21 May 2013

The Long Slide from Gatsby




...Then I thought of poor old Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote Gatsby, sold only 24,000 copies, died very much in debt, and now his masterpiece sells 500,000 paperbacks every year, the novel has been turned into a movie five times, and the latest version cost $105 million. How’s that for irony? I’d say worse than Bloomberg and the duck salesman posing as gentlemen.

The actor playing Nick Carraway, Tobey Maguire—who’s as tall as Bloomberg at 5 foot 8 inches—was asked whether he had loved the book and answered, “But I read the script, of course.” No Fitzgerald expert he. The movie is exactly what I had predicted a couple of months ago: Pearls, cloche hats, dropped waists, and lots of fireworks. It’s a tumultuous work that has about as much style as the fictional Gatsby parties. Still, it’s a far better film than the Robert Redford version of 1974, where the wooden Redford was as believable as Gatsby as Rupert Everett was playing General Patton.

For some strange reason, in the new version a very good Indian actor plays Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim. Indians playing Jews to avoid charges of anti-Semitism is a first for me. The novel’s subtlety is nonexistent in the film, so here’s a tip: Forget the book’s subtlety and tenderness and watch the movie as entertainment. And enjoy the girl that plays Jordan, who should have been cast as Daisy, but more about casting next week when I will be filing from Cannes and walking the red carpet for the premiere of the greatest movie since Gone With the Wind, starring Alec Baldwin, Taki, and a cast of thousands. It’s directed by the great James Toback, a man so talented Orson Welles tried to poison him in a jealous rage but thankfully failed.

[...]

Our culture nowadays is dominated by the conspicuous vulgarity of new and ill-gotten wealth, while manners and morals are nonexistent. Young people act as if they’re autistic and simply cannot communicate because the machines they stare at all day and night have made interaction impossible. Our language has even changed, with people using acronyms instead of normal speech—when they use English, that is. In the Bagel, only a minority speaks English. The most blatant degeneracy is the constant use of the F-word and the way the slobs dress. Last week at a Broadway play, I was one of the very few to be wearing a suit and tie. Soon people wearing neckties will be profiled, their picture appearing in police stations. See you in Cannes.

-- Taki Theodoracopulos, in a social commentary disguised as a review of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby


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