Video: New “Great Gatsby” movie looks as grotesque as you’d expect

posted at 6:01 pm on May 23, 2012 by Allahpundit

I don’t mean that as a criticism. Hollywood’s been trying for 90 years to get the tone of the novel right and pretty clearly they’re never going to nail it — even Coppola’s treatment couldn’t produce a film worthy of the source — so why not stop trying and go crazy with the Cheez Whiz? Visual Cheez Whiz is, after all, what a Baz Luhrmann movie is all about. You don’t go to see this because you’re interested in an elegy for the Jazz Age. You see it because you’re 16 and Leo’s in it and Peter Parker’s his sidekick and there’s a romance and the art deco looks slick and, well, there’s just a lot of Cheez Whiz onscreen. And that soundtrack.

Exit question: Is America ready for a story about a man with a shadowy past and invented identity who saw his wildest dreams come true, only to have it all come crashing down around him?

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Leonardo DiCaprio is NOT a serious actor. He is the same person in every role. (Except in What’s eating Gilbert Grape)

portlandon on May 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

You are right. In “What’s eating Gilbert Grape”, he was Johnny Depp.

cheetah2 on May 23, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I’d watch it for the art deco look, but I’m not a big fan of Jazz.

Cindy Munford on May 23, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Ugh

galenrox on May 23, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Leonardo DiCaprio is NOT a serious actor. He is the same person in every role. (Except in What’s eating Gilbert Grape)

portlandon on May 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Oh come on, that’s 99% of all famous actors.

That’s why I have never understood people going crazy over their “acting skills” when it’s basically them playing themselves with minor changes.

The only famous actor I can think of off the top of my head that truly acts is Tom Hanks. He can believably become different characters.

ButterflyDragon on May 23, 2012 at 8:42 PM

One real filmic problem with adapting “The Great Gatsby” is: not a lot happens. A series of dinners, lunches, parties, and one hit-and-run. Character is revealed through description and dialogue, not, as is needed in a medium based on images in motion, action. So the actors needed to pull this off must be extraordinarily talented and perfectly suited for their roles. (Not DiCaprio for this, no.) And, somehow, “atmosphere” must compensate for the lack of lyrical prose. And still it wouldn’t come off.

In “Final Cut.” his post-mortem of “Heaven’s Gate,” the biggest flop in Hollywood history to date, UA exec producer Steven Bach wrote that, despite its amazing production values, the film “lacked a certain narrative density.” That has been Gatsby’s downfall as a movie every time.

You know who might take an interesting shot at it? Affinity for jazz, good with period productions, and excellent with actors? Clint Eastwood.

de rigueur on May 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM

The only famous actor I can think of off the top of my head that truly acts is Tom Hanks. He can believably become different characters.

ButterflyDragon on May 23, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Maybe when he was younger and tried harder because he wanted to get established, but I think he’s at the stage now where he’s coasting. I was just watching “That Thing You Do,” which was on TV again over the weekend, and noticed that the acting he did as the band manager in that movie was pretty much interchangeable with his FBI character in “Catch Me If You Can.” On the other hand, maybe he just doesn’t do well with secondary roles, because he did give terrific performances in “Apollo 13,” and “Forrest Gump.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 23, 2012 at 8:59 PM

You know who might take an interesting shot at it? Affinity for jazz, good with period productions, and excellent with actors? Clint Eastwood.

de rigueur on May 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM

I would have loved to have seen an adaptation by Welles, with his dynamic visual style, his affinity for self-willed frauds and fakes, and his acute sense of nostalgia.

Late period Altman could have produced something wistful and diaphanous.

If I am going to go out on a limb, Wong Kar-wai, with his aching romanticism, an all Chinese cast (Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, reunited from In The Mood for Love?), and the story transposed to Shanghai just before WWII. Sometimes that sort of thing works better than the obvious.

Mr. Arkadin on May 23, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Sally Sparrow in the 20′s? I guess the angels got to her after all. I knew that bulb wouldn’t last long.

Buckshot Bill on May 23, 2012 at 9:11 PM

You mean in this latest version, Jay is the Manchurian Candidate and media darling who gets elected POTUS and then transforms into Captain Americawrecker?

This hero flies around the planet and says he is sorry for everything and has a reset button from some witch to balm mortal enemies? (not bomb, balm!)

At the end, he is shown shooting hoops with some friends when he is evicted from the mansion by “Dog the Bounty Hunter” serving an eviction notice and warrant for arrest for six thousand counts of fraud.

Then you are left wondering whether Dog ended up being dinner as the screen goes black.

IlikedAUH2O on May 23, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I would have loved to have seen an adaptation by Welles, with his dynamic visual style, his affinity for self-willed frauds and fakes, and his acute sense of nostalgia.

Late period Altman could have produced something wistful and diaphanous.

If I am going to go out on a limb, Wong Kar-wai, with his aching romanticism, an all Chinese cast (Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, reunited from In The Mood for Love?), and the story transposed to Shanghai just before WWII. Sometimes that sort of thing works better than the obvious.

Mr. Arkadin on May 23, 2012 at 9:09 PM

There are those who argue that I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is the best adaptation of JANE EYRE ever.

Welles could have pulled it off, given enough financial support and self discipline. Joseph Cotton as Gatsby?

ebrown2 on May 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM

There are those who argue that I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is the best adaptation of JANE EYRE ever.

ebrown2 on May 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM

It is, althought the straight 1943 version, with Welles as Rochester, and in which Welles might have had a hand in the direction, is a pretty solid adaptation of that classic. Certainly better than, in my opinion, the rather dire 1939 Wuthering Heights.

In 1954, during his “Mexican” period, Luis Bunuel wrote and directed a very low budget version of Wuthering Heights that does a much better job of capturing the perverse passion and hysteria of the novel than does Wyler’s bloodless version.

