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The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition

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Scott Roberts
The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 14, 2013 at 1:37:32 pm







Premise: This fly homeboy in old timey New York is throwing nonstop parties, and they are BALLER, hoping that this scorchin hawt honey he's huntin shows up so that he can steal her away from some rich bro who treats her with mad disrespect, yo. Or at least that's how my neighbor Tucker describes it.



Pros:

-The obvious one: awesome visuals, and frequently great cinematography. Baz Luhrmann nailed the look he was going for. The party scenes in particular were very well put together. The small handful of boring scenes in the film at least had some nice things to look at.

-The most anachronistic music choices (Jay Z's "Big Pimpin" plays out of a car radio at one point) worked pretty well. Listen, you either dig the way the music choices were made, or you probably think that this was one of the dumbest movies you've ever seen. Again, Luhrmann was going for a very specific atmosphere, and he created it to the best you could ask for. Whether any of the choices he made created a great movie is debatable, but it would be hard to argue that he didn't accomplish the task of making a $105 million dollar adaptation of The Great Gatsby with Jay Z and Black Eyed Peas songs about in the way you'd imagine it would play out. I was half expecting the piano player at the parties to be played by Skrillex. Which, in retrospect, would have been awesome. And I don't even like Skrillex.

-On that note, the regular orchestral music score for the film was excellent from what I remember (sips Merlot with pinkie extended).

-DiCaprio was very DiCaprio-y. I like his film choices for the most part, but he's slowly starting to fall into the category of actors who constantly act the same way in every movie. But it's an entertaining schtick.

-Joel Edgerton is awesome and should be in more things.

-While it probably leaned more heavily towards the melodramatic, I found the attempts at comedy to be funny. The film has a pretty broad sense of humor, but it fits.

-If you turn The Great Gatsby into a drinking game, and take a drink every time the term "Old Sport" is muttered; you will get messed up. Like pass out on your front lawn and crap your pants messed up. That being said, it's kind of a badass thing to call everybody.

-At times, it has brilliantly chaotic editing. It keeps the whole thing rather entertaining.



Cons:

-Does this really need to be two and a half hours long? The beginning is really interesting, and it picks up again at the end; but the middle drags for a while. I do recall at least five minutes of this movie in the second act where I have no idea what happened because I spaced out and was thinking about what I was going to have for dinner afterwards.

-Tobey Maguire didn't do it for me. The actor or the character he played. Tobey's narration was blotchy and his acting consisted of just staring at everything with a dopey face. It's usually a problem when a film is told from the perspective of the most dull character. Aside from his plot developing shoving of the two central characters together, I don't even see what the purpose of following Nick Carroway around throughout the movie is. OK, OK, hold on, I know, I've heard this is based on some book or something, I know... But for the sake of this movie, the filmmaker's take on the character was that of a blank-staring dolt.

-The Jordan Baker character also didn't do anything for me. Another "one-scene of essential plot development, yet we're stuck following her around for the entire movie for some reason" kind of character.

-I understand that Daisy is attractive or whatnot, but she's an almost insufferably whiny and aloof person. She's one of those characters that we're just supposed to believe is the greatest person to be around, and worthy of two guys fighting over, simply because the film literally TELLS us she is, but without actually showing evidence of a great personality on-screen.

-The film begins and ends with Nick in a mental institution, telling us the tale of Gatsby through his writing. I waited the entire movie for an valid explanation of what would have caused him to be in a hospital... and... I'm not sure what the explanation is...? I guess it was when he grew a beard and wandered the city aimlessly because he was sad during the final montage? I know in the first scene they literally show a piece of paper with his symptoms on it... but, that can't actually be the sole rational as to why he's in there, right? That feels... cheap. Or dumb. I'm not sure which.

-I saw the film in 2D, and there were very obvious moments that were meant to only be interesting in 3D; and they looked pretty silly in 2D. But if you like the kind of 3D where stuff flies at the screen a lot, I'm sure it looked great?

-This has nothing to do with the movie, but there is a Motley Crue concert playing on my TV in the background while I'm writing this review, and it's terrible. But the Comcast controller is way out of reach. Seriously, Motley Crue only has like two good songs.



