Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An English Teacher Reviews The Great Gatsby

Like many a high school English teacher across the dark fields of the Republic, I've taught F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel to hundreds (thousands?) of students, and this is mostly for them.  However, I don't mind taking the rest of you for a ride in this circus wagon.  Nobody needs an invitation; just come with a simplicity of heart that is its own ticket of admission.

As you may be able to tell from the three allusions I dropped in the intro there, I love Fitzgerald's prose and had little hope that noted "Look at ME!" director Baz Luhrmann would do any better job than the myriad other filmmakers who have taken a stab at it, most notably Jack Clayton's dreary, schmaltzy 1974 version starring Robert Redford, which is the one I've shown in class every year so far.  Really, I was just hoping that this new flick would just be marginally better than the Redford version.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Baz's take on Gatsby isn't merely slightly superior to the old one but leagues better.  It's not a perfect film by any stretch.  There's plenty to quibble with, and I'll get to that.  But it gets enough right that I feel confident about showing this updated version to my junior classes from now on.

The Good:

-This guy:
He's not going to win any awards for it, but there aren't many actors who could carry the role the way he does.  Hell, Redford's a great actor, but even he seems to slump under the weight of the character.  Leo plays him exactly right.  He's ambitious, duplicitous, charming, and insecure.  Look at that smile.  It's a major facet of the book, and Leo nails it.  Bottom line: It's a role for a movie star, and Leo's one of the biggest and brightest ones we've got.


-Nick as a broken-down alcoholic writer during the stock market crash. It's the film's biggest risk, and the likeliest to ruffle traditionalist feathers, but I liked it.  Basically, the movie turns Nick into Fitzgerald, who died broke and alone, despite the success of Gatsby.  This allows Fitzgerald's transcendent language to appear and be heard, despite the fact that the Nick of the book never mentions being a writer of any sort.  Maguire even looks like the troubled-but-gifted author, especially with the haircut he sports during his scenes at the clinic.  It's no secret that Nick is a version of Fitzgerald himself; both come from the Midwest to New York and are appalled yet drawn to the lifestyles they experience there.  I've always argued that Fitzgerald was trying to warn not only America but also himself of what the ravages of excess would wreak upon each, although the downfall of both was inevitable.

-This scene:
Gatsby and Daisy's reunion is perfect.  It's awkwardly funny, dramatic, and well-staged.  It's a fine example of what Luhrmann can do when he slows down for a moment and stops swooping the damn camera all over the place.  It also reinforces the awkward position of Nick; he narrates the film yet is not present for some of its most central action.  He is both "within and without" as he stands outside in the rain while Gatsby and Daisy get reacquainted in Nick's bungalow. 


 -The best film adaptations stick to the story without being slaves to them.  In addition to the major framing device of Nick writing the book from rehab, Luhrmann changes a few things, and most work well.  For instance, I didn't miss Gatsby's dad ("My name is Gatz") showing up at the end, as he does in the novel.  It's pure falling action, and too much of that sucks a film's ending dry.  I also didn't mind accelerating George Wilson's hunt for Gatsby by having Tom give up his rival's name and address to the grieving husband immediately after the accident, rather than letting Wilson seek Tom out the next day, as he does in the book.

I was more bothered by the film's omission of Nick's final conversation with Daisy and Tom, where it becomes clear that Daisy has never told Tom that she, in fact, is the one driving the car which kills Myrtle Wilson.  This detail helps to get across the notion that Tom isn't the "bad guy" keeping Daisy from true love.  Daisy chooses Tom's pearls over Gatsby's letter early in the story, then she again chooses the stability of Tom's inherent wealth over Gatsby's hard-earned but ill-gotten gains.  Fitzgerald's point is that Daisy is an attractive but false goal, like so much of what what we hold in esteem in America, and lots of readers miss that.  However, I'll cut Baz some slack.  The scene near the end where Daisy won't take Nick's call and doesn't even acknowledge Gatsby's funeral is an adequate substitute. 

