Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Jordan Belfort

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.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

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.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

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.”

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What do you think of Jordan Belfort?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

The Craft: Sarah

Hard to believe it’s been seventeen years since the movie The Craft came out. For all my young readers who may have missed watching this spectacle, it presents another view of what a witches’ coven really is. I’m dedicating this Women Who Wow Wednesday to Sarah Bailey, the natural witch from the film.

Robin Tunney as Sarah Bailey (Photo Credit: movpins.com)
Robin Tunney as Sarah Bailey (Photo Credit: movpins.com)

A couple of years after the release of The Craft, City, Toronto’s premier local movie station at the time, broadcasted this film almost every month for a couple of years. It was something to behold considering there were a lot more entertaining movies to watch such as Armageddon and Bad Boys. Yet, I’m theorizing because a large contingent of teenage girls had the unquenchable desire to meet Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic, they’d do anything to get close to the star, including casting spells.

I have to admit though, I became hooked with the movie pretty early on before it became a success on City.

Let’s get to the goods, shall we?

Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) moves into a new city and joins a witches’ coven. Sound familiar? Well, we’ll leave the Twilight references out of this post for now. Let’s backtrack. Sarah’s new school features a diverse clique of girls. The popular girls take one look at Sarah and label her an introvert. On more than one occasion, they make her the butt of all of their jokes. A boy, who she thought had a thing for her, spread the rumor she was easy after a night of abstinence with the lad.

That’s when Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell) and Rochelle (Rachel True) enter the picture. They’re dressed in black, have all sorts of weird stuff going on with them and, oh, yes, they’re witches. They want Sarah. Bonnie noticed her balancing a pencil on its tip in French class–without hands. Naturally, they’re not going to let this opportunity pass. Besides, they need a fourth witch to complete the circle and call the corners. You know, north, south, east, west? The corners. Of course let’s not forget the elements, too. Earth, wind, fire, water. They can’t call the corners without a fourth member in their coven.

Sarah Bailey
Sarah Bailey

Sarah accepts. But little does she know what she’s getting herself into. The magical incantations they perform in the beginning are nothing short of sideshow magic tricks. Silly things like levitation, changing the color of one’s hair, etc. Small stuff, really. It’s only after they summon the corners that things turn creepy.

I don’t want to spoil it, I’m only going to say the lesson in the movie is to be careful what you ask for, it always comes back to you three times over. What goes out comes back to you in threefold. That’s a massive lesson to grasp there for those ever wanting to curse anyone in life. In the movie, Karma is deadly.

Back to Sarah. From a shy, insecure teenager, Sarah becomes a force of reckoning. Not only does she prove herself vulnerable and weak during the tough times, she’s a girl who has that underlying strength to conquer all during the worst of times.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen The Craft? What did you think of Sarah Bailey? If you ever wanted one power in your life, what would it be?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Rose

Velvet crimson hair. A delicate smile. A dreamer. Rose DeWitt Bukater, Women Who Wow Wednesday’s paradigm of perseverance. The actress. The horseback rider. The spitter.

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater
Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater

When Rose walks aboard the Titanic, who many call The Ship of Dreams, for her it is anything but. She likens it to a prison where her soul cries out for freedom and there is no escape. Her fiancée, Caledon Hockley, a man of wealth and viable means, promises her the world if she wouldn’t deny him. His wish? Open your heart to me, Rose. The price sounds too costly.

Enter Jack Dawson, the free-spirited young man who would change Rose’s life forever. He travels from place to place on tramp steamers and such. He won his ticket on the Titanic in a lucky hand of poker. A very lucky hand. They meet in the moonlight, she, wanting to take her life, he, wanting to save it. Give me your hand. You don’t want to do this, he says. Come on. One more step and she would’ve found herself floating in the middle of the Atlantic with the water so cold it would’ve hit her like a thousand knives. You saved me, Jack, in every way a person can be saved.

Rose meets Jack in First Class, among the most important on the ship. His art captivates her. Her cheeks grow hot at his drawings of the women. Did you like this woman? I think you must have had a love affair with her. Not at all, he says, just with her hands. She was a one-legged prostitute. Rose melts knowing she promised her heart to Caledon. All the wedding invitations have gone out, there’s no escape of the inevitable. She has to marry him.

Rose
Rose

Do you love him? Oh, Jack, what a silly question to ask. It’s simple, do you love him or not? Rose props her head high, and declares her departure. Wait a minute, it’s First Class, he has to leave! Not before he teaches her how to spit. Strange kids. On the First Class deck, he aims for the sunset bathed ocean. It went far. They’re one. No denying they belong together.

But then there’s Cal. Caledon. What to do? Rose’s heart tears from knowing if she gives him up, she’d be giving up her security. He’s been good to her. If you don’t break free, Jack says, your heart will die. Maybe not right away but the fire will eventually go out. Rose makes her decision. It’s not up to you to save me, Jack. For both our sakes, leave me alone. As strong as she tries, she can’t muster the courage to ignore Jack. Nothing can quench the fire within her not to be with her secret lover.

Jack and Rose
Jack and Rose

When the iceberg finally hits, they can smell the ice. But Rose had decided. When the ship lands, she will disappear with Jack. Before that happens, he will have to free himself. Cal frames him with stealing The Heart of the Ocean diamond. Into the belly of the ship Jack goes, handcuffs and all.

As the ship sinks, Rose’s desperate search for Jack leads to a water-filled grave. Where, oh, where has my Jack gone? In the bowels of the beast, her back against the wall, the vessel groans. She will find him. She will rescue him just as he had done for her. Except this time, she will never doubt him again. Ever.

Rose eventually finds Jack, rescues him from his watery prison, and he leads her to the top of the ship where they consummate a promise of life. Whatever you do, Rose, don’t let go of my hand. We’re gonna make it. Trust me.

I trust you.

The ship bobs for a bit. Stays still. Then flounders. In a rush, waves swallow the couple whole. A few minutes later, the ocean regrets taking the lovers and releases them to the surface.

On a scrap of debris, Jack asks Rose one thing of her. With every last trembling breath he can collect, promise me you will survive. That you will never give up. No matter what happens. No matter how hopeless. Promise me now, and never let go of that promise.

I promise.

Never let go.

I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.