Rich people can be broke, too.
The film depicts the lives of Jackie and David Siegel, who are the owners of Westgate Resorts, and their family as they build the largest and most expensive single-family house in the United States, but while going through the economic crisis our country has been going-through ever since September of 2008.
Yup, whether or not you can believe it yourself: everybody was affected by the financial-crisis that occurred over 4 years ago. And by everybody, I mean: EVERYBODY. Upper-class, middle-class, lower-class, don’t-care-too-much-to-be-considered-a-class, etc., they all had problems when the stock market plummeted and whenever we see this terrible effect documented, it’s always usually on the lower-class side because, let’s be honest, we all love to cry and care for people that already have it as bad as it is before more worse things begin to happen. That’s just the fact of life and that’s why it was really different to see the view come from a family that’s been rich all of their lives, have never had to worry about money ever, and have always lived happily ever after, mainly through money. The main name of the game is money, and throughout the next hour and 40 minutes you sit-back and watch it, you’re going to see it pop-up a whole lot.
It would seem almost ludicrous to have a documentary about a bunch of rich people that all of a sudden have to deal with the fact that instead of making billions a year, they’ll only be making millions. In all honesty, hell, I even thought it was a ludicrous idea considering almost each and every single person in today’s day and age, are just trying to live-by on whatever the hell they can, while these peeps sit-up in their mansions, drink their champagne, eat their caviar, smoke their Cuban cigars, and waste their money away on an excess of clothes, parties, toys, and anything else you would lose your hair over, had you bought over 40 quantities of it. At times, just watching these people complain about how hard it is for them to accept the fact that they may have to cut-down on only buying 20 presents each for their kids, to only buying 15, pissed me off but at the same time, sort of made me feel a bit sad for them in the long-run.
I remember when I first saw the trailer for this flick, I didn’t really expect it to be all that much other than a wacky, wild-take on how a rich family gets affected by the financial-crisis and has to cut-back on buying a crap-load of useless junk. It didn’t seem too serious and that’s why, when the flick started, I sort of had my mind wrapped-around seeing a comedy-documentary that talked about a real topic, but added some real humor and light moments to keep everything moving and happy-wappy. However, as much as I may have gotten the fun, lighthearted moments, I still got plenty of the sad moments in-return, and by the end, you start to see the movie’s tone changing from more serious and more drastic as it seems like these people’s lives are falling-apart, buck-by-buck, right in front of our own eyes.
At first, you don’t really care that this financial crisis is going to effect them because you actually feel a bit of envy for them by how comfortable and happy they are with their wealth, but that all changes once you start to see the real-aspects of what makes them human pop-out of nowhere. They find it hard to adjust to the tightening-up of money-spending and start to realize that they may just have to get rid of all of the luxuries they have had over the years, in-order to keep the things that are necessary to living a life like theirs (maids, cars, clothes, food, money, etc.). Being a member of the middle-class and being a person that has lived-through the past 4 years, I can easily say that I sort of connected to what these people were going-through, not just because they got sad when they had to give something away they didn’t want to, but because they began to accept the world for what it was going to be around them. They weren’t going to live high-up, fancy lives anymore, they were going to have to work for their happiness, work to keep their lives profitable, and work to keep all of the luxuries around them, however many of them are actually left with them. Watching these people go through a really tough and understandable problem of saving money and getting caught in a tight-budget, really resonated with me and it helped that the flick never glosses over that fact, just to make sure things don’t get too depressing or sad because trust me, they do. But to be honest, it’s not uneven in the least-bit. Sometimes, that’s just how life plays-out.
What made it harder to really care, is the fact that you take into consideration the subjects behind this whole story, and how much they can sort of piss you off by how idiotic they act. I know that not all people are cheap bastards like yours truly, but there’s come a point where enough is enough and even though not all people grow-up with that fact of life, they still have a button in their brain that should still be able to be switched-on-and-off. However, I really don’t think that that button was ever placed in Jackie Siegel’s brain, and to be honest, that’s sort of why I stopped caring for her after awhile. When we are first introduced to her, we obviously know that she’s a gold digger that wanted this older man’s money and luxuries, but yet, she still tries her hardest to have us think otherwise.
The film, on the other-hand, doesn’t really try to mainly just because Jackie’s actions make it seem so obvious: the gal loves this man’s money, and not him. When they find themselves in this tight, financial-bind and they realize that they have to cut-back on all of their expenses and spending, Jackie hears it but allows it go in one ear, and right out the other. She shows this fact by going to Wal-Mart spending over 4 car-loads of Christmas gifts for her kids, and even goes so far as to buy her kid a bike that is too small for him in the first-place, and even in the same scene, we see their garage that is chock-full of a group of bikes that would probably make Lance Armstrong crap his pants. It shows you that this Jackie-gal is just a material girl, living in a material world but can’t accept it, and for that fact, I sort of didn’t sympathize with her as much as I sympathized with her poor, old hubby.
I was already a bit creeped-out by the 30-year age-difference between the two, but I was able to let that all slide, just so I could focus on who the real human-beings were. Most of the attention for this movie was focused on Jackie and how much of a dumb-ass she is when it comes to not spending moolah and accepting that fact, but I think the most-interesting person out of the two is her hubby, David. Granted, the guy is your stereotypical, owner-of-a-big-budget-company-dude that has the big bucks, has the sexy lady with the big honkers, has the big house, has the big buildings he owns, and most of all, has the big ego that he boasts on and on about, especially when it comes to the fact that he’s changed so many people’s lives, for better or worse. As much of a fact as that may be, it still shouldn’t be said, especially when you make it seem like you’ve given birth to these people and are the only reason they are happy. What about their wives? Their husbands? Their kids? Their bed? I’m guessing you paid for all of that too, you self-righteous dick?
From the get-go, as you could probably tell with that last statement, I was definitely signing myself-up for the “David Siegel fan club”, but after awhile, once all the smiles, all the money, and all of the paychecks go away, you start to see a real human-being underneath the billion dollar man that owns one of the nicest hotels I think I have ever laid eyes on in my life. He gets very disgruntled, very angry, very pissy, and but actually, very realistic with the way he thinks and as much as he may bring everybody else’s happy meters down, he still has the biggest brains in the family and just goes to show you that he knows what’s the right thing to do to save money, be happy, and get by this frustrating time for him, and all of America. He’s not the nicest guy in the world, and hell, not even the nicest guy in this whole movie, but he’s definitely more believable and understandable as a person that knows when to say enough, is enough, even if his sugar-gal wife, Jackie, can’t even come close to uttering that 6-letter word.
Consensus: The Queen of Versailles may start of all happy-go-lucky, goofy, and very lighthearted in how it looks at these rich people’s extravagant and luxurious lives, but soon gets very dark, very sad, and very drastic into where it turns to show you how everybody in today’s day and age is struggling to make ends meet, even the rich people that live on the highest mountain, themselves.
Also, when you all get the chance, check out a double-header review of Jack Reacher I did with my buddy Nick! Shoot us a comment and let us know what you think. Thanks!