The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

In which Jason and comedian River Clegg review the trailer for The Great Gatsby.  

JASON

Hi, River. Welcome to this review of the trailer for The Great Gatsby. I hope Gatsby isn’t a fireworks baron, or confetti magnate, or comically-oversized-novelty-champagne bottle tycoon, because otherwise he’s definitely getting high on his own supply. His supply of absinthe soaked confetti, presumably. How exactly would that work? Is he eating the confetti, catching it on his tongue like a snowflake?

That would explain why Gatsby spends a good portion of the movie walking around with his head tilted toward the sky, his tongue protruding from his mouth, hoping to catch a stray bit of absinthe confetti. It was on just such an occasion, Gatsby stumbling around a lavish party on his estate, tongue waggling around in the air, that a piece of absinthe confetti became lodged in his eye, and thus the ;-P emoticon was born, as a passing William Randolph Hearst needed a quick way to telegraph his newspaper offices that the Great Gatsby had once again been nearly blinded by one of his own party favors.

RIVER

Thanks for having me, Jason. Let me first say that, as someone who read let’s say five-eighths of this book as a high school junior, I’m excited to see whether Gatsby ever finds true happiness or instead keeps medicating himself with a steady routine of parties, drinking and sex. (At least that’s what I remember it being about — my mind was preoccupied with how much of that stuff I personally was not doing.) I’m with you on the whole confetti-champagne-fireworks-absinthe thing, but I’m also excited that 1920s New York is now set to 2012 auto-tuned club music. All that’s missing now is a stretch Hummer that runs on bootleg liquor and an undyingly prosperous economy.

Also, can I talk at you about the mafia-looking guy with the big cigar? I guess expecting visual subtlety from the director of Moulin Rouge is foolish, like expecting Michelle to go to junior prom with you even though you’ve never had a girlfriend and sometimes trip and fall over for no reason. The only thing this trailer is missing is the Green Light, which I understand is a big deal in the story. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s the villain.

JASON

How would a stretch Hummer that runs on bootleg liquor work, exactly? Is the Hummer able to determine whether or not the liquor was manufactured and sold legally? Remember, some people were able to get their filthy paws on “medicinal alcohol” via prescription during the days of Prohibition, much like modern-day marijuana enthusiasts are able to get their modern-day filthy paws on pot by getting a doctor to say they need it. Also, everyone needs to wash their paws, apparently.

Listen, dogs and cats. I know you’re excited about finding loopholes in the law about legal weed. But take the time to dip your paws in a bowl of water or something. Would it kill you to not track mud in my clean kitchen or leave your crumpled prescriptions for Maui Wau lying around everywhere? I’m starting to suspect you don’t have glaucoma.

What I’m getting at is, does the stretch Hummer that runs on bootleg liquor have sensors built in that are able to determine the legality of the alcohol that you’re putting into it, or are we all on the honor system here?

RIVER

I can’t promise I wasn’t under the influence of bootleg liquor myself when I wrote that. Actually, the only way I’ve ever known to tell if alcohol is legal is to check the calendar and make sure it’s not 1929. But after watching this trailer, I’m not sure that will ever work again. If Hollywood can slip club music into parties that happened 90 years ago, what can’t they do? Can they rewrite history so Lincoln was shot by Kennedy? Or Kennedy by Lincoln? Or John Lennon by a Kennedy-Lincoln duo that then went on to record a handful of lesser-known but musically complex 1980s folk rock singles?

Don’t put anything past these producers, is my point. But maybe I’m being unfair; maybe this trailer doesn’t need fewer things from 2012, but more. Like that “Call Me Maybe” song, or an increasingly depressing presidential election, or a cameo by the Avengers where Robert Downey Junior acts like a smartass.

(Top Hat Missile Crisis! Just a working title for the Kennedy-Lincoln group.)

JASON

If things from the past needed more things from the future, then we’d constantly have time travelers delivering Hammer Pants to cavemen and Trapper Keepers to Civil War soldiers. Well, time travelers nostalgic for the 80’s and early 90’s, I guess.

Speaking of tacky time travelers, does anyone else think it’s weird how Marty just accepts the weird, foppish Doc Brown that shows up in a flying train at the end of Back to the Future Part III? He’s dressed like Oscar Wilde on the way to a clockwork orgy at a steampunk convention. This is completely uncharacteristic of Doc, in my opinion.

My theory is that if Doc Brown can invent a time machine, he can also invent a machine that travels into alternate dimensions. This is clearly a flamboyant Earth-2 Doc Brown, and the reason he’s going on and on to Marty about controlling your own destiny is because he has a diabolical plan to murder every other Doc Brown in every dimension with his flying steam “kill train”.

RIVER

Sorry, my Back to the Future knowledge ends with part one. They end up killing the shark by shooting the air tank in its mouth, right?

In conclusion, I’m excited for The Great Gatsby. Not because it will be a meditation on the surprisingly timeless theme of urban decadence and its unforeseen personal consequences. Just because I like watching people receive millions of dollars to pretend things.

By the way, thanks for the Civil War joke! Here’s one that’s extra cool because it’s a true story: Some Union official was complaining that General Grant was drunk all the time, so he told Lincoln. But since Grant was winning a lot of battles, Lincoln replied, “Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.” Then they had sex together.