The 5 Most Ridiculous Things About 'The Great Gatsby,' Old Sport

by Drew Taylor
May 13, 2013 12:04 PM
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Opening a bit bigger than expected this past weekend and getting ready to explode confetti over crowds at Cannes later this week, Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, is totally ridiculous. It’s a rococo doodle, one full of flash and dazzle and sparkle, but empty inside, which would be an apt metaphor for the titular character if Luhrmann would slow down long enough to establish such things (even if he did bother to try to the make the connection, it would probably be besieged by schizophrenic cutting and accompanied by a Jay-Z song). In fact, it was something of a chore to narrow down the list of the most ridiculous things about “The Great Gatsby” to just five. We could go on and on all day. Oh, and spoiler warning old sport.

While we seem to be ragging on “The Great Gatsby” pretty hard (read our review here), it is probably worth seeing, if only to join in the discussion (the title sequence is pretty cool, honestly, and there are sporadic moments of genuine wonderment). And after you watch it, please, come back, and tell us if we’re totally off-the-mark or if we’re forgetting some things even more worthy of dissection. Onward.....

1. “Old Sport” Is Not A Catchphrase
Leonardo DiCaprio says “old sport.” A lot. It pretty much serves as a suffix to almost everything else he says. Yes, it’s a part of the novel and yes it says something about his character – a cultivated affect that he stole from someone whose wealth was actually a more intrinsic part of their person – but after the big reveal about where it came from (which goes over about as well as that episode of “Lost” where you find out why Desmond calls everyone “brother”), the amount of “old sport”s could have been diminished significantly. It is not. Repetition is part of the Baz Luhrmann playbook – from the shot of the sooty billboard to the phrase “old sport” to that damn Lana Del Rey song (of which there are a few different versions) – one that is just as tired as hearing Leonardo DiCaprio utter the same phrase ad infinitum. And for a movie that is already wildly one-dimensional in terms of its characters, saddling Gatsby with a catchphrase doesn't help. Remember when Jeremy Renner couldn't stop saying "chems" in "The Bourne Legacy"? It's like that, but about ten thousand, glitter-covered times worse, and at least Aaron Cross needed those pills. 

2. The (Broken) Framing Device

Admittedly, the first hour of “The Great Gatsby” is its most breathlessly entertaining, at least in a sort of high-off-the-exhaust-fumes-at-a-monster-truck-rally kind of way. But that first hour is marred, almost immediately, by the god-awful, wholly invented framing device of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), institutionalized (for what exactly? Alcoholism? Depression? Over-acting?) and telling his story to a sympathetic shrink. Not only does this awkwardly position Maguire as the lead, without his character ever driving the story forward in any real way (he’s totally devoid of agency or discernible goals), but it’s also boring and totally dull, especially since most of this “institutionalized time” stuff takes place in the snowy winter, far from the sweltering setting of the rest of the movie. This highly unoriginal framing device (ironic, considering it's being used to tackle what many consider one of the finest pieces of American writing) might be the worst bit of gilding an already overly shellacked lily, causing an overlong, bloated monstrosity to be even more cumbersomely ornate.
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  • Kay | April 5, 2014 5:40 PMReply

    Can some explain the phone calls the j gatsby kept receiving ?

  • andy | March 29, 2014 6:09 PMReply

    its the great gatsby, who is going to get it perfect?

  • Connor Donovan | March 19, 2014 11:26 AMReply

    The music, god help the soundtrack.

    If pop music today wasn't terrible,

    it STILL wouldn't have worked.

    There could've been jazz from the 20's and a jazz score that would make it feeel like the 20's and not a costume party in the modern day (the song playing during one mansion party scene made me realize I was in a movie theater, I was watching a movie, it totally looked like a costume party full drunk people who all probably had white iphones, and that today's pop music is really terrible).

  • Lena | March 12, 2014 9:41 AMReply

    I enjoyed the movie, but I agree somewhat with your review. "By the end, it’s literally SNOWING LETTERS, almost as if Baz has just given up and is hoping that something will resonate." Hilarious. I read the book in high school, and probably would not have enjoyed the movie nearly as much if I hadn't read it, or on the other hand, read it too recently.

  • Steve Lawson | March 6, 2014 4:04 PMReply

    Have you even read the novel? You are a prime example of why film critics' opinions are irrelevant, its as if you all have no soul. Its a Baz Luhrmann and it's excellent - Fitzgerald would have loved it. As for the framing and the narration and writing the novel? That's what Nick does in the book. The whole dilemma is whether Nick is a character or a narrator and whether at any one time he is both - he effectively 'is' the lead. Next time you have a crack at writing a review, try and make it less blatantly terrible and over-egged.

  • Will | March 3, 2014 4:13 PMReply

    What awful journalism. You are entirely wrong about everything, old sport

  • IRRITABLE | March 2, 2014 6:40 AMReply

    Tobey Maguire ruined it for me entirely, his voice and the BS over acting was hard to ignore.
    That and the METAPHORS. I don't want to hear another metaphor or adjective ever again after this movie.
    Over all, I was utterly and absolutely appauled by the horrid acting, exaggerated wording and drowning metaphorical sentences used in this mediocre film. (puns intended)

  • Sonny Ebert | February 26, 2014 5:54 PMReply

    The music was brilliant. I didn't like every single song, no, but the idea was brilliant. Anyone else see Spike Lee's "joint," "He Got Game?" Same thing here...

