Friday, May 10, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Quentin: That was a somber experience.

Jake: We went to see The Great Gatsby today.

Jason: What were you expecting?

Quentin: I guess I thought he’d bring some fun to the story.

Jason: Baz Lurhmann, you mean?

Quentin: Yeah.

Jake: There was nothing fun about this.

Quentin: Tell me about it.

Jason: That’s why it’s called a tragedy.

Quentin: Did you like it?

Jason: I thought it was a fascinating illumination of the novel.

Quentin: What does that even mean?

Jason: I discovered things about the story that I didn’t get from reading the book.

Jake: Like what?

Jason: Like the fact that Gatsby is mentally ill. I am in love with DiCaprio’s performance. He taught me so much about this character. Duh, of course, Gatsby is actually crazy. Now the book makes sense in a way it didn’t before. The early poverty, the war, the fixation on Daisy, the reinvention; these things have created a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. How did I not see that Don Draper is a ripoff of Jay Gatsby? Leo actually showed me the scared little boy inside the artifice of “Gatsby.” The character has been betrayed and destroyed by the American Dream. He’s clinically dysfunctional and delusional. Any moviegoer who loves good acting should not miss this performance. Any fan of DiCaprio should not miss this film. He is a master in our midst, and I was totally engaged when he was on screen.

Quentin: He could not save this movie.

Jason: In your opinion.

Quentin: It was both humorless and emotionless.

Jason: Humorless? In what universe do you expect The Great Gatsby to be a comedy?

Quentin: I get that. I was just struck by the fact that, among all these supposedly glittering people, no one ever says anything funny. Maybe one time, but otherwise everyone is so dull and boring. I have a big problem when I see a movie with characters who say funny things, and then I hear someone gripe, “No one talks like that. No one is that witty.” Are you fucking kidding me? That kind of thing makes me want to punch someone in the face. Because everywhere I go, people are constantly trying to make other people laugh. It’s one of the ways we become popular. And then, on top of that, there’s the fact that the movie fails to provide any kind of emotional connection to its characters.

Jason: Did you connect emotionally to the characters when you read the book?

Quentin: No, but that doesn’t bother me when I’m reading. Books can happen in your head alone, but movies have to engage the heart.

Jason: That is such sentimental drivel.

Quentin: Dad would agree with me.

Jason: Oh, no. Don’t you dare—

Jake: Okay, okay. Enough, you two. Clearly you have a difference of opinion.

Jason: Having brothers is such a double-edged sword.

Quentin: Moron.

Jason: Douchebag.

Jake: Does anyone care what I think?

Jason: Yes, as long as you agree with me.

Jake: I thought DiCaprio was amazing too, but I agree that movies need to engage emotionally.

Jason: You don’t think a film that engages on a purely intellectual level can be great?

Jake: I’m trying to think of one—maybe a documentary. All of my favorite movies have an emotional element. And Quentin is right; this was really cold. I was kind of shocked by how faithful it was to the book.

Quentin: Painfully faithful. Except for the framing device of Nick actually writing the book, Luhrmann never deviates from the original narrative.

Jason: And that’s a sin?

Quentin: It is when the end result is as flat as your head.

Jason: I’m not talking to you anymore.

Quentin: You have to talk to me. It’s a roundtable.

Jason: Leave me alone.

Quentin: You just talked to me, even after you said you weren’t going to talk to me anymore.

<Jason lays his head down on the table>

Jake: He’s stressed out about finals.

Quentin: Yeah, I know.

Jake: So why do you make it worse?

Quentin: Jason?

Jason: He’s not making it worse. It helps my stress level when I fight with him.

Jake: So you’re doing this on purpose?

Quentin: Kind of. But I didn’t like the movie.

Jason: <raising his head up> Thank you.

Quentin: You’re welcome. Feel better?

Jason: Much.

Quentin: Did you like all of it?

Jason: No. I hated the hip-hop, and not because I hate Jay-Z or anything, but because it felt so out of place. If there had been other anachronistic elements to the design, I would have bought into it, but there weren’t. And I hated the occasional lines of text on the screen.

Quentin: That was so cheesy.

Jake: There was almost a slavish devotion to the text.

Quentin: Did it not seem like an audio book at one point?

Jake: Yes. Way too much first-person voiceover. Fitzgerald’s language reads better on the page than it sounds out loud.

Jason: Really? I liked hearing the words. Though I would have liked it better had someone else been playing Nick.

Jake: Tobey Maguire was just awful.

Quentin: The worst. Is he even a good actor?

Jason: I don’t think so.

Quentin: I know that Nick is spineless, but this performance didn’t do anything to redeem him.

Jason: And considering Maguire and DiCaprio are friends in real life, I was really surprised by their complete lack of chemistry.

Jake: That's a good point, because I think this is more a love story between Nick and Gatsby than it is between Daisy and Gatsby.

Quentin: I would agree with that. I don’t think there even is a love story between Daisy and Gatsby. They are just two sad people who get sadder. Maybe I’m not cut out for pure tragedy. I really hate it when Romeo and Juliet die at the end.

Jake: We didn’t talk about any of the other performances.

Quentin: Mulligan was fine. Joel Edgerton was very good as Tom Buchanan.

Jake: Perfect casting.

Jason: There was one scene where Gatsby is talking to Nick, and Leo’s eyes well up. Just barely. That moment took my breath away.

Quentin: Are you still going on about DiCaprio?

Jason: He’s a gifted man.

Quentin: We need to sign off now, because we’re going to see The Killers tonight.

Jake: I’m so psyched.

Jason: They’d better play “Be Still”.

Quentin: You know they will. Be sure to come back next week for our discussion of one of—

Jake: The.

Quentin: Really?

Jason: Yes.

Quentin: Okay. Our discussion of the most anticipated movie of the summer. Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Jake: I can’t wait.

Jason: And we are now at 55 days and counting until #TheReturn.

Quentin: Nice use of the hashtag there, bro.


  1. Yeah, I wasn't excited about Gatsby so didn't plan to go and your review reaffirmed it. I'm with Quention - got to engage me emotionally in film. Leo is very hit and miss with me in his films.

    Waiting for Star Trek...

  2. Your review proves what I thought, while it may be visually entertaining, it lacked the substance of a good movie. I wasn't really excited by the preview and your review proves it.

  3. Liked it at the end, but because of Leo, he is great actor. Was not prepared for camera, though...

  4. We are all huge fans of Leo. Have you seen the trailer for his new movie with Scorsese? Q.

    "The Wolf of Wall Street"

    1. yep, yesterday. Not sure if we gonna go to cinema to watch it, probably yes lol. So far 15 movies planned till end of the year with my group, will find the place somewhere ;-)