Tag Archives: Florida

The Queen of Versailles

I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Queen of Versailles’ imminent release on DVD.  It officially arrives November 13th, but the most enterprising among you may be able to snag a preview.This film sets out to ostensibly document the construction of America’s largest residential home, but in actuality it captures a project so mismanaged and out of control that it ultimately grinds to a halt.  The half-constructed monstrosity sits on Orlando’s lawn like a rotting carcass. David Siegel made his money in timeshares (Westgate) and all that it implies.  When the economy crashed, Westgate’s “moocher” clientele could not get the easy credit required to purchase pricey vacations on monthly payment plans.  As Siegel is quick to admit, the company lives and dies by those monthly payments.  When they dry up, so does the funding for the mega-mansion expansion and in turn the collateral for the company’s newest venture – Vegas high-rise condos. From this slim portal into the Siegels’ lives it appears they consume and produce and that’s about it.  They are bursting out of their current 26,000 square foot home which is packed full of kids, staff, clutter, and dog shit.  (What is it with filthy rich people literally being fucking filthy with their pets?  A post for another day I guess.)  David Siegel doesn’t seem to know his kids, even the adult one he works closely with every day.  Jackie Siegel admits she knows little about her husband’s current state of mind and even less about their perilous financial situation.  For most of the documentary, it looks like David Siegel is one breath away from a stress induced triple-bypass.  This is a man in his twilight years trying to live the life of a middle-aged man on borrowed time and borrowed money.  No doubt, filmmaker Lauren Greenfield struck a thematic goldmine with the conveniently-timed financial crisis, but this layered documentary is more than just a byproduct of unfortunate timing.  The Siegels are apparently pissed and suing Greenfield, but I suspect the clever directer just gave the couple enough reel to hang themselves.  Actively seek this little movie out.  A smart and insightful person such as yourself will like it.

 

Sunday with RATS