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  • THANK YOU. I've been devouring reviews like whoa since Friday as I'm still undecided but still leaning towards not seeing it. Even people I know who loved it feel it's very flawed.

    I think one of my reasons for resisting the movie falls in line with one of your main issues with the source material. The characters are so blatantly (albeit artfully IMO) constructions of Fitzgerald's that to associate them with actual actors and really fucking famous ones in Leo's case at that, would I think overshadow what I love about the book. The novel is perfectly constructed. The entire story is masterfully foreshadowed in the first chapter and then plays out in a series of increasingly ridiculous situations that have all been predetermined by fate. I love the prose of certain passages and I love that you can feel Fitzgerald's maneuvering on every page. It very much calls attention to its own construction as a novel which is what makes it definitively Modern.

    I don't love the one-dimensional characters nor the sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism, all of which are equally blatant. I read it in the context of it being a seminal Modern novel and that's what I love about it and that's why I think the movie holds no appeal for me. Daisy is awful -- she is ephemeral in Gatsby's mind for the majority of the story but when she comes crashing down to earth, you can see she's a horrible, careless person. They're all awful except Gatsby who is ultimately incredibly pathetic. But that's all secondary to what I love about it so to see those aspects foregrounded in a movie, I feel like would bring into relief all the weaknesses of the novel and then it's just like, that (poor characterization/storytelling) and OTT visuals and I'm like, ok... but that's NOT Gatsby. That's not why it remains (arguably) The Great American Novel.

    I hate hate hate that they made Nick a crazy person. Nick is the only person who feels any compassion for Gatsby; he's the only one who can make the viewer/reader feel that too and I feel like he succeeds (even though he's kind of a dick) because I always cry at the end when no one shows up to the funeral except "Jimmy's" dad and he reveals how truly desperate Gatsby was to be somebody (and how little it ultimately has to do with Daisy).

    This always gets me:
    He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.
    As such, it's unsettling to think of not feeling anything when Gatsby dies.

    As for the typical Baz treatment, I loved R&J and Moulin Rouge but Gatsby is ultimately made up of a lot of quiet, dialogue-driven scenes so while I see the appeal of going OTT with the Roaring Twenties setting in terms of production design, that kind of brash approach to the whole thing doesn't serve the source material at all. I almost wish he'd come up with an original script inspired by TGG so he could go as crazy Baz on it as he wanted without actually involving the literary icons.

    I've read that literal quotes appear on screen and he bashes you over the head with the symbolism but does he get at the main conflict in the story, that's Gatsby's only real competition is time?

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    • They're all awful except Gatsby who is ultimately incredibly pathetic.
      I think Gatsby's awful, too, with his pathetic social climbing and clinging to the idea of a woman he doesn't really know but desires and "loves" because of what she represents. And the price he pays feels pretty spot-on, in a way. Every inordinate affection is its own punishment!

      And I think one of my key issues with it is the idea that Gatsby is somehow noble--hopeful and sincere! He was misguided and perhaps played by Daisy but he also played himself. And this theme of loving a girl from afar and doing everything for her as some great romantic gesture is super creepy to me. It's why I hated Slumdog Millionaire. You don't even KNOW her so what you love is the time you once spent with her but now she's just a symbol of that time that was brief and A LONG TIME AGO. Let it go, for the LOVE OF GOD.

      I always feel like a weirdo for not getting the love of The Great Modern Novel that is Gatsby. But then I read this and I was like: YES A MILLION TIMES. I don't actually despise Gatsby but that essay encapsulates everything I don't like about it.

      I almost wish he'd come up with an original script inspired by TGG so he could go as crazy Baz on it as he wanted without actually involving the literary icons.
      ME TOO!

      So, for me, having all of the things I don't like about it highlighted in glorious 3D technicolor was a kind of validation but also a disappointment because I simply DO NOT ENJOY this story and its themes. BUT I do love the Baz and his cray visions and Catherine Martin is a genius of set design and costuming. She is the unsung hero of the Baz filmography, IMO. It was a mixed bag because of that.

      The end is changed! No dad at the funeral that I recall and the implication is that Nick was driven to drink so much from his grief and horror at what happened that he can't cope with how gross everybody turned out to be. I read that they were super serious about capturing the feelings of the characters and even worked from both the TGG book and an earlier version of the manuscript that included some stuff they added back in to flesh out some stuff for the movie.
      Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.

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      • I almost wish he'd come up with an original script inspired by TGG so he could go as crazy Baz on it as he wanted without actually involving the literary icons.
        Yes! That's exactly how I'm going to have to watch it. Leaning towards renting it now, though, unless the sets and costumes are worth seeing in 3D.

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        • I will see this movie someday because I do love the book so much, but I find this problematic:
          The end is changed! No dad at the funeral that I recall and the implication is that Nick was driven to drink so much from his grief and horror at what happened that he can't cope with how gross everybody turned out to be.
          NICK IS PART OF THAT GROSS WORLD! Even though he likes/is amused by Gatsby, he is JUST as snotty as the rest of them in looking down on him and his attempts to be part of their society. It's really a story about how money is different from social class, IMO, and how just because you have money doesn't mean that you can suddenly just ascend to another social class. Even though Tom is a brute, he's a brute who went to Yale in the days when it was really just a society finishing school for men. Nick is Daisy's cousin and in Tom's secret society at Yale, so no matter how much affection he has for Gatsby, he'd NEVER be able to overcome his innate snobbishness over how he got his money and what he was trying to do with it. There's a great quote early on in their friendship that sort of unconsciously reveals Nick's true thoughts about him that I can't find right now, but if I do, I'll come back and add it.

