Escape to the Movies: The Great Gatsby

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RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

'

They grew up in Europe or another continent and/or country where the Great American Novel (one of many) wasn't required reading?

jmarquiso:

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

'

They grew up in Europe or another continent and/or country where the Great American Novel (one of many) wasn't required reading?

I imagine it has to do with the expectation that if American children have to read literature from abroad, the reverse would likely be true. And since The Great Gatsby is as pervasive across American literature classes as, say, Shakespeare, that attitude is at least forgivable.

The thing I never understood with this film is that Baz Luhrman is a director who has always put emphasis on opulence and shallow spectacle above everything else. And The Great Gatsby is a novel which was meant to be a direct take-that at the opulence and shallow spectacle of the Jazz Age.

I mean, if you're going to adapt Great Gatsby, surely you'd want a director who knows how to show cynicism towards the lavishness of the age, not one who adores it and wants to emulate it.

Gorrath:

jmarquiso:

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

'

They grew up in Europe or another continent and/or country where the Great American Novel (one of many) wasn't required reading?

I imagine it has to do with the expectation that if American children have to read literature from abroad, the reverse would likely be true. And since The Great Gatsby is as pervasive across American literature classes as, say, Shakespeare, that attitude is at least forgivable.

As a kid, I wasn't required to read much from abroad. But man did we read some great American literature. And the Great Gatsby's actually kinda interestin'. However my wife is German, and had to ask me what The Great Gatsby is about. Which was tough to explain as a simple pitch, so I ended up saying "Hero worship" to sum up. Still, she was quite excited to see the lavish new Baz Luhrmann picture (and disagrees with me about both Luhrmann and Snyder - why I love her). Similarly, I'm trying to get into German lit. Don't find it as accessible.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The thing I never understood with this film is that Baz Luhrman is a director who has always put emphasis on opulence and shallow spectacle above everything else. And The Great Gatsby is a novel which was meant to be a direct take-that at the opulence and shallow spectacle of the Jazz Age.

I mean, if you're going to adapt Great Gatsby, surely you'd want a director who knows how to show cynicism towards the lavishness of the age, not one who adores it and wants to emulate it.

I wouldn't say that Luhrman has always done that. Strictly Ballroom is the opposite of that. The pageantry takes a long time to come out, and it's not nearly as lavish.

Now I want to watch catch me if you can....

jmarquiso:
[quote="Gorrath" post="6.407681.17014636"][quote="jmarquiso" post="6.407681.17014601"]
As a kid, I wasn't required to read much from abroad. But man did we read some great American literature. And the Great Gatsby's actually kinda interestin'. However my wife is German, and had to ask me what The Great Gatsby is about. Which was tough to explain as a simple pitch, so I ended up saying "Hero worship" to sum up. Still, she was quite excited to see the lavish new Baz Luhrmann picture (and disagrees with me about both Luhrmann and Snyder - why I love her). Similarly, I'm trying to get into German lit. Don't find it as accessible.

Oh how I understand that. I was born in and grew up in Germany. German lit can be hard because of their language structure, in the sense that there is a great deal of precision to it. Learning about how the German language deals with the concept of knowledge is quite interesting for instance. Understanding lit has a lot to do with understanding the culture from which it springs, even when some of the themes are universal. It can be a dense thing to navigate and I totally understand where you're coming from.

Interested in this movie, champing at the bit for Ender's Game since I heard about the new greenlight on a film adaptation a year or so ago.

Glad Card held out for a child Ender and not bumping him up to teen-pretty-boy-with-romantic-interest (see also: Percy Jackson, I Am Number Four, and all the other teen hero films that came out around the same time). Doubly glad they got a genuinely good child actor in Asa Butterfield before his voice dropped. By the time we figure out how great actors like Haley Joel Osment and Freddie Highmore are, they're already doing coming-of-age films like Secondhand Lions or Finding Neverland. They got Butterfield just in the nick of time. The kid playing Bean is really good too.

Just please don't suck, Ender's Game. Please please please.

Gorfias:

Kmadden2004:

SomebodyNowhere:
I know it is unreasonable to expect a character like electro to look exactly like he does in the comics, but what kind of redesign is that.

One that's going to end up looking something like this, I'd imagine;

http://images.wikia.com/marveldatabase/images/f/f9/Maxwell_Dillon_%28Earth-1610%29_010.jpg

Wrong. That's Dr. Manhattan from "The Watchmen". Kidding!

But, it has been done before. Man, I'm going to miss the green and yellow outfit.