Most importantly, lots of Fitzgerald's words make it into the film.  They're the real stars, after all.  Any version of Gatsby absolutely must have those beautiful, poignant final lines ("boats against the current," and all that), but the Redford version doesn't, amazingly enough.  Even when the lines are altered a bit, it's no travesty.  For instance, Nick's line about "reserving judgement is a matter of infinite hope" becomes "I look for the best in people," which is almost exactly the way I translate it in class.  Major demerit for no "Her voice is full of money," though. 

The Baz


Because I'm an English teacher, I've also seen Luhrmann's other notable literary adaptation, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (also starring a much younger DiCaprio) dozens of times, which is the main reason I was skeptical about what he'd do with Gatsby.  The actors literally yell lines at each other, in order to create tension, I suppose.  The tone is all over the place, from silly to surreal to melodramatic.  It's a completely frenetic experience.  Perhaps Baz has matured and mellowed a bit, as he managed to dial it down a bit for Gatsby.  Still, all of his greatest hits are present:

-The anachronistic music.
This has been the most frequent complaint from students who've seen Gatsby.  Ironically, teens are the ones who seem offended that Baz likes to insert today's pop music into historic settings.  I think they feel pandered to.  Anyway, they wanted "The Charleston" and got Kanye and Lana Del Rey instead.  I actually don't mind this trademark of his.  I liked Jay Z's score, and Romeo + Juliet's soundtrack is one of the few redeemable things about that messy film.

-The swooping camera.  Meh.  He uses it a bunch to give a sense of setting, showing where Gatsby's mansion is in relation to the Buchanans' manor.  Yes, it's overdramatic.  But it really didn't bother me like the...

-LOUD NOISES!!!
When Gatsby comes to pick Nick up for lunch, he does donuts around Nick's place for awhile first.  Why?  It certainly doesn't fit with his carefully manicured character.  But his fancy yellow car makes a great VROOOOOM, so you gotta have it, I guess.  Then Gatsby proceeds with the exposition of his (fake) early life on their way to New York, but you can't really concentrate on it because he's driving like he's in the Indy 500.  Fast, fast, loud, loud.  That's Baz, to the core.

-Baz apparently also thinks drug-addled fever dreams are an effective storytelling device.  The scene in Myrtle's apartment is like watching when Leo meets Claire Danes in R+J in a cracked mirror.  Substitute the dude playing the sax on the balcony for Mercutio's inexplicable drag show, and you're there.  Just a diaspora of absurd facial expressions, outsized reactions, loud music, and a constantly spinning camera.  Note: I'm pretty sure this description covers the entirety of Luhrmann's other famous film, Moulin Rouge, but I only saw that once, over a decade ago, so I'm no expert. 

Nolanometer Final Grade: B

For perspective,
Redford's Great Gatsby: C-
Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet: D+

40 comments:

Kelly Shaw said...

I personally thought that "The Great Gatsby" was a good book. I thought it was beautifully written and constructed. I liked how Gatsby pretty much portrayed the "American Dream." He set his mind on a goal, although it may not have been the best goal. Gatsby followed his dream and never gave up. He may not have completely gotten his dream in the end but he tried. I think that that is something that all Americans should have. Keep trying to reach your goal, you may grasp it one day. You may never grasp it, but you won't know until you try. That is what we as Americans do. We try and we try, and if we don't succeed we find a new goal or a new dream and chase that instead.

Kelly Shaw
Threads 1/3

Ashley McCormack said...

I enjoyed watching The Great Gatsby. It was interesting seeing what we read in the book on film and how it was played out. I like how they put in all the colors that were mentioned in the book. I think the music used in the movie was good because it makes it more current. Even though the movie misses a few things from the book, I believe they did a good job of remaking it. I did think some of the things in the movie were kind of cheesy. I thought most of the acting in the movie was good. I enjoyed the book more than the movie.

Elizabeth Murphy said...

