Who’s Afraid Of ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is making waves well beyond its Academy Award nominations. We’ll catch the controversy.

Banker Jordan Belfort (Leonard DiCaprio) runs a high-profile penny stock firm that pulls in big fees on nearly worthless stocks in the Martin Scorese film, "The Wolf Of Wall Street." (Paramount Pictures)

Banker Jordan Belfort (Leonard DiCaprio) runs a high-profile penny stock firm that pulls in big fees on nearly worthless stocks in the new Martin Scorsese film, “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” (Paramount Pictures)

News from two fronts in one week.  From Oxfam yesterday:  the world’s 85 richest people now have as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people.  Wow.  And from Hollywood, “The Wolf of Wall Street” has walked off with a haul of Academy Award nominations.  For some, the latest Hollywood depiction of money-mad sex, drugs and endless greed was just too much.  A tipping point.  Scorcese says it’s art.  Of course, it is.  DiCaprio says it’s a cautionary tale.  OK.  But others are saying “enough.”  This hour On Point:   Hollywood, “The Wolf of the Wall Street,” and the glamour of greed.

– Tom Ashbrook


David Edelstein, chief film critic for New York Magazine. Film critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air” and CBS’ “This Morning.”

Issac Chotiner, senior editor at The New Republic. (@IChotiner)

Joel Cohen, prosecutor with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Sam Polk, founder and executive director of Groceryships. Former Wall Street trader. (@SamPolk)

From Tom’s Reading List

L.A. Weekly: An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself — “As an 18-year-old, I had no idea what was going on. But then again, did anyone? Certainly your investors didn’t – and they were left holding the bag when you cashed out your holdings and got rich off their money. So Marty and Leo, while you glide through press junkets and look forward to awards season, let me tell you the truth – what happened to my mother, my two sisters and me.”

The New Republic: The Silly Liberal Attacks on ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ — “It is thus completely beyond me why McDowell’s letter has gotten so much positive attention. Still, it is worth trying to answer the question of whether Scorsese and DiCaprio (and the writer, Terence Winter) either aimed to romanticize—or unintentionally romanticized—Belfort.”

New York Times: For the Love of Money –“I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid ‘only’ $1.5 million.”

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