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The Queen of Versailles (2012)

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8/10: The American Dream in All its Wretched Excess
Friday, July 20, 2012

There's a surprisingly complex scene in "The Queen of Versailles," Lauren Greenfield's newest documentary, in which the subject, Jackie Siegel, is travelling to Binghampton, New York to visit the neighborhood in which she grew up. After getting off the airplane and making a stop in Elmira, she and her children find themselves at a Hertz Rent-a-Car counter. First, she explains to the clerk that flying commercial for the first time was bizarre. Second, she asks the clerk for the name of her driver. The clerk can only stare at her in stunned disbelief. We're left wonder: Has Ms. Siegel truly been so privileged as to genuinely expect a driver as part of a rental car, or is she well aware of how the Hertz system actually works and is merely performing for the camera, knowing full well that the main focus of the documentary is her?Jackie's life has been nothing if not a...

9/10: I'd Want To Say This Is A Cautionary Tale
Sunday, May 17, 2015

There's a lot that can be taken away from this documentary, and I believe that this is a documentary in the truest sense of the word. Cautionary tale is, however, not something I would take away.More often than not I believe that people become extremely wealthy by having some level of good sense. For those who fit that description I don't begrudge them whatsoever. I really don't have much to say against anyone who earns their fortune, be it large or small.Yet David Siegel is someone who built his empire getting people to buy into his properties with money down that the vast majority of them didn't have. Toward the end of the documentary David has the audacity to say they can't be living beyond their means. Yet he got his wealth by getting people to vacation beyond their means. I find no sympathy for him whatsoever.Meanwhile there is Jackie Siegel, the...

10/10: The Queen of Versailles
Monday, October 19, 2015

Yesterday I found myself watching, "The Queen of Versailles". In the beginning I thought that this was all a joke a 74 year old rich man (David) is married to a 43 year old woman (Jackie) and no one saw a problem with this? She's a gold digger –is all I kept thinking in my head. They were living a dream that people would kill for. Having a huge house and building an even larger house; the biggest house in America to be exact. This house contained 30 bathrooms, yes I said 30, 10 kitchens, a sushi bar, a tennis court, and a ballroom. Who needs 30 bathrooms? This house or shall I say mansion was built as a replica of the top 3 floors of a hotel in Paris. The Siegel's also bought 5 million dollars' worth of marvel from China to put into the house to fit the theme. I certainly don't have 5 million...

8/10: The filmmaker did not aim to exploit these classless, tasteless billionaires; they took care of that themselves
Saturday, August 4, 2012

Schadenfreude - pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. The entire audience at the screening of The Queen of Versailles experienced this feeling about the Siegel family; they are truly atrocious people. Two years ago, David and Jackie Siegel were billionaires. They had planes, Rolls Royces, multiple nannies for their seven kids, hosted parties for the Miss America pageant while David flirted with the contestants, and sat on a golden throne in their Orlando house during interviews for this documentary. They also began construction on a mansion called Versailles, a project which would become the largest house in the entire United States. It appears the filmmakers wanted to document the rise of this monstrosity of a house and display the lifestyle of the obscenely rich. Even better, these rich people liked to flaunt in front of the camera, not enjoy their splendor in private ala Bill Gates. David Siegel proudly claims he is individually responsible for George W. Bush winning the...

8/10: A great documentary, for reasons you might not expect
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

After reading the top 2 IMDb reviews for this documentary using words like "appalling", "revolting", "tasteless", "classless" and everything short of "Nazi" to describe the subjects, I figured this would be a fun way to forget my own financial inadequacies by relishing in the multi-million dollar tragedy of a bunch of monsters who deserve to suck slime. So with that in mind I poured myself a cup of fresh blood and got my vampire on.Immediately I was "disappointed" because, aside from having a pair of ivory tusks displayed in their living room, these people didn't display anything worthy of being flogged publicly as I was led to believe. Sure, their lifestyle was extravagant to a fault. But, ask any third-world kid who can't afford a pair of shoes, and you'll learn that extravagance is relative. No matter, thought I, wiping some drool off my non-designer jeans, this show is just getting started; I...

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