Join 3,523 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
May 23, 2012 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (185 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looks wonderful. And, indeed, about as close as we can get to a virtual trip to that past storied world.

Is it just me, or does Leo DiCaprio seem to others to have mighty good taste in movie roles?
posted by bearwife at 12:39 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mods can we please put a SPOILER ALERT on this? The way it's phrased now spoils it for everyone who is still reading the book and doesn't yet know that the borning is both ceaseless and into the past.

Seriously, though, I just recently re-read it and I had no idea about this but I can't think of anyone better than Baz Luhrmann.
posted by griphus at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm a sucker for a well-done mash-up, and the use of such a sample-heavy song fits well into the crazy glitzy trailer. Though Leo seemed a bit mis-matched with visual and vocals, like a young man trying to sound old beyond his time.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


This looks awful.
posted by timsneezed at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


How does Luhrmann still get funding to make movies? Moulin Rouge is historical record, no? It's like giving another baby chimp to the lady whose other chimp ate that one lady's face off. Exactly like that.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:42 PM on May 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


God God I'm excited about this one.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2012


Also who in god's name decided this was a great promo shot? It looks like Philip Seymour Hoffman is trying to escape out of Leonardo DiCaprio's body.
posted by griphus at 12:43 PM on May 23, 2012 [28 favorites]


That movie seems like it was cast using a wizard in Microsoft Word.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


How does Luhrmann still get funding to make movies? Moulin Rouge is historical record, no? It's like giving another baby chimp to the lady whose other chimp ate that one lady's face off. Exactly like that.

Yes, that Oscar-nominated, record-breaking hit failure. Why oh why does anyone still trust that man with a camera?
posted by Navelgazer at 12:45 PM on May 23, 2012 [22 favorites]


Cary Mulligan is one of the dullest working actresses. I don't understand why she's suddenly ubiquitous.
posted by timsneezed at 12:46 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Though Leo seemed a bit mis-matched with visual and vocals, like a young man trying to sound old beyond his time.

Wait isn't that just Gatsby?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


That movie seems like it was cast using a wizard in Microsoft Word.

It looks like you're casting a film adaptation of the Great Gatsby.

Would you like help? posted by griphus at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


Yes, that Oscar-nominated, record-breaking hit failure.

I know people saw it. But did people see it? I tried not to.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


If this movie fails I hereby claim the review title "The Dud as Big as The Ritz", unless someone like Pauline Kael or Vincent Canby beat me to it in '74.
posted by Spatch at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know how Tarentino says that some of his films (like Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds) are films his characters in other films would go and see... because they are a kinda garish and over the top? Well that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw Moulin Rouge and enjoyed the everliving fuck out of it. Which gives me a kind of surprising revelation: Maybe your own personal opinions about a film aren't universal, after all.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2012 [28 favorites]


Ugh. I clicked the Youtube link against my better judgment, and... just, ugh.
posted by junco at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even if I hadn't already known it was Baz Luhrmann, and had the videos not used his name endlessly -- well, that promo is so very Luhrmann. I am not entirely convinced that Gatsby is the book that needed his stamp on it, or that said stamp had to be in 3d, but I honestly enjoyed Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge and I didn't adore Gatsby the novel so I will probably give this movie a (2d) shot.
posted by jeather at 12:50 PM on May 23, 2012


Look, I know that there are people out there who enjoyed Moulin Rouge. I'm just giving yinz a hard time, you strange, crazy diamonds.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2012


I want to see a Fitzgerald/Dick mashup: "Gatsby believed in the pink light."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:52 PM on May 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I challenge you to find a novel with a better last line.
posted by schmod at 12:52 PM on May 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I loved Moulin Rouge! as well, but I totally get people getting turned off by Luhrmann. No worries.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2012


I don't know how anyone got past the "Like a Virgin" sequence. I was watching the movie in bed with my girlfriend, and I actually had to get up and do something else. So many things about that movie just filled me up with this inexplicable rage.
posted by Hoopo at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife liked "Moulin Rouge." It gives our marriage a little frisson. No, not necessarily in a good way.

But DiCaprio should be a really good Gatsby, all contradictions and surface and acting his brains out all the time. I'll see it for that.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:54 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


This movie looks like how The Black Dahlia should have looked.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:55 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Spatch has already brought it up, but even Luhrmann detractors have to think that this movie will, at least, be better than the previous attempt at adapting it for the big screen. Because no matter what, it won't create that one's biggest sin which is making it BORING!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:55 PM on May 23, 2012


I'm ashamed that I groaned dramatically while my partner was watching this trailer last night. He always (rightly) calls me out on my knee-jerk cynicism about populist things made by famous people, and I'm afraid I walked right into my own snarky trap once again. I expect I'll have to make it up to him by seeing this one in 3D and trying to remember that light entertainment is allowed to be light entertainment.
posted by mykescipark at 12:57 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm fond of Luhrman's spectacles but I think Black Gatsby would have been better. Imagine Jay-Z as Gatsby and Beyonce as Daisy. And Donald Glover as Nick Carraway!
posted by cazoo at 12:57 PM on May 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


It is a truth universally recognized that a great book makes a not so good film and a bad book often makes a fine film.
posted by Postroad at 12:57 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


From Wikipedia: "Truman Capote was the original screenwriter [on Gatsby '74] but he was replaced by Francis Ford Coppola, with some scenes re-written first by Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, and Thomas Pynchon."

Yeah I can't see how that plan could possibly go wrong.
posted by griphus at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2012 [28 favorites]


Yeah, it's weird: so many things about that movie just filled me up with this inexplicable joy.

I don't like show tunes, I don't like musicals, I don't like it when stories are interrupted by elaborate dance sequences, and I don't like overdramatic tearjerker romances -- but I loved Moulin Rouge. Loved loved loved it. It's inexplicable.
posted by ook at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I challenge you to find a novel with a better last line.

Not a challenge, because I don't really care for ranking things, but A Tale of Two Cities is pretty ace.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:58 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm fond of Luhrman's spectacles but I think Black Gatsby would have been better.

Well, there was this.
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2012


I'm fond of Luhrman's spectacles but I think Black Gatsby would have been better. Imagine Jay-Z as Gatsby and Beyonce as Daisy. And Donald Glover as Nick Carraway!

Directed by Orson Welles!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2012


This looks awful.

1. The vision of the Jazz Age is bogus. Like a cartoon.
2. TGG is not a visceral story.
3. TGG is about the glass ceiling and death of the American dream. Remains to be seen if the script has the guts to eviscerate the American Dream, but highly unlikely. In short, Disney version of TGG.
posted by stbalbach at 1:00 PM on May 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


From Wikipedia: "Truman Capote was the original screenwriter [on Gatsby '74] but he was replaced by Francis Ford Coppola, with some scenes re-written first by Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, and Thomas Pynchon."

This would make an excellent movie. I'm thinking Charlie Kaufman.
posted by urschrei at 1:00 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I expected to hate this, but I'm actually a lot more interested after watching the trailer. Luhrmann's really good at spectacle, and that matters with Gatsby; to be honest, the party scenes here are 1000% more vivid than anything I could imagine when reading the book. Carey Mulligan's kind of dull, but hen so's Daisy.

Of course, some of this had better make it into the fucking movie.
posted by COBRA! at 1:00 PM on May 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


I guess I should add: I don't think there's any chance that this movie will tower among movies the way the novel towers among novels... I just think it looks like an interesting adaptation.
posted by COBRA! at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2012


The lit nerd part of me wants to complain but the art nerd part of me is going IT'S A LIFE ACTION ENTRE DRAWING LOOK HOW SHINY AND PERFECT YESS
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


So maybe we were wrong to doubt Luhrmann's choice. Maybe The Great Gatsby will be the film that convinces us of 3D's worth as a medium. Spielberg couldn't do it. Scorsese couldn't do it. But they never had a scene about Leonardo DiCaprio hurling a pink shirt around on a mezzanine, did they?

Oh, you crazy Brits with your dry humour. You guys are alright.
posted by jcreigh at 1:03 PM on May 23, 2012


I need more human molar cufflinks, thats my favorite detail in the book (stupid dentist wouldn't let me keep my own wisdom teeth for cool cufflinks)
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on May 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of sad that this movie is close to coming out. I've been having a good time telling people about it.

"The director of Moulin Rouge is working on an adaptation of The Great Gatsby."

"Seriously? That could be..."

"It's in 3D."

"Okay, now you're just fucking with me."
posted by brundlefly at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


er ETRE' drawing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clearly my subconscious is so excited by sparkly jazz-age spectacle it cannot contain itself.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2012


Oh god please not more DiCaprio. I can't look at that baby face anymore. Why he continues to be cast in grownup roles is a mystery to me.
posted by scratch at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do hope they reprocess that shit CG shot of the yellow Rolls, though.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:06 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.

Hey, what's that green light? Right over there...

[3d] .... WHASSSSHHOWOWWWW [/3d]
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:06 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburgfire lasers.
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.

The Wilson/Gatsby helicopter fight above the raging whirlpool would be great.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:08 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


At least it's not J.J. Abrams, where the green light would be shined in from the side to produce lens flare.
posted by straw at 1:08 PM on May 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


DiCaprio seems like a good choice to play gatsby actually, while I think his acting range has ossified terribly in the last few years, his standard tricks (glower, simmer, frown, squint, glower) do fit the blank-but-boiling-over-inside face Gatsby presents to the world.
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's actually nothing about Luhrmann's body of work that makes me think he can't do "death of the American dream" -- in fact, despite the beautiful sheen of his Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge -- they're both extremely depressing movies that try to comment on the worlds in which they were set. Just because a movie is shiny doesn't mean it's fluffy.

[snark]
And 3-D too!!!!
[/endsnark]

Of course, this film could absolutely suck. But then we'll still have the book AND everybody else can be right. I'm giving it a chance.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.

The Rolls has become a robot! With disco ball testicles! That shoot champagne!
posted by The Whelk at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


How does Luhrmann still get funding to make movies?

Let's see. Strictly Ballroom made $11M at the box office in the US on a $3M dollar cost. Romeo+Juliet made $147M on a $14.5M budget worldwide, Moulin Rouge made $180M on a $50M budget

Australia didn't do very well in the US, but was huge in Europe, and made $221M worldwide on a net cost of $78M. There was some large tax rebates in play, actual was $130M, but that's why the shot it there was to take advantage of that.

So, really, the reason he still gets funding for his movies is that, on a bad day, he only gives back $3 for every $1 spent.

There is a risk -- he has this trend of spending more and more on every movie, so if he does have a miss, it's likely to be a fairly painful one. But fundamentally, the reason he's getting funding is he's proven that he makes money with his films.
posted by eriko at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


SEE HOW MUCH BETTER IT WOULD BE
posted by elizardbits at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2012


Ok, so I love Moulin Rouge and I love The Great Gatsby. I think I will probably also love their unholy love child.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


The problem I have with DiCaprio (and obviously the Academy doesn't agree with me) is that he's always so strenuous in his acting that I never forget that he's acting. And I find him utterly charmless, which for Gatsby, is a dealbreaker. And that's not even including the Luhrmann-frenetic visuals. LUHRMANNNNN! *shakes fist*
posted by book 'em dano at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fitzgerald's grave is not far from where I live, and when things really get me feeling overwhelmed and like I'm caught in the current that's bearing me ceaselessly into the past, I take a rambling motorcycle ride out to where his body lies next to a flying saucer in the ugliest, most soulless city in all of Maryland, pour myself a nice cool parisette from a thermos, and think about things with the traffic thundering by on its way, forever going from nowhere to nowhere else.
posted by sonascope at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012 [21 favorites]


How does Luhrmann still get funding to make movies?

A lot of people with bad taste.
posted by timsneezed at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course, some of this had better make it into the fucking movie.

I had never seen that comic before, but I too will be disappointed if the line "we come from old money. Old as BALLS" isn't included.
posted by Hoopo at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2012


(But Robert Redford is still the perfect Gatsby.)
posted by chatongriffes at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah the basic story, depending on how it's treated, could be right inside Baz's wheelhouse - hey that thing you wanted so badly? It's empty and hollow, just like all your aspirations, oh and BTW, you'll never fit in. Ever. Bang.

Granted my one rule about Gatsby adaptations is that Daisy has to be dumb as a sack of hammers. I will not budge on this.
posted by The Whelk at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Michael Bay's Gatz: Battle for West Egg revolves around Meyer Werewolfsheim, a Jewish mobster unable to keep his lycanthropy at bay during one of Gatsby's parties, and who must be stopped at all costs by Jay Gatsby (born James van Hesling.)
posted by griphus at 1:12 PM on May 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


+5 if every scene Daisy's in has the maid standing somewhere in the background, holding a crying baby.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:12 PM on May 23, 2012 [8 favorites]



(But Robert Redford is still the perfect Gatsby.)

