PLANET VALENTI Arts and Entertainment

ADD 1 THURSDAY JAN. 2, 2014 — Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the next thrilling adventure on THE PLANET. Tomorrow, we talk weather and share new information on “Electiongate,” somewhat of The Other Side. Only here, exclusively on THE PLANET. Your only news and commentary source that’s not afraid to tell it like it is and tell it like “They” don’t want you to know!

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RATING SYSTEM: ***** = Sell your firstborn if you have to, but see this film … **** = Excellence exemplified … *** = Not bad, and it has its moments … ** = Waste of time and money … * = Choose waterboarding before you see this mess.


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, DEC. 31, 2013) — If you’ve seen Oliver Stone‘s Wall Street and James Foley‘s adaptation of David Mamet‘s Tony-winner play Glengarry Glen Ross, you needn’t bother with Martin Scorcese‘s latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Come to think of it, if you’ve seen James Cameron’Titanic, you needed not go to Wolf, since you’ve already seen how Leo DeCaprio acts when his ocean-going vessel takes on water. Yes, Leo finds himself all wet in one of many scenes in Wolf of Wall Street that could easily have bet short on the cutting room floor and come out a winner.

Here’s the synopsis from Yahoo! Movies:

LEO: All wet as “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

This is the true story of the outlandish rise and non-stop pleasure-hunting descent of Jordan Belfort, the New York stockbroker who, along with his merry band of brokers, makes a gargantuan fortune by defrauding investors out of millions. Belfort transforms from a righteous young Wall Street newcomer to a thoroughly corrupted stock-pumper and IPO cowboy. Having quickly amassed an absurd fortune, Jordan pumps it back into an endless array of aphrodisiacs: women, Quaaludes, coke, cars, his supermodel wife and a legendary life of aspiration and acquisition without limits. But even as Belfort’s company, Stratton Oakmont, soars sky-high into extremes of hedonistic gratification, the SEC and the FBI are zeroing in on his empire of excess.

Financial corruption? Check. Over-the-top materialistic excess? Check. Sex? Check. Dart midgets? Check. Drug use and abuse? Check? Gratuitous sex? Check. Lame attempts at comedy? Check. A one-dimensional  script that goes on forever and ever? Check. Gratuitous sex? Check. Obligatory special-effects ridiculousness? Check. Rabbit-nibbled Cliches? Check. Jonah Hill delivering a now-boring “Jonah Hill”? Check. Gratuitous sex? Check.

This movie has it all, and, unfortunately, way too much more. Scorcese tells in three hours what could have been easily done in half that time. In fact, everything we need to know and learn about ruthless Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) in this greed-and-coke opus we learn in the first hour of the film. Scorcese could have tacked on the ending of the film at that point. He would have walked away with a much better film.

Nothing exceeds like excess, and Scorcese loses all sense of limits in Wolf. The director talks fast and knows a lot of words, but in this case, the one word he forgot to utter was “Cut!” One best depicts superfluity and glut with moderation and restraint, in the same way that the best horror films scare you because of what they don’t show. Don’t tell that to Scorcese, who, in a filmic sense, loses his directional compass as surely as Beflort loses his moral one.

Folks, don’t waste your money. And under no circumstances, don’t waste three hours of your life on this garbage.



Finally, THE PLANET wishes you all a happy, safe, and healthy transition from 2013 into 2014. The passing year gave us its share of heartbreak, but, too, we savor many great moments of happiness, fun, and love.

We dedicate this final column of 2013 to our readers, who make this daily offering for the public good a task that we shoulder with enthusiasm and enjoyment.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Our next column will be presented on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, as we take a few days of R&R.


“Because it’s ‘Amateur Night.'”Toots Shor, on why he didn’t drink on New Year’s Eve.




  1. Mike Ward
    December 31, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Always be closing.

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Good one, MIKE!
      “See this watch? This watch costs more than you made all last year. Now THAT’S who I am!”

      • Mike Ward
        December 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

        I saw a screening years ago in Hudson with Alan Arkin present for an informal Q&A afterward. Great guy.

        • danvalenti
          January 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

          What a privilege. Arkin has long been one of my faves. I put him in the underrated category.

  2. Bill Sturgeon
    December 31, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I wish you and yours a Healthy and Happy New Year!

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Same to you, BILL. Many thanks.

  3. Silence Dogood
    December 31, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Turner Movie Classics

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      The ONLY channel worth its price.

  4. HB
    December 31, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Going to see it tonight. I’ll let you know…did you see it DV? Happy New Yr to you and yours..

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Well, yes, I saw it, hence the review. If Scorcese cut out half of it, it would go up to three, maybe three point five stars.

  5. joetaxpayer
    December 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Happy New Year! With a new year, comes renewed hope.Here’s to hoping that Mayor Dan can find some cost saving measures this coming fiscal year. The only cutting he did last year, was his hair and Barber Garry did all the work.

    • danvalenti
      December 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Thanks, JOE. I hope the same thing for the mayor and the new council come budget time.

  6. B. Clairmont
    December 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Happy New Year, everyone.

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks, BARRY. Same to you and yours.

  7. Joe Blow
    December 31, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Happy New Year,Dan! Thank You for the great public service you are doing.