Final Thoughts: I wasn't great at doing homework back in high school, so I can't say whether or not I actually read The Great Gatsby. I probably owned it. Maybe even opened it? But I'd say it's unlikely that I made it all the way to the end. I do remember watching the Robert Redford movie version in my junior year American Studies class, though, but all I recall from that is that a guy lived on a golf course or something, and someone died or something. I wasn't good at high school... Regardless, this is a more memorable take on Gatsby, if not only because it's real purdy and has bright colors being thrown in my face virtually nonstop for 140 minutes. I vaguely remember the story having much deeper meaning than a guy throwing a bunch of awesome parties leading to a steamy love triangle, but I couldn't say for sure. I just know the 1974 version didn't have a soundtrack featuring The xx. But I did remember the billboard with the eyes on it. That was in the new one, too. Haha, everybody remembers that stupid billboard...

7.5 out of 10


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Kylee Peña
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 14, 2013 at 1:50:44 pm

I've been looking forward to your review on this.

[Scott Roberts] "take a drink every time the term "Old Sport" is muttered; you will get messed up"

Doing this.

[Scott Roberts] "two and a half hours long"

Uh, never mind.

[Scott Roberts] "Haha, everybody remembers that stupid billboard..."

I had to write an English paper about that billboard's symbolism. I remember writing a paragraph to the effect of "maybe it's just a billboard and it's interesting and it doesn't mean anything, anyone considered THAT? HUH?" That spurred a conversation in the class about how we can draw symbolism from places that the author may never have intended, which planted the seed of BS in my brain forever.

Anyhoo, looking forward to seeing the film.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
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Scott Roberts
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 14, 2013 at 6:01:53 pm

[Kylee Wall] ""maybe it's just a billboard and it's interesting and it doesn't mean anything, anyone considered THAT? HUH?" "

BLADE RUNNER ORIGAMI


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 14, 2013 at 9:36:00 pm

(Sorry if you read this for the first time when I first posted it. Edited to be less douche-y. Although pretty douche-y to assume that you read it once and came back to read it again. But still, here's the Timmy Writes Like A Jerk edition, hopefully a little toned down.)



[Scott Roberts] "BLADE RUNNER ORIGAMI"

You're using this as an example of why youngsters need to accept that symbolism is critical to understanding books and movies, right? LOL Because it's a supreme example. It's why guys like Scott bother with movies as "literature" or "film" rather than another Fast & Furious movie.

WHICH I CAN'T WAIT FOR!!!

Except that the origami in Blade Runner isn't an actual symbol IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE MOVIE, at least in terms of understanding Decker's place in it. AND IT CHANGES, depending on which version of the movie you're watching! This is the only example of this I can think of.

First time:

Chicken = Gaff thinks Deckard is a chicken. Duh.

Matchstick man with an erection = Gaff is calling Deckard out as a phony...and having the hots for Rachael.

Unicorn = are you kidding me? This symbol goes back to medieval times. Don't make me spell it out. Even if we're just going back to The Glass Menagerie, where there too it's one of the key thematic touchstones. In that case, it's hinted at it the name of the freaking play.

So what about in the Director's Cut? Scott adds a DREAM SEQUENCE where Deckard SEES A UNICORN....which GAFF KNOWS ABOUT. How the hell would he know that? Because he knows Deckard's memories the same way Deckard knew Rachael's: because he's "above" him, and has access to his files, because Deckard HAS files...because Deckard is a replicant. Here's Scott:

To me it’s entirely logical, particularly when you are doing a film noir, you may as well go right through with that theme, and the central character could in fact be what he is chasing…


And just so you'll know that this is hardly a symbol, and important, there's an ACTUAL SHOT of an ACTUAL UNICORN! Not just in the dream sequence. Scott again:

There’s a moment where he gets absorbed and goes off a little at a tangent and we went into the shot of the unicorn plunging out of the forest. It’s not subliminal, but it’s a brief shot. Cut back to Deckard and there’s absolutely no reaction to that, and he just carries on with the scene. That’s where the whole idea of the character of Gaff with his origami figures — the chicken and the little stick-figure man, so the origami figure of the unicorn tells you that Gaff has been there.