  • Connor Donovan | March 19, 2014 11:28 AM

    I think the idea was pretty much the worst part, you might have your facts all wrong or otherwise be intoxicated.

  • Del Váuchery | February 12, 2014 2:10 AMReply

    This movie was good, the modern soundtrack in a 1020 scenario wa awesome and exotic, 10/10

  • Tommy | February 7, 2014 9:12 PMReply

    The soundtrack really sucks. I mean it REALLY sucks. An otherwise quite decent movie is ruined by the soundtrack.

    Everything visual screams 1920's, but the soundtrack quickly ruins the ambience...

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:32 AM

    Agrees with tobias

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:31 AM

    Totally anachronistic slap

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:29 AM


  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:40 AM

    Totally agree that the music serves as an anachronistic slap in the face! Nothing about the soundtrack fits. The film missed the opportunity to highlight the Golden Age of Jass!

  • SARAH | January 21, 2014 2:06 PMReply

    I have read the book and although Leo's performance was amazing and he totally embodied Gatsby... the music was rubbish. In case any body doesn't know the book was set in 1922 ... so why may I ask when Gatsby is with Mr Wolfsheim is there a song in the background saying (these lyrics may not be perfect but you get the idea) 'lets party like its still 1929' .... or lets not because it hasn't happened yet!

  • This Guy... | March 19, 2014 11:35 AM

    Well I think the song with "let's party like it's 1999" came out before '99, they knew it would be a pretty huge rage because it would be the turn of the century...maybe the turn of the decade isn't as fantastic but the same concept: it hasn't happened yet but it will be a party.

  • Lily | January 15, 2014 12:04 AMReply

    As soon as sees Nicks sees a car full of African-American flappers with a few crates of champagne and the editing goes into slow motion, lingering on this scene and an old white driver gives a nod of the head to Nick as if to say "hellz yeh" while Jay-Z raps... I knew that watching this was going to be a waste of my time.

  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:42 AM

    I knew not to pay theater tix $ to see it!

  • Lena | March 12, 2014 9:44 AM

    That was hilarious.

  • Michael Huston | January 2, 2014 4:03 PMReply

    Does this movie ever end? I hit pause every time it gets boring, in-congruent or stupid. Its been two days, tell me it ends...

  • Boscorelli | January 2, 2014 1:41 AMReply

    Anyone praising this film for anything aside from Leonardo DiCaprio's performance is quite frankly an idiot.

    It was a terrible, gaudy, try-too-hard mess. It took Luhrmann's tendency to over-embellish every detail of his films, and totally missed the mark. I loved Romeo & Juliet, and while I didn't enjoy Moulin Rouge, I definitely see the appeal, and how well done it was. This film however was absolutely terrible. The music was the most glaring issue. Allowing Jay-Z to man-handle the soundtrack and force as much Beyonce, and Jay-Z music into the film as possible was an awful idea. A sweeping, and beautifully shot bridge scene is marred by a totally out of place Jay-Z track, and every ten minutes just when I was starting to appreciate the characters, or enjoy the movie, another modern song came and ruined it. I thought the only one that actually fit the movie was Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful.

    Tobey Maguire acted poorly in this also. Aside from the deer-in-headlights reaction to absolutely everything he sees, his character brought nothing to the story.

    This could have been better with almost any other director at the helm. I feel like even if the soundtrack were better I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As is, however. Garbage. 2.5/5

    For everyone calling the review writer an "ignorant hater" you need to watch more decent movies, including older versions of this film, then you need to actually read some reviews on the film, because most people absolutely despised it.

  • Lol | January 21, 2014 6:42 PM

    Look who we have here, another angry Italian film critic? Just don't be late for factory tomorrow.

  • Diamond | January 7, 2014 4:10 PM

    Boscorelli says a bit of truth, however it is a small grain of gold in an imense desert of worthless sand. No, not everyone despised the movie. No, it wasn't a very forced movie. And, although yes, it is true that Jay Z should go hang himself for the treachery he committed in this movie and it would have been better with someone who's actually good at movie OSTs (such as Hans Zimmer or Harry Gregson-Williams, the latter being a personal choice), the movie wasn't crap and certainly doesn't deserve this much hate. The story was well delivered and Tobey Maguire's bystander's pose and DiCaprio's excellent acting really brought it home. Does not deserve a 2.5/5. More so, 8.5/10.

  • BLAIR | December 27, 2013 8:00 AMReply

    Totaly agree with MACKENZIE plus you are an ignorant hater

  • Mackenzie | December 25, 2013 10:25 PMReply

    You just wrote the most ignorant review I have ever read. Go take a film class and actually learn about what you're trying to teach us. You know nothing. Read The Great Gatsby before you compare it to the movie, because it's obvious you didn't understand it. Go watch your awful movies because The Great Gatsby was an amazing film and you're too ignorant to see it because you don't understand good literature.

  • Cary | December 9, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    well, i think you know nothing about good movies. thats all. it was spectacular, the actors were excellent, the dialogs and special effects, couldn't be better.

  • Lex | December 1, 2013 7:37 AMReply

    Your review, can it be any more ignorant?

  • jawsnnn | November 20, 2013 1:34 PMReply

    I think this is nitpicking. Baz Luhrmann is a director with a propensity for visual flourishes and tastefully going overboard (if there is such a thing). If his version of the Great Gatsby feels like "his version of The Great Gatsby", then I don't think he has failed.
    The novel is not really very difficuly to adapt into a movie, and my thinking is that if you love the novel, you will find it pretty hard to dislike this movie. I will not go one by one on the points mentioned here, but just say this - I liked the movie well enough. I did not find it "badly made" by any measure, and going by the comments here, a lot of other people think so too. Keeping that in mind - calling it a disastrous venture, seems a little sweepingly condescending to me.

