I forced The Beard by pain of death to go to Gatsby this weekend on a double with Haley and her fiance Chris. He was less than thrilled. Who doesn't want to go to stuff they hate with someone who geeks out and dresses up for every occasion? Sounds pretty fun to me.
The Beard is a BIT of a contrarian. It's more extreme individualism. He's no robot. I am grateful for that. You like something? He hates it. If something is popular, it has to be garbage. It's not necessarily being a hipster. It's more that he just refuses to like/do/be things just because its expected.
He hates President Lincoln. If that tells you anything. Which it should.
He hated the book. "It's not a story! It's all this backstory and undeveloped characters and just because Fitzgerald writes amazing prose it's become this brainless classic!"
Therefore I guess he gets bonus points for sucking it up and going with me. I owe him like 100 hours of Red Sox baseball now.
I disagree with him, however. Even though I also dislike the story, for the most part. Terrible people doing terrible things. The only real moral of the story is that you will lose things if you live carelessly. But I still liked the book because of it's few redeeming qualities, listed hereafter. The story sticks with you. I'm still thinking about it, days after seeing the movie.
I liked the movie more than the book and here's why - the parts of the book I liked the best were better represented in the movie than in my head.The parties. Doesn't this just make you want to wear something sparkly and dance? I couldn't have pictured this in my head. The movie did a great job.
Gatsby's plan and backstory. I love that they took the time to explain and show where he'd been.
The infatuation, however selfish and unrealistic, between Gatsby and Daisy. I literally trembled (hate that I just used that word) at one of the romantic parts. Embarrassing, right?
And of course, the fashion. Goes without saying.
How can you not love it? The soundtrack has been on repeat since Saturday. I highly recommend it.
The Beard did say one thing that is 100% true.
"If at any point, ANY of the characters make the right decision, the book would have been over."
Gatsby is honest with Daisy about his upbringing/lack of wealth --> She either still loves him and commits or he realizes she's shallow and moves on. No book.
Gatsby is a hardworking, honest businessman --> He makes half as much money, accept reality, settles down with a nice women worth 20 Daisies. No book.
Tom is a good husband to Daisy --> She loves him, doesn't wonder about Gatsby, no one gets their nose broken, no one gets hit by a car. No book.
Wilson is a good husband to Myrtle --> She loves him, doesn't cheat, no one gets their nose broken, no one gets hit by a car, Wilson doesn't shoot Gatsby. No book.
Myrtle doesn't step out on Wilson --> No one gets their nose broken, no one gets hit by a car, no one gets shot dead out of miscommunication. No book.
Nick doesn't facilitate the rendezvous between Daisy and Gatsby --> They don't have a torrid secret affair spanning East and West Egg. No book.
Daisy stops the car, takes responsibility for the accident --> No one gets murdered. We all learn about consequences. No book.
Because that IS the book - every character making every wrong decision and getting few, if any, consequences for it. In the end it's an allegory, though. Gatsby dies symbolically - they'll all meet their due eventually with the Great Depression quick on their heels. Excess breeds a fall from grace. Carelessness breeds despair.
.... wickedness... never was.... happiness. Omg see what I did there?
And if they'd just joined the Church, just think how much happier their lives would be???