What's the No. 1 thing that bothers me about The Wolf of Wall Street preview? Friends who really know me would say, "Clearly, it's the presence of Jonah Hill."
That's the No. 2 thing.
No, the No. 1 thing is the narration. "My name is Jordan Belfort."
I'm actually reluctant to watch movies and television shows with narrators because it's very difficult to do good narration. It has to be both seamless and effective, not too much and not too little.
Also, it has to make sense. Who is Jordan talking to? Why are they introducing themselves? If this is supposed to be a stream of consciousness, does this man frequently introduce himself to himself?
An example of bad narration in an otherwise pretty good movie is The Holiday. If you recall, Kate Winslet's character Iris starts out narrating the film.
But then the narration drops off after that. I mean, it wouldn't make sense for her to narrate what was happening with Cameron Diaz's British excapades with Jude Law, but why have narration in a film only to end it so abruptly? Who was Iris talking to anyway?
It's something that's always bothered me in books, too, when narrators introduce themselves to the reader in beginning chapters (e.g., Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series). I understand that this is a way to impact a wider audience with each new release, so it's not necessary to have read the other books to jump in, but who is Stephanie talking to? Is she writing in a journal?
Bridget Jones' Diary is a movie that did narration pretty well because it infused her inner monologue with her diary. Another movie that actually excels at narration is Clueless, as Cher never announces herself. Her inner monologue starts in medias res ("Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?") and it demonstrates her inner thoughts without going overboard. She speaks in her head the way she speaks in real life.
Luckily, Leo is working with Martin Scorsese (again), who is kind of the king of narration in film, so I'm somewhat optimistic for Wolf. I just wish some of these movies with narrators would address who the protagonist is speaking to. Or whether they just suffer from something similar to Peter Griffin's phase where he randomly narrated his life.