WeCrashed, the long awaited series about WeWork entrepreneur Adam Neumann, the Israeli-born huckster who had one of the most spectacular flameouts in an industry that does not lack for reversals of fortune, has just been released on Apple TV+. It’s compulsively watchable, although it is a little like staring at a train wreck.
It stars Jared Leto, an actor who is known for his shapeshifting performances. He won an Oscar for playing a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club and recently played a black-sheep member of the Gucci clan in House of Gucci (which is coming to television this week, see below). WeCrashed is a portrait of Neumann, whose shared workspace company was briefly valued at $47 billion and who was soon forced out, due to his reckless spending and irresponsible behavior.
How could a company that rents out desks ever be valued at anything close to this huge sum, you might wonder? And if WeWork was thought to be worth billions, could renting the spare desk your kid no longer uses net you at least a few hundred thousand? The answer is that Neumann had the hectoring zeal of a late-night televangelist, dressed up in hipster threads, and this won over investors and employees alike – at least for a while.
It’s also a love story about Neumann and his wife, Rebekah (fellow Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway), an aspiring actress who egged him on in his venture. “WeWork is not a business, it’s a feeling,” they would say and investors would write checks for millions.
It is interesting to watch this in the wake of the two recent Netflix series about con artists, Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler, as well as the Hulu series, The Dropout (not yet available in Israel), about Elizabeth Holmes, whose blood-testing startup created a machine that never worked but was valued at $9 billion. What Neumann did was reckless, perhaps even crazy, but it was not criminal: Investors chose to become part of what he claimed was a movement (or a feeling) and were not promised anything concrete that did not exist.
What the three convicted cons in these other series tried to do was not so different – Anna Delvey in Inventing Anna promised to create an exclusive club for artists and art lovers – but they simply crossed certain legal lines. Anthony Edwards (one of the stars of ER), plays a gullible investor in both Inventing Anna and WeCrashed, who does not realize how flimsy the ventures in which he is investing are until way late in the game.
Neumann’s Israeli background is explored in a few episodes and he claims to have gotten the idea for WeWork from his years growing up on a kibbutz. Sasson Gabay (The Band’s Visit) has a few good scenes as Neumann’s somewhat befuddled father. Leto’s accent is heavy, although he often sounds more Scandinavian or Dutch than Israeli.
One of the pleasures of this series is seeing just how high Neumann flies before he crashes and it is an enjoyable glimpse into the trendy entrepreneurial lifestyles of the young and well-funded, where, for example, Rebekah gets made up into an exact copy of an Avatar character for a costume charity event. It seems likely that Neumann will be back with another company someday, although it is hard to imagine he will flame out in such an entertaining way again.
THE OSCARS are coming up on March 27 (March 28 at 3 a.m. in Israel and the ceremony will be broadcast live on Yes) and a number of recent Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated movies will be shown on television in the next few weeks. Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, which was actually expected to be a big Oscar nominee, turned out to be a disappointment and is only nominated in the Best Hair and Makeup category, but you can catch it on Cellcom TV starting on March 24 and via the Yes Movie Store.
In my review of the film, I wrote that it seemed that this movie, with all its stars’ weird attempts at Italian accents (particularly by Jared Leto and Lady Gaga), would be more enjoyable if you could watch it at home, sipping espresso (as all the characters do) and making snide remarks about the performances to your friends, so now you can find out if that’s true.
Promising Young Woman, a movie written and directed by Emerald Fennell (the actress who plays the young Camilla Parker Bowles on The Crown) subverts the cliché about why young men accused of rape should not be investigated – because it would derail their promising careers – in a twisty black comedy, and it won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2021.
It also makes its debut on CellcomTV on March 24 and on Yes VOD, as well as on March 25 at 9 p.m on the Yes Oscar channel (Days of Gold, a special channel for Oscar-winning films on Yes VOD starting on March 22). Other Oscar-winning movies on this channel will include Citizen Kane, Moonlight, West Side Story, Another Round and The Green Book.
Wonder Woman 1984 was a clunky disappointment compared to the original Gal Gadot Wonder Woman film, but might work better on television, like House of Gucci. It is now available on Yes VOD and on Hot. Godzilla vs. Kong, another popcorn movie I had hoped would be mindless fun but only turned out to be mindless, is premiering on March 19 at 10 p.m. on Yes Movies Action and is also available on Yes VOD, StingTV and Hot.