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          • I was going to see this with my mom this weekend, but I'm thinking maybe we should see the Downey in IM3.

            Do you have to watch it in 3D? Will the 3D glasses fit over my everyday glasses?

            I haven't been to a movie theater in forever. The only 3D movies I've seen have been at my brother's house.

            <--feels old and not technically savvy at this moment

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            • That was my take on Nick, though I think I'm right!

              I never took Nick as being an Insider.

              And that REMINDS ME! TGG made me think A LOT about Gossip Girl! I should be ashamed at that but it's true. So many weird parallels! I feel like GG stole liberally from TGG but I never noticed that before.
              Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.

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              • Hee! I read the Shulz article yesterday after you linked to the Vulture piece on Leo's entrance. She rolled her eyes at the book and I rolled my eyes at her critique. She does a fine job of outlining all of the reasons why she doesn't like it but it doesn't go any further than 'I didn't like it and here's why...' which, okay.

                I do feel pity for Gatsby at the end. I totally hear what you're saying about Slumdog (that's the reason I HATED 500 Days of Summer) but I don't really see it with Daisy and Gatsby because the ~romance is sort of a non-starter. I never think of TGG as a love story, even a failed attempt at one.

                Menus in restaurants and all that jazz (pun intended.)

                That said, I'm not a fan of Fitzgerald in general. I HATED This Side of Paradise sooooo much and Tender Is the Night has some nice moments but is a mess of a novel. I like a few of the short stories but the truth is I like TGG in spite of the Fitzgerald-ness. Give me Hemingway or Steinbeck over Fitzgerald any day and Faulkner over them all.

                ETA: Everything BK said. Gatsby is a pathetic outsider through and through but he truly believes if he's in their orbit, he'll be one of them. He genuinely believes that and once he realizes he'll never be one of them because they don't even really see him, he dies. He's the ashen ghost as much as Tom and Myrtle. Gatsby is entirely comprised of want and Daisy et al are not in a position to want anything. When Gatsby tries to stand still, he looks like he's awkwardly posing whereas Daisy is "p-paralyzed with happiness." It's not a love story because they're not even on the same plane.
                My favorite Daisy quote is
                Do you ever wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it!
                Daisy waits for nothing because Daisy wants for nothing. She is incapable of want because she's not in a position to do so purely. She is the longest day of the year. Gatsby is the (broken) clock and Daisy is outside of time. He thinks that he can catch up to her and get to a place where they can both be outside of time, beyond time but Daisy isn't even aware there's an alternative to her own experience. And that's the tragedy of the Dream (at least in Gatsby). It's not about money. It's about getting to a place where you're equal to those who don't even know the Dream exists and that's why you can never get there.
                Last edited by emmaleigh; 05-14-2013, 02:58 PM.

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                • Oh, and I do think it's worth seeing in 3D (though I LOVE 3D spectacles). It's really gorgeous and has some great moments! I tend to focus on the things I don't like and pick movies and TV shows apart.

                  The Gatsby parties are fantastic, the costumes and jewelry as amazing, most of the performances are great (the problem with Nick might also be The Problem with Tobey), the 3D is subtle (no jarring 'in your face!' shots) but captures the glitz and glamour of the era, there are some truly lovely moments (Jay's fear of and fixation on Daisy is hilarious and somewhat heartfelt).

                  It's fairly faithful to the novel, overall, but has the Baz showiness (that I generally adore).

                  I haven't seen IM3 yet (and have no idea if I'll have time to do so).
                  Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.

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                  • Originally posted by cajun View Post
                    I was going to see this with my mom this weekend, but I'm thinking maybe we should see the Downey in IM3.

                    Do you have to watch it in 3D? Will the 3D glasses fit over my everyday glasses?

                    I haven't been to a movie theater in forever. The only 3D movies I've seen have been at my brother's house.

                    <--feels old and not technically savvy at this moment
                    We've watched it in 3D and the glasses fit very well over mr. dada's every day glasses.

                    I'm the opposite of pretty much everyone here and 3D doesn't do anything for me. I liked the movie, but the 3D was okay.
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                    • Saw Iron Man last night and don't know why I'm still always shocked at how beautiful RDJ is. I would've watched it on mute. At times I missed dialogue because "Want to climb...want to climb..." was running through my head on a news ticker. Did you know that if he doesn't sign on for the fourth+ movie, they're going to try to recast? L. O. L. This will never be a Pierce Brosnan vs. Daniel Craig situation, no matter how much you want it to be, president of Marvel.

                      I was going to vom if they'd just ended Pepper as a bound half-naked damsel in distress whose death just served as more revenge-fuel for Tony. Glad she got a whoop-ass moment, even though a small part of me thought, "Ugh, I bet Goop is soooo proud of herself." The main complaint I'd heard was concerning Tony's PTSD, which is valid. Seeing Tony Stark cryperventilate wasn't necessary for me to get that he was more vulnerable this time around. I still would've cheered during HOUSE PARTY PROTOCOL!
                      Last edited by LaaLaa; 05-18-2013, 09:45 AM.

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                      • I've loved RDJ for years. I think I might be the only person in the world that has seen Chances Are... Twice.
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                        • Hah! I can't even count my times anymore.

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                          • Chances Are is like RDJ porn. I've seen it a million times.
                            Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.

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                            • You are my soulmates!
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                              • Just saw IM3 with mr.o. Don't know why it's easier to spend 10 bucks on a movie when on vacation. Anyways, LOVE.

                                Everything is Pepper Potts and nothing hurts.

                                Why oh why is Gwyneth so likable as Pepper? I keep forgetting it's actually her.

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