Elizabeth Murphy 1st period
I enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby. Thats a big compliment because I usually am very picky about what I read and I also don't really like reading. It was interesting to hear about Fitzgerald's story and background before reading the book, it helped me keep in mind that he based the character Nick Carraway off himself. I loved the movie and the actors that played some of the characters. Although, I really wish that they did put more parts from the book into the movie. The one thing that I thought was funny in the movie was that Gatsby's party in the movie looked like a project x function in the 1920s. The part where Catherine gave Nick extasy was kinda weird they didn't really need to put that in, I don't think. Even after reading the book, I am still confident that the American Dream is still achievable, even though it didn't happen for Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Overall, I think that the book was much better than the movie.

Ciera Kirby said...

I personally really enjoyed "The Great Gatsby". I think that by giving the character of Gatsby endless hope was in a way inspiring to the reader. The book was beautifully written by Fitzgerald, and normally im not a fan of these English books we read, however I loved this one. The movie was also great! He director really stuck to the story line which I liked because a lot of directors go off and change the storyline completely. The only part I didn't really like is that in the movie they made nick pop a pill which didn't happen in the book. They also didn't do the seen where Daisy and Toms daughter came out and showed her off while they had company, other then that the movie was great. I really like how they took the film in the 20's and gave it a 21's century twist.
Ciera Kirby
Period 1/3

Evan Gravenmier said...

I enjoyed both watching and reading The Great Gatsby. I am not normally interested in book's we read at school, but The Great Gatsby was surprisingly good. I did like reading the book before watching the film, it helped me understand it better. After reading the book I was very interested in seeing how the director Buz Luhrmann translated the book to film. There were a few things in particular that I liked about the film. First, was how Buz added a modern feeling by adding present music, and secondly how he portrayed Nick in the film. Nick was shown as a recovering alcoholic telling the tale of Gatsby, which could resemble the life of the troubled but great Scott Fitzgerald. Overall I felt that the book was better than the film.
Evan Gravenmier 2,4

Liza.Pevzner said...

While reading "The Great Gatsby" I enjoyed myself. It was a blast to read the story that F. Scott Fitzgerald created with aesthetic words. The descriptions about the Buchanan house, the city of ashes, Myrtle’s apartment, and other places and people were so descriptive that I felt that I was there in person with Nick and the group of people he met. The movie take on this novel that came out last year made by Baz helped a lot to understand some of the symbols interweaved in the novel. I only had two problems that I could not ignore. First of all, although the music was nice I felt that they should have stuck with the 1920’s music and try to keep it as close as they cold to the time era, the clothes fit, and their actions fit, but the music did not. The other objection that I hold is the ending, although it would have dried the ending, as you have said, I felt that not having Mr. Gatz was a bad choice. They should have kept the scene with Mr. Gatz at the end because, that is Gatsby’s father and that helped tie the ending in my opinion about Gatsby’s life.
Liza Pevzner
Period 2/4

Will Cefali said...

I liked watching The Great Gatsby. I liked the modern music used in it giving it a more modern feel. The picture was beautiful, and very well directed. I felt the driving scenes potrayed the general carelessness of Tom and Jay Gatsby in a way the book couldn't. I thought they tried to make the parties look too grand. All of the fireworks and other decorations they used at the parties seemed over the top, even for a party Gatsby would throw. One scene I also didn't like was the hotel scene with Tom, Myrtle and Nick; this scene seemed too crazy for these people to do, and I didn't like the super fast paced, intense music they used with it; however, this kept the movie exciting, which is why I liked it more than the book.

Sophie Sihota said...

I actually really enjoyed reading the Great Gatsby. I thought it was very interesting because it did not seem like a book we would read for school. I thought that making the book through Nick's eyes gave the book more meaning. I thought the movie was acted out very well. I did not enjoy the music because it seemed very out of place. I also did not like the part where Nick took that pill, that was weird. Tom and Gatsby fit the roles very well. I also felt that if I would have not read the book first, I would not understand the movie as well. Overall, the book was great.

Matthew Cousin said...

I was supprised that I liked The Great gatsby as much as I did. It was cool how Fitzgerald used so many smybols throughout the book. I really enjoyed the movie. I was glad that the movie stayed true to the storyline in the book. I also liked how the director chose to incorporate popular music. I think that the choice of music helped us to connect and relate to the film. I liked all the actors in the film, i though they did very well at portreting their characters. I enjoyed this book. I would recomend this book and movie to anyone. Both were fun to read and watch.

