“Hello, Daisy Buchanan.”

Fantastic news my wonderful movie (and literature) junkies! Baz Luhrman (director of Romeo + Juliet & Moulin Rouge!) is set to remake The Great Gatsby, with Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo Dicaprio! It’s funny, I was JUST thinking (literally last night) that they should remake The Great Gatsby, not that there’s anything wrong with the original (quite the opposite really) but I think that it would be nice for high school students to watch a more modern version in class, after they finish the book of course. I do remember that there was a made-for-TV version a few years ago (10 actually) that I was actually very interested in, but I just never got around to watching. I actually really liked the casting. I actually love the idea of Paul Rudd as Nick Carraway. That’s besides the point, the real reason I was thinking about a modern Gatsby remake was because of a question I found myself asking. . . myself last night. What was with the car-switching thing again? Why was Gatsby, I mean *spoiler* Daisy driving her husbands car? Why wasn’t Gatsby driving his own car? Why did the two men in Daisy’s life switch cars at the house? Was Tom trying to show off? Get Jay and Daisy apart, or was he just planning on wrecking the car? I can’t honestly remember, I guess I’m going to have to run down to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy!
The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, and quite frankly one of the best books in American literature to date. To make it into a movie seems, almost crudely unoriginal. I love movies, more then I love books, so of course I want this to happen, and unlike many literary fanatics, I am realistic about the book-to-screen transition. I know that the pretty little pictures I have in my head are more then likely not going match what will be on that screen. (Although I’m not sure how much of this really matters considering that this book has already been made into a movie, a few times actually) I just feel like this is all a big catastrophe waiting to happen. It’s one of those, what could possibly go wrong moments. Oh well let’s focus on the positives shall we? I think its sweet that real life friends Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing Nick and Gatsby. I can definitely see Leo as Gatsby, he has the suave, brooding, lovesick way about him. Gatsby seems like a natural turn for Dicaprio, i.e. the actors most popular (famous, renowned what have you) characters have been of the same variety. (Romeo, Jack Dawson, Frank Wheeler, Cobb).

Although I am strictly a words person, I categorize a lot of things by numbers; and although age is simply a number in my book, I think of my favorite actors by age, or generation. Actually I organize these thoughts by decade. Which brings me back to Miss Mulligan, who just so happens to be my favorite (and in my opinion the best) actress in her 20’s; and although I’d cast her in just about anything, I couldn’t see her as Daisy. Daisy is the silliest girl in the world, she’s immature and selfish, but most importantly she is a child. She’s a sweet, pretty, little rich girl who never had to do anything for herself. The kind of girl that had many suitors and could get them to do just about anything to please her, she’s not just a pretty fool either, she’s not book smart, but she is not stupid, in fact she’s clever enough to know how to use people and manipulate situations. Although she did play Kitty Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, who is also one of the silliest girls in the world. . . I guess it’s just the overwhelming respect I have for Miss Mulligan that makes me, somewhat apprehensive to see her in the part.

Apprehensive is definitely the right word, and for lack of a different word, is how I feel about the casting of Mr. Tobey Maguire. I can’t quite pin point the exact reasoning, or even give an example as to why I feel the need to single Tobey out. Not that I am diminishing his accomplishments, not even in the slightest, in fact I think he is a very talented actor. For some reason, I just can’t put him there. I’ve seen him in a jockey uniform, I’ve seen him in black and white, but I just can’t put him in the 20’s. I guess I need to stop thinking about Spiderman and focus on Peter Parker; or maybe it’s just that I associate Nick with Sam Waterston? In fact maybe that’s my problem with all of it. I just need to forget about the 1974 version and move on. Then again I might even be placing too much on 1974’s shoulders. Maybe it’s been a while and I am in too much of a Mia Farrow mood to be making any judgments about her movies.

Anyways, all this talking (typing) and thinking about The Great Gatsby, seems to have really only raised more questions. So I’ll lay it out for you:

