And So It Goes

 

And So It Goes is a nice, sweet, occasionally funny romantic comedy for older people. It stars Michael Douglas, age 69, and Diane Keaton, age 68. Rob Reiner, age 67, is the director. Good to see that some outfits still hire people over 60!

Oren (Douglas) is a real estate salesman who has issues: resentment, anger, selfishness, etc. A decade after his wife’s death, he’s selling his family home in a well-to-do Connecticut community. He has moved into a four-plex next door to a widow, Leah (Keaton). She is a torch song singer who often becomes so emotionally involved in her songs that she often can’t finish her set.

Oren’s ex-addict adult son Kyle (Austin Lysy) saddles Oren with a 10-year-old granddaughter to care for while Kyle goes to jail. When Oren is initially cool to the girl, Leah is warm and welcoming. Young Sarah (Sterling Jerins) even calls Leah “grandma.” Over time Oren’s heart softens and he works to heal the emotional damage in his life. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to share that he falls hard for Leah.

And So It Goes has a decent number of laughs scattered neatly throughout the film, along with a couple of comic characters. Reiner appears as Leah’s accompanist (and would-be suitor) Artie wearing a laughably horrible toupee. Presumably to make the lead characters appear younger by comparison, Oren’s co-worker Claire (84-year-old Francis Sternhagen) is a hoot as a chain-smoking quipster.

And So It Goes is another film with a generic title that gives little clue as to the film’s content. (Other recent films guilty of this same crime include Begin Again and Enough Said.) Are all the good titles taken?

Because older folks do go to movies, it’s good to see a film with mature lead characters in theaters. And So It Goes is not a film that makes a big impact, but it’s likely to make people—especially fans of Douglas and Keaton—happy. And that, as Martha Stewart likes to say, is a good thing.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Jordan Belfort is the 21st century Charles Foster Kane. He is one of the most over-the-top, outsize movie characters in years. Kane made his fame as a newspaper publisher; Belfort, as a rules-bending stockbroker. Both relish influence, control, riches and a lavish lifestyle. Both are fitting archetypes of their eras.

The Wolf of Wall Street is one of 2013’s best movies. In director Martin Scorcese’s vast film canon, this is one of his most memorable and most entertaining efforts.

Leonardo DiCaprio takes this juicy role handed him by Scorcese and milks it for all it’s worth. Sex and drugs inspire Belfort to earn ridiculous amounts of money. But he is a man who can’t be satisfied: the more sex, drugs and money he gets, the more he wants.

Belfort (DiCaprio) is the dominating centerpiece of this excellent movie, but his partners in crime complement his greed and debauchery. Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) is Belfort’s top sideman in scamming and in living the high life. The cast includes Rob Reiner as Belfort’s dad, Jean Dujardin (of The Artist fame) as a Swiss banker and Mathew McConaughey as one of Belfort’s early mentors.

The film is based on the books of real life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who has written about his reckless, risky behavior. Considering that Belfort was under the influences of cocaine, Quaaludes and booze much of the time, his memories of what happened may be a bit spotty.

Whether the tall tales he writes regarding his exploits are completely true does not really matter. The story we see on the screen is big, loud, outrageous and entertaining. TWOWS is not a movie to be taken totally seriously, though it should be seen by anyone who buys stocks through a stockbroker. The movie’s narrative is obviously filled with exaggeration and hyperbole, but that only makes it more entertaining.

Special note: The Wolf of Wall Street contains a large amount of graphic nudity and sexual content, much of which may be shocking to see in a mainstream Hollywood film at your multiplex. But most of the sexual content is not of an erotic nature, and some of it provides many of TWOWS’s funny and OMG moments.

As Belfort lived his life at full speed ahead, so does Scorcese in his telling of the story. The Wolf of Wall Street is a 3-hour movie and, except for a few respites, it unspools with compelling episode after compelling episode.

The Wolf of Wall Street should be in the running for multiple Oscar nominations. Best actor, best director and best movie are good possibilities. Brace yourself and enjoy this amazing, outrageous—and maybe even partly true—story.