Yianni Apostolopoulos Period 1 said...

Personally, I liked the movie better than the movie better than the book. The book was really good, but I found it a bit hard to understand. The movie was much more clear. The movie sort of emphasized the book in such a way that just made it better in my opinion. I loved the actors/actresses that were in the movie also. I usually prefer the book to the movie like any other normal person, but in this case definitely the movie. Every book I've read in high school has pretty much sucked. This book however, is the complete opposite. I really enjoyed this book. Thumbs up. Yianni Apostolopoulos Period 1

Carolina Cervantes-Romero said...

The Great Gatsby was a really interesting book that was fun to read. I loved the way F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel by putting in a lot of symbolism that made you think on a deeper level than just on the literal sense of the story. When I first watched the movie, it was sort of confusing and I didn't enjoy it much. After reading the book and seeing into the author's thoughts, when I re-watched the movie in class I enjoyed it a lot more than I did before. I thought they picked perfect characters to play each person except for Tom Buchanan, they could have picked someone better for his part. Over all it was an amazing book. Like most other books turned movies, I recommend reading the story before the movie is watched. Things will make alot more sence that way.

Melissa Rivera said...

Melissa Rivera, P.1
I definitely agree with your blog commentary Nolan- DiCaprio nails the role of Gatsby. The movie was well-casted and I also enjoyed the movie.
However, I was extremely bummed that Myrtle was not as voluminous as I felt Fitzgerald had portrayed. I think it sends a message that corpulent women cannot be beautiful women, which is how our society seems to believe. Kinda sad.
One other thing that I would have loved to see was more on Nick and his lover back home. In the movie, we didn't see much about those letters he wrote to her, nor about his feelings toward Jordan. I was looking forward to a little more romance there.
So, with the exception of those minor aspects, I found that the movie stuck to the book pretty well. I am satisfied with it.

Anonymous said...

Sherene Shahin said...
I really liked reading The Great Gatsby. I thought Fitzgerald did a great job describing all of the colors, symbols, and settings. I also thought it was cool to see how Fitzgerald portrayed his life in the book. I thought the movie did a really good job in representing the story. Even though the movie is not exactly like the book, they did a good job on sending the hidden message of the corruption of the American dream. I like how they put a modern twist on it with the music.I am glad i waited to read the book first before watching the movie.
Period 2/4

Jessica Krause said...

I liked "The Great Gatsby", but I did not fall in love with it like many others. To me this story was not only sad, but depressing. It got me thinking why should we try when in the end all we are going to end up in is failure. My favorite part of the book was when Daisy was talking about her daughter and hopes that she grows up to be a pretty little fool, because she was right about that. If girls were clueless about many things in life they would get hurt less and they would be happier. It is when the truth comes out that everything usually falls to pieces. As to the movie, I thought it was made quite well. I did not oppose the choice in music and in fact enjoyed it more than I would have if they had put in more music that fit the time period. As I believe Leo did a perfect job playing the role of Gatsby. The way he looked at Daisy (or any of his leading ladies in any of him movies) was filled with a strong passionate love. A love that I wish existed in this world, that Gatsby possess for Daisy, that is so deep not even death could keep the two apart and they would do anything for one another. But like in most cases only one person, Gatsby, had that kind of love. This is what I think about "The Great Gatsby".

Ethan Svuba said...

Unfortunately for me, I saw the movie before I read the book. Whether this affected my interest/enjoyment of reading the book I can't be certain. However, I did enjoy reading the book just to re-live the storytelling of F. Scott Fiddy. In many cases, a remake of a classic book is butchered by modern filmmakers that simply ruin plot points. For Gatsby however, I feel that the film was very accurate and didn't distort or misshape the general message and dialogue of the book. Of course Baz likes to insert his modern flavor into films, but in a way, it was somewhat refreshing to see the connection. I may even go as far as saying that Mr. Luhrman uses these insertions of modern music to help connect the "American Dream" message to the present. Overall, I appreciated the film and think it did the book justice.

