A lot of folks are not going to like today’s Wednesday Warriors feature. If anything, a lot of folks are going to hate it. To be honest, I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t seen something in Jordan Belfort, the main character in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, that merited a closer look.
I’m going to cut to the chase and talk about the elephant in the room. It’s there, it’s sitting on the couch, and no one wants to say a word about the thing but someone needs to say something about it. It is my opinion that the character Jordan Belfort portrayed in the film by Leonardo DiCaprio is a misogynistic narcissist. The Stratton Oakmont founder thinks of no one else but himself and hates anyone who would dare get in the way of his success. As documented in the film, when Steve Madden tries to double-cross Belfort, Belfort retaliates by dumping Madden’s stock for pennies.
Not a flattering intro, but there’s more to dislike about this character. In the 180 minutes this film runs, I lost count of how many Quaaludes Belfort pops to keep him primed and juiced for his deal-making sessions. He goes so far as to descend into a ‘lude induced bender. Fortunately, the only victim to the incident is his very expensive sports car. In his own words:
“On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month. I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my ‘back pain’, Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, pot to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine… Well, because it’s awesome.”
It doesn’t stop there. Belfort’s exploits with women places him in the same league as the Roman emperor Caligula. As depicted in the film, he uses and abuses women for his own pleasure, leaving them for others.
To top it off, he preys on the greed and fear of others to sell them shares of worthless companies in one of the biggest pump-and-dump scams in U.S. history. He doesn’t fear justice. He doesn’t fear death. Moreover, he certainly makes Wall Street‘s Gordon Gekko proud.
Why then would I even consider placing a spotlight on Jordan Belfort?
Because of this one scene in the film featuring him and his best friend Donnie Azoff:
Jordan Belfort: You want a beer, pal?
Donnie Azoff: What are you drinkin’?
Jordan Belfort: I got this non-alcoholic stuff…
Donnie Azoff: What’s that?
Jordan Belfort: It’s like a non-alcoholic beer. It’s got no… no alcohol.
Donnie Azoff: It’s a beer?
Jordan Belfort: Yeah, with no alcohol.
Donnie Azoff: But, you drink enough and… you drink a lot and it’ll get you messed up?
Jordan Belfort: No, there’s no alcohol. That’s the point.
Donnie Azoff: I’m not a scientist; I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can get you beer if you want beer.
Jordan Belfort: I know, but I don’t drink, remember? I don’t drink anymore?
Donnie Azoff: What, you wanna go inside and blow some lines of baking powder, baking soda? Can’t imagine ever not enjoying getting messed up. I love it.
Jordan Belfort: Yeah…
Donnie Azoff: How’s being sober?
Jordan Belfort: It sucks.
Donnie Azoff: Boring, right?
Jordan Belfort: So boring. I’m gonna kill myself.
Watching the scene through once, I didn’t catch the nuances. Only after watching the film again, did they become clearer. Here’s a guy who was living at the top of his game, doing drugs, sleeping with a treasure trove of women, had access to enormous amounts of cash that he could fill several Olympic-sized pools with, but after getting caught he was really trying to overcome the temptations that put him into this mess in the first place. The line, “I know, but I don’t drink, remember? I don’t drink anymore?” hints on an element of remorse for all he had done in the past. He is trying his best to stay sober and focused. And like the majority of those fighting addiction, he confesses he can’t stand the withdrawal and much rather kill himself instead.
He’s trying, and that’s what I took away from the film The Wolf of Wall Street. If a guy like Jordan Belfort can put in the effort to overcome his greatest urges, what’s to say anyone else can’t do the same?
On that note, I have one more thing to say: “Sell me this pen.”
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Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What do you think of Jordan Belfort?