Tag Archives: f. scott fitzgerald

F. The Great Gatsby

thegreatgatsby

“That is what you are. That’s what you all are…all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation” – Gertrude Stein

I’ve seen nerds dressed up like Hobbits, Harry Potter and Star Wars characters, and of course those Rocky Horror’s – but never, to my surprise, have I come across flappers and tailcoats like I did at last night’s opening of The Great Gatsby. But here in New York City I guess it’s to be expected, because New Yorkers will use any ridiculous excuse to dress up like it’s homecoming spirit week; like SantaCon, No Pants Day, and that day once a year where people walk around with grease smudged on their fucking foreheads. Now there’s a lost generation.

Anyway, there are timeless novels and there are timeless movies. And then there are timeless novels rebooted into seemingly timely movies – and director Baz Luhrmann is just the name to pizazz us. Punching us with a 3D CGI presentation of that roaring 20’s bygone era with of all people, Jay-Z and a posse to hip hopify it – because my generation is so lame and unhip to Louis’ Potato Head Blues or Duke’s East St. Louis Toodle-O. Though I do get it with our modern excesses and appreciate Baz’s revisionist fairytale approach, he could at least tone it down a bit and not be so fucking splashy with colors and confetti and corny snow falling letters.

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Many consider the novel to be an example of some of the finest economy of words that are not only poetic and subtle, but are also steeped in metaphors and symbolism – one can only marvel on Fitz’s prescient notions at such a formidable age of 25 and his capturing of an entire era and the quintessential American dream. Whereas Aussie Baz has the protagonist Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) butchering F. Scott’s cadence with his narration, sounding like a fucking dimwit reading an eye chart.

the great gatsby

Other than the revisionist attempt, the real redemption of The Great Gatsby is the Great DiCaprio. I mean who else of this generation could play him? Maybe Ben Affleck, but then it would really be fucking retarded. Carey Mulligan seems to be desperately trying to make the Daisy Buchanan character deeper than she is, but that is hard to do when you look like this:

the great gatsby

The recently departed Ray Harryhausen basically said CGI is just another tool, and the audience doesn’t give a damn what technique is used. But I suspect he was talking about creatures and monsters, not Gatsby’s gold coast mansion. Also there’s Ebert. It finally hit me last night that he’s departed as well, because when doing these silly blogs I actually do read almost every review on Meta and Rotten – Roger’s always first. Even though he was a bit of a tool sometimes (he did give Avatar his highest rating of four stars) my go to guy now is Rex Reed, who’s got a tool stuck up his arse. Anyway, I suppose Baz is trying to make some kind of correlation of the 1920’s decadence to now – But I’m curious as to what Lena Dunham thinks of the movie, because besides the fact she couldn’t even finish reading the novel, she has been deemed the voice of this new lost generation living in New York City.

“What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” – Ecclesiatesthe great gatsby

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The Curious Gump of Benjamin Un-Buttoned

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Baby

“I hope I die before I get old.” – The Who

The only curiosity in question in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is how filmmakers can adapt a 32 page short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, about a man who is born old and ages backwards, into an epic 3 hour movie. Perhaps David Fincher, who may be one of the few directors to successfully (unlike Lucas) dazzle and revolutionize Hollywood’s new digital technology, and Eric Roth, who may be sadly responsible for teaching most of us our pop culture history through Forrest Gump, got too caught up in their own acclaimed reputations as they ditch F. Scott’s fable tacking on only his name for credibility and protection from plagiarism as they rewrite the “precious” life of Benjamin Button.

GollumThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button Old

Though Fincher succeeds in a beautiful technically shot fable he fails in constructing a plot with the help of Eric Roth’s famous Gump motifs and overdone flashbacks as we are constantly drawn back to a current day hospital room of some old dying hag reading Benjamin’s diary, who’s voiceover makes Forrest’s sound like a rambling auctioneer’s. With this implementation of reality (along with modern setting of Hurricane Katrina looming) one is drawn away from this quirky fairytale. The film quickly loses F. Scott’s touch as it turns into a rather banal love story of how Old Man Ben (Brad Pitt) and Little Daisy (Cate Blanchett) fall in love and cross paths in the middle of both their aging process so that it’s neither misconstrued as pedophilia or oedipal. But before they finally do shag and settle down on Revolutionary Road we follow Benjamin growing up in New Orleans in the early 20th century, fittingly at an old age home, brought up by his adopted Mother, Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). However this tale doesn’t get going till he goes off to sea on a tugboat (not to catch shrimp) that we are introduced with a new engaging cast of characters. It’s also during this time on shore leave Benjamin takes the old skin boat to tuna town with lonely, Elizabeth Abbot (Tilda Swinton). While this affair is short-lived, Tilda succeeds in playing her first likeable role as an unhappily married woman who senses something of a kindred young spirit in Benjamin as she spoils him with caviar and a nightly nightcap with no strings attached.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad & Tilda

It’s only when Daisy is reintroduced as some beatnik skanky dancer whose every whim is catered to by Benjamin that Fincher and Roth’s tale turns into a full on drama as F. Scott’s humor of a backwards life from old Pops’ Wingman to a College football Jock raised by his (Benjamin’s) own Son is lost in the adaptation. Cate Blanchett reprises her Kate Hepburn attitude and inflections as she views herself to be the greatest modern day actress (ironically this was all Hepburn had to do as well) but only prevails in looking like an arrogant bitch with too tight of a face. Pitt’s character is also lost as he leaves the love of his life fearing his youth will taint his ability  to act as a father – allowing for the first time his malady to control his life when we all know, as does F. Scott, it would of been cougar Cate’s constant desire to be in the spotlight that would chase Benjamin away. More useless plot time is then used up as Benjamin does some soul searching like Caine in Kung Fu and just walks the earth thereby giving Fincher an excuse to show off pretty images in exotic locations.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Travel

 

 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Baby

“My Momma always said, “life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”‘ – Forrest Gump

Except in this case we do because in the end the minute you are born you are one day closer to death and this holds true for this story as well so what’s the point? Even in Benjamin’s youth he is plagued with a case of Alzheimer’s but what’s really ironic is hopefully I can skip all that and leave before the final curtain falls in the sanctum of a cozy dark theater, the only refuge in this absurd world – almost like this fellow moviegoer. The Real Curious Case

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