Sara Abuan said...

Sara Abuan
I thought The Great Gatsby was a really good book. Starting the year I was excited because of all the things I heard about the book but when I started reading it I just about fell in love. Jay Gatsby is the perfect example of someone who would do anything for the person that they love. When we were watching the movie I enjoyed it because most of the lines in the movie were from the book. Also I had a vision in my head of what everything would look like and the movie portrayed the vision so much better.I liked was knowing the color symbols in advance it made me understand the book more. Also it was pretty cool going from Gatsbys little picture to the big picture about how corrupt The American Dream is.

Jacquelyn Scharff said...

I loved The Great Gatsby movie. I thought it represented the book really well. The only thing I would change to make it better would be if Gatsby got to end his life with Daisy. The would have been the fairy tale ending to his "american dream." I also thought Dicaprio did a great job playing Gatsby. The woman who played Daisy did a really fantastic job too. Tom looked exactly like I thought he would from reading the book, I really enjoyed reading and watching The Great Gatsby.

Javier Blanch said...

I really enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby. Personally, I think that books are so much better than movies since the author could add in so much more detail and events than they could in a movie. That's exactly what F. Scott Fitzgerald did: so much more detail was in the book that was excluded in the movie which disappointed me. On the other hand, the movie version did a great job as a visual aid to help comprehend with the writing. The actors did a fantastic job aside from Toby Maguire who was a tad awkward. Overall I thought the book was better than the movie.

Javier Blanch
Period 4

Alexis Marnofsky said...

I fell in love with The Great Gatsby as soon as I started to read. The book started a little slow but I was intrigued by the different lifestyle. Gatsby gave me hope, he was different and mysterious. With this said I purposely waited to watch the movie till we finished; to make sure not to ruin it. The movie was just as great! I do wish we could've met the daughter or Gatsby's dad, but as Nolan explained it probably would've only diminished the excitement of the movie. I had more of an emotional connection with the movie most likely due to actually seeing the characters, but I tremendously enjoyed both the book and movie.

austin brown said...

I first saw luhrmann's The Great Gatsby when it came out on DVD right before I started the 2013-2014 school year. I enjoyed it but definitely did not catch anh of the symbolism in the movie. It wasn't until we read the book in class that I understood that every person, color, and object represents something else. I really started to enjoy the book once I could realize the symbolism. When we watched the movie in class I enjoyed it more also. I agree with the fact that leo did a great job as Gatsby. Despite what others in my class say I think Tobey Maguire played nick well. Overall I would say that the casting for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby was fantastic, and it blows Romeo & Juliet out of the water.

Anonymous said...

Personally I really liked the Great Gatsby. Due to the fact that I have an older sister in love with the story, I saw the movie before hand and also fell in love, and not just because of DiCaprio I swear! Although I have to say I found the book more intriguing once I understood the symbolism and the direction of the story. The movie was a bit easier to follow the book was went into great depth that made the story so heart wrenching. I also like how the book was written, every sentence is written so vividly your mind can make an image of everything. I also like the character of Daisy more in the book, as she seemed to be more interested in Gatsby, than how her character was in the movie. I did enjoy the character Jordan she was perfect for her part, although the movie wasn't focused on her relationship with Nick as it was in the book. I'm glad to of read the Great Gatsby, and experience the brilliance of Fitz Gerald, overall I think it was an amazing story.
Paige Roesling P.4

charly mckim said...

Charly McKim said...
I enjoyed The Great Gatsby almost as much as the book. I thought Luhrmann did a great job following the book. I liked that the movie was more appealing to the kids now a days who have to read The Great Gatsby. I saw the movie before I read the book and found it was more helpful to understand and follow along because I could picture certain scene's in the movie while reading the book. I didn't mind that they rushed the ending because the movie was long enough. I thought Luhrmann had a great cast that all executed their character very well. Over all I dont have anything bad to say about it. I thought it was great.

Mitch Thompson said...

