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NADZILLA
Dec 16, 2003
iron helps us play

Faded beauty queen Jackie Siegel got my eye twitching with her comment halfway through The Queen of Versailles--something to the effect of, "Wasn't that bailout money supposed to go to us regular people?" The documentary chronicles a year or so in the life of her husband David and his company Westgate, the Cadillac of the time-share condo business. Up until the market crash of '08, he was sitting on billions of dollars and enough hubris to fill a Carnival cruise line septic tank. As the film begins, David brags of hobnobbing with celebrities, conspiring to steal the 2000 election with his buddy George, and cutting the ribbon on the latest symbol of Las Vegas excess--a towering time-share hotel hard-sold to blue-collar scrubs wanting a taste of the high-life. But with the sub-prime mortgage collapse, the life he's built on easy credit and over-leveraged assets begins its death throes.

The Versailles in the title refers to the dream home he, his wife and their eight children begin to build at the worst possible moment. This $100 million monstrosity is modelled on the actual Palace of Versailles, a hated relic of the ancien régime for reasons these nouveau riche podunks likely did not appreciate the irony behind. The company's financial problems halt construction of the beast, and as the weeks and months pass, the massive structure becomes the world's most spacious mausoleum. Forced to downshift from disgusting to merely nauseating means, David becomes a ghost of a man, sloughing around his insecure mansion shirtless and--for a man of his nature--spendthrift. All the while his company, house and legacy sinks into the muck.

When troubles arise, rich folks seem very quick to point out their humble beginnings. Both Jackie and David can recall their hardscrabble youth, growing up in homes with a mere three bedrooms, and having to wait to use the terlet. As their fantasy lives begin to collapse, we, the bank loan declinees, could be forgiven for gloating at their misfortune or revelling at an opportunity to use a flashy term we learnt in a 200-level German course. And yet--drat their oily hides--I felt a twinge of sympathy for these fuckers. I don't buy for a minute that these are "regular joes," but they are nonetheless mammalian. Jackie is a Pollyanna and not exactly bright, but keeps a smile even as her face swells from a microdermabrasion. David by the end is humbled, meek, and nearly penitent. They blame the bankers, just like us. And when they're forced to downsize the help, their dumbass crotchspawn step in dog poo poo, pacified by wealth and privilege.

It's unfuckingconscionable that Westgate was allowed to operate the way it was. David mentions that when times were good, he was buying properties in cash and then mortgaging them to cover payroll. Hollow as their bitching may appear at face value, they speak to a corrupt and mind-boggling mismanagement by the usurers in charge. If losing Versailles is what it took to take a big swingin' dick like David Siegel to realize the folly of the free market, perhaps the PH Tower was worth the price. Even low-income me, living on a lifeboat, tossing a chum bucket at the circling creditors, can feel for these prick bastards. Maybe it's all Hollywood pixie-dust (Abigail Disney is a co-executive producer). But for things to improve, we're gonna need at least a few of these rich fucks to see things our way. I thought I was gonna get a massive hate-boner for the Siegels, but The Queen of Versailles had me sadjaculating an hour in. Four stars for this interesting film.

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Charliegrs
Aug 10, 2009


Haha great description of the movie. I enjoyed it, as I seem to always enjoy documentaries that make me red with anger. I guess I like torture? My favorite line in the movie was when Jackie said something like "You hear rags to riches stories, well we are a riches to rags story" meanwhile they still live in a mansion and shop like theres no tomorrow. And my god I can only imagine how tacky that "Versaille" mansion would have been had it been completed. Just the gently caress that they gave the house a name shows how unclassy these people are.

Also, David Siegel is the CEO that threatened his employees with termination if Obama won the 2012 election. Although I think he backtracked on that afterwards.

vorpal
Dec 31, 2007



I never managed to feel sorry for them. Absolutely nothing sank in and there were constant comments blaming "the bankers" for their situation, when they had been doing the exact same thing to the people they sold timeshares to. They don't "see things our way." The entire film was dripping with irony. I was either laughing or disgusted throughout.

David believes he deserves to be a king. He doesn't relate himself to you or any other average person, and I didn't see a speck of humility at the end. He just becomes bitter and lashes out at his family. It's obvious he doesn't care for them in the slightest. They were just props to project his self-image into the world. When his house is no longer full of Miss Americas and celebrities, his "happy" family is just a drain on his precious finances. There's no one left to show off to. Just piles and piles of dog poo poo and a wife who belongs on Hoarders.

Charliegrs
Aug 10, 2009


vorpal posted:

I never managed to feel sorry for them. Absolutely nothing sank in and there were constant comments blaming "the bankers" for their situation, when they had been doing the exact same thing to the people they sold timeshares to. They don't "see things our way." The entire film was dripping with irony. I was either laughing or disgusted throughout.

David believes he deserves to be a king. He doesn't relate himself to you or any other average person, and I didn't see a speck of humility at the end. He just becomes bitter and lashes out at his family. It's obvious he doesn't care for them in the slightest. They were just props to project his self-image into the world. When his house is no longer full of Miss Americas and celebrities, his "happy" family is just a drain on his precious finances. There's no one left to show off to. Just piles and piles of dog poo poo and a wife who belongs on Hoarders.

Definitely no reason to feel sorry for that pathetic excuse of a man. One scene in particular that perfectly illustrates what a scumbag he is, is when he locks himself in one of the rooms to do paperwork and his wife comes in to talk to him. Of course he completely blows her off. Then one of his daughters comes in just to tell him that she loves him and he blows HER off too! And why is he so mad at everyone? Because they left some lights on. Like thats really going to make a dent in probably 5000 a month electric bill. And you know how many men out there feel wealthy simply because they have a family that loves them? And this guy, this multi millionaire if not still a billionaire at that point, can barely tolerate their presence. Its sickening.

Sephiroth_IRA
Mar 31, 2010


Winner #7 of the 2k14 #Gamergate Shit Show
Do not talk to me if your a SJW MRA PUA fucktarded Shitlord, (PS: GJ on ruining videogame journalism twitter drama MODS).


The guy is pretty delusional, I mean, he touts himself as being a completely self-made millionaire but right at the beginning of the movie his "story" only proved that he was extremely lucky. If you don't remember it boils down to "I had some land (no explanation of where this land originated from, I suppose he thinks everyone starts off with 10 acres or something) and a guy wanted to purchase it from me (So obviously it was prime real-estate). He foolishly told me he wanted to build some time-shares on the land so that's where I got the idea!"

Right place right time.

Anyway, the parts that caused me the most rage was the trip to Walmart and when we found out that the cleaning lady was living in the kid's club-house and hadn't seen her son in years.

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