Really irritating how I generally don't let anyone get to me, but let it be the one person I actually care about and it could be the stupidest, smallest thing, and I'm instantly irked for a minimum of 24 hours. Dumb.
After waiting for what seemed like forever (the movie was originally scheduled for release on Christmas of 2012), I was finally able to see The Great Gatsby last weekend. I don't remember most of the books that I read in high school, but Gatsby has always been the one that I've remembered the best. Not necessarily the entire book, but the themes, the symbols, and of course Jay Gatsby, have always been in my mind, even after all of these years. As most of you know, Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite actor and once I heard ol' Midas was playing the roll of Gatsby, I knew there was absolutely no way this movie wouldn't become an instant classic. Alas, I've been had.
Let me begin by saying that Baz Luhrmann's visuals are absolutely stunning. Everything from the vast acres of lush foliage that cradle the Buchanan's mansion in East Egg, to the breathtaking fireworks that explode in the night sky across the bay just off the coast of West Egg, not a single penny went unsaved in the visual effects department; but I'd expect nothing less from the man who brought us movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Not to be outdone by all the glitz and glamour of the visuals, the soundtrack which boasts the likes of Jay-Z, Lana Del Rey, Beyonce, and The XX, just to name a few, is sure to have every skinny jean wearing, grande soy milk macchiato sucking, "i had this haircut before skrillex", hipster pissing their pants. I'm serious, this movie was built for tumblr.
All that being said, a good cut of beef is only as good as it's seasoned. The Great Gatsby is the equivalent of a chef throwing a piece of kobe beef on the grill with absolutely no seasoning whatsoever. Sure it's good, but it had the potential for greatness. While the movie does an overall decent job of staying on pace with the book (from what I can remember), it seemed like Luhrmann spent too much time focusing on the themes, almost as to say "remember this part from AP English guys? REMEMBER?" instead of giving us seasoning to go along with those themes that we already know about. A romantic montage hardly ever conveys the message that would be best suited with real scenes with actual dialogue. Luckily, we have a full cast of talented actors that save this movie from what was destined to be a surefire upset.
Maybe even outperforming Leonardo DiCaprio (a phrase that's never ever come out of my mouth, ever) comes Joel Edgerton playing the slithery scumbag you love to hate, Tom Buchanan. As much as I love Leo, Edgerton's uncanny ability to get under the audience's skin is what anchors this movie at it's best moments. Another unexpected bright spot was newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Daisy's best friend Jordon Baker. She has a charming quality about her that keeps the audience engaged. As for Daisy, as much as a I like Carey Mulligan as an actress, I was a bit underwhelmed by the interpretation of Daisy that she was given to work with. I would've liked to see her character be given a little more of a backbone. I understand we're talking about the 20's and women were still objects without much of a voice but along with the quasi-modern feel of the movie, I would've liked to see a bit more personality and less "rag doll being pulled between two pitbulls". As far as Tobey MaGuire's performance as Nick Carraway... it's exactly what we've come to expect from Tobey MaGuire. Tobey MaGuire is the Fresca of Hollywood actors; not terrible but not amazing, yet always there because for some reason, people lIke him. I might be picking on him a bit, but if anything else, he did a fine job as a narrator.
While The Great Gatsby didn't necessarily live up to my great expectations, it was still a good movie. Good, not great. I really would've liked to see what a director like Christopher Nolan would have done with this. Maybe keep Luhrmann on board for visuals but I really think Nolan could have worked wonders with this film. Oh well, enough of the what if's. If you do choose to see this, I urge you to forgo the extra $3 for 3D and go with the 2D version. I was severly disappointed in the lack of "oh shit that's tight!" moments in the 3D version of the film.
Season 6 of Mad Men premiered Sunday, and not more than five minutes into the show I was reminded why I love it so much. I feel like I identify with Don Draper possibly more than any other character of any show or movie I've ever seen. Not the whole super successful, vagina falls into my lap around every corner, chain-smoker, alcoholic part; The obsessive honeymoon infatuation turned indifferent for no apparent reason at all/feeling alone even when most people enjoy being around you part. I remember reading the Goosebumps "Choose your own Adventure" books as a kid and I can't help but think of life as the same way. I don't know if we fully realize the weight of the decisions we make in life until after the cement has dried and they become a reflection in our rearview. The drive to always improve, to always do better, to always top my high score has always taken precedent over everything else in the areas of my life where it's least important. I was talking to a friend earlier and she made the statement that "guys can never be happy with one girl". As much as I'd like to argue that, I don't know if I really can. I wouldn't go as far as to say that we can't be happy with one girl, more so that we (or I, I definitely don't mean to speak on the behalf of the entire male population) have always been intrigued by variety. The curiosity for that which is uncharted has and probably will always be something that burns inside me. In all aspects of life, not just relationships. Finding the healthy balance has always been a struggle for me. At what point do I realize that I've gotten to the top of the mountain? Or hell, maybe there is no "top", maybe I should just be content with what I've got? Maybe reaching for the top is what causes you to fall? Maybe there isn't a perfect woman. Maybe I've had perfection in my grasp but my desire for something different didn't allow me to see that? How do you stop yourself from wanting more? From wanting something different?
What is it that makes me feel like I'm always alone? That there are things that no one will ever fully understand about me? Even those closest to me will tell you that there comes a point where there's a disconnect between what I'm willing to share and what I choose to keep to myself. I don't want to be this way, but.. I am. I'm not saddened by this, not even really bothered by it, but I feel like I should be. I'm just indifferent. Indifferent to it all.
I watch Mad Men for the same reason that everyone does; To see what happens to Don Draper. As corny and dumb as this may sound, I realized while watching Sunday night's episode, that I watch Mad Men in hopes to find an answer to my questions.
So happy I finally got to see my favorite piece, Companion (Passing Through) in person. There's something about seeing art in person, literally inches away from my fingertips that refreshes me. I think it's the fact that for a few minutes my mind can forget about everything else and just be. My favorite thing about art is that sometimes there's nothing to "get". Sometimes things are what they are just because. There doesn't have to be a reason. Once you realize that about art, you can truly saturate yourself in it and enjoy it the way that it's supposed to be enjoyed. Thankful.