Unless there is a giant blue dick and Vietnamese abortions in this one too I'm not interested.

On topic: the English major in me wants to see this but bleh.

I want to see it if only because I can't imagine a better actor to play Gatsby than Leo. It also makes me want to re-read the book. I remember not being overly fond of it, but I could definitely see why it was a good book.

jmarquiso:

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

'

They grew up in Europe or another continent and/or country where the Great American Novel (one of many) wasn't required reading?

In that case, I'm still trying to decide one whether or not they've missed out on anything.

I remember reading The Great Gatsby in my English class when I was younger... Not interested at all in seeing this movie, though not because I didn't like the book (though at that age, I was kind of "meh" about those kinds of books anyway).

Gorrath:

I imagine it has to do with the expectation that if American children have to read literature from abroad, the reverse would likely be true. And since The Great Gatsby is as pervasive across American literature classes as, say, Shakespeare, that attitude is at least forgivable.

In my English class in the Netherlands we did actually watch the Great Gatsbey movie. I don't think we read the book though.

OT: So this movie is framed by the main character writing about it in a depressed state? Isn't that the exact same setup used in Moulan Rouge?

I'm curious if many people have read what Card has said, or just read what others have said about him. In a resent article, Salon (the whole article painting him as practically Naziesk in his hate) said his "most controversial anti-gay screed" was saying homosexual relationships are different than heterosexual ones. Not really the rabid hate I was expecting.

They later go one to direct the readers to slash fan fictions of his work, the article is really classy.

Bob, I don't mind it when you talk like a souless yankee, but I do mind when you constantly switch between your native accent and the everyman movie reviewer one. It's just so distracting.

Chris Batson:
Complicated hero = Sgt. Rex "Power" Colt...
I can dig it.

Anyone else in favor of dubbing the gun's firing sound with a "pew?"

RJ Dalton:
Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

My excuse is that I've forgotten it. Indeed, I've forgotten quite a bit of school lit, as it tended to be forgettable. The ones I remember, are the ones that were spectacularly awful, like The Grapes of Wrath or The Sound and the Fury.

RJ Dalton:

jmarquiso:

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

'

They grew up in Europe or another continent and/or country where the Great American Novel (one of many) wasn't required reading?

In that case, I'm still trying to decide one whether or not they've missed out on anything.

Depends on the teacher. The Great Gatsby is a very interesting novel. As an aside, it sort of informs the modern trend of urban magical realism / urban fantasy genre fiction even - even when it's "grounded" in reality. But it's use of an unreliable narrator and the fantistic symbolism helps out.

So it's sort of responsible for Twilight.

Sean951:
I want to see it if only because I can't imagine a better actor to play Gatsby than Leo. It also makes me want to re-read the book. I remember not being overly fond of it, but I could definitely see why it was a good book.

I'd imagine Robert Redford would do an excellent job, but unfortunately he didn't.

Oh Gatsby. Another in cinema's long line of rich, interesting, handsome and eternally faithful men just waiting to move heaven and Earth to sweep some pretty but utterly useless woman off her feet and take her to a magical fairyland for reasons that seem more to relate to her being cast as the female lead than anything about her specifically.

When all was said and done, it was actually Tom Buchanan I ended up empathizing with most. Even given that he's the classic white, racist, womanizing, myopic old money douchey jock, I still got the impression that he loved Daisy as honestly as he knew how and understood her in a way Gastby would never be able to. Out of all of them, I felt like Tom was the most honest with himself about everything going on.

Ukomba:
I'm curious if many people have read what Card has said, or just read what others have said about him. In a resent article, Salon (the whole article painting him as practically Naziesk in his hate) said his "most controversial anti-gay screed" was saying homosexual relationships are different than heterosexual ones. Not really the rabid hate I was expecting.

They later go one to direct the readers to slash fan fictions of his work, the article is really classy.

Are you able to endure reading Card's bigoted, ignorant, fallacious rants? Take a shot, if you like, but I tried, just now, and it was painful: http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

It's not that he's a universally bad writer and not that he doesn't or can't make reasonable points on other topics, but Card sure does seem to have an impressive hate-on for anyone who happens to be homosexual. If nothing else, that makes him an asshole.

(OT: my captcha just asked "which one is a country?" and when I chose "Canada" over bunny rabbit, colored pencils, chicken salad, fried rice, or a truckload of cabbages, I somehow failed. I feel like my world has been turned upside-down. Which one of those is a country, then?)