Mitch Thompson Period 3
I Enjoyed reading and watching the great gatsby.I liked how the director kept the setting the same and gave the tone of the movie a more modern feel with the music. The book also helped me understand the symbolism which i probably wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't read the book. Another part that was well represented was the first party. The movie felt very fast paced even for being more than two hours but i think it could have been longer. I enjoyed the final chapter with Mr.Gatz and i'm sad to see that is gone. Also the move was extremely loud and it parts it didn't really fit Other than that i really enjoied the movie and the book.

Amari Baltimore, 4th per. said...

"The Great Gatsby" was one one the best books I've read in a long time. Fitzgerald has a great way with words, giving vivid imagery and personification. He also has a great way of showing symbolism. Reading the book dis give more insight into the many plots of the story than what the movie did. However,I do believe that the movie portrayed the book very well.I wish the movie would have showed Gatsby's father, as was in the book. Overall, "The Great Gatsby" gets the thumbs up from me.

Ale Gonzalez said...

Alexandra Gonzalez 1st period
I really liked read The Great Gatsby. I watched the movie both before and after reading the book. Before I read the book I didn't really like the movie. After I read the book the movie made more sense and was really enjoyable to watch. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald is a great writer. The characters in the movie really matched up to what I imagined them as. The only one I would say needed changing is Myrtle because they said she was fatter in the book.

Ale Gonzalez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Zeng said...

Donna Zeng
The Great Gatsby was a really enjoyable read. The way F. Scott Fitz used the colors as symbolism to portray different concepts of the book was cool. The movie was great also, I didn't fall asleep watching it. How the movie used modern music along with the 20s theme surprisingly went very well together. I agree with your statement that the movie made Daisy look all pure and innocent as if she was the victim of everything. She should have told Tom that she was the one driving the car and killed Myrtle, but instead she let Gatsby take the blame. Overall, it was a enjoyable read and a good film to watch.

Savannah Adams said...

I agree that Gatsby was less refined than he appeared in the book. You noted that he was doing donuts around Nick's house, but also the fact that he was racing Tom. My impression in the book was that only Tom was being reckless with the car. I was also disappointed with the end. But not only the fact that he didn't meet Tom again, like you mentioned, I also wish he found Gatsby the original way, and not over the phone. For me it seemed that the beginning stayed more true to the book than the end. Also I am getting annoyed that this site has made me verify I am not a robot for the 3rd time.

Mattea Larson said...

I believe of all the books I've been assigned for school, I enjoyed The Great Gatsby the best. Firstly, I agree with Mr. Nolan about the director's flaws: when Gatsby was telling Nick about his backstory in his car, the constant racing between cars was very distracting to the plot. Additionally, I found the drunken scenes at Myrtle's to be laughably ridiculous. And, as Nolan pointed out, I would have liked to hear more music from that era instead of more recent works. I didn't mind that he played the same song sung different ways throughout the story, though. That one really repetitive song, probably called something along the lines of "will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful." Though I agree with Nolan that the message that Daisy is not, in fact, a good person would have been louder if the movie had included the scene where Nick talks to Tom only to find out that Daisy never told him that she was the one who killed Myrtle, I actually think that the director did a good job of displaying the same message in the scene where Daisy won't take Nick's call or attend Gatsby's funeral. I will give the director some credit for his use of color, too. I enjoyed how in the scenes with Myrtle and her sister and friend, all of the girls had differently colored outfits, and Myrtle's dress and room were all red, which matched the colors that Fitzgerald used for Tom in the book. Lastly, I also agree with Nolan that the movie cutting out Mr. Gatz was in no way a travesty.
Mattea Larson
Threads period 2

Hedi Anton said...

I really enjoyed watching and reading The Great Gatsby. I think the movie did a good job at portraying the book. I agree that not a lot of actors can carry the roll of Gatsby the way DiCaprio did and that Baz risked it by portraying Nick as an alcoholic in a clinic, but it ended up working perfectly. I really liked the scene when we first meet Daisy (and jordan), and when Daisy and Gatsby reunite. I also liked how they incorporated today's music in the movie. What I disliked about the movie is that they made Daisy seem more innocent than in the book.The last chapter was when we really see Daisy as the girl who will always choose wealth over love. Daisy, also never told the truth about Myrtle's death and left Gatsby to take the blame for everything. Also I agree with "The baz", the way they filmed the car scenes, were too chaotic and loud. Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie and I agree with Nolan's review.