LOOKS like the perfect Gatsby. I found his version way too passive and underplayed.
posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nick Carraway will be played by Vin Diesel.
posted by elizardbits at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2012


In the UK Gatsby is not really that much of a thing... I only eventually read it because of this from The Wire.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:16 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the people who hate even the idea of this movie, read that Chris Bohjalian book about Gatsby -- The Double Bind, I think -- and you will like the movie a lot, lot more.
posted by jeather at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2012


It's a short book people, I recommend it.

Actually I've argued that you don't really need Nick if you're doing a film adaptation, you ca communicate easier and quicker with the visuals, you could argue Nick is an important counterweight to Gatsby, but I content you can easily re-write him without him being the narrator.
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2012


George Wilson, of course, is Shia LaBeouf-- all rippling muscle and barely suppressed class rage.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really should re-read the book. I haven't read it since 9th grade and I didn't really get it at the time but that was thirty five years ago or so, I should give it a second chance.
posted by octothorpe at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2012


The Whelk, I guess one man's passive and underplayed is another man's subtle and understated. You wouldn't see him creepily dripping with sweat and EMOTING SO HARD!

Don't get me wrong though, I think Leo can do interesting things with this role, too.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:20 PM on May 23, 2012


love baz luhrmann. love carey mulligan. love leo. love the great gatsby. i just can't figure out who thought all those things together would be good.

also, leo is no gatsby - he's too swollen, too sweaty, like someone kicking heroin. and carey, as delightful as she is, can never play as small and weak as mia farrow and i think daisy requires that.

furthermore - in the trailer where daisy and gatsby have their arranged meeting - that's at nick's place, yeah? then why the heck is it so huge?

and finally - i feel like this could have almost worked if baz got everything besides the stuff at myrtle's - that a whole other team was brought it to storyboard and shoot that part. the book contrasts the glitz and the lights and deep rich colors of gatsby/daisy's world with the depressed, greys and browns of the wilson's world. if you turn that part up to 11, there's no contrast.
posted by nadawi at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2012


I really cannot stand Tobey Maguire. He's reason enough not to see this.
posted by Outlawyr at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2012


The Whelk, I guess one man's passive and underplayed is another man's subtle and understated. You wouldn't see him creepily dripping with sweat and EMOTING SO HARD!

I don;t think I was well-versed enough in tightly wound trembly WASPness when I saw the movie, so maybe it's time for a rewatch.

I agree that Mia Farrow was almost to perfect for being fragile and cipher-y and barely there.
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 'giant glasses' are symbolism.
posted by Fizz at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm fond of Luhrman's spectacles but I think Black Gatsby would have been better. Imagine Jay-Z as Gatsby and Beyonce as Daisy. And Donald Glover as Nick Carraway!

Then perhaps I can interest you in my hip hop opera adaptation of Julius Caesar. It's called Et Tu, Nigga?
posted by vibrotronica at 1:27 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shia LaBeouf-- all rippling muscle

I think maybe you are thinking of someone else because lol.
posted by elizardbits at 1:28 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Was Gatsby Black?

I don't buy it but it's another way to think about Gatsby as a walking talking Other trying SO HARD to win approval
posted by The Whelk at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've always thought it's weird that all the movie Daisys are blonde, while she's described as having brown hair in the book. I guess the dumb blonde stereotype is too good to pass up?
posted by book 'em dano at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2012


looking at wiki - i admit that this version sounds far worse than what baz has cooked up - The Great Gatsby, in 2000 by Robert Markowitz – a made-for-TV movie starring Toby Stephens, Paul Rudd and Mira Sorvino.
posted by nadawi at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2012


I think maybe you are thinking of someone else because lol.

here is a dollar for getting my joke
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2012


No, it's accurate. Shia LaBeouf is all rippling muscle. Just the one, though.
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always thought it's weird that all the movie Daisys are blonde

Vivien Leigh didn't have Scarlett O'hara's 16-inch waist either.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:31 PM on May 23, 2012


The vision of the Jazz Age is bogus. Like a cartoon.

It isn't The Great Gatsby, it's Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Fitzgerald was never a James T. Farrell, but there's a core of gritty realism to Gatsby that Luhrmann's vision seems to miss entirely. Also, seconding the feeling the DiCaprio was entirely miscast here. Steve McQueen and Robert Redford? Those were Gatsbys (though Redford was just a little too gorgeous). Brad Pitt? I could believe in Pitt as Gatsby, but not DiCaprio. That's like casting James Cagney as Gatsby.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm excited for this. If I can't have a straight-up Merchant Ivory version of the book then I'm stoked to see what Baz does with it. More excited, actually. Can do without the 3D though. And Leo doesn't seem exactly right but he surprises. I think Tobey Maguire for Nick is a good choice. His first big boy role, maybe it will move his career forward.

Though I'm the guy who wanted The Hunger Games directed by David Fincher. That would have been something.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 1:32 PM on May 23, 2012


The garish 3D hyperreal look seems ideal:

It's how Gatsby wills himself to see things, and how Carraway wistfully wishes he could see things.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:32 PM on May 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Though I'm the guy who wanted The Hunger Games directed by David Fincher. That would have been something psychotically depressing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on May 23, 2012


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.

Every demographic has their "Michael Bay" and Luhrmann is for his.
posted by cell divide at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


i think visually daisy being a blonde just plays better with the whole thing - her lace frocks and ethereal/faint persona i don't see it as the dumb blonde stereotype so much as it underscores that she is a featherweight in all things - no color to her face, light hair, light eyes - also, it contrasts her to myrtle. if they were both brunettes, how would you know that one of them were "plain" (ok, that last part might be just a tiny bit of snark about acceptable femininity in hollywood).
posted by nadawi at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2012


sonascope: "the traffic thundering by on its way, forever going from nowhere to nowhere else."

OMG, Sonascope, that's the best phrase I've ever read.
posted by notsnot at 1:36 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Though I'm the guy who wanted The Hunger Games directed by David Fincher. That would have been something psychotically depressing.

I think you spelled awesome incorrectly. I would love to see an adult version of that story.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 1:38 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish Michael Bay was directing this.