Gaff has access to DECKARD's files because Deckard is a replicant. Even if you don't know Ridley's commentary, the pieces are all there on the screen. He doesn't miss these tricks, and if you think about it from others of his movies you've seen, you know this. He's more careful than most people about it.

We can go a little further with the matchstick man in particular, because "matchstick man" has an actual meaning that lives outside this movie: literally a stick figure, not a man at all, but a sketchy representation of one. From there, it becomes applied more as a simile to call out frauds. He's not only calling Deckard out as a phony, but as NOT A MAN. Hence him saying, "You've done a man's job." You've done a man's job, yes, but with those words, I'm telling you that you're not actually a man.

You've been a big boy today! The first day we didn't have to change your diaper! You don't say that to actual big boys. Well, you might, but generally not. LOL

Tangentially speaking (me? hahahaha), Ridley made a movie in 2003 actually CALLED Matchstick Men, which I didn't especially care for, but which starred Nic Cage as a con man -- not at all who he appeared to be.

Seriously though, us understanding who Deckard is -- Ridley intended it to entirely hinge on the origami. Not just a symbol. Not made up by critics.



[Kylee Wall] "...spurred a conversation in the class about how we can draw symbolism from places that the author may never have intended, which planted the seed of BS in my brain forever."

You're using this to illustrate that when kids say to teachers "you're making up something that isn't there" it almost always means that kid that didn't read the assignment. Right? LOL

Perhaps it's my long life as a teacher of both reading and writing, but that's my experience. Kids complaining about symbolism that isn't there, THAT's what sets off my bullshit detector.

Not that people don't make stuff up, teachers included, but in my experience, it's usually other kids in the class who are trying to suck up to the teacher. LOL I took a class with a kid who was actually like that, and it infuriated the teacher who kept saying, "Yes, we're supposed to pay attention to symbolism in the text, but what WORDS in the text are you basing that on? You can't just make it up. You have to start with the WORDS."

Because suck-up students notwithstanding, that's what it usually comes down to. Criticism at its best says out loud the stuff that's actually there but only implied -- which is why casual readers tend hate critics. Casual readers don't see this stuff, at least partly because they're not PAID to see it and say it, and partly because they'd rather not be reading the book in the first place at all. LOL Reading the criticism is simply adding torture to torture.

The fact is that most readers are lazy, ESPECIALLY in high school, where most, if not all, reading is done under duress. Fitzgerald is one of a small handful of writers whose use of symbolism is pretty much the only thing he had going for him. LOL Actually, I'd put his language slightly ahead of symbolism, but the language is there to make sure that you don't miss the symbolism. Jeez, it's on the cover of the freaking book.




There are eyes and a mouth, but no actual face. Daisy herself is a symbol.

It's HUGE of you, Scott, to call out Daisy as unpleasant. Even moreso in the novel. She isn't a sympathetic character at all, nor is she meant to be. I'd have to read it again as a grown-up (not f'in likely LOL), but I wonder if her being unpleasant is kind of the point. This girl as she's presented to us shouldn't be driving this much of the action, so maybe it's more the IDEA of her to the BOYS than the HER of her.

On one hand, I know that disembodies eyes are a theme because I know the story of the cover. Like pretty much all book covers, it was done long before the book was finished. Kind of like trailers are done before movies are. Marketing takes a long dang time. Fitzgerald LOVED the cover. Liked it so much that he told the publisher that he was going to incorporate ideas from the cover into the book! And disembodied eyes come up a couple of key times....including THE BILLBOARD.

Again, I'm very much of the school known as New Criticism. If it ain't in the text, it ain't there. But it's ALL in the text! One of the key lines: “God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!” Where were they doing what they were doing? New York. Where was the billboard? On the way IN to New York. Wilson draws this out to explain EXACTLY what's going on, this relationship between the billboard and the eyes of God, which is why the most important line about the billboard is Michaelis's reply, "It's just a billboard."