  • Marco | November 16, 2013 1:49 AMReply

    Tea drinker's on the ball

  • Marco | November 16, 2013 1:47 AMReply

    You're wrong, the modern music he uses is genius. It puts the audience in their posistion to imagine what it would be like living in their time. for example when they first walk into the jazz club/party it really feels like you're walking into a modern club, hearing this new music cranking; the jazz would have been the fresh music of their time. It's comparing their clubs to what we have now and putting the audience in their shoes so you think "that party was insane." And if you can bear to watch it again you'll notice how Luhrman repeats this process when there is a party or a time where wants to engage the audience and really put you in that scene. A bit unusual but genius. On ya Baz.

  • Thelonius Crunk | March 24, 2014 1:41 AM

    Jazz WAS the "punk rock" of that era and very much the fabric of the culture that pushes this story into the outlandish excesses so very much a part of life for this iconic era in New York.

    In the case of this attempt to remake The Great Gatsby:
    Costumes were garish and not finessed.
    Color treatment/tone almost Disney-esque a la 1952
    Cast feels uncomfortable and constrained
    Music is, we'll... Garbage.
    DiCaprio's acting unsettled, off-balance and somewhat caricaturish
    Art direction lacks restraint and descretion
    Twerking flapper black checks? WTF?????

    This reminds me of when a young graphic designer creates one of their "early in the career" designs, and uses a bunch of filters and tricks in photoshop and 15 different trendy fonts. Classic mistake by rookies.

    Rating: 2/10 (Booo)

  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:54 AM

    You, Marco, are culturally clueless! There is no hope any music from this film will be remembered beyond this criticism. Jazz was the "Punk Rock" of its day and needs no replacement in this story. You apparently no nothing of music or film or literature.

  • C | February 23, 2014 10:17 PM

    I also think the music was a good idea, but for a totally different reason (and probably one that wasn't intended by the filmmakers, sadly). I liked it exactly because it was so incongruous and inappropriate! It gives the viewer a frankly dizzying experience, which I think fits the context excellently. Gatsby's parties are supposed to be wild, insane affairs and, for better or worse, people today tend to associate older music with "simpler" times gone by. I think if the filmmakers had stayed period appropriate, that sense of being entirely off-balance would have been lost, and the film would have suffered for it.

    That said, after the initial period of the movie where everything is crazy-crazy-party-party, when things get more serious and down to earth, I think the modern music could have -- should have -- stopped. At that point, it's no longer dizzying, nor is it appropriate for the mood later in the film.

    Personally, I love 20s era music and would have been very pleased to hear some in the movie, but I really do think the music choice was, overall, a positive one.

  • Muse | December 16, 2013 3:00 AM

    Bang on, Tom! Soundtrack was just horrid.

  • Tom | December 14, 2013 9:48 PM

    The entire premise of what you're saying falls apart when you realize you're trying to put Will.I.Am in the same category as ANY jazz musician from that era. The music in this movie is unbearably horrible, devoid of talent, and does not even remotely capture the emotional essense of the 1920's. I think this review was spot on. If you were a fan of the book, I honestly don't see how you could have thought this movie was anyting short of a disastrous failure.

  • Glory | November 16, 2013 10:34 PM

    Thanks Marco!! Your explanation can shut mouths

  • Geoffrey | November 12, 2013 8:27 PMReply

    Hated it. I'm usually a Leo fan, and I loved the 74 Redford edition, but I just cant get into Beyonce songs in a 1920's period piece. It's like if in the original when they were driving to the city the Thin Lizzy were playing "The boys are back in town" ... Maybe when Baz does a film about life on the street in the inner city, he'll choose Mozart for the soundtrack, makes about as much sense.

  • Samantha | November 5, 2013 12:23 AMReply

    This movie was really excellent in my opinion, but I hadn't read the book at the time I first watched this film.
    I admit, at first I was a little turned off by the music, but at a lot of times the "hip-hop" music was at a minimum and wasn't too noticeable during the party scenes. However, there was times where I found it too distracting, but it did not add or detract to my viewing experience. As the film went on I felt that the soundtrack's mood went very far from "hip-hop" and you started getting songs like "Over the Love", "Young and Beautiful", "Crazy In Love", and other such songs. Personally, I think the less-obnoxious songs (even though Crazy in Love is a little obnoxious, it still fits the mood) fit the film much better than the hip-hop songs used in the first hour.
    Also, I don't think criticizing a whole soundtrack based on 5 or so hip-hop songs is a good idea; there is still the entire orchestral score (which is excellent) and another whole soundtrack just full of "yellow cocktail music" used in the film. They still included music IN THE STYLE of the era in the film, just not as prominently. As another commenter said, the newer music helps to draw the youth in.

    Also, I hardly even noticed how many times Gatsby said "old sport", and the editing of the film wasn't bothersome to me at all. It's a very aesthetically-pleasing movie to watch (so much symmetry...), and I was dying to watch the film again only a week after first viewing it.

  • Tea Drinker | October 31, 2013 10:15 AMReply

    I'm speechless. How could you miss the greatness of this movie? I've never seen a movie that nearly executes the visions in my mind's eye when reading the respective book.