Funny you mention this, because I think Baz Luhrman and Michael Bay share the same editing style, which is to cut up a scene, stick it in a blender and pour in some glue, pulse a few times, then see what happens.

I actually like Luhrman's spectacle, his sense of fantasia. Moulin Rouge was visually stunning--as this movie seems to be as well--but the cut-cut-cut editing gave me whiplash. And Michael Bay movies are largely horrid for his awful sense of pacing and editing. So there, there's your Bay-Luhrman connection. (Though it is possible to do cut-cut-cut editing well; see The Bourne Ultimatum).

I just hope there's a lingering shot longer than ten seconds or so. Also, DiCaprio is pretty much perfect for this.
posted by zardoz at 1:39 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. For some reason I always pictured Daisy as blonde even though I don't think I've ever seen a movie adaptation. I tend to skim over physical descriptions in books so I guess I'm not surprised I missed seeing her described as brunette (though I've read the book several times). She just seemed blonde somehow.

(I suppose the name "Daisy" might be a part of that too, since I associate it with "yellow")
posted by wildcrdj at 1:41 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though I'm the guy who wanted The Hunger Games directed by David Fincher. That would have been something.

I remember when Fincher threw his hat in to direct Spider-Man. I can only imagine what that would have been like.

Me, I'd like Fincher to do either The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré or Concrete Island by J. G. Ballard.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny you mention this, because I think Baz Luhrman and Michael Bay share the same editing style, which is to cut up a scene, stick it in a blender and pour in some glue, pulse a few times, then see what happens.

The difference being that, well, for one thing Luhrmann has a much better eye for this, I think, and for another thing, Bay keeps that editing style going for the entire film, more or less, while Luhrmann just does that for the first fifteen minutes or so to give you a disorienting introduction to his world and then lets it calm down.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on May 23, 2012


Yeah, I just wonder if she would be portrayed or seen any differently with dark hair. Hair color can, not always, play a big part in how a woman is perceived. Idk that it would be wrong for Daisy, just different.
posted by book 'em dano at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2012


book 'em dano, now you have me picturing Allison Brie in the role, and that could be devastatingly good if you use her to play with the audience, as they too come to realize how hollow she is by the end of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:47 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


shakespeherian: "I've always thought it's weird that all the movie Daisys are blonde

Vivien Leigh didn't have Scarlett O'hara's 16-inch waist either.
"

Blink, blink...? Pretty sure it's easier to get a brunette lead star than one with a 16" waist.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2012


I think you guys mean Jill Bilcock. Who is incredibly talented.
posted by ook at 1:54 PM on May 23, 2012


Indeed I did, ook.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on May 23, 2012


I think Michelle Dockery would have made a good Daisy
posted by timsneezed at 1:56 PM on May 23, 2012


Okay so The Whelk wanted me to say that I came up with the ideal director for Gatsby: Todd Haynes.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:57 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


James Gray director of "Two Lovers" would also have been good
posted by timsneezed at 1:58 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay so The Whelk wanted me to say that I came up with the ideal director for Gatsby: Todd Haynes.

Well, sure, if Terry Gilliam's busy.
posted by COBRA! at 2:00 PM on May 23, 2012


Some people love Baz, some people hate Baz....film at 11

I personally think its awesome looking. I fell in love with that story when I was forced to read it in high school. I re read it every once in a while and fall in love all over again.
posted by ShawnString at 2:01 PM on May 23, 2012


Well, sure, if Terry Gilliam's busy.

I don't remember the exploding blind puppetmaker scene from the book but I'm sure it's important to his vision
posted by The Whelk at 2:01 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, sure, if Terry Gilliam's busy.

He's busy in the intervention I'm having for him because for fuck's sake stop it with the hamhanded CGI.
posted by griphus at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2012


Hmm. This really isn't how I imagine The Great Gatsby at all.

I actually listened to the book on audiotape as a kid on a long, long car ride to my grandmother's house. My mental image of the world of Gatsby is very clear, and it looks totally different.

In my Gatsby, everything is strangely muted - the colors, the emotions, the speech. Everything is veiled. Nobody is vulgar or even forthright in their direct actions, even when their intentions - and the results of their intentions - are quite vulgar. Nothing is quite this bright or public. Nobody gives sexy desirous looks, only repressed looks which imply desire through layers of convoluted reasoning. Nobody shows a lot of skin, they just show up at inappropriate places with inappropriate people acting as if it couldn't be avoided, which sort of conveys the same thing. There is no spectacle. There is only a crumbling facade of elegance and some seediness behind it. In the Gatsby of my imagination, the grand parties are not really all that grand. I know the book says they are, but its own subtext seemed to me to be saying otherwise.

Still, the movie could be good. Won't know until I see it.
posted by Cygnet at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


book 'em dano, now you have me picturing Allison Brie in the role, and that could be devastatingly good if you use her to play with the audience, as they too come to realize how hollow she is by the end of it.

The problem with that actress is she has a vapid looking face. I think the role requires a pristine, slightly romantic face that someone could project dreams onto but one that also could look empty and cold if you looked at it another way.
posted by timsneezed at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2012


He's busy in the intervention I'm having for him because for fuck's sake stop it with the hamhanded CGI.

Fine, fine, Tim Burton can do it then. Hope you like your Depped-out Gatsby.
posted by COBRA! at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2012


I remembered that line as

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future


not the "orgastic future", but I decided it would be too petty to say anything, and it's a good thing I didn't.
posted by jamjam at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fine, fine, Tim Burton can do it then. Hope you like your Depped-out Gatsby.

DON'T GIVE THEM IDEAS
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, Decaprio did play Howard Hughes in The Aviator.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2012


Tim Burton as Chief Wiggum as Edward G. Robinson as Jay Gatsby.
posted by griphus at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuck, I mean "Johnny Depp."
posted by griphus at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2012


Just keep this Luhrmann dude away from The Grapes of Wrath.
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gatsby (Johnny Depp) is a lonely inventor living on an isle filled with misfit toys. His old and withholding father Mr. Gatz (Christopher Lee) gave him no love, only a silent robotic manservant named Nick (Crispin Glover) built from overlooked factory pieces.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


What color is your moulin? (red is already taken)
posted by obscurator at 2:10 PM on May 23, 2012


Man, I thought every breath of acting in this trailer was terrible. It feels like an SNL parody of a movie.

In my Gatsby, everything is strangely muted.

Yes, precisely. The spareness is the point. This is more Tron: Legacy than Gatsby.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


that lightcycle chase through the valley of ashes was something, with the huge floating glasses hologram....
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me, Leonardo is not convincing in any role where he has to act like an adult. Every time I see one of his movies, I think of Peter Brady and "Chaaaaaange!"
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:13 PM on May 23, 2012


book 'em dano, now you have me picturing Allison Brie in the role, and that could be devastatingly good if you use her to play with the audience, as they too come to realize how hollow she is by the end of it.

The problem with that actress is she has a vapid looking face. I think the role requires a pristine, slightly romantic face that someone could project dreams onto but one that also could look empty and cold if you looked at it another way.


That's funny. Apparently we see Brie very differently (though that might be because I haven't seen Mad Men, which, yes yes I know...) Because of Community I see her as romantically soulful, charming, and intelligent, but with the possibility of playing actually vapid as well. Interesting.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:13 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


seriously, this looks like Moulin Rouge II, The Rouge-ening
posted by obscurator at 2:14 PM on May 23, 2012


To me, Leonardo is not convincing in any role where he has to act like an adult.

My real problem is that he is slowly transforming into a rectangle.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


Too bad Sigourney Weaver's too old to play her namesake, Sigourney Howard. Ms. Weaver was originally Susan, but she changed it to Sigourney after the Gatsby character.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh Jesus Christ. It looks like if Michael Bay directed the entirety of the Jazz Age and then replayed it in slow motion.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2012


Also I think it would be kind of cool if the trailer hadn't shown Gatsby at all, but I know trailers don't work that way, but come on, it would have been so much better.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's funny. Apparently we see Brie very differently (though that might be because I haven't seen Mad Men, which, yes yes I know...) Because of Community I see her as romantically soulful, charming, and intelligent, but with the possibility of playing actually vapid as well. Interesting.

OK, I'll confess I haven't seen her act -- I will check her out. She may be all those things in motion. But I think with casting 80% of it is what you can read about someone from a headshot alone, assuming they're a decent actor. This actress is pretty in a girl next door way.
posted by timsneezed at 2:21 PM on May 23, 2012


I'm going to push Tom Kalin as an ideal director here. Savage Grace captured the idea of a floating, amoral world of blank luxury and need.
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2012


Also I think it would be kind of cool if the trailer hadn't shown Gatsby at all

Now that I think about it Gatsby is essentially a critique of John Galt written 32 years prior.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Erm....yer not gonna use that music are you?
posted by telstar at 2:23 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


If nothing else, this has given the Globe & Mail the opportunity to write the following headline: "An uber-stylish peek at Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby." And for the Globe's James Adams to write, "This week, Warner Bros. dropped the first of what promises to be a fizzy flood of trailers." And for me to wonder what, exactly, renders a peek "uber-stylish." (Is it around a corner designed by Todd Oldham? From under Lady Gaga's blanket?) And to wonder - and then endeavour to stop wondering - what causes the trailer flood to fizz so.

So, already, there's that.
posted by gompa at 2:24 PM on May 23, 2012


On first view, my mind rebelled. I think it was the music. The music of the era seems so bound up with the visuals that pulling them apart just feels gross. Like putting playing the Beatles over a Downton Abbey trailer, or something.

On second view... okay, this could be fine. But I probably wouldn't watch it; I can't get the casting, other than Carey Mulligan (but then I'm kind of a partisan for her ever since her Doctor Who appearance).
posted by BungaDunga at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2012


Okay, let's talk about Baz Luhrmann for real. He's got a very very narrow range that he plays in. Discounting Australia, which I don't know anything about, his films are all about glamour, class-struggles, cynicism, and a sort of hyperbolic, myopic version of "love" which consumes everything around it because it consumes the lovers so. They are also all adaptations of a sort (this and Romeo + Juliet directly, but Strictly Ballroom is based on Pygmallion and Moulin Rouge! is "Orpheus and Eurydice.")

He likes using a fresh-faced narrator to bring us into a world of opulence and decadence as well, and it's easy to see why Jazz-age New York appealed to him for the same reasons that fin-de-siecle Paris did.

As I said above, he (and Bilcock) redline the frantic cuts at the beginnings of his movies, and then pull back. It's an interesting habit, and one that he employs every time, but it makes sense for his themes. Spend the first act setting up a world of unimaginable, disorienting glitz and glamour and then, just as one finds their feet in it, introduce the lovers. From there on, well, it's not like Baz ever goes truly languid or anything, but that moment, structurally the end of Act I, is when we've finally got an actual story and not just a travelogue, and things move forward from there because we no longer need razzle-dazzle in place of actual dramatic stakes.

That's when things get cynical. And this is where I think Baz could be a perfect fit for this material (which I love. My cats are named Gatsby and Fitzgerald, for god's sake.) In Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, the cynicism came from the lovers' surroundings, and the lovers tried to beat it back by sheer force of passion. In this case, obviously, the cynicism is internal. Gatsby will never be good enough for Daisy, and Daisy isn't worth it anyway.

I agree that Todd Haynes would be great at adapting this, but I'd worry about that adaptation for the same reason I'd worry about a Merchant-Ivory adaptation: that whole "good book makes bad movie" thing. Haynes and Merchant-Ivory are both I think too subtle to do this well, if that makes any sense. It needs to be bold. It needs to be new and bear the mark of a director not afraid to put his or her own on such a classic book.

Frankly, and I might catch hell for this, but the only other director I can picture making something truly worthwhile, or at least interesting, with this is Wes Anderson.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:44 PM on May 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


zardoz: "I actually like Luhrman's spectacle, his sense of fantasia. Moulin Rouge was visually stunning--as this movie seems to be as well--but the cut-cut-cut editing gave me whiplash."

Yep, this is pretty much my problem. There's a lot to enjoy about Moulin Rouge, but the editing completely destroys it for me.

(Though it is possible to do cut-cut-cut editing well; see The Bourne Ultimatum).

See, that didn't work for me either. I got the sense there was some impressive stunt work and fight choreography in that movie, but I can't say for sure.
posted by brundlefly at 2:46 PM on May 23, 2012


I don't think of Todd Haynes as stylistically subtle. He is heavily influenced by melodramatists like Douglas Sirk. Have you seen Safe and Far From Heaven?
posted by timsneezed at 3:03 PM on May 23, 2012


Or, hell, I'm Not There?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:05 PM on May 23, 2012


OK, I'll confess I haven't seen her act -- I will check her out. She may be all those things in motion. But I think with casting 80% of it is what you can read about someone from a headshot alone, assuming they're a decent actor. This actress is pretty in a girl next door way.