Which is all you need to hear to know that it's NOT. Fitz was anticipating the whining of 25 million high schoolers and mocking them. LOL

So who's Daisy? "The girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs." And the doctor on the billboard, the "eyes of god" eyes, floating disembodied? Do you think he's trying to tie them together? C'mon man. How much more can he spell it out without turning it into The Big Bang Theory or Full House?

The fact is that even if Nick had come out and TOLD us that, we simply couldn't take his word for it. He's what's called an unreliable narrator. (Nick says he's not judgemental. WTF? Discuss!) Sometimes he's withholding information, and hinting about things he'd rather not say outright (his own homesexuality, in particular...although, again, it's hard to be more obvious), and actually changing his mind about things as the book proceeds. If you take the narrator at his word, and nothing more, you can't understand what's actually happening, much less what it means.

But the keys are all in the text for anyone reading the words instead of trying to finish it in time to do....well, almost anything else.

ALL THAT SAID, I don't really like the book. LOL Part of it because the symbolism is so heavy handed as to fall out of the realm of what I think of as literature. That's why this, of all books, makes me so impatient with students who say "boo hoo, I don't get it about the billboard." LOL Or complain about symbolism that isn't there. Yeah, maybe your teacher, but you know what? Probably not. It's THERE in the TEXT.

Not to pick on you Kylee if you think that this is the case. You don't say so (see? It's not in the text), and even if you did, you'd be one of my best students...probably LOL -- but regardless, you're not even in the first 100 students I've heard this from. LOL

But in my rant I'm speaking generally, without taking specifics into account, which all the best rants do. LOL

But Fitz actually SAYS what this stuff means, in actual English words. Daisy = disembodied face. Billboard = symbolic eyes of God.

Stepping back away from the text, it infuriated Fitz that people were missing this. He felt the same way about the play (?!?) and the 1926 silent movie...whose tagline on the movie poster was "The PLAY ran a Solid Year in New York!" (Their all-caps for the word PLAY....as distinguished from anything about the book. This was important to mention because the book was a flop, and not especially well-regarded at the time. He made $2000 from it. Why go see a movie based on a crappy book nobody bought when you can go see a movie based on a popular play?

And getting back to OUR Scott's observation about Daisy in the movie, F. Scott F. wondered later if the absence of a single sympathetic female character may have alienated the predominately female book-buying audience of the day. (Daisy as an example of misogyny, or a victim of misogyny? Discuss!)

Even at egregious length, I'm obviously glossing over the complexities of criticism and symbolism to make a point that all this stuff is THERE, in the text, on the screen, with Blade Runner and Gatsby.

Hey, in addition to his "excess as aesthetic" approach, I haven't seen anybody talk about Baz's attraction to stories where major characters die: Moulin Rouge! (even the exclamation point is excessive), Romeo & Juliet, Gatsby. His next goal: Hamlet, starring Dicaprio again.

Which gets to yet another favored rant: these actors are too old to have the story make sense! To address it here, Luhrman rewrote the book's 5 year gap as an 8 year gap...which still falls short of how old the actors actually look.

Anywayyyyyy.....if any other of you kids feel like throwing something out that I can disrespect at stupid length, by all means, carry on. LOL I suck. Sorry about that. I couldn't help myself. And, okay, I enjoy a long-winded rant now and again, and here I got to combine like half a dozen of them in one post, for which I'm truly grateful. LOL


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Kylee Peña
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 15, 2013 at 2:32:07 pm

First, I need to see Blade Runner again apparently because I don't remember any of this stuff and it sounds awesome. I watched it one time for an accelerated summer college class (on film noir! yep..) and had to keep up with like 2 films a week. So origami, unicorns, all sounds familiar sorta.

But the greater point is taken. This book was my real introduction into symbolism (as a 14 year old). I GOT it (sorta) but it all just felt like people were making stuff up as they went along for a while LOL. I should have said that much of my high school career felt like obtaining my diploma in bullshittery (an important skill) and at some point, that evolved into actually appreciating criticism and symbols and all that junk. I LIVE for drawing meaning out of things that don't say it outright, did you not get contextual clues from the thread below where I'm talking to myself about this? :)

[Tim Wilson] "it's usually other kids in the class who are trying to suck up to the teacher. "

Definitely my experience, more often than people not reading the text. My English classes in high school were cut throat. If you didn't read the book, you were toast because everyone could tell LOL.