    One important note about the music... you totally missed it. If it were exclusively 1920s music the movie would have felt dated and would fail to draw you into the moment of the 20s. Sound contradictory? It's not. This is one of those rare circumstances when going "accurate" would actually distance you from the accuracy of the era. The music of the 20s was new in the 20s and captured the "party" emotions that typified the era. The problem is that we're living 90 years ahead of that time, and if you play 1920s music I think of great grandma and goldbond. Doesn't really capture the spirit of the 20s does it? However, tastefully sprinkle in modern party music, queue Jay-Z and, suddenly I feel like I'm in the 20s as someone who was experiencing the era for the first time. Nostalgia should have nothing to do with this film and the music hit the nail smack on its head.

    How could you miss that? No vision.


  • Lily | January 15, 2014 12:25 AM

    If they used music from the 1920s then it would feel like it was set in the appropriate era; using the appropriate and accurate music of that era could also could have captivated a new audience, exposing viewers to a genre of music that isn't appearing on the top ten charts.

    On the one hand you could say Baz was trying to "use the newness of rap as a metaphor for jazz/swing" (I think that's what you are trying to say?), but it felt like Baz just picked a few top ten artists, put in their music as remixed stuff and stuck it in his film (as he's done with past films)- and partly because I think he just wanted to lure in people in their 20s and under. But then he could have looked away from the top ten general hits chart and gone down the Electro Swing route and used Alice Francis, Parov Stelar, Caravan Palace but NOPE.

    So, instead of tastefully remixed swing music, we got Jay-Z and Lana Del Rey music, which is automatically puts a stamp of the date this film was made and we will have the next few generations say "god the Baz version of Gatsby is SOOO '10s its hilarious".

  • Georgia | October 29, 2013 5:11 PMReply

    #1 wasn't bad, Leo did well in using the expression "ol' sport". In fact, Leo was the best thing in this movie. If it weren't for Leo, this movie would have had a low critic vote AND a low audience vote.

  • Jennifer Taylor | October 28, 2013 5:52 PMReply

    The movie was wonderfully're interpretation is very catty and distasteful. I characters are in fact based off the book..a bit altered but in mu opinion to give the audience the kind of hope Jay Gatsby had through the movie. The music..while you may view it as undesirable ..I found it a perfect collaboration of the roaring 20's meets today. The point was to bring to life what music then is like today ..what excitement and energy it brought to everyone. You really need to watch the movie again..with an open mind as Bazaar..and a wonderful cast of actors brought from the pages of the Great Gatsby to the big screen

  • alexander wayland-james | October 28, 2013 4:42 AMReply

    yes! thank you! I mean #5 didn't really bother me as much as the overuse of computerized special effects in general but yes #4! Because by the end of the movie I was sympathizing with Daisy and Tom, understanding their desire to walk away from this mess and try to resume their life anew somewhere else. I mean they have a kid together, and if there's a way to make it work with the original parents, they should give it a shot. And Daisy doesn't attend the funeral? Doesn't admit she was driving? Etc? Well if she did try to clean up the mess, Gatsby's sacrifice would be in vain wouldn't it? At least that's how the movie came off for me.

  • Kat | October 27, 2013 7:39 PMReply

    I like the older version better because it had more of the 1920's feel. Yes, this movie gives a since of our modern time but also it just didn't feel real. It had WAY too much green-screen, too much of our music today, not enough feel that it was the booming 1920's, that I just couldn't bare it! But, if they could put these characters in the old version, then it would be 100% amazing lol. I love the romance in it, it gives a good feel. And I just dont understand what it said in Daisy's letter from Jay Gatsby. But anyways, It was a good movie.

  • Aaron | October 22, 2013 1:18 AMReply

    I thought it was beautiful, yes some parts were not up to par but why let it ruin your experience of the beauty that was in this film. Some of the music was off in parts but others were perfect like the snippet of "New York" that Alicia Keys sang. I thoroughly enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Beautiful, and the hair was pretty amazing, this coming from a hairstylist who was impressed with the technical skill it takes to mold the hair of that era .

  • Declan P | October 17, 2013 2:59 AMReply

    I personally found the movie very disappointing. The Jazz/Art Deco era is an era i am quite versed in, in fact its the era that studied for my design degree. The music in my opinion discredited the whole feel of the era. Why have people dancing in the style that one would dance to jazz but instead to hip-hop? Whether you are trying to capture a younger audience or not, its not an excuse to take away the most prominent aspect about the era. After all its called the "Jazz Age" for a reason and unfortunately replacing it with hip-hop music doesnt pay homage to the era and the many other facets of it such as Art Deco design and their everyday attire (lounge suits through to black tie). The era was about opulence and for me at least hip-hop doesnt begin to convey that. This all included diminishes the emotion the era should of had on the viewers of the film. I very much compare this movie to the series of Boardwalk Empire as they recreate the era and the emotion that it should bring in perfect essence.

    However the architecture along with costume design within the film was pretty much spot on.
    I do realise I am quite biased on this subject as i have a lot of love for the era and everything that made it great and in saying that I am sure there are many people who immensely enjoyed the film who are not so immersed into the era as myself.

    As for the comment below. I am by no means against the hip-hop genre of music, in fact the majority of my iPod consists of that genre of music. I just dont believe it had any place in this film despite trying to capture a younger/modern audience or not.