Ivan Dacumos said...

I believe that The Great Gatsby is a decent book. I really enjoyed the vivid imagery and different overtones the book conveys. As for the movie, I would give it a solid C. The cinematography for the movie was pretty good, I enjoyed how fantastic and over the top some scenes were. Even though I abhor Baz Luhrman, I think he did a pretty good job on not butchering The Great Gatsby. On the otherhand, his version of Romeo and Juliet was a complete monstrosity (but the soundtrack was pretty good). As for the acting, I agree that Dicaprio did a pretty good job portraying Gatsby, but I believe that some of the other actors fell short of my expectations. I think Toby Mcguire did an alright job acting as Nick, but he is such an awkward actor, every role he plays he does in the most awkward, boyish fashion. As for Daisy I expected someone with a little more sex appeal, although she did a great job playing Daisy. Side note, I feel like I'm the only one who picks up on Nick and Daisy's subtle incestuous ques. It's pretty weird the way that Nick describes his cousin in a somewhat romantic sense and I recall one line in the book that says something along the lines of "Nick, anytime you want to kiss me tonight, I am handing green cards out." or something like that.

Ivan Dacumos said...

I believe that The Great Gatsby is a decent book. I really enjoyed the vivid imagery and different overtones the book conveys. As for the movie, I would give it a solid C. The cinematography for the movie was pretty good, I enjoyed how fantastic and over the top some scenes were. Even though I abhor Baz Luhrman, I think he did a pretty good job on not butchering The Great Gatsby. On the otherhand, his version of Romeo and Juliet was a complete monstrosity (but the soundtrack was pretty good). As for the acting, I agree that Dicaprio did a pretty good job portraying Gatsby, but I believe that some of the other actors fell short of my expectations. I think Toby Mcguire did an alright job acting as Nick, but he is such an awkward actor, every role he plays he does in the most awkward, boyish fashion. As for Daisy I expected someone with a little more sex appeal, although she did a great job playing Daisy. Side note, I feel like I'm the only one who picks up on Nick and Daisy's subtle incestuous ques. It's pretty weird the way that Nick describes his cousin in a somewhat romantic sense and I recall one line in the book that says something along the lines of "Nick, anytime you want to kiss me tonight, I am handing green cards out." or something like that.

Noah Nicosia Per 1 said...

I thought that the book "The Great Gatsby" was honestly better than the movie. I thought that the movie portrayed the book pretty well because it left all the important scenes out. It was also nice that they left all the boring scenes from the book out of the movie. I agree that it was good to see most of Fitzgerald famous lines in the movie. I also thought it was harder to understand Nick's line from the book, "reserving judgement is a matter of infinite hope" rather than "I look for the best in people." It just explains it so much more clearly partly because you explained it so well in class. I also agreed with your review on Lana Del Rey's music in the movie because it brings a more modern day look rather than having boring music instead. I think the modern day music in the movie actually helps the younger audience appreciate the movie more. Overall I really liked the movie and I really would like to watch it again.

Eric Hernandez said...

While I enjoyed the book rather than the movie; here is my review. I did not love it, but at the same time I did not hate it. The CGI was great. I actually enjoyed the fast moving camera scenes, for example; from Gatsby's home to Tom's. I did not like the fast moving cars. Firstly, the cars in the 20s would not even top 45 MPH. Secondly, the handling of the vehicle would have been a lot more difficult. I did not like the Jay Z music, but Lana's was great. Lana Del Rey's music is so majestic, every time you listen to her it seems as if you are floating in the sky. I loved Leonardo's performance in the movie. He has always been a great actor, he needs his Oscar! The actor who played Tom was great, I hated the actor who played Jordan Baker, who would want to date that? Daisy was too emotional and innocent, they should have incorporated the yellow in the Daisy; the corrupt woman she is hiding behind the white. While the drug scene was crazy and wild, it fit...at least to the 20s lifestyle. People partied hard on weekdays and partied even harder on the weekends. Overall, The Great Gatsby is a great story. While I enjoyed the book more than the movie, I'd love to watch it again.