(But surely it does largely come from experts in BS like me who didn't read sections and were asked to analyze them, and just made a bunch of crap up about a tree and the meaning of life and got an A+ on it.)

Yeah, I think if you ask any casual reader what they think about billboards and origami and they'll say dammit why doesn't the author just SAY WHAT HE MEANS instead of making me THINK ABOUT IT. That's lazy, but kind of a fair point isn't it? Why not just tell the reader what you want them to think? Why IS it better to infer stuff from the text, with stuff that's less blatantly obvious than Gatsby anyway. And stuff you don't know the background story on. I endlessly analyze literature and film because I get a sick joy out of it, but can you take TOO much away from something that the director just threw in for funsies?

These are rhetorical questions because I think symbolism is the awesomest, but I can see why people hate it. I've been there, just wanting to be TOLD what to think LOL. Thinking critically can be tough, but understanding why you need to can be tougher.

Gatsby was actually one of my favorite books I was forced to read in high school. I haven't read it since and I'm not sure I'd really like it much now because it is so heavy-handed, but I think that's a good way to introduce younger readers into the idea that the text will tell you everything you need to know, but not necessarily the way you're used to.

I also think I liked Gatsby because it was the first book I read where everyone was a cynical dick. Even the billboard was a dick, chilling there and being all disembodied and weird.

And Daisy being totally unsympathetic felt frustratingly right. It's all about chasing the American Dream, right? You could read the book and say "ugh whhhyyy that" to the American Dream or "ughhh why herr" to Daisy. Daisy's a dummy, America's a dummy. Yay, cynical dicks!

(It really has been a long time since I've even thought about this so I hope I don't have my wires crossed with some other book.)

[Tim Wilson] "Nick says he's not judgemental. WTF? Discuss!"

I don't remember that, but it sounds about right.

[Tim Wilson] "hinting about things he'd rather not say outright (his own homesexuality, in particular."

Being a high school freshman, I DEFINITELY missed this. WTF. Seriously.

[Tim Wilson] "That's why this, of all books, makes me so impatient with students who say "boo hoo, I don't get it about the billboard.""

Like I said, it's a good book to get students to think like that. You should be more patient with them because they might get it by the end of the readings like I did :)

[Tim Wilson] "Not to pick on you Kylee if you think that this is the case."

I don't, but pick away anyhow because I'm not fully in your camp. It's a tough concept for a student to grasp the importance of this, it's not just a matter of "duh it's in the text you lazy bastard."

[Tim Wilson] "(Daisy as an example of misogyny, or a victim of misogyny? Discuss!)"

I'd love to, if I could remember the book. I'll come back to this after I see the film LOL. Another book I really loved (and was forced to read) was The Awakening, and I'm kind of curious if I'd still like THAT one now too, given the themes.

[Tim Wilson] "His next goal: Hamlet, starring Dicaprio again."

WHAT AWESOME.

So basically I agree with you about watching/reading things critically. But I also feel like I should stand up for lazy students everywhere and say a lot of us just don't get it right away so give us a break and like, teach us how to speak this language, man. Most lazy students will be lazy adults that don't read, but occasionally you'll get one that goes on to obsessively critique every TV show they watch and have very intense discussions via text message about foreshadowing. Not that any loser would ever do that. Nope, never, mmmhmm.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
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Tim Wilson
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 16, 2013 at 6:59:02 am

[Kylee Wall] "I also think I liked Gatsby because it was the first book I read where everyone was a cynical dick."

That's the #1 takeaway. If you don't get that, the rest of the book makes no sense.

This might be the only book that most people read that's full of mostly unpleasant people...even though they enjoy TV shows full of unpleasant people. Maybe even MOST of the shows that most of the people in this forum enjoy are full of mostly unpleasant people. Fitzie got there first. I think that makes it worth reading right there.


[Kylee Wall] "why doesn't the author just SAY WHAT HE MEANS instead of making me THINK ABOUT IT."

You can't fool me. Your school notebook had New Kids On The Block on the outside, but on the inside was line after line of "Mrs. Kylee von Trier, Mrs. Kylee Malick," over and over. LOL


[Kylee Wall] "That's lazy, but kind of a fair point isn't it? "

No. LOL. And I know you don't mean it, so I won't act like you do. LOL Besides, you answer your own question.


[Kylee Wall] "I think that's a good way to introduce younger readers into the idea that the text will tell you everything you need to know, but not necessarily the way you're used to."

Exactly right. Gatsby is a great way to get kids started on reading the WORDS instead of just picking up plot points, because the characters in the book actually talk to each other about what stuff means....

...but when somebody says that the billboard's eyes represent the eye of God, you almost HAVE to side with the guy who says they don't... because you already know that everybody in the book is a dick. LOL


[Kylee Wall] "Why not just tell the reader what you want them to think? Why IS it better to infer stuff from the text, with stuff that's less blatantly obvious than Gatsby anyway."

Says Mrs. Lars von Trier. LOL

Why is it better to infer from a movie's "text" rather than be told something more blatant? Maybe it's not better, and even if it is, nobody can watch "CINEMA" all the time. Even Ebert put Fast & Furious 5 on his list of that year's best movies.

But if you were teaching a film class, I bet that Dancer In The Dark would be higher up the list than Fast & Furious 6. LOL Or, for that matter, Blade Runner.

That might be an interesting thread: your Introduction to Movie Appreciation syllabus. Not trying to go crazy with everything, just a list of 4-6 movies where you'd be trying to teach them how to WATCH a movie.

Apply all this to books and you're on the right track.

But you already agree. LOL


[Kylee Wall] "Another book I really loved (and was forced to read) was The Awakening, and I'm kind of curious if I'd still like THAT one now too"

I bet you'd like it more. :-) Not all the stuff we read as kids is kid stuff.

Wait, what were we talking about?


[Kylee Wall] "why doesn't the author just SAY WHAT HE MEANS instead of making me THINK ABOUT IT."

We've already established that you KNOW why. LOL

You'd think that the easiest way to do it, though, is with a narrator, right? Have him just spit it out. But the narrator of Gatsby is a dick. LOL You gonna take his word for anything?

To use the example I tipped before, even though Nick SAYS "I'm inclined to reserve all judgments" (yes, I looked it up to be sure I got it right), he turns right around and says (which I also looked up to get exactly right) about Gatsby's smile:

It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.


Whoa, sounds pretty judgy to me, and the judgment is, Nick and Jay sittin' in a tree. LOL For an actual discussion of this by somebody who knows what they're talking about, see "Nick Carraway is gay and in love with Gatsby" at Salon.com.

Nick makes similarly decisive judgments about pretty much everybody, so whatever else is true, Nick is either a self-deluded dick -- me? I don't make judgments! -- or he wants to delude YOU...AND he has feelings for Jay that shade his judgments of everyone else. Filter everything he says through THAT and you'll stay on the right track.

In fact, you could say (and plenty of people have) that the book isn't about Jay, Daisy, et al, at all. It's about Nick.

That's the exact same trick that Ridley Scott pulls off with Blade Runner. Deckard tells you that the story is about replicant hunting....but the story is really about Deckard. ALL stories with narrators are really about the narrator, right? Detective stories in particular.

Even in the version of Blade Runner without the VO, this is Deckard's story. There aren't a bunch of scenes that don't have him in them, right? I can't remember. Are there ANY? In any case, Deckard is "telling" the story, and he doesn't know what the story actually IS, so he CAN'T spell it out for you. "I hadn't yet discovered that I was a replicant, so I...."

What next? A scene with Gaff around the water cooler yakking with his buddies, "That Deckard bastard doesn't even know he's a replicant! Bwah haw haw!" would be goofy. Ridley Scott wouldn't make that movie...

...anymore than Fitzgerald would have written a book with Nick saying, "But enough about me. This is about Gatsby, whom I love in a way that I'll never be able to tell him about. And the billboard? Eyes of God, for shizzle."

So the #1 takeaway from Gatsby is, everyone's a dick.