  • John P | October 16, 2013 8:08 AMReply

    Having not read the book and only seeing a theater performance of the book at Sydney's Opera House, this movie was wonderful. Gatsby's insecurities expressed through his repeat use of the words 'old sport' made the character for me along. I didn't even notice Jay-Z in the soundtrack which is how hypnotized I was, some people must really dislike him and that part of the music industry to make it the pinnacle of their discomfort to this film.

  • Ivan McCreath | October 12, 2013 11:52 AMReply

    Movies are made to entertain!!! Whether or not this movie was historically correct or incorrect is not ever to be the point. It is meant to hit the senses visually, challenge intellect yet also cater for those who have the American Soap Opera mentality. It is not supposed to be real. It is an evening in fantasy. It is a lesson in creating a unique and multistoried atmosphere which is suitable for all intellects. It is a movie that makes you come out of the theatre emotionally affected. How you were affected depends on your 'catch' on the movie. Like it or hate it, it has done it's job if you came out of the theatre wondering what exactly have I just seen!!!??
    It is not a movie that I would go and see again because the marvel of the movie is the visual and emotional effect it has on the viewer as a first time experience. To know what was going to happen next would take away the mystery and sometimes overdone excitement that makes this movie what it is........ an absolutely brilliant piece of no brainer entertainment!!!

  • derek | October 11, 2013 10:12 PMReply

    i forgot to add, if you have experience in life, then you know this is an amazing, heartfelt, poetic cinematic experience. sound, acting, and mastery of literature with a perfect match of narrative... i am very impressed with this film. it has human emotion if you watch closely.

  • derek | October 11, 2013 10:08 PMReply

    woman and man, the trap the honor the hope the destruction....

  • DEE | October 6, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    I was so excited to watch this movie, I wanted to see how they were gonna remake ( which always tend to be horrible *cough* Carrie *cough* *cough*) the original Gatsby which from the way they advertised made it seem extraordinary. I made it about 15-20 minutes into this movie and was totally turned off. It was like someone was making a movie for Jay-Z's album but with a "Gatsby" inspired feel. The music use was out of place and I was officially done when I saw the flappers twerking. This movie may be good for someone whose never read the book or watched the original movie but for those who have this was a just a shiny piece of crap... However I will say Old Sport I did enjoy the cars... and... yes that's it just the cars... Old Sport.

  • MaryMach-10 | September 25, 2013 3:21 AMReply

    Yeah, I really, really disliked a lot about this movie and have to say I pretty much agree wholeheartedly with this critique and probably have even more disdain for it from my own perspective as a design scholar. First of all, the camera work is indeed ridiculous, excessively agitated, and in my opinion, did not enhance the viewing experience in any way. Why it was filmed in 3D and not 2D is beyond me, it's a narrative, not a freaking high-thrill action movie. Visually, it reminded me a lot of another film I despised due to it's loosely anachronistic content, the God-awful "Sophia Copola presents Marie Antoinette"-all flash with absolutely no substance with glaring period-inappropriate costumes and 21st century mannerisms affected by the characters, pretty much just a painfully extended pop music video with a loose Jazz Age theme, and when I say "loose" I mean that nothing in this movie is an accurate interpretation of how people dressed, communicated, spoke, or lived in the year 1922 when the story takes place, and this annoyed me to the point of distraction. The set decor in Jay Gatsby's mansion really irritated me because it wasn't even close to period-accurate, just a mishmash of cliché, ultra-luxe trappings associated with say, rap videos or The Kardashians. The uber-glossy Streamline Moderne style the production designer went with in this was not in vogue until the 1930s and definitely would not have been the go-to decor style Jay Gatsby would have chosen to impress his Old Money friends from East Egg. The costumes-don't even get me started! Any episode of Boardwalk Empire could have served as inspiration on how to successfully interpretation early-mid '20s style using extant garments as inspiration, but for some reason the costume designer for this film chose to go with retro-inspired, reworked Prada runway pieces from the '90s instead of attempting to evoke a legitimately Jazz Age look for the female characters, which would have been 10 times more luxurious and impressive visually. What especially irked me was the low-cut bodices with the boobs pushed out, which even non-costume people probably recall is the polar opposite of the 1920s silhouette with the flat chest and de-emphasis on the bust. Then the use of modern-era music circa 2012 served to totally eradicate any notion in my mind that the events onscreen were taking place in the period 1922-25. Actually, having just checked Wikipedia for what other movies I've seen of Baz Luhrmann, I realize that these are the very same issues I had with "Moulin Rouge," a movie everyone but me appeared to have enjoyed. So in conclusion, my honest opinion of "Great Gatsby" is that for the exorbitant amount of money $105 million, that went into this film, the end product was an abysmal failure from a design historian's and a movie lover's perspective.

  • Whocarez | October 4, 2013 8:19 PM

    Excellent assessment and review!

    The simpletons should read what you wrote, but then again, they are simple and wouldn't "get it" all they see is you attacking their precious Leo and Jay-Z. lol

  • Antoine | September 24, 2013 10:36 PMReply

    Go and kill yourself, old sport. AMAZING MOVIE

  • Michelle | November 8, 2013 9:05 PM

    Antoine, your comment is disgusting.

  • Declan P | October 17, 2013 4:08 AM

    I couldn't have worded this better myself! Im glad to see that someone else sees everything that i saw as a pitfall in this film.

    As for the costume design, you are completely correct. Though I do feel they did enough to the get the point across to the average joe who doesnt know the minor details about fashion and the cut of various dresses and suits at the time who think a suit is a suit and a gown is a gown. One example being that there were suits with in the film that had notched lapels, which were out of fashion at the time and were not common by any means (some were still made but were only used for 'average day wear') with the majority opting for the peak lapel even in a single breasted format as it was fashionable. The notched lapel didnt make a big come back until the 60's.

  • HAHA | October 4, 2013 8:16 PM

    Amazing if your blind and deaf, or as shallow as a dried up pond!

    Why would someone kill themselves because they disliked a movie that so few liked?

    You sound like someone that would do better with a Family Guy version of this flick...on second thought, a Family Guy version would be so much better. haha

  • Michael | September 23, 2013 5:53 PMReply

    I've read the book many times, seen both films several times and will definitely watch again.

    I will read your review once!

  • Jeannie | September 23, 2013 9:16 AMReply

    Couldn't agree more! Your review is spot on, old sport.

  • Michelle | September 20, 2013 12:36 AMReply

    Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you.

  • MICHELLE-FAIL-FAIL Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you | October 28, 2013 2:25 AM

    Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you

  • Michelle-fail | September 20, 2013 11:40 PM

    Really??? Thats the best you can do?
    Jay-Z makes a lot of money suckering people like you into buying his brand of nonsense, he really is a no talent fool with a good business/marketing sense! That does not change the fact that using his music on this classic story, was a foolishly stupid move and ruined the entire feel of this film!

    PS...grow up!

  • thehumburger | September 18, 2013 11:38 AMReply

    I didn't think the movie was as bad as the reviewer, but I think a lot of his criticisms hit the mark. The juxtaposition of the modern and old was messy, the visuals were catchy at first but quickly became cloying, the writing on the screen was a terrible idea. But it was all draped on a classic story which held up the movie despite its many shortcomings.

  • Frank Donlon | October 20, 2013 1:37 AM

    For those of you who keep referring to "the original" of this movie, I hate to tell you guys, but there have been FOUR cinematic versions of THE GREAT GATSBY, so just what "original" are you talking about (lol)????

  • First Last | September 17, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    The only think piss poor here was the review. This movie did an amazing job of capturing the feel of the book as you read it, the lavishness, the uncertainty, the facade. There was very little about the movie you accurately criticized you (if I may say: 2 bit hack). The only thing that was sub par was the characters, and this is nothing the director can take blame for since he was stuck with them, and he actually did a good job at representing the utter shallowness of a lot of them. Can't wait for the extended cut!

  • Really | September 18, 2013 6:05 AM

    You must have had too many glasses of wine while watching, either that or you are easily amused and distracted by flashy baubles?

    This move was choppy, lacked purpose, and was like a ship without a rudder.
    This re-write was not about re-telling the story, no it was to simply provide a stage for someone trying to express their artistic vision, but sadly misses the mark by a mile!

  • Calum | September 16, 2013 2:07 PMReply

    The great gatsby was a visually pleasing film that entertained from start to finish. You can tell that a lot of hard work and effort went into this stunning film.

  • Whocaez | September 15, 2013 8:22 AMReply

    I just saw the 2013 version of this movie, and this was my first exposure to this story...meaning I gad not read it, nor had I seen the 1974 version. I did not know what to expect, other than the fact that from the trailers I had seen for this film last year, something never really looked interesting about spouse on the other hand was really interested, so I got the movie last night and we watched.
    My first impression was it was choppy and hard to follow, and really had me bored and nodding off for a little bit.
    The story started to get interesting with the whole Willy Wonka themed mystique of J Gatsby and Nick getting a golden ticket...I always love the original Willy Wonka...and to me the story had some great potential, but never having seen the original or read the book, most of the time I struggled to follow along in trying to assess each characters role was.

    Ok so the things that really irritated me about this movie may be dumb, but for some reason I had a huge mental problem with, perhaps it is the lack of authenticity, or the inaccuracy...i'm not sure, but here they are in no particular order:

    The car, when racing down the road...the engine sounded like a muscle car of the 70's, really? Cars from this era had sputtering sewing machine sounding motors, not 351 Cleveland motors. Also, the way it maneuvered in and about traffic, these old cars were really heavy and did not have this level of agility.
    Also, speaking of the cars in the movie, I was annoyed by the horns. I know it may be silly, but for some reason this bugged me, horns on cars in the turn of the century, had those ahhooooga horns.

    OK, next...the music! Hip hop and r&b does not and will not ever fit the era of the roaring 20's or any other era except right now. Although i like a lot of the current music, I feel that by-and-large this is a bleak time for music that once it is past, will likely never be recalled, and embedding it into this version will not translate in years to come, making this one of those movies that will simply not reach anyone and be forgotten about.
    During the closing credits I saw that Jay-Z was the executive producer, which then explained the awkwardly out of place music backdrop for this film.

    The list goes on I am sure, but these are things that to me are annoying I think mostly because it bastardizes the story and intent...regardless of how much the movie spent or earned.

    I guess I look at it this way when it comes to being true to the story and the it right or don't do it.
    And Fred, people who get caught up n the glitz and glamour tend to get bamboozled...don't mistake earnings with creativity, people can be fooled into spending money for all kinds of nonsense (ie the guy who recently spent almost 2 million for a cartoon rendering of Bea Arthur nude). By the way, your "the fact it made 331 million" is not fact at all.. in "fact" according to IMDB it grossed 144 million to date, and had a budget of 105 million.
    What are you going to say next "haters gonna hate"?

    I think this version is more about hype, and less about content!

  • Whocarez | September 20, 2013 11:36 PM

    Hate to burst your bubble "old sport" BUT the Tycoon owned a Rolls-Royce, an early 1920's model, BUT in the 2013 movie it was a 1929 Duesenberg...alas, it’s not even a real Duesenberg – it’s a fake one, made in Wisconsin in 1983. It has a plastic body and a Ford V-8 engine and Lincoln drive-line.
    The point of having Gatsby owning a Rolls-Royce in the book, and having a closet full of clothes from England, was to help sell the lies of having gone to school at Oxford.
    The original Duesenberg was made in Indiana and not something that would impress a southern society belle.
    Now I would suggest you open YouTube and serch for 1929 Duesenberg and then 1922 Roll Royce and listen to both of them and how they sound, and you will see the movie is inaccurate. The horns of that time were either ahhoooga horns or the squeaky ball horn, ahaing another fail.
    Accuracy is everything!!!

  • LuluInNJ | September 20, 2013 4:35 PM

    The engine sound was a recording of an actual period car- a Duesenberg. Driven by Jay Leno, as it was his car they used.

  • Christina | September 14, 2013 1:25 PMReply

    The framing was actually part of the book, I think it was actually how the book opened up, Nick is in the Midwest probably why the setting was changed since they are no longer in the same area....but Nick is talking to a psychiatrist about how that fake lifestyle messed him up. The movie did a great job, most of it being very close to the book. So before people, like the author of this article, judge this movie please read the book because most of it is very accurate. It makes you sound dumb when things are actually in the book that you think aren't and if you did read it well I don't think you understood the deeper meaning. The only think I did not care for was the soundtrack.

  • Mohd | October 29, 2013 3:53 PM

    At this part where Nick is keep talking at the end, there is a soundtrack.. What is the name of it? PLEASE!


  • Fred | September 10, 2013 4:27 PMReply

    Those who can't create, ridicule. The fact remains that the film made 331 million dollars and millions of people enjoyed it. One guy enjoyed this article, a bit.

  • Fred is right | October 28, 2013 2:32 AM

    Uhm...i enjoyed it
    Fred-is-wrong is just being an asshole he is

  • Jasmine | October 4, 2013 2:02 PM

    I find it funny how the movie is pretty accurate as far as the story goes... yet the effects and other things mentioned here ruin it. It had so much potential.


  • Fred-is-wrong | September 21, 2013 9:11 AM

    WRONG! Millions of people seeing a movie does not mean they enjoyed it! lol
    It means they bought into the marketing and hype of this movie, which has been told time and time again.
    If it weren't for the Leo fans, this movie wouldn't have done much of anything, unless the dismal acting styling of Spider-man err I mean Toby was your thang! lol

    Bottom line, great story set in a specific era, ruined by idiots trying to capitalize on current trends...Fred is a Leo fanatic, we get it!
    By the way freddy ole sport...give the writer of this article 105 million, and see if he could sell it around the world! drrrrr

  • Fred | September 10, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    Those who can't create, ridicule. The fact remains that the film made 331 million dollars and millions of people enjoyed it. One guy enjoyed this article, a bit.

  • Nancy | September 9, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    Well, all I could think about during the whole movie was how much I liked the 1974 film with Robert Redford, Bruce Dern, Karen Black and Mia Farrow so much more. Their characters were so much more memorable and emotional. But Leonardo's gorgeous face made up for some. Unhappily, I just didn't understand the part of Daisy played by Carey Mulligan. She wasn't a bit whimsical or spaced-out, and seemed uncomfortable and strained when she was supposed to be flighty. Just didn't have that Mia Farrow trademark "flightiness," "cooing" and "whatever" attitude at the end when they were leaving on holiday after the shooting. Carey just stared at the camera making me wonder why won't she do something to make us despise her like we despised Mia's reaction to Nick when they were leaving. Plus I think she's "cute " but not the face (or personality) that would cause such a Gatsby "life-consuming obsession" over all of those years. She was so dull, unmemorable and unemotional. This new film was just too fast and choppy and I couldn't keep my mind focused for one second anyway. Plus I despise when they do that on tv shows too. Why do they do that?? I always hit the remote!

  • Old sport | September 9, 2013 7:43 AMReply

    Your looking into this too much old sport. The movie is excellent from start to finish. He is writing it in winter because he is looking back at the life of gatsby. Writing and narration at the same time is not even a problem and the soundtrack? That was one of the best things about the movie. Mixing old and new is an art and was pulled off very well. The catchphrase old sport is used a lot but the delivery of the phrase is flawless. I could hear old sport all day and won't be annoyed.

  • Pedro | September 7, 2013 10:53 PMReply

    Most of this is wrong...and most of the bad things you mentioned are actually the good things about the movie, the over-the-topness, the unfitting-yet-fitting music...learn how to watch movies please.

  • Rob | September 6, 2013 6:00 PMReply

    I enjoyed your article, old sport, but I have to disagree with most of your criticisms. After reading your article I find that you ignored a lot of the character development as well as a lot of the amazing shots (even if they were too short). After finishing the film the first time I wanted to go back and watch the movie again so that I could catch things I may have not seen or dive deeper into each character's prideful yet emotionally tragic life. That being said, I completely agree with you regarding the choice of music and artists (for the most part). I do really enjoy the Lana del Rey song because I feel it provides the audience an emotional attachment to Gatsby's and Daisy's relationship and their feelings of loss, hope, and despair. However, the Jay Z and Will.I.Am song are misplaced and weak. One, they do not provide a strong "voice" for "hip hop" or the film because, frankly, they do not create "hip hop", they create garbage then CALL IT hip hop, which is not the same or justified. All in all I think the film was unique, ambitious and provided a boundary-less atmosphere that gave the audience that feeling of wishing they grew up in that era.

