Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Latest Updates

February 7, 2013

Rags-to-riches documentary ends badly


When the U.S. stock market crashes in 2008, the Siegels' world of privilege crumbles.

Four months after the opening of the newly built Planet Hollywood Westgate Towers in Las Vegas, the company is sued for unpaid bills. The Siegels begin selling their assets to pay off the huge debt, cease construction on the 90,000 square-foot Versailles and put it up for sale. Eventually, the property goes into foreclosure.

At first the Siegels don't accept responsibility for their predicament.

Instead, the family blames the banks, which they claim forced them to stop sales and lay off 6,000 employees. Money lenders are likened to drug pushers; they offered cheap money, got people addicted, then withdrew the money. Jackie is baffled as to why the government bailout money, which she says was supposed to be passed along to the "common people. You know, us," hasn't trickled down to benefit them.

As the situation grows dire, David fights to save his company. Jackie, meanwhile, does what she can to live on a budget but is woefully out of touch. She lets most of the servants go but can't maintain her household. She shops at Wal-Mart for Christmas presents but gives out puppies and enjoys caviar on Christmas Day. She flies commercially to visit her hometown and tries to rent a car, but asks if a driver comes with the car. The clerk's reaction is priceless.

Ultimately, "The Queen of Versailles" is a familiar story, told on a grander scale. It is one of success and failure, personal responsibility, family and marriage. David himself finally understands the moral of this cautionary tale:

"We need to live within our means," he says. "Don't spent money that we don't have. Don't spend money that we think we're eventually gonna have. Spend what we do have. Get back to reality."


Lisa E. Brown is a columnist for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe and the the administrative assistant at the Joplin Public Library.

Text Only
Latest Updates
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Business Marquee
College Sports
Pro Sports