I'm rather pissed that just because it's common in American Litteratur, it is considered okay to spoil it. Grantet this wasn't like "Vader-Luke" proportioned spoiler, but still. It seems a little arrogant.

bravetoaster:

Ukomba:
I'm curious if many people have read what Card has said, or just read what others have said about him. In a resent article, Salon (the whole article painting him as practically Naziesk in his hate) said his "most controversial anti-gay screed" was saying homosexual relationships are different than heterosexual ones. Not really the rabid hate I was expecting.

They later go one to direct the readers to slash fan fictions of his work, the article is really classy.

Are you able to endure reading Card's bigoted, ignorant, fallacious rants? Take a shot, if you like, but I tried, just now, and it was painful: http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

It's not that he's a universally bad writer and not that he doesn't or can't make reasonable points on other topics, but Card sure does seem to have an impressive hate-on for anyone who happens to be homosexual. If nothing else, that makes him an asshole.

(OT: my captcha just asked "which one is a country?" and when I chose "Canada" over bunny rabbit, colored pencils, chicken salad, fried rice, or a truckload of cabbages, I somehow failed. I feel like my world has been turned upside-down. Which one of those is a country, then?)

It might be me, but I think you're reading a tone that isn't there. He seems to come off as more stridently pro-Heterosexuality than anti-homosexuality. He does seem to have a hate on for the political part of it though. He comes off as more ani-liberal than anything else.

Actually, it's a little meta. The whole article is him railing against the suppression of free speech and how anyone who is for transitional marriage is branded as evil and bigoted, and the article gets him branded evil and bigoted. Proving his point?

It's an uncomfortable subject to be sure, but I can Enjoy Terry Pratchett, and think he's one of best writers currently alive despite disagreeing with him on some very uncomfortable positions he's taken.

Never read Gatsby.

But the way you described it, it sounds a lot like the Count of Monte Christo after the Château d'If.

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

I don't think it's really such a big thing outside of the US.

It's like Huckleberry Fin and the like. Everyone and their dog seems to have read them in America. But we don't read them in school over here.

We read a lot of Shakespeare, a lot of Bronte stuff. John Fowles, excerpts from Shelly and Stoker. Even bits from Doyle.

But never Fitzgerald or other American classics. Infact, I think the only American novel we read was of Mice and Men.

Hindkjaer:
I'm rather pissed that just because it's common in American Litteratur, it is considered okay to spoil it. Grantet this wasn't like "Vader-Luke" proportioned spoiler, but still. It seems a little arrogant.

It's not just common, it's been required reading for most high schoolers going back decades with 5 previous movie versions. The statute of spoilers goes back 20-30 years, and at that point I feel it's fair game. Exceptions being when this is the first movie/TV adaption from an old book.

Abandon4093:
I don't think it's really such a big thing outside of the US.

It's like Huckleberry Fin and the like. Everyone and their dog seems to have read them in America. But we don't read them in school over here.

We read a lot of Shakespeare, a lot of Bronte stuff. John Fowles, excerpts from Shelly and Stoker. Even bits from Doyle.

But never Fitzgerald or other American classics. Infact, I think the only American novel we read was of Mice and Men.

That's very interesting. Actually, I never read Huck Finn in schools either. They don't make us read Mark Twain, despite his influence on the American novel. For some reason, academia seems interested in forgetting him around here.
Unless somebody tries to censor his work. Then we get up in arms on principle.

RJ Dalton:

Abandon4093:
I don't think it's really such a big thing outside of the US.

It's like Huckleberry Fin and the like. Everyone and their dog seems to have read them in America. But we don't read them in school over here.

We read a lot of Shakespeare, a lot of Bronte stuff. John Fowles, excerpts from Shelly and Stoker. Even bits from Doyle.

But never Fitzgerald or other American classics. Infact, I think the only American novel we read was of Mice and Men.

That's very interesting. Actually, I never read Huck Finn in schools either. They don't make us read Mark Twain, despite his influence on the American novel. For some reason, academia seems interested in forgetting him around here.
Unless somebody tries to censor his work. Then we get up in arms on principle.

My class read Huck Finn and spent a good month or so on Twain, but it was also an AP class. I had already read Tom Sawyer as a kid and I read Huck Finn on my own in 6th grade, though I didn't really catch most of the subtle points or even the more blatant satire.

Sean951:
My class read Huck Finn and spent a good month or so on Twain, but it was also an AP class. I had already read Tom Sawyer as a kid and I read Huck Finn on my own in 6th grade, though I didn't really catch most of the subtle points or even the more blatant satire.

*eyetwitch*

Mark Twain is classified as advanced reading material? The man who championed simplified writing styles in the late 19th century is considered advanced reading in our education system?