Again interesting in different readings of things. The way I've always pictured Daisy, the girl-next-door prettiness is very important. In my mind, if she were simply super-hot, like a Megan Fox type or something, then Gatsby's obsession doesn't seem as believable to me. I think he needs to believe that she's something deeper and better than she is.

(Note: please don't take this as an actual view of the traits of women based on how they look, but rather the perception of those traits by others based upon how women look.)

That said, I can see it the other way. It just makes Gatsby (the character, not the book) shallower to me, which is okay. I can see Estella being played both ways as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:07 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe he just decided to make this in 3-D so we'll all understand how beautiful the shirts are!

The joke's going to be on us in December when everyone files out of the theater exclaiming, "Wow, Daisy was right! I never HAVE seen such beautiful shirts!"
posted by ausdemfenster at 3:13 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, I'm absolutely thinking of Far From Heaven when I say that. And that's probably unfair, because I'm picturing him doing this material up in that same style when he's obviously got a much greater range than that.

I guess what I'm saying is that Haynes would make a Gatsby movie the way I've always pictured a Gatsby movie, and because no adaptation is going to touch the greatness of the novel, I'd much rather a bombastic, risky adaptation that makes me think about it differently.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:17 PM on May 23, 2012


OK, I'll confess I haven't seen her act -- I will check her out. She may be all those things in motion. But I think with casting 80% of it is what you can read about someone from a headshot alone, assuming they're a decent actor. This actress is pretty in a girl next door way.

Again interesting in different readings of things. The way I've always pictured Daisy, the girl-next-door prettiness is very important. In my mind, if she were simply super-hot, like a Megan Fox type or something, then Gatsby's obsession doesn't seem as believable to me. I think he needs to believe that she's something deeper and better than she is.

(Note: please don't take this as an actual view of the traits of women based on how they look, but rather the perception of those traits by others based upon how women look.)

That said, I can see it the other way. It just makes Gatsby (the character, not the book) shallower to me, which is okay. I can see Estella being played both ways as well.


OK, I see what you're getting at but let me clarify. When I say pretty in a girl next door way I don't mean that she's not pretty enough but that she doesn't have the kind of face that dreams are built on. Her features aren't especially "refined" looking is partly it. I think Daisy needs to have a face that the audience, like Gatsby, can project dreams and depth onto, but her personality itself should be incongruously shallow. So over the course of the movie you're disillusioned by the disconnect.
posted by timsneezed at 3:18 PM on May 23, 2012


Okay, right on, it seems we're looking for the same qualities in Daisy, and I see them in Brie and you don't. That's cool.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:22 PM on May 23, 2012


So this is going to be a movie about forcing high school students to pretend to read an inexplicably overrated old book?
posted by cmoj at 3:25 PM on May 23, 2012


Baz does spectacle well. This might be the first movie where 3-D enhances, rather than distracts.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:39 PM on May 23, 2012


the hollow ambition of American excess is COMING RIGHT AT ME
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


And upon leaving the theater, the rest of the world looks flat and bland.

Perfect.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on May 23, 2012


I haven't seen Avatar because it came out in a busy and stressful time in my life and simply never interested me, but my understanding is that the 3D mostly just took the beauty of Pandora and made it more enveloping. I'm guessing that's the idea with this, though I can't say whether it will work or not (and my depth perception is fucked enough that I probably wouldn't really notice anyway.)
posted by Navelgazer at 3:50 PM on May 23, 2012


I need more human molar cufflinks, thats my favorite detail in the book (stupid dentist wouldn't let me keep my own wisdom teeth for cool cufflinks)

The Whelk, I have my wisdom teeth around here somewhere, pulled from my jaw 20 years ago, now. This is a sincere offer: If you want to make cufflinks from them (and wear them, of course) they're yours. I'd be honored to have you wear them. I haven't looked at them in forever, but I recall they may be a bit odd in shape, being only mostly human.
posted by maxwelton at 3:53 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


the first movie where 3-D enhances, rather than distracts
then you haven't seen Pina, the Wim Wenders work of 3D genius.
posted by TMezz at 3:55 PM on May 23, 2012


I really should re-read the book. I haven't read it since 9th grade and I didn't really get it at the time but that was thirty five years ago or so, I should give it a second chance.

It's worth a shot, octothorpe. Gatsby is high on my list of great books that are ruined for people by being assigned in high school. I was mystified by it when I first read it (10th grade, maybe?) but enjoyed the way Fitzgerald writes enough to re-read it periodically, and maybe the third time, about 5 years later, it finally clicked thematically as well as stylistically, and I loved it.

This adaptation looks like something I would enjoy with a particular group of friends after one more martini than is really advisable, but god, would that make the 3D extra painful.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:02 PM on May 23, 2012


It's interesting that he decided to make the film look vintage by using the same horrible CGI that he used in Moulin Rouge.

I love Strictly Ballroom. But his formula since then seems to be to take a great premise and crap all over it in a way calculated to make as much money as possible off of stupid people who think great stories are better when covered in excrement.

Somebody needs to make a "real" film of The Great Gatsby in a year or two, just to show that it's possible to make one that doesn't look like the CGI team from The Phantom Menace got together with the brain trust behind Jar Jar and made the film based on whatever they remembered from high school.
posted by The World Famous at 4:27 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


then you haven't seen Pina, the Wim Wenders work of 3D genius.

Came here to say the same. That movie redeems all crappy 3D movies.
posted by mykescipark at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2012


I never had to read Gatsby in high school-- I read it on my own later in college. I was mostly OK with it, but it didn't make much of an impression on me.

I tried reading many years later, and I actively disliked it. It seemed like there was a good story and interesting characters in there, but there was so much damn exposition. "Here, readers, let me tell you what everything means and symbolizes..." Meh. I find Fitzgerald's writing really... flat, heavy-handed and sentimental for some reason. I feel that I should love it, but I don't.

RE: Maestro Luhrmann, I loved Strictly Ballroom, avoided R + J and despised what I saw of Moulin Rouge (mainly because the combo of the music and the editing gave me a violent migraine). I'm looking forward to his new movie, because it looks cool, but I'm praying there isn't tons of auto-tuned Jay-Z on the soundtrack, because you know, ick.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:10 PM on May 23, 2012


Man, in Toby's little introductory narrative he sounds like he's a stoner. That little bit of voice work made the rest almost unwatchable for me. Ugh.

