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The Wolf of Wall Street is the movie that everyone's talking about -- on Wall Street and off. I saw the movie, and needed an airline-style puke bag to handle a few of my reactions.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why moviegoers from all walks of life will go absolutely bananas for this movie. I've tried to limit the spoilers in here, but I do give away a few things -- so if you haven't seen the movie, be forewarned.
1. You're a psychopath.
If you have psychopathic tendencies and are looking for a movie that crowns as king someone who remorselessly trounces over others, then you've found your flick. The Wolf portrays the wild highs of the swindling life without spending so much as a minute considering who the victims are on the other end.
But if you're a psychopath, why would you want any of that ooey-gooey stuff anyway? You're devoid of normal human empathy anyway.
2. You think Wall Street is inherently evil.
For some, this will be seen as the ultimate Wall Street comeuppance, as financiers are shown sporting their true colors as nothing more than criminals and hucksters. Surely there's nothing more to Wall Street than cocaine and hookers. Surely.
So if that's your view, and you love confirmation bias, then this movie was tailor-made for you.
3. You don't have access to nudie channels at home.
If you've heard anything about this movie, it may be about the excessive amount of nudity. You did not hear wrong. It's excessive. Of course, if family life has you missing the days of curling up on the couch on Saturday night for some late-night Cinemax, then this is the ticket. Just don't bring the in-laws.
4. You're a disillusioned twentysomething.
If you're in your mid-20s to early 30s, lost and possibly jobless, then this movie could turn the tides for you. It shows, plainer than most other movies I've seen, just how awesome white-collar crime is. You get to live the high life as you swindle hordes of suckers out of hard-earned cash and then, when you finally get caught, you do some cakewalk time in a cushy prison and come out the other end ready to make your next fortune giving speeches about how to be... uh, wicked awesome.
If you think any of this would make you uncomfortable, please refer back to No. 1 above.
5. You've always longed to see Leonardo Dicaprio on ludes.
There's a long scene that depicts Dicaprio on a heavy dose of ludes. A very long scene. I mean, it's like, "I just got up and went to the bathroom and got a refill on popcorn and Coke and, oh yeah, grabbed some Junior Mints too and this scene is still going on" long.
So yeah, if you've been dying to see Leo on ludes, this is your dream come true.
6. You've wondered what Goodfellas would be like on Wall Street.
I love Goodfellas. Frankly, I think it's better than The Godfather (gasp! I know). So I was A-OK with seeing Goodfellas again in Wall Street garb. If you're a Goodfellas and Marty Scorsese fan, too, then I bet you'll agree.
7. You want to revel in your smart decision to be a long-term investor.
The protagonist -- if we can call him that -- of this movie is a cold-hearted swindler. But, to be fair, on the other end of his phone calls are people who are greedy enough to buy into his oily pitch.
The Wolf of Wall Street may not accurately depict all of Wall Street. But even "legit" Wall Street brokers don't always have your best interests in mind, penny stocks are almost always a great way to get fleeced, and very often boring old index funds are the best way for mom-and-pop investors to build their wealth.
If you're already practicing prudent, long-term investing, watching The Wolf at work will only make you smile smugly as you admire your own wisdom... er, well it could make someone smile like that, but not you. No, you're above that.
So go ahead, cough up that $12 because there's something in The Wolf of Wall Street to please just about anyone. Unless, I guess, if you're the couple sitting in front of me that got up and left 20 minutes into the film.
Dodge The Wolf and listen to Warren
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