Saturday, January 7, 2012

Can't Repeat the Past? This Is the Fourth Film Incarnation of Gatsby!

So, I meant to do this about a month ago.  My bad.
No, no, no.  Haven't you ever seen a movie poster?  You're supposed to be standing in random places, looking away like you don't care.

Today's Character: Jay Gatsby (James Gatz)

Luhrmann's Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio

Not a bad choice.  DiCaprio can play a playboy and has done it in the past.  But he has come a long way from the days of Titanic where he is just sooo dreamy and doesn’t have to rely on actual acting.  This is good because, like the book, he will not stand out as soon as he walks on screen.  I mean, he will, because he is Leonardo DiCaprio, but it is easier to believe that Daisy would have let him go in kayfabe.

Pros:  Grown as an actor, does not command screen as in earlier work, own unique style brought to the role, American actor, can play a rich guy in real life and in movies

Cons:  Did “The Aviator” and “Catch Me If You Can” and those movies were annoying, “The Beach” also sucked but was a long time ago

The weird and peculiar qualities of the prior two film Gatsbi are their most endearing traits.  Redford could play a creepy stalker Gatsby without being all rapey because he is Robert freakin’ Redford.  It’s hard to see him as a “creeper” when you are also thinking “day-umm, he look fine” at the same time.  But, it did not detract much from the fact that he was madly in love with Daisy, etc., etc.  Stephens was just kind of all around awkward, but that was his thing and it worked.  It worked because I believe that Mira Sorvino would say no to him.  Of course, when she realizes he GOT DEM DUCKETS the audience is supposed to forget that he cutt out newspaper clippings of her like a serial killer.  This also shows us the shallowness and emptiness of the upper class yada yada yada.  Maybe that is why Redford’s Gatsby works too well; he’s the proverbial total package, and Fitzgerald does not necessarily portray Gatsby that way.  But it works, and allow me to explain why with Gatsby’s Law:

dude + ample $$$ = woman (or lasting relationship)

But, if dude=x, ample $$$=a, and woman (or lasting relationship)=w, what if we add a variable y=weird, awkward, then:

Weird, awkward dude + ample $$$ = woman

If that is true, let’s add a variable z=semi-attractive, then:

Weird, awkward + semi-attractive (dude) + ample $$$ = woman

Wait, what if you take away variable a=ample $$$, thus:

Weird, awkward + semi-attractive (dude) + no $$$ = no woman

Why is this true?  Well, let’s look at Gatsby in his early twenties.  He had Daisy, then lost her because he did not have variable a (ample $$$).  So, no matter if the equation xyz was changed or manipulated in some way (for example, a new variable v=HOTT!!!, or variables yz are eliminated) Gatsby’s Law still would be true because what matters is that a=w.  Therefore, ample $$$ and woman (and vice versa, -a=-w) are potentially inclusive.  By adding a variable x (or xy, xyz, etc), the statement becomes a law.  Thus:

HOTT!!! dude + no money = no woman ß Not false according to Gatsby’s Law, but v has been added for z and does not fit the qualities of Gatsby.  A=W, and is true, thus this is why Robert Redford’s Gatsby works.

Repulsive dude (variable t) + ample $$$= woman ß Also true in Gatsby’s Law because of the same reason, but not in it’s perfect form.


HOTT!!! dude + no money = woman ß False, because a does not equal w no matter what you add to a.

But, to make Gatsby’s Law perfect (aka Fitzgerald’s Law of Gatsby) is to put it in the same equation above: x+y(z)+a=w, where xyz=weird, semi-attractive dude.  This is because, well, that is how Gatsby is portrayed in the novel.  Thus, Toby Stephens’s xyz is perfect for Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, while Redford’s vz version still works.

And, yes, all women are untrustworthy gold diggers in this equation.  Deal with it.

Pretty simple, and believable in the novel and in life.  No money equals no Daisy, but ample money equals a caring, lovable, laughable Daisy.  Gatsby doesn’t have to be played by a strong, charismatic, or attractive actor because Gatsby is the everyman, albeit an decently attractive and affable everyman.  He comes from nothing to become nothing more than a bootlegger.  Of course, we don’t know that exactly, but he’s an elusive character we just don’t know a whole lot about by the time he is killed.  He’s your next-door neighbor, if your neighbor lived in a mansion.  He wants the good life with someone he loves, an American Dream, and he fails due to things slipping out of his sweaty, Cheeto-stained everyman grip.  He’s grandiose, extravagant, excessive, but easy to identify with.  He’s a man with a plan, who trusts the wrong people.  His plans go unfulfilled and crappy people go on living their lives, and the end of the novel leaves you with a feeling of emptiness.  Oh, and spoiler alert.

DiCaprio can’t go wrong, as long as Daisy’s character is executed well.  The two need to be able to work off of each other.  Farrow-Redford creates an atmosphere of odd, lost, confusing love between two people that don’t understand how the past few years led them to where they are, nor do they really know what the future holds.  And each actor makes that explicitly clear.
But, Daisy is a bad person, and Gatsby is just an innocent, addled male.  An innocent male who is eye candy for female moviegoers.  

For those scoring at home:
Law of Life: a=w
Gatsby’s Law: z+a=w
Fitzgerald’s Law of Gatsby Relationships: x+y(z)+a=w

*I apologize for the math

Tuesday, January 3, 2012