Gianna Petteruti said...

I personally really enjoyed watching the movie "The Great Gatsby." To be honest I am never to thrilled about the books we read through out high school, but I really was engaged while reading the book. I thought it was really well written and was the best book I've read. The movie did a pretty good job to sticking to the story line besides leaving a couple things out. I thought the acting was very well but I felt that Gatsby's parties were really unrealistic and other parts to the movie were a bit cheesy. I thought the book was really good but the movie made it a lot easier to understand. Overall I felt that the book was better than the movie.


Gianna Petteruti
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Melissa Torres said...

I absolutely loved reading "The Great Gatsby". This book unlike others I have read in the past was great. I also enjoyed the movie, however not as much as the book. What I enjoyed about the movie was the acting, and like you mentioned about Gatsby's role being played great by Leo. I agree with you and I believe he did nail that part, and I don't think anyone else could have done as well as he did. One thing I did not like about the movie was that in some parts it was pretty cheesy. For instance, all the car scenes were just so unrealistic and cheesy. Also Gatsby's parties were really odd, and didn't seem real. Another part of the movie that I would agree with you on, is the part when Gatsby and Daisy reunited. I think that scene was very cute, especially the way Gatsby acted nervously showing how much feelings he had towards Daisy. Overall I enjoyed both the movie and the book.
Melissa Torres
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Sean Harless said...

The Great Gatsby was a phenomenal novel which consumed the read with various emotions while pulsing of a rich ecstasy. I feel the movie was the closest a movie can get to expressing what F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, the movie cannot match the novels abilities as a work of art. I personally agree with your entire view on the move as a whole, about "Jay Z's Score" and how using today's pop culture to resemble the 1920's. Moreover, I felt like the movie could have been slowed down a bit to allow an emotional bond to occur with the characters. Like how you acknowledged the scene of Gatsby and Nick driving and how it was just "Fast, fast, loud, loud". Over all the movie was very good and I give it a B-.

Sean Harless said...

Period 3-4.

Mallorie Simmons said...

I really enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby. I have been waiting to read it since freshman year. Everyone has spoken very highly of it and I am happy to say they were all correct. The movie was very well done in my opinion. I have not seen the older version, but from your review it seems pretty bad. I loved how close to the book they kept the movie, although there were the few scenes here and there that were missing. The fact that they had the actual lines from the book in it was a huge plus as well. I agree that Leonardo DiCaprio was the perfect person to play that role and the guy who played Tom was surprisingly well fit as well. His temper and irrationality brought some good humor into the movie. I agree with your statement that most teenagers do not like the modern music in this movie. It was strange to be watching a movie set in the 20's, but having no music from that time period at all. All in all, I thought the movie was very well put together. However, I will always say that the books was definitely better than the movie.
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Lezlye Ramos said...

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"The Great Gatsby" was an excellent book and movie; it is probably one of my favorite books that i have read during High School. I agree that Leonardo DiCaprio was the perfect person to cast as the role of Jay Gatsby, because he captured every aspect that Fitzgerald described him in the book, like his smile, and the way he acted around certain people. Like you explained earlier in the review, the scene where Gatsby and Nick are going to NY, you cant really concentrate on what is going on because of how fast and obnoxious Gatsby is driving. I was probably more concerned if they were going to crash than i was listening to the actual conversation they were having. Although Gatsby's parties would have been fun to attend, in this film it looked completely fake and it kind of killed the vibe of it. My favorite scene in the film would be when Gatsby and Daisy were dancing in his castle, because I loved Gatsby and i was happy to see that he finally got to hold what he's been chasing all these years. I can see why the director took away the part of Gatsby's dad out of the movie, but from watching the deleted scenes i wish they would have left it in, because i thought it brought more emotion to the movie, but that's just my opinion. Overall i loved reading the book, and then watching the movie, I think that's a good idea to start doing with movies that are being released in theaters as well.