1. Although I am warming up to the casting choices, as we speak. I wonder, [Will the age differences be a problem?] I thought that the main characters were all mostly the same age. I know that Nick was a bit younger then Gatsby and Tom, but I always thought that Nick and Daisy were about the same age? Maybe it’s just because Daisy is so immature that I forget she is actually a bit older. Not that that matters, because the point I am trying to make her is in fact the age difference between the 3 (I’d say 4, but I don’t know who’s playing Tom) main actors.
2. Now that I’m sitting here thinking about the actors and the characters, I’m starting to wonder, [Is Baz Luhrman up to the job?] Yeah Yeah Yeah, I know Romeo + Juliet. The only problem I have with Baz doing this remake is his style. Not that I don’t like it, I do, like it very much as a matter of fact, and I am a huge fan of directors having a strong voice. I just wonder if too much style will take away from Fitzgerald’s beautifully haunting book? I am also terrified to see this movie in modern times! Dear sweet Bergman I hope he doesn’t do that!
3. Francis Ford Coppola wrote the original, and those are some pretty big shoes to fill. [Who is adapting the screenplay?] Is Baz going to do the dead himself or is someone else?
4. I understand that the main characters are always cast first. The names, the moneymakers, the people who might quite possible have scheduling conflicts, but it still makes me wonder [Who is playing] Tom? and Jordan?  and Myrtle? and George? Who is playing every other miner, but major character?
5. Um. . . is there any possible way you people could give me more information? Seriously, I’m dying back here!

On the positive side I think that Baz Luhrman is a good filmmaker, furthermore Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo Dicaprio are all very talented actors and I’m sure each will do a fine job recreated these timeless characters. Over all I think I am actually excited for this movie. (Although I’m sure I’ll forget about it for a while during awards season) and as long as Baz stays, more Moulin Rouge, and less stylistic Romeo + Juliet, we’ll be fine. So there it is folks, random thoughts and almost rants for this weeks Movie Madness with the Movie Junky – Till next time!

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Easy A

For starters I’m not going to tell you what the movie is about. I’m not here to tell you what the movie is about, if you want that go read some other review or just go read the IMDB bio like everyone else. What I am here to tell you is weather or not this movie is worth the oh-so-pricey price that is a movie ticket. [Survey says: Yes.] I am here to tell you what I thought of the film, and what I think you should think of the film. Oh wait; I’m not actually supposed to say that out loud am I? Well there it is, that’s what all movie critics think in the back of their head that’s what all review readers are really looking for (myself included) Actually I don’t consider myself a critic, so go ahead and take this all with a grain of salt, you have no reason not to.

Anyway, that’s besides the point, you’re here, so it’s time to listen, or just read. The most important thing to get out of this movie is that Easy A’s leading lady, Emma Stone, is a star. She completely carried the movie. I was actually surprised at how small of a part Penn Badgley & Dan Byrd actually played. Not that it’s a big deal or anything, director Will Gluck actually did a pretty nifty job giving a little color to the genre. (Especially considering he only has one other feature film under his belt.) Anyway this really is Emma Stone’s movie, and she owns it. Penn Badgley was there too, being cute and charming, which is really all he was there for. Amanda Bynes was good, as always, but I’m kind of annoyed by her now after that whole, retiring, un-retiring crap. (I also think she was a little misscast in the role. Her style didn’t really seem to fit the character) Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson played Emma Stone’s (Olive) parents, and they are just about the greatest parents ever. Honestly I spent half of the movie wishing that I lived in that house, even as the weird cousin who everyone secretly wishes would just get over her problems and leave. They were both, witty and charming and a rarity in high school movies, actually helpful. One of those things that can sometimes get to me with this genre is how different fictional parents are to their fictional children. Well or course none of use want to admit how alike we apples are to our trees, but we all know it’s true. In this case screenwriter Bert V. Royal, (writer of the one-act Peanuts Gang spoof play Dog Sees God) created characters that actually seemed like they’d been living together for 17 years. Although that could have just been good acting, who’s to know. The point being, I could actually see Olive being Rosemary and Dill’s daughter (not physically of course, but that’s another story we’re not going to get into.) Also something that normally bothers me with these movies is age. Most of the time the people playing teenagers are well into their 20’s, and although that is true here, I didn’t really notice. Nowadays the content of these teenage shows and movies is so graphic that they have no choice but to cast someone who is over 18 and then some. For being a movie all about teenage hook-ups (or at least the rumors of hooking up) there is no sex, barely even kissing.

Easy A is like the Scarlet Letter Juno style, meets a John Hudges movie, Mean Girls style. (If that actually makes any sense) It is a fun-funny, smart, self-aware comedy, which even throws in a little life-lesson for the road. It’s a great film for just about anyone, so as long as you don’t mind the sex talk and innuendo you could even take your parents. Here’s what we’ve learned, Emma Stone is (rightfully so) the next big thing, Stanley Tucci deserves some kind of award for something at some point, Will Gluck should make this genre his thing and Bert V. Royal should too.

Easy A, gets an easy B in this week’s Movie Madness with the Movie Junky.
[I just made that up on the spot, I don’t know if I’m actually going to stick with it. I think I watch too many video reviews or something]

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