*builds up steam for tremendous rage*

*sighs it off*

The American education system sucks so much.

RJ Dalton:

Sean951:
My class read Huck Finn and spent a good month or so on Twain, but it was also an AP class. I had already read Tom Sawyer as a kid and I read Huck Finn on my own in 6th grade, though I didn't really catch most of the subtle points or even the more blatant satire.

*eyetwitch*

Mark Twain is classified as advanced reading material? The man who championed simplified writing styles in the late 19th century is considered advanced reading in our education system?

*builds up steam for tremendous rage*

*sighs it off*

The American education system sucks so much.

Anyone can read him, the whole point of the AP class in question was analyzing arguments and rhetorical analysis. The class also covered Of Mice and Men, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and in my case, Fahrenheit 451. There were other books and a play (I remember the setting, but not the name. It was around the time of the Salem With Trials and involved Goodie Adam.), but those were the ones that stood out and worth remembering. I

I got to go see the advanced screening of this film on wednesday night. Having never read the book or seen any of the previous versions, I can say I definitely liked it. Baz ain't the worst director ever, you just won't get much depth out of his movies.

Which, ironically, kinda made him the perfect choice for this movie. Who better to film and frame opulent, shallow extravagance for a new generation of film-goers unfamiliar with Gatsby than the very man who put opulent, shallow extravagance on the map cinematically?

First person to suggest Michael Bay wins all of the money.

Fappy:
Man, the Boston accent is really butting in more and more these days XD

I don't really mind it, but it is kind of jarring to jump between that and your broadcast voice.

Were this a game and not a review it would be immersion breaking. Thats the same feeling I get when I downshift from 5th to 1st instead of 5th to 3rd... without the engine damage.

I HATE the Great Gatsby. The book, I haven't seen the movie. But I hold The Great Gatsby up as one of the most hollow pieces of crap that has ever been forced down a child's throat next to Romeo&Juliet and Religion.

Side note: I call my reasons for occasional plagiarism the Gatsby Principle, because there is NOTHING more that can be written about The Great Gatsby that millions of 12 year-olds haven't already written. There is nothing new to look at, nothing original to write. So apparently this principle applies to Baz Luhrman's movie too.

EDIT: Also, really Bob, you're gonna whine because Electro isn't in his green and yellow spandex with the volt mask. REALLY? It obviously looks like they are going with a more living-lightning version of him.

All I'm going to say is, in the film clips from this video, I noticed Gatsby swimming in his pool.

...

Gatsby pretty explicitly never uses his pool. Its kind of a big thematic thing in that he builds up this massive fortune and throws all these parties and is presumably living the good life but never gets to enjoy any of it because he's always striving for something more. I'm not saying the pool detail in particular is crucial to the story, or that an adaptation can't change anything (of course it has to), but that Luhrmann just overlooks a key theme that you could very easily subtly reference in a film suggests that he is much more interested in the look and style than he is in the actual substance.

Good to hear DiCaprio performed though. I generally like his stuff.

RJ Dalton:
You also can't spoiler something that's required high school reading. Anybody who doesn't know the story of The Great Gatsby by this point has no excuse not to.

Its funny how Americans assume that if it was required reading for them, it was for everybody. I was only vaguely aware of the existence of the book and only recently learned it was required reading through a joke on Failblog.

If a movie was made about a Latin-American novel, say, 100 Years of Solitude, required reading where I grew up, would it be reasonable if I assumed everybody knows how it goes?

Not that it matters in this case, as I had zero intention of seeing it, but still.

BTW: 100 Years of Solitude is an awesome book.

EnglishBlues:
Which, ironically, kinda made him the perfect choice for this movie. Who better to film and frame opulent, shallow extravagance for a new generation of film-goers unfamiliar with Gatsby than the very man who put opulent, shallow extravagance on the map cinematically?

That's the thing, though. Gatsby (the book) is about so much more than the shallow extravagance of the 1920s. People often say that Fitzgerald was trying to capture the spirit of the 20s in his book, but he really wasn't. He was writing in the 20s and, as a really freaking good writer writing a story set in modern times, his novel contains a great deal of that 20s lifestyle. There is a backdrop of opulence that is important and interesting to look at, but to say that is the point of the novel and making it the centerpiece of the film is missing the point. There are much more human themes at the center of Gatsby: ideas of imagining other people as you want them to be rather than as they really are, believing that achieving something can change the past and make you happy, the human condition of always needing something more.

It's a really great book. I highly recommend reading it.

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