DiCaprio is pretty 2D. There's really not much going on behind his eyes. Sure he can act, but he's nowhere close to being able to tell two stories simultaneously; one with his body and the other with his eyes.

I'll still watch this though, just because I love the story.
posted by snsranch at 5:12 PM on May 23, 2012


Moulin Rouge! is "Orpheus and Eurydice."

Um... Moulin Rouge! is La Boheme. Plain and simple. So plain and so simple that Luhrmann mounted a Broadway production of the opera to great acclaim.

There's no journey to the underworld in Moulin Rouge! That's the defining factor in that particular story. Death from consumption? That's the defining factor in La Boheme. (RENT is also La Boheme, but uses AIDS instead of tuberculosis.)
posted by hippybear at 6:27 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um... Moulin Rouge! is La Boheme.

Yep. Luhrmann's down in his creepy wood-paneled basement right now, where he's got a list taped to the wall, written in crayon, of all of the brilliant literary and artistic masterpieces he wants to ruin forever. And he's super excited to cross The Great Gatsby off the list and move on to his hip hop musical movie of To Kill A Mockingbird, starring Hayden Christensen as breakdancing Atticus Finch and Justin Bieber as a singing, dancing Boo Radley, in 4-D Smell-O-Vision.
posted by The World Famous at 6:59 PM on May 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Moulin Rouge! repeatedly refers to the titular theatre and Montmarte itself as "the underworld", actually.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:00 PM on May 23, 2012


I love this trailer. I love the cartoonishness. It looks like The Great Gatsby as painted by Zelda Fitzgerald.
posted by BlueJae at 7:07 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do hope they reprocess that shit CG shot of the yellow Rolls, though.

Well, Ziegfield Folies is misspelled Zeigfield (yes I watched this silly trailer three times), so hopefully they'll fix that as well.

Otherwise, this just seems way too cartoony. I'll see it for the spectacle, but I don't expect it to be representative of Hunter S Thompson's favorite novel.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:22 PM on May 23, 2012


"Ziegfield Folies is misspelled Zeigfield" Maybe a nod to Fitzgerald's poor consistency w/r/t spelling? (Meyer Wolfshiem / Meyer Wolfsheim)
posted by exlotuseater at 7:32 PM on May 23, 2012


I've loved Baz Lurhmann since the scene where they were dancing under the Hils Hoist and Coca Cola sign in Strictly Ballroom - perfect juxtaposition! I think the partnership between he and Lizzie Gardner will be perfect though, for this movie (which relies as much on the costumes for its meaningfulness as anything else, Gatsby is a pretty but meaningless subject, overall, as much as American literature relies on him).
posted by goo at 7:47 PM on May 23, 2012


It's a short book people, I recommend it.

Still waiting for the Andy Kauffman Audiobook version...

(Just kidding. But if you want to read a bit of Fitzgerald right now, here's his slightly longish classic short story: Winter Dreams.)
posted by ovvl at 8:04 PM on May 23, 2012


After seeing the trailer, I just came here to say goddamn if Love is Blindness isn't one of U2's finest and underrated songs of their long career. Perfectly happy having Jack White cover it to help it get more airtime.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:06 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kanye West Egg.
posted by tzikeh at 8:27 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


After seeing the trailer, I just came here to say goddamn if Love is Blindness isn't one of U2's finest and underrated songs of their long career.

The Jack White cover comes from the excellent (Ăhk-to͝ong Ba͞y-bi) Covered album, which was a magazine-giveaway CD by Q Magazine which went with the 20th anniversary of the Achtung Baby album. It is a great version of the song.

Frankly, I've always HATED the album version of Love Is Blindness. And the version they performed live during the ZooTV Tour was this amazing bit of wormy musical insidiousness, which started out very low key and slowly added layer after layer, with Edge's guitar taking that high-pitched noodling and driving it directly into the audience's collective third ear until there was nothing left but mush in the brain. I've wished for decades now that I could find a quality recorded version of that live performance. Everyone I went to the show with walked out raving about that one particular song (as much as we could rave about any specific part of a show which was like having a fully illuminatory LSD trip poured into your brain).

This official recorded performance is close, but comes nothing near what I experienced live all those many years ago.
posted by hippybear at 8:30 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of glad I'm coming to this without having read the book (I was abroad the year my high school classmates did American literature) so I don't know what Luhrmann's getting wrong. Compensation for my literary inadequacy at last!
posted by immlass at 8:34 PM on May 23, 2012


On first view, my mind rebelled. I think it was the music.

This is actually the reason I didn't care for his Romeo & Juliet, too. It felt to me pretty much like MTV did a 90 minute Aerosmith video medley or something. I hate how TV and movies now so often have pop songs playing constantly throughout; I find it distracting, and a bit lazy.
posted by Hoopo at 9:00 PM on May 23, 2012


i just wanted to state for the record that i'm ridiculously excited for this movie. gatsby's my favorite fitzgerald, and i was really really glad when blake friggin' lively fell out of the running for the role of daisy, because COME ON.
posted by palomar at 11:26 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think one could write a thesis on how Daisy, a character known for her hollowness, is seen in such exact ways.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:32 PM on May 23, 2012


book 'em dano The 1974 Gatsby film was developed as a vehicle for the Daisy of Ali MacGraw, definitely a brunette. Mia Farrow was (ahem) a dark horse candidate for the role-- not exactly bankable aftar a string of stinker films following Rosemary's Baby-- and I always thought miscast in this part, twitchy and twee. And saddled with an awful wig besides. At any rate, she's hardly the disembodied face I'd want to see floating along the dark cornices and blinding signs.
posted by La Cieca at 12:38 AM on May 24, 2012


I've seen every movie and TV adaptation of "The Great Gatsby," but I've yet to see one that works, and, from what I can tell from the trailer, this one looks like it's going to fall into the same trap as the rest. The problem is that the book is so literary -- it's so perfectly made to be a novel, with 60% of its power coming from its narrator's mixture of wry editorializing, naive romanticism, aloofness from the action and headlong participation in the action. The novel is largely about Nick, not Gatsby, and it's so reliant on his inner states.

