“Book and Movie” The Wolf Of Wallstreet
In light of all the Corona Virus news, I’d like to share a review of The Wolf Of Wallstreet. I had first seen the movie years ago but recently rewatched it as I was reading the book. In many ways, the movie gets it right…Jordan Belfort was living a crazy lifestyle from the late 1980s through the mid-90s. He goes into detail about his absurd drug addiction, using enough quaaludes daily to kill many others. Most days, he used a whole chemical cocktail of other drugs that included cocaine, morphine, valium, etc…on top of at least a dozen quaaludes a day.
The movie highlights many of the episodes of Jordan’s life that are just unbelievable. The goldfish scene is true…Danny did actually jump on the desk and swallow a whole goldfish on Steve Maddon’s IPO day. Jordan does not describe the famous marching band scene from the movie, and he mentions that they discussed the midget tossing* (He has asserted in interviews that they did not actually have the event). Much of the voice-over information from the movie is correct. Jordan’s description of the tiers of escorts…who had unofficial offices on the first floor of Stratton Oakmont.
Obviously, the movie could not come close to covering all the content in the 400-page book…but they’re a couple of major developments in Jordan’s life that are only shown briefly. For example, the process Jordan used to move his money into a foreign bank account. The movie barely covers the actual conversations that took place to move and hold his money overseas. Through the combination of using counterfeit documents and “ratholes” (Jordan’s word for using other trusted individuals to hold his money to keep government agencies off his back), Jordan moved over 20 Million dollars out of the country unsuspecting of the U.S. government. It is true that the money moved as cash hidden on commercial flights of ratholes luggage and clothing. It took almost a dozen trips, and the money carriers were never caught once.
Additionally, the timeline of the movie is not truly lined up to how things went in Jordan’s life. The evolution of the investigation and where Jordan was at life when he was arrested is portrayed wrong. Jordon was forced to leave Stratton by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), but he arranged to leave on very generous terms. Stratton would pay him a million dollars a month, on top of making a million dollars a month from both of his smaller firms ran by more ratholes. Once leaving Stratton, Jordan worked for Steve Maddon full-time and actually helped the company grow tenfold for some time. After a brief period of sobriety, Jordan relapsed hard stealing a Morphin shot while visiting a friend in the ER. Jordan went to a bathroom, stuck the needle in his ass and forgot to put his pants back on before walking back to the hospital room. Jordan has dozens of stories that just make you say…no way. Although, I’ve never been in the position of making millions of dollars in a year…let alone sometimes in one day* (Jordan made 20 million dollars on the day of the Steve Maddon IPO). It’s hard to imagine that someone in such a public spotlight could be living such a wild lifestyle and not have it come crashing down sooner. After the SEC ruling against Jordan, most law enforcement and regulatory agencies actually put little energy towards pursuing criminal charges against Belfort. In fact, if it wasn’t for one rookie FBI agent that kept at putting a case together for years…it’s likely Jordan would have gotten away with his personal fortune.
On a final note, the movie does a poor job of highlighting the constant betrayals that Jordan endured. Although most of his Strattonites* (Brokers at Stratton Oakmont) were loyal to the end. It was some of his closest associates that turned on him at different points to make money. Jordan was a genius at thinking two steps ahead and was able to counteract most of these attacks on his wealth. Still, it is eye-opening how the power of money can transform trusted partners into untrusted enemies. The primary example is Steve Maddon, who Jordan worked closely with to make millions for everyone involved in the IPO. Maddon would eventually turn on him towards the end of his involvement in the shoe company. Maddon tried to leverage Jordan out of his stock options in the company, but Jordan was able to legally force Steve Maddon otherwise…because of legal disclosures of a publicly-traded company.
If you were a fan of the movie, I highly recommend reading the book. I liked hearing more of the details of how Jordan accumulated his wealth. I especially thought it was interesting how he schemed to protect his wealth from the U.S. government. Overall, Jordan publicly appeared to be the prominent Wolf Of Wallstreet, but the reality showed during most of his reign..he was just a drug-fulled paranoid man that trusted little to no one.