Gatsbymania: Baz Luhrmann’s Wild Ride

ap_great_gatsby_wm_dm_130509_wblogLet me just say right off the bat that it takes guts to take a sacrosanct American novel, let’s say, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and turn it into a film.  And that is exactly what Baz Luhrmann has done.  Art begets art, and so I would never be the kind of person who would refuse to see this film because “the movie is never better than the book,” or “I can’t stand Tobey Maguire,” or, “Jay-Z is not the Jazz Age,” although I know people that I profoundly respect who do not wish to sully the novel that is in their heads with Baz Lurhmann’s outsized pop-opera cinematic style.

Fair enough.

Continue reading

Ten Great Things about The Great Gatsby

On April 10th, 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was published, and whenever I hear anyone say that they are going to “write The Great American Novel,” I am pretty sure that this is the book that is swimming in everyone’s head.  I know it is the first one I think of, and I am not alone.  When the movie was coming out with Leonardo DiCaprio, I celebrated this anniversary of the novel by becoming completely obsessed with the May premiere of the big Baz Luhrmann film version, and I began a big one-month countdown to the opening.  I wasn’t sure if I could wait that long, but if Jay Gatsby could wait five years to see Daisy Fay Buchanan again, then I guessed I could wait one month for this film.  Guess what? I survived.

But whether you loved or hated the Leo movie, the Redford version, or the play version that was performed in Galveston last month at The Grand, here are ten great things about The Great Gatsby (the book, that is) that will remind you of why it is just so, well, great.

1.  Best Opening Lines in a Novel:  “In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.  “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

This is great because you can also use this on your own kids, even if it isn’t really true.

Continue reading

Gatsby Fever

the_great_gatsby_trailerYou may still be experiencing some residual depression from the fact that you were all hyped up about the big Baz Luhrmann movie of The Great Gatsby that was supposed to come out in December, and had to cope with the disappointment that it will not hit the big screen until May.  Like dealing with one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debutantes, it felt like too much potential excitement and too little follow through.  Oh, the cruelty of being teased.

No worries.  You just cheer yourself right up and get one of those oversized calendars and start marking the days until May when that movie comes out.  I know, I am really sad that Luhrmann did not use that delay to rethink Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, but they wouldn’t take my calls and so there is nothing I can do about that.  I am also vaguely puzzled that they had to hire a British actress to play Daisy Fay Buchanan, and that makes me nervous, but I guess I have two words for that situation:  Vivien Leigh.

But this I know for sure:  Leonardo DiCaprio will not let me down.  I. Can’t. Wait.

In the meantime, here are six other doses of F. Scott Fitzgerald that might suffice until May 10th, 2013, because Fitzgerald did a lot of other great things in addition to The Great Gatsby. Continue reading