The biggest trend at the movies so far in 2013 is tales of American excess gone awry. Films like "Spring Breakers," "Pain & Gain," "The Great Gatsby" and "The Bling Ring" focus on regular people who find increasingly illegal ways to game the broken system in their favor.
The perpetrators in those films are, in essence, surrogates for the audience: We're rooting for characters to get that paper, whether they're engaging in sociopathic behavior (Mark Wahlberg in "Pain and Gain"; Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens in "Spring Breakers") or dancing dangerously close to the edge (Katie Chang in "The Bling Ring"). It's the Robin Hood myth by way of selfie culture: rob from the rich and give to yourself.
Which is what makes "The Wolf of Wall Street" such an intriguing entry into this 2013 sub-genre. By all accounts, Jordan Belfort, the title canis lupus in "Wolf of Wall Street," came from humble beginnings. (His parents were accountants and he worked as a butcher in Queens when he was growing up.) Buoyed, however, by an infatuation with Gordon Gekko and Richard Gere's character in "Pretty Woman," Belfort became the guy who complained about earning $49 million in a year ("which really pissed me off because it was three shy of $1 million per week," DiCaprio-as-Belfort says in "The Wolf of Wall Street"). As a stock trader, he made millions on the backs of poor souls like butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.
How Martin Scorsese will play all that out in "The Wolf Of Wall Street" is unclear, but the film's first trailer teases at least one idea. During one of the clip's many montages, DiCaprio's Belfort is shown talking to an FBI agent, played by Kyle Chandler. The conversation starts on amicable terms, but quickly devolves from there: Belfort winds up chasing the man off his yacht by throwing a lobster at him.
The symbolism is jarring: That's Leonardo DiCaprio, erstwhile Jay Gatsby, playing a real-life version of Gordon Gekko and tossing haute cuisine at Coach Taylor, the man who embodied the struggle of the middle class for five seasons on "Friday Night Lights."
"More, more, more, more, more, more is never enough" reads text sprinkled throughout the "Wolf of Wall Street" trailer, a tagline that feels like the full extension of the modern-day American dream rather than just savvy marketing. Let them eat lobsters.
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