Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

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

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist May 13, 2013 at 12:04PM

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.
305
The Great Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio

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.....

The Great Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio

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. 

The Great Gatsby, Tobey Maguire,

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.

This article is related to: The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Jay Z


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates