“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
–Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby.
I feel like we’ve all been made fools, despite Baz Luhrmann’s best intentions. So maybe it’s the best thing some of us can be in this world – beautiful little fools. And anyone who thinks this interpretation is any good is a fool too. Let’s have at!
SIDE NOTE: Someone keep me honest and remind me to write about my AS Debacle, A Million Little Pieces, and My Sassy Girl. Oh, and someone remind me that I’ve had two very large glasses of wine while writing this.
I know I have a lot to address, but for now, I need to write about the fact that The Great Gatsby is sucking.
Now….I love this book. You could say I’m even mildly attached. And I actually like most of Fitzgerald’s work. But this book in particular – it might even be considered his capstone. I mean, at the core, it’s about true love: Jay is still in love with Daisy, and throws lavish parties with A-list celebs to get her to visit his home. He even befriends one of her confidantes. In the end, he takes the fall and pays the ultimate price to save Daisy (ok maybe not intentionally), and…the end. Love conquers all.
While I was thoroughly entertained by Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, I think it was mostly because
a) I had a tweenage crush on Leo (come on, it was 1996- who didn’t?);
b) I liked Shakespeare, but I was a dork in school. And he really needed a modern revamp to get the popular kids to notice him; and
c) Jesse Bradford.
I was left slightly colder by Moulin Rouge. Nicole Kidman’s singing was a bit off, but I love Elton John and 1980’s classic hits like “Roxanne.” Plus, it was 2001 and I was in desperate need of some red satin with black lace. I was an uptight teen. So sue me.
I haven’t seen Strictly Ballroom or Australia, but I can only imagine they employ some of Luhrmann’s signature techniques, like flashy cut scenes and anachronism. (Which, come on. Jay-Z in the 20’s? Really?)
While I was generally interested in the adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel, and especially the Tiffany’s collection made especially for the movie (check out the “Jazz Age” inspired collection here), I was sliiiiiiiiiiiightly nervous, in the same way I was nervous about Les Mis. And. Sadly. Unlike Les Mis, I was not reassured.
Ok. So Tobey Maguire is admittedly not my favorite actor. But when Daisy flashed her giant ring, I might have been a little more intrigued. Isla FIsher is super gorgeous, but definitely not my idea of Myrtle. And Tom, George….they’re ok. But the real “this movie is dead and there’s nothing you can do about it” moment came when Leo made his onscreen appearance.
The fashion was great. The jewelry was great. Even Tobey was pulling his own (though Sam Watterson was far better as Nick). But then Leo came in, and Gatsby was dead.
Maybe it’s because when Leo was in his heyday, I was too enamored with his face that I paid no attention to his acting. Maybe it’s because that he is so overhyped, or because he gave on absolutely phenomenal performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, that I jumped on his bandwagon. Then Titanic happened, and it was, well…..titanic….And I think it’s then that I thought I thought he could act. Or I really didn’t care if he could act, because he was so pretty. But now, because it’s close to home, I care. And I’m so thoroughly disappointed.
I shut the movie off when Gatsby brings his fancy yellow car to Nick’s house, so H8ers gonna H8, and tell me I didn’t give the movie a fair shot. Or Leo fans, but whatever. You’re all 14 years old and jailbait. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I really, really just couldn’t. The acting was flat and dull, I wasn’t convinced, and no matter what Tom and Daisy did, I didn’t believe Gatsby by was billionaire playboy with a broken heart. It was like taking a bullet every time he uttered a phrase. That many bullets (I think 8?) hurts. A lot.
I’ve since had a beer, so I’m sufficiently drunk. But even sober, The Great Gatsby would still suck. Why? Because Leo could not sustain my belief in undying love. And that sucks.