The #2 takeaway: don't take anyone's word for anything. They're either liars or idiots. LOL

You know who got those two lessons? Holden Caulfield. (Just for grins, Google "Gatsby vs. Catcher In The Rye" some time.) But Holden is another problem narrator. He flings the word "phony" around, but how reliable a judge is he? Sure, he's a great storyteller...but is he telling the truth?

Which is also part of why these books stay in the canon. They lay out the basics of looking beyond the obvious in everything, not just books.

And they're cracking good yarns. For all the talk about how Great these books are, it's too easy to skip over how good they are.


[Kylee Wall] "You should be more patient with them because they might get it by the end of the readings like I did :) "

Impatient was the wrong word. Certainly never in class. Dealing with kids who'd rather not read was why they paid me the big money. LOL

(For the record, my first salary as a full-time teacher after earning a Master's Degree from Harvard: $11,100 a year. In Boston. Four years later, I'd worked my way up to $13,000. Par-TAY.)

The process is the best part, and you can't hurry it. Watching the lights go on as kids GET that they can read past the plot points to get to the words, to the very meaning of the word MEANING -- THAT's why you get into teaching. To watch kids discover.

And to keep discovering things about yourself in the process. That was why I taught, and that's why you read books, and watch movies, that stretch you sometimes. Sharing it can be the best part.

But, Mrs. Kylee von Trier, you know that. LOL

Wait, are you saying you discuss literature in text messages? You crazy kids and your devices!


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Kylee Peña
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 16, 2013 at 5:44:28 pm

I'm really glad this thread has been kind of derailed, but only KIND OF derailed because we ARE still talking Gatsby, so that's pretty good right?

[Tim Wilson] "No. LOL. And I know you don't mean it, so I won't act like you do.

Yes it is! And no I don't, for me, but I think it's fair to question it early on. Before you realize everyone's a dick that doesn't say what they mean.

[Tim Wilson] "That might be an interesting thread: your Introduction to Movie Appreciation syllabus. Not trying to go crazy with everything, just a list of 4-6 movies where you'd be trying to teach them how to WATCH a movie."

That's awesome. We're definitely doing that.

[Tim Wilson] "Says Mrs. Lars von Trier. LOL "

Hey man I'm just talking out loud here! Also, that sounds kind of nice/terrifying.

[Tim Wilson] "In fact, you could say (and plenty of people have) that the book isn't about Jay, Daisy, et al, at all. It's about Nick. "

I agree with that. In fact, I'm noticing that more as I become slightly more intelligent (or at least experienced) at watching film and TV. X-Files is about Scully. Mad Men is about Peggy. Uh, things in movies I can't remember are about people. Everything that happens serves to tell THEIR story. Mostly. Another potentially interesting thread.

[Tim Wilson] "So the #1 takeaway from Gatsby is, everyone's a dick.

The #2 takeaway: don't take anyone's word for anything. They're either liars or idiots. LOL "


Also best takeaways from life! This book is more relevant than I remember! I should see the film. In 3D! I should also read Catcher in the Rye. Is there a film? That's quicker. LOL.

[Tim Wilson] "(For the record, my first salary as a full-time teacher after earning a Master's Degree from Harvard: $11,100 a year. In Boston. Four years later, I'd worked my way up to $13,000. Par-TAY.)"

If you adjust for inflation, that's probably not as bad as it seems right? Uh, in other cities. Without an advanced degree.

[Tim Wilson] "The process is the best part, and you can't hurry it. Watching the lights go on as kids GET that they can read past the plot points to get to the words, to the very meaning of the word MEANING -- THAT's why you get into teaching. To watch kids discover. "

Sounds exhausting. They should have paid you more LOL. In all seriousness, I'd love to teach film appreciation for this reason. I can't since I don't have a masters degree so instead, I'll just troll forums and learn about myself from you fine people.

[Tim Wilson] "Wait, are you saying you discuss literature in text messages?"

Yesterday, shortly after being accosted by you for my comments here, I was accosted via text for ignoring foreshadowing. :(

<3 - Mrs. von Trier-Malick-Carruth xxoo

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Richard Herd
Re: The Great Gatsby: Everybody Drives Like a Jerk Edition
on May 20, 2013 at 5:14:24 pm

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”


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