  • Phonedork | September 10, 2013 3:30 AM

    I like how this version comes off like a fairy tale with its super exaggeration. I also like how they made Gatsby so mysterious. Leo was awesome as he always is! I think critics like you should be banned just by reading how many other people enjoyed it!

  • Luke | September 6, 2013 4:28 PMReply

    I enjoyed this movie so much, it entwines the modern modern music with the rush of '20s life, and in my opinion it did it perfectly. The acting at points was lacking, however, but that doesn't take away the simply brilliant parts of the film. DiCaprio plays the part of Gatsby brilliantly for me, with the his character maintained throughout, I also enjoyed the way the movie seemed to flow so easily, so in that respect, I'd have to dissagree with you in the fact that it doesn't seem to take you away at any point. I'll admit, at the hour and a half mark I fell asleep, (due to a long plane journey) but then I woke up ready to watch the rest, and I am so glad I did. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the film.
    Anyway, although the casting of some of the characters was off, the actors did their job well, and I think a poor-written script is the point of any faults.

  • berit | September 4, 2013 12:00 PMReply

    i'm afraid you totally missed what was actually going on in the movie. you perceived the story as 2 dimensional when, in fact, it was several layers thick. you perceived the characters as static when they were evolving in front of you. and you perceived the characters as distinct when, in fact, they were metaphorical. i suspect you have not had enough life experiences to fully comprehend what this movie was actually about. given time you may come to understand the profound sensitivity that was hidden in plain sight.

  • Karen | September 3, 2013 10:22 AMReply

    The script was just horribly written, so I don't hold the actors at fault for this piece of garbage any farther than their taking the part after reading what nonsense they would have to work with.
    The visuals could have been spectacular except that the viewer didn't get more than a few seconds to take anything in, which made for bewilderment on my part. Why would a movie-maker go to all the expense and time to create these visual wonderments and then cut them up and feed them to the viewer in bite sized pieces?
    I wandered in and out of the room at least a dozen times because the lack of any real story line left me bored. I couldn't follow along for the first hour, and I really tried to.
    Some of the scenes just didn't work. I'm baffled how the director missed so many scenes that fell flat. It's was as though they threw them in anyway, not caring. Some of the scenes were down right dumb.
    It seemed to me that the actors, faced with poor writing and scenes that were idiotic, just tried way too hard to get them to fly, but of course in the end we saw the results- one of the worst movies of all time.

  • Realitycheck | September 21, 2013 8:59 AM

    The movie sucked, the book was bastardized by the screenwriters and director of the 2013 version. The hip-hop vibe was not realistic, and fit in this movie like a fat guy at an anorexic convention.
    You fools need to read the book again, or perhaps learn some comprehension skills!

    2013 Gatsby = epic fail!

  • Michelle | September 20, 2013 12:40 AM

    The script was horribly written? I declare you go back and read the book because you would realize how closely they represent each other. The scenes that you looked at must have been hallucinations because the flower scene, the scene with daisy and leo in the backyard during his party, and the scene where Myrtle gets hit by the car are all amazingly cinematic and memorable. Tell Jay-Z and Baz Luhrmann how bad their movie is when it grossed more money than you will ever see and had rave reviews.

  • euhm..... whut??? | September 17, 2013 2:06 PM

    If you leave your room a dozen team its not hard to believe you didnt understand the movie.... you only saw half of it...
    And the script, before you you say something about that, you should know their script was the book.
    This film was amazing. The only dumb thing in here is you.
    Learn to respect a great movie

  • Paul Christian | September 2, 2013 12:06 AMReply

    This movie sucked balls! The soundtrack and sound design for that matter was so distracting that I was pulled out of the story almost every 10 seconds. Anyone who thought was a "bold choice" is a sucker. Go watch Keeping up with the Kardashians...

  • Michelle | September 20, 2013 12:42 AM

    Will.I.Am wasn't even the soul of the song when it was in the film, and it was a huge party scene and I think in your own fault you got distracted that was no fault of the film, just your goldfish attention span.

  • GOLIAH | September 1, 2013 11:44 PMReply moron. This is a great movie.

  • Sharon | September 1, 2013 8:56 AMReply

    You should get a life. This movie is perfect.

  • alex ryushare | September 1, 2013 3:40 AMReply

    I personally think that this remake of the original is much more exciting and makes you so hopeful of everything. I'm not a weirdo or anything but I've went to go see this movie for the seventh time in the theaters. It's haunting, beautiful in every single way and makes you feel like you're there in the moment.
    ryushare premium key,

  • Gg | September 1, 2013 12:47 AMReply

    Horrible horrible film.
    Acting-just awful, insincere, completely overdone. Acting students could have done better.
    Script-just terrible.  cliched, disjointed, overly simplified, devoid of any depth or subtlety.
    Music-embarassing, ridiculous. Making a political statement by adding hip-hop soundtracks to the racist roaring twenties?? Bad idea.

    My boyfriend loved this film. I am seriously considering ending our relationship.

  • Naomi | September 1, 2013 8:57 AM

    Your boyfriend should break up with you for being a heartless idiot.

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