The book is a "classic," so filmmakers are scared to tamper with it. So they "solve" the above problems by using clunky voice overs (If this move starts with a voice-over from Tobey Maguire, speaking the opening lines of the novel, I'll walk out. It's too predictable and lazy) or they simply let the plot play out, without any of the other layers. I believe there's a way to make a good movie out of it, but it needs a Kubrick-like director, by which I mean someone who loves the source but isn't reverent about it, who is able to totally remake it into a cinematic experience.

If I was the director, I would sit down with my screenwriter and say, "Let's make a list of the things we love about the novel. Once that's done, let's write a screenplay that incorporates those things, without looking at the novel white we write it. We won't try to be faithful, except in spirit, and at every stage we'll shoot for something that tells storiy via cinematic techniques, not novelistic ones. In fact, as an exercise, let's think of it, as much as possible, as a silent movie, just so we can mentally remove ourselves from Fitzgerald's prose."

That would be our first draft. After giving ourselves that freedom, we'd go back to the novel, compare it to the screenplay draft, and discuss whether we'd like to move our version closer to the novel's or leave it as is.

I wish all people would create adaptations this way. Too many of them are just literal illustrations of the novels, which is what this Gatsby looks like to me. (Oh, look! There's the valley of ashes! Oh, look! There's Gatsby throwing the shirts!) Movies that illustrate are, to me, almost always disappointing. I'm in a minority, but I was disappointed by the "Lord of the Rings" films for exactly that reason. Nothing in them surprised or challenged me. Gandalf looked like a wizard from a zillion Tolkien calendars, etc. The books said Sauron was a giant eye, so that's exactly what he was. But the image wasn't scary. The filmmakers didn't ask, "What's the most scary image we can create that will be true to the story we're telling?" It was like they were cowed by the books.

Somewhat more successful to me (though still flawed) was the recent play "Gatz," which used the entire text of "The Great Gatsby," including all the narration. It was an interesting, sometimes successful, experiment. I reviewed it here.
posted by grumblebee at 7:40 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is this the thread where I get to lay out my theory about how Fight Club is The Great Gatsby?
posted by The World Famous at 10:30 AM on May 24, 2012


Hot damn, it is now.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2012


I don't have time at the moment for a particularly coherent explanation. But key elements include the obvious - Ed Norton is, obviously, Nick, the narrator, Tyler Durden is Gatsby, Marla is Daisey, but she's also Jordan. Fight Club is not so much a "version" of The Great Gatsby as it is a commentary on the significance of TGG and the unstated elements underlying TGG's story.

As someone mentioned above, Nick might not be necessary as a character in a screen adaptation, because his role is as a narrator. But, on the other hand, the nature of the Gatsby character is such that he needs Nick to be whole. Nick and Gatsby need each other in order to form a single, complete character. They are the same guy, neither of which is a true, honest representation of the actual person living through the characters (i.e. Gatz).

So, what does that mean? Well, for one thing, it means that there's more going on in The Great Gatsby than what meets the eye. But it also means that there's more going on in Fight Club, as well. We assume that the twist in Fight Club is that Norton's character is more or less who we've seen on screen, and that Durden is an alter ego. But the truth is somewhere in between the two - He's really a third character, who never actually appears in the story, but who nevertheless exists. Who is he really? We don't know. We'll never know. Because he has escaped from his real identity by inventing these two hemispheres, just like Gatz did.

Every conversation that a character has in TGG with Nick talking about Gatz or Gatsby is them trying to reach him, trying to get the real guy back. But he doesn't want the real guy back. He wants to escape. In the end, Nick "kills" Gatsby by making him part of Wilson's narrative and finally leaves Gatsby behind, completely immersing himself in the Nick character he's been learning to be.

Or something.

Or maybe I'm way off base. I'm sure someone here can come up with a better grand unified Fight Club theory of The Great Gatsby than I can.
posted by The World Famous at 10:58 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Is this the thread where I get to lay out my theory about how Fight Club is The Great Gatsby?"

Well, as long as we're sharing ideas for PhD theses, I submit "Fitzgerald's Nose: Olfactory Allusions in The Great Gatsby."

"His nostrils turned to me in an interested way. 'I understand you're looking for a business gonnegtion.'" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"'I'll tell you a family secret,' she whispered enthusiastically. 'It's about the butler's nose. Do you want to hear about the butler's nose? ... Well, he wasn't always a butler; he used to be the silver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning till night until finally it began to affect his nose...'" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"In addition to all these I can remember that Faustina O'Brien came there at least once and the Baedeker girls and young Brewer who had his nose shot off in the war" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"But evidently he was not addressing me for he dropped my hand and covered Gatsby with his expressive nose." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"Does the gasoline affect his nose?" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"'I've never met so many celebrities!' Daisy exclaimed. 'I liked that man--what was his name?--with the sort of blue nose.'" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

"he blurted out that a couple of months ago his wife had come from the city with her face bruised and her nose swollen." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"
posted by grumblebee at 11:00 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let me introduce you to my friend Ibid.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to write a book called "Ibid." That will confuse everybody!
posted by grumblebee at 11:06 AM on May 24, 2012


I once bought a pet ibis and named it Ibid.
posted by COBRA! at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2012


Also I think it would be kind of cool if the trailer hadn't shown Gatsby at all, but I know trailers don't work that way, but come on, it would have been so much better.

There was a time when trailers could get away with that, though. The trailer for Bride of Frankenstein includes not one shot of the title character and in fact tries to use the mystery of what she looks like to entice you to see the movie.
posted by baf at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Nick and Gatsby need each other in order to form a single, complete character.

There's a sense in which every novel is an exercise in Parts Therapy: Add up the characters, and you get the author.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:29 PM on May 24, 2012


Is this the thread where I get to lay out my theory about how Fight Club is The Great Gatsby?

Hmm, I'd say Fight Club is "William Wilson"
posted by jcreigh at 1:12 PM on May 24, 2012


Boats Against The Current
posted by ovvl at 3:27 PM on May 24, 2012


Wow I just found this thread. Coincidentally I ordered a Great Gatsby t-shirt a couple of weeks ago, forgot all about it, and it showed up yesterday! It's awesome.

In keeping with what others have said: I hated the book in high school, then read it again as an English major in college and saw it for the brilliant tour de force it is... Thanks Professor Patterson!
posted by désoeuvrée at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2012


« Older Chromeography is a tumblr devoted to images of chr...  |  The Eephus League presents: a ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments