INCLUDES QUOTE, "PROBABLY THE BEST BRIAN DE PALMA MOVIE HE NEVER MADE"
'GRAND PIANO' REVIEWS CITE DE PALMA, HITCH & ARGENTO
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a la Mod:
"And yet for older, stodgier types who never went there in their teens or 20s or did and are determined to keep those memories in a locked box (or for those who can’t handle the crude sexual exploitation of women, which has always been a nocturnal characteristic of arrogant Wall Street types), Wolf is going to be seen as an ugly three-hour romp and nothing more. It’s not judgmental enough, Belfort is too much of a prick, what’s the point of this? and so on.
"This is why I’m calling The Wolf of Wall Street the new Scarface. It has so far been shat upon in certain quarters by the same kind of harumphy industry crowd that despised Brian De Palma‘s 1983 crime pic. And just as Scarface eventually became a cult flick (especially among 'urban' rapper/hip-hop types who idolized gangsta culture and the swagger of Al Pacino‘s Tony Montana) it’s probably going to be embraced by (a) present-day party animals and by (b) 40- and 50-somethings those who remember their druggy days and want to enjoy them once again by proxy — a three-hour tour."
Wells continues, "The Scarface Wiki page interprets the film’s reception as follows: 'According to AMC’s "DVD TV: Much More Movie" airing, Cher loved it [but] Lucille Ball, who came with her family, hated it because of the graphic violence and language, and Dustin Hoffman was said to have fallen asleep. Writers Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving were among those who allegedly walked out in disgust after the notorious chainsaw scene. At the middle of the film, Martin Scorsese turned to Steven Bauer and told him, "You guys are great but be prepared, because they’re going to hate it in Hollywood…because it’s about them."
“'Leonard Maltin was among those critics who held a negative opinion of Scarface,' the page says. 'He gave the film 1 1/2 stars out of four, stating that ‘…[Scarface] wallows in excess and unpleasantness for nearly three hours, and offers no new insights except that crime doesn’t pay.’ In later editions of his annual movie guide, Maltin included an addendum to his review stating his surprise with the film’s newfound popularity as a cult-classic.'
"This is why The Wolf of Wall Street is the only truly bold and nervy film in the Best Picture circle right now. It’s both appalling and gutsy as hell — a wild-ass moralistic 'comedy.' It’s clearly condemning Belfort’s behavior and yet…"
Murphy replies, "We do it more than you know. It’s fun for us. I call them the goodies, 'Where are the goodies buried?' People go on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, they catch up with seasons they’ve been watching and then they re-watch it with passion and fresh eyes. So we’re very cognizant of that. There’s usually one goodie per episode. The closet thing was very much based on Carrie, and we’ve done riffs on that and other things in that movie many, many times because we all love Brian De Palma in the writers' room."
As we've noted before, one of those writers in the AHS writers' room is Jennifer Salt, she of many early De Palma pictures. In the season premiere episode of season two, two of Pino Donaggio's music cues from De Palma's Carrie were used very specifically. Murphy has talked about being obsessed with De Palma while making season two last year, mentioning Dressed To Kill as a major influence, as well.
And that’s a good reason why Bar-Lev’s next film, “Happy Valley,” is about the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal. But it’s not that Bar-Lev is particularly interested in Sandusky.
“I’m more interested in how we relate to Jerry Sandusky, the mythological nature of Sandusky and (former Penn State football coach) Joe Paterno,” he says. “We call the film ‘Happy Valley’ because we’re interested in how the town is reckoning with itself in the aftermath of the scandal.”
Moroder then tells Anderson about the theme's versatility. "It works quite well with a big orchestra, and it works quite well with just a piano. There’s one section [in the movie] when Tony kills someone, and there I played kind of soft; I think it’s just a bass line. So it works well both big and small." Visit the EW post to listen to the remix, which is also available on Moroder's SoundCloud page. As Rado pointed out to us some time ago, the latter features some tracks that were not avaiable on the released soundtrack to Scarface.
Bauer also repeated his story of being conratulated by Martin Scorsese following an early Hollywood screening of the film. Here's how Couch writes it:
Bauer believes Scorsese meant there were similarities between the excesses of Tony Montana and some Hollywood executives at the time: "There's nothing wrong with chasing the American dream, but if you become greedy, it'll fall from under you. You will self destruct…. [Scorsese] knew there were tendencies in Hollywood to just be over the top."
Jonah Hill plays Donnie Azoff, Stratton Oakmont’s second in command (a composite of a few characters in the book). Azoff, if possible, is even more gonzo than Belfort, who at least regretted ripping off clients. “Jordan told me that certain people [at Stratton Oakmont] actually enjoyed hurting people,” says Hill, who, along with [Leonardo] DiCaprio, spent time with current day traders before shooting began late last summer. “I imagine it’s a lot more politically correct and less chauvinistic now. It certainly couldn’t be more politically incorrect or chauvinistic. But it’s still very alpha male, or alpha female, depending on the person in training. People who are weak, or perceived as weak and emotional, are fed to the wolves.” At Stratton Oakmont, says Hill, the philosophy was kill-or-be-killed, and Gordon Gekko was fetishized, but so were Scarface and GoodFellas. “Those were their models,” he adds. “They kind of ran their businesses with those sensibilities.”
Belfort’s arc does sound a little like Henry Hill’s in GoodFellas—in this case, a nice Jewish kid from Bayside, Queens, with a genius for sales, gets seduced and corrupted by Wall Street. But Scorsese disputes comparisons between gangsters and stock brokers. “The parallel between the Mafia and Wall Street works only to the extent that they’re all interested in making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, the interview in So Film was conducted recently in New York. In it, Fernando Ganzo asks De Palma questions that cover his entire career. It may take me some time, but I'll try to get some translations and share highlights in the coming days.