First off, I’d like to apologize to all my readers for not writing many movie reviews recently. I have returned to college and classes and extracurricular activities have been taking up most of my time. I have a few movies that I have not seen that I plan to watch and write reviews on, but I won’t be posting movie reviews as often as I had been doing previously. I will be posting a NFL sports report each week that will include who I though had the best and worst performances of the week, a Steelers recap, and what I think the game of the week will be. Now let’s get to this movie review.
I never read the novel in high school so I had no idea what was going to happen. The movie is slow to start off. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) narrates for what felt like the first half hour, by which time I wanted him to shut up so I could get to know the characters based off of their interactions with others, not based off of Carraway’s viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong, his narration is important, but by the time he was done I had nearly lost my patience and I’m a pretty patient person. Nick Carraway is a writer who decides to get involved with the booming stock market. He ends up buying a house next to Gatsby’s, which is like party central for the city. Carraway sees his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom, which is how we as an audience start meeting all of the supporting characters.
Nick flourishes with the big city lifestyle: goes to parties, gets wasted, the usual. Towards the later half of the first hour, Gatsby makes his appearance, and the real show gets started.
The visuals in this movie were pretty good. Everything looked like I would imagine it would during the 1920’s. Up to this point, this movie doesn’t sound so bad. That is not the case.
The acting is sub-par. Half the time it’s because of the actors and the other half it’s because of the script. Daisy’s character is bland, DiCaprio and Maguire’s scripts are lacking and some of the people in this movie don’t even need to be there. Why are Jordan Baker and Meyer Wolfsheim in this? Daisy tries to get Jordan and Carraway together, which works for all of five seconds. Wolfsheim has probably the quickest lunch meeting with Carraway and Gatsby that I have ever seen, so I don’t know why they couldn’t just cut that out. Just use Wolfsheim’s name. That’s all I really know about him anyway.
The main problem with this movie is the plot. I acknowledge that most of the blame for this falls on writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and not on the filmmakers themselves, but they were the ones who decided to make this.
Among the many problems I have with this movie is the character of Gatsby himself. Whether that is Fitzgerald’s fault or the filmmakers, I don’t know, but I can honestly say after watching this movie that I still don’t really know who Gatsby is. The whole movie Carraway as well as the audience is trying to figure out who Gatsby is, and while Carraway apparently finds out, the audience is never gifted with the details. We only get the main points. I want to know who he is, what he does, what makes him tick, and I’m never really satisfied with the answers the filmmakers give me to these questions. Notice I said satisfied, not that I didn’t like them. You can give me something in a movie that I didn’t like but I know satisfies the need. For example, I hated Jobs, but still gave it an 83 because the acting was good and the story was told.
I never get into the head of any of these characters and it drives me up the wall that I don’t know anybody. There isn’t any character connection for me in this and that’s a serious problem.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot Games)
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All Fears)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy)
My score for the Great Gatsby: 47.
This movie’s pace is slow to begin with, and even if you manage to wait for something to happen, you probably won’t be happy with what the film gives you. As I said before, there’s no character connection here, and because it’s a drama, the movie relies on its characters and the plot, and for me, neither was worth watching.
*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!
I don’t know who Gatsby is. He’s a bootlegger, but that’s the extent of the audience’s information. It would have been nice if they could have given us a peek under the curtain and showed him doing business with underhanded crooks or something, maybe shown his conflict over whether to be with Daisy or continue to live the life he’s living. How did he get into business with Wolfsheim? All things that I don’t know that I’d like to know.
I could tell there was always something going on in Gatsby’s head, but it never gets revealed what that is. He never opens up. There are people who don’t talk about their feelings and prefer to keep everything to themselves and if that were the case with Gatsby, I wouldn’t be complaining right now, as long as the character portrayal gave me subtle hints as to what was going on upstairs. However, Gatsby reveals his whole life story to Jordan and then to Nick and yet the audience gets the smallest glimpse of his story. That’s just stupid. It’s obvious the guy is tired of living a life of lies and wants to tell the truth and yet the audience doesn’t get to be a part of it. Why the heck would I care about this character if you’re not going to show me the character development?! I know Gatsby now about as well as I knew him going into the movie and I didn’t even know anything about him other than he was rich!
Gatsby thinks that he can just convince Daisy that she never loved Tom, and that she can come with him and they can live happily ever after, which is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Gatsby’s been away for five years and he thinks he can just repeat the past. You can’t do that no matter how hard you try. Life doesn’t allow you to just turn back time.
The whole reason this is even a problem is because Gatsby never returned after the war because he was broke and was worried what Daisy and her parents would think of him. You would think if it was a genuine love and he cared for her that much and her for him, that he would come to the conclusion that “hey, maybe I just have to believe our love is true and take the risk”. If Daisy were to dump him on the spot, then he knows it wasn’t for real and can move on with his life without any guilt over having done or not done something. If her parents disapprove, who cares? You would think the “Great Gatsby” would have used some basic logical processing.
The guy’s life is focused on Daisy all the time. All the parties are done in the hopes that she comes to his place sometime. He refuses to believe that life has anything more to offer and so is completely miserable. You would think he would have heard of the “bros before hoes” rule. Maybe then he would have friends.
The real sad thing is that Gatsby is expecting Daisy to call him the morning that he is killed and she never calls. She also leaves town without attending his funeral. Apparently the funeral of the guy that she claimed to love more than anything wasn’t worth going to. This tells me Daisy wasn’t worth waiting for in the first place if she wasn’t willing to leave a husband that cheats on her on a regular basis for a man who is fully devoted to her and her alone. Gatsby was willing to give her everything and it still wasn’t enough. She was a typical dumb blonde who didn’t know what she wanted and two people got killed because of it. You would think this movie would be enough to convince people that women shouldn’t drive. Just kidding guys, but I seriously can’t stand her.
Finally, Gatsby says “old sport” at least fifty freaking times. I don’t care if this is the way people talked back then or not, it’s obnoxious. Every time he said it I wanted to punch his face in. This movie shoved that line down my throat the whole movie and I didn’t appreciate it.