Surprisingly, Bunuel did a great, straightforward job with Robinson Crusoe, as well.

Mr. Arkadin on May 23, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Geez. Tough crowd. My friends and I were just talking about going to the premier of this downtown wearing flapper outfits. FUN!

I think it looks great. I love the book, and I like the splashy visuals in the previews. In a lot of ways, the book was all about the glitz and glam so visual cheese whiz seems totally appropriate. DiCaprio does always play the same character, but he picks good roles. Inception and Shutter Island were awesome.

bitsy on May 23, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Baz Luhrmann films are the cinematic equivalent of having a nervous breakdown while on bad acid. Oh and the source material is perhaps the most overrated novel of the 20th century.

Mike Honcho on May 23, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I would have said that Cotton was a bit too bland for Gatsby, lacking in that enigmatic quality that the role needs, but his superb performance in Shadow of a Doubt trashes that assumption.

Leo is a terrible choice. There is nothing going on behind those eyes. He’s a good looking piece of dough in an expensive suit.

Redford was a good choice in a bad movie.

Who else?

Mr. Arkadin on May 23, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Grotesque?

Wish I had said that.

Cleombrotus on May 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Actually, it’s not worth getting “right.” It’s a depressing story about vapid, self-absorbed people who care about little else. It’s the perfect companion to “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The list of so-called “great American classics” all suck.

Stoic Patriot on May 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Or a withering social critique of vapid, self-absorbed people who care about little else. It’s both a celebration of the American Dream and a condemnation about how certain people view that dream.

I agree with those of you who say that The Great Gatsby is unfilmable.. A lot of what makes the book is the elegant prose that just absorbs you.. like the eyes and the green light. It’s also a very slow burn which really means that Luhrmann is basically filming a totally different movie.

Illinidiva on May 24, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Leonardo as Gatsby is horrible, horrible,horrible!

melle1228 on May 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Not as horrible as when the little runt played Howard Hughes.

Goodale on May 24, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Dicaprio can’t act, and ruins every movie he is in. Doesn’t look as though he will be totally to blame for this stinker though. And that female lead? Really bad choice.

nottakingsides on May 24, 2012 at 2:15 AM

Oh, not Gatsby again.

Last is First on May 24, 2012 at 3:57 AM

GATSBY is my all-time favorite book. Thought it was the best Fitzgerald wrote – he didn’t come close with any of his others, although THE LAST TYCOON might have, if he had finished it before he died.

I’m up for another movie iteration! And this one looks so over-the-top that it will be entertaining on some level.

Libby Sternberg on May 24, 2012 at 6:22 AM

You know who might take an interesting shot at it? Affinity for jazz, good with period productions, and excellent with actors? Clint Eastwood.

de rigueur on May 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM

kevin spacey as gatsby.

t8stlikchkn on May 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

Another vehicle to bring a liberal bevy of actors income. I’ll avoid it, just as I avoid most of the drivel coming from Hollywood.

zoyclem on May 24, 2012 at 7:24 AM

I am wondering why they are wasting the time and money to release this movie in 3D. That makes absolutely no sense, unless the director thinks the audience is going to get a thrill out of a giant cigar sticking out at them from the screen.

Martin Scorsese has said that all future films he releases from now on will be in 3D, but considering he proved through his outstanding movie Hugo that he is the only director in cinema right now who knows the right way to use 3D, I see no problem with his plans.

Even “The Avengers” used 3D correctly to enhance the story.

Anyone else out there is using it as a gimmick and that is what I am seeing with the reboot of the Great Gatsby.

pilamaye on May 24, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I had to read that book in HS for my English class and I did not care too much for it. Horrible book… dry… I guess its just me because they making a movie of it.

watertown on May 24, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Faulkner – three writers from that era I can do without.

rickv404 on May 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Then you can do without the era entirely. haha.

Have you ever read any John Dos Passos? He’s usually included in the list of Lost Generation writers, and his books are very good.

Nick_Angel on May 24, 2012 at 8:52 AM

We saw how well DiCaprio did in a movie where he did not have much to work with in “J Edgar.” ‘Nuff said. At least they didn’t go with Matt Damon. Redford was a good choice: good looking, empty without any pretense that there was any “there” there.

Great actors who can disappear in a part? John Malkovich; Daniel Day Lewis; Robert Duvall. If they wanted a young guy who shows some range though mostly action, what about Karl Urban (Cooper in “Red”), or for that matter Colin Hanks?

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on May 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Dicaprio can’t act,

nottakingsides on May 24, 2012 at 2:15 AM

Then you didn’t see Blood Diamond yet.

roy_batty on May 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

but considering he proved through his outstanding movie Hugo

pilamaye on May 24, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I’m not sure I saw the same movie as you.

roy_batty on May 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

You are right. In “What’s eating Gilbert Grape”, he was Johnny Depp.

cheetah2 on May 23, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Heh!

Clearly he’s a method actor on par with Deniro…..

roy_batty on May 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Allah, can we start a Prometheus thread next?

It’s getting close…..

roy_batty on May 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

kevin spacey as gatsby.

t8stlikchkn on May 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

Good call! About 20 years too late to be Jay Gatsby (age 32 in the book), unfortunately, but he could have pulled it off. He can do romantic, sinister, driven, and hard-boiled simultaneously. And he has a real knack for playing mysterious, self-invented characters.

de rigueur on May 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

I thought DiCaprio was good in Catch Me If You Can, Aviator, and The Departed, and absolutely terrible in Titanic and Gangs of New York.

Nick_Angel on May 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

…so why not stop trying and go crazy with the Cheez Whiz?

Slight correction: it’s “get crazy with the Cheeze Whiz.”

Tzetzes on May 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM

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