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      We take these words to heart, JOE B.

  8. Russell Moody
    December 31, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Thank you for your help. Thank you for your thoughts. Thank you for your concern… Happy New Year. There is more work to do.

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Right you are, RUSS. More work to do, and we shall do it, each in our own interconnecting spheres of influence.

  9. scott
    January 1, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Happy New Year!

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Thanks, SCOTT, and thanks for making this a better site by your contributions.

  10. Joe Pinhead
    January 1, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    Happy New Year!
    Thanks Dan, thanks also to those that contribute to the planet for making things both better and bearable.

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      I appreciate the thought, JOE P. My goal on THE PLANET has been to do just what you state so directly, simply, and elegantly.

  11. Charles Trzcinka
    January 1, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Happy New Year Dan! I have a good feeling about 2014. The political incompetence will lessen, the economy will improve and the stock market will not collapse….

    All the best..

    • danvalenti
      January 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Many thanks. I was going to ask you about the stock market? What would you advise at this point: Stay in or cash out? Have a great ’14, CT.

  12. amandaWell
    January 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Buy Low and sell High, keep an eye on two areas, housing starts and employment figs, and adjust accordingly. And whatever you do, don’t let LOw in, as prez.

  13. Charles Trzcinka
    January 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    I am predicting that the stock market will have a below average year (average is about 9%) but still positive. Here’s what I wrote for the “Business Outlook Panel” where a group of us make predictions in ten or so cities in Indiana:

    “Stock market values should climb slowly next year, below long-term growth rates. Earnings forecasts and low interest rates are encouraging for stock prices, but uncertainty about fiscal and monetary policy, along with economic uncertainty in foreign economies, will hamper growth.”


    1. don’t trust anyone who predicts.
    2. I made the same prediction last year and was dramatically wrong in the right direction.

    Stay thirsty my friends, 2014 promises to be a good year for all…

    • levitan
      January 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      My financial advice:

      If you’re over 60, cash out. (You’ll lose it, time’s your enemy.)
      If you’re under 50, cash in. (You’ll waste it on first previews in the theatres. You are your enemy.)
      If you’re between 5–60, cash some out, and cash it in elsewhere. (No one got fired for doing that.)

  14. chuck garivaltis
    January 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Dan, You hit another home run. I’m watching CNBC and a headline is the NFL for playoff games are not a sellout because ticket prices are too high..You predicted this.This is comparable to major league baseball fleecing you because you have to pay A-Rod and his girlfriends and Jacoby and his $156,000,000 contract are charging you and your kid $6.00 for a hot dog and $3.00 for a plastic water.Forget about getting there and paying the price of admission. Now return to the NFL..There are available seats at Green Bay. This never happens at Green Bay because the fans own the team. But they have decided not to be suckers they have been since the era of Starr,Lombardi, pretty boy Hornung and
    the rest. This is the canary in the mine. Careful folks, if the Packerf fans refuse to freeze to watch a game there may be a problem here.

    Now let’s take a look at the DeCaprio farce I watched because
    of Dan’s comments Dan should be a movie critic. It was on target. I was never accuced of being a prude. But this movie is ridiculous. I see it as a joke. It’s a T & A. I hope you know what this is. Frankly, I asked my son what the hell T& aA meant.That is all that kept it going for 3 hours. It was soft porn. It was stupid. Do not take your youngsters to this farce. It was nothing more than a 3 hour farce.

    • danvalenti
      January 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Many thanks for your kind words. I saw the Green Bay “Ticketgate” and thought: Good for them. Ordinary fans have been priced out of MLB by TV revenues, agents, and obscene amounts of money.

      • joetaxpayer
        January 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

        Dan, its time the fans get agents, we need someone to represent us. The fans need to go on strike and stop this madness.

  15. Dave
    January 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Speaking of home runs, I think you should dig into why a Hall of Fame coach of 31 years is being replaced at PHS. If you dig far enough you will find a shady picnic pest.

    • danvalenti
      January 2, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      Care to share a little more, privately, if you like. It shouldn’t take much digging, at any rate. Thanks for the tip.

    • joetaxpayer
      January 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      This is the same school that 2 years ago fired there basketball coach because he spoke up about giving diplomas to no show students.

  16. Dave
    January 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    I don’t know anything concrete. I just thought something was odd when I read that Coach Moynihan had not resigned and PHS was advertising the position. There are rumors out there and I thought you would be the only reporter with the balls(pun intended) to look into it.

  17. Jonathan Melle
    January 2, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    The Beagle is consolidating its newspapers. The North Adams Transcript and the Advocate are going to be no more.

  18. Gene
    January 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    The Eagle is in trouble. The two consolidations will be followed by the folding of the print edition by the end of this year. This comes from a relative who worls there in an administrative capacity.Too bad but the paper has brought this upon itself, by refusing to cover the real news the way Planet does.

    Eagle should hire Dan V. to run it. Only DV could dave it.

  19. dusty
    January 3, 2014 at 2:11 am #

    One of the best things that could happen to Pittsfield would be for the Eagle to go away forever. Another more reputable paper could give citizens a voice and rein in an obscenely out of control city govt.