest common denominators in our culture, that its writing is lazy, that a director of Scorsese’s caliber stooped to it, that so many otherwise reputable actors agreed to participate. In short, it was awful, so bad and base from beginning to end that it actually became boring. And yet it still managed to rake in more than $18 million last weekend, no doubt owing to Scorsese’s Oscar-winning stature and the mistaken belief that, at some point, it would get better.
It is like so much of what comes out of Hollywood, which by and large no longer makes movies for adults. And when they do, those films don’t seem to make their way to central Illinois, or get little promotion, or don’t stay long. The golden age of cinema, this is not. And to think the trailers always look so promising.