Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby comes out today and I really, really, really want it to be good. I know…. that’s putting an awful lot of pressure on the tiny but well-toned shoulders of Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, but I just can’t help it. I haven’t been this excited about a new movie release since Step Up 2: The Streets.
Why am I so filled with anticipation for this particular flick? I can think of three really good reasons. No, make that four.
1. The source material. I loved The Great Gatsby when I read the novel in high school and loved it again when I re-read it in my 20s. I’m also slightly obsessed with the mystique surrounding F. Scott Fitzgerald and his “lost generation” confreres who stumbled drunkenly and fabulously around Jazz Age New York and Paris. They might have been profoundly unhappy but, boy, did they look good! (BTW, I’ve never seen the much maligned 1974 movie version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, so I have no comment on that “source material.”)
2. The director. Baz Luhrmann has a nearly perfect track record as a director. I present for consideration the following evidence..
Exhibit A: Strictly Ballroom. One of my favorite movies of all time. Tina Sparkle! Paso Doble! The Pan-Pacifics! If you’ve never seen this little gem, I demand you watch it on demand immediately. It’s absolutely delightful.
Exhibit B: Romeo + Juliet. The movie that made Shakespeare sexy. Leo + Claire! Tybalt with a gun! The soundtrack that includes “#1 Crush” (Garbage), “Lovefool” (The Cardigans) and “You and Me Song” (The Wannadies)! The dialogue might be from 1591, but the movie is SO 1996. In a good way.
Exhibit C: Moulin Rouge. Eight Oscar nominations don’t lie. Nicole and Ewan! John Leguizamo as Toulouse-Lautrec! “Lady Marmalade”! Come what may, I will love this movie until my dying day.
Exhibit D: Australia. Okay, I never saw it. Nobody did. Whatever. I said Baz’s track record was nearly perfect.
If nothing else, with Luhrmann at the helm, we can feel confident that The Great Gatsby will be visually stunning and will include a soundtrack chock full of super groovy — albeit anachronistic — tunes.
3. The cast. They’ve assembled quite the threesome. DiCaprio can basically do no wrong. I fell in love with Mulligan during her break-through performance in An Education. Maguire has proven he can do both indies (The Ice Storm) and blockbusters (Spider-Man) with aplomb. And if the trailer is any indication, a bunch of other very attractive people are also in the film. Sold.
4. The delay. Nothing sparks the ol’ curiosity like a much publicized schedule change. The movie was supposed to come out last December in time for Oscar consideration, but was moved five months later to the land of Iron Man 3, The Hangover: Part III and Fast & Furious 6. What gives?
I, for one, plan on finding out later today.