2:24 PM CDT, May 8, 2013
When I heard about Baz Luhrmann’s remake of “The Great Gatsby” a bubble of bile rose up in my throat. The director of such opulent visual messes as “Moulin Rouge” and “Australia” bringing to the big screen F. Scott Fitzgerald’s melancholy meditation on the emptiness of American wealth and empire as it went about immolating in its own excess?
My bile retreated momentarily when I heard that my boy, DiCaprio would play Gastby opposite Tobey McGuire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. It returned full-bile when I saw the trailer, which looked like Liberace copulated with an Andre 3000 album. It made me wonder what awful fate might someday await all classic American novels. How far away can we be from “Native Son” directed by Michael Bay?
Here’s a list of things I’d rather do than go see Luhrmann’s take on the distant green light:
1) Keep watching NBC’s “Hannibal.” Speaking of ill-imagined retreads of classic books, NBC’s turgid, comatose take on Thomas Harris’s original Hannibal Lecter novel, “Red Dragon” could not have been done less well. It takes your basic serial-killer-of-the-week premise and throws in endless circular discussions on their nonexistent, unimportant motives. Typical dialogue: “Does the killer think he’s God?” “He wants to be God.” “No, he’s watching God.” “The angel wings represent how he wants to be close to God.”
2) Lose an election to Mark Sanford. Stephen Colbert’s sister couldn’t quite manage to pull out a victory in her South Carolina congressional race, but she was running in a heavily Republican district that apparently doesn’t really care what kind of freak show runs beside the (R). Moreover, it’s probably good to have Sanford back in the news cycle just so we can all be front and center when he mortifies himself the next time.
3) Be a Christian rock star who gets caught trying to hire a hitman to kill my wife. Such is the fate of As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis. And who said Christian rock couldn’t be interesting? Nope, wait, this is the most interesting thing to ever happen to the genre of Christian rock.
4) Attend the July 4th rally planned by an “anti-tyranny” group, where they intend to march with loaded rifles. I see no way that this could go wrong.
5) Be neighbors with the Ariel Castro and his brothers (wow, did Cleveland really not need that story).
6) Live in Texas with its giant killer African snails. You read that right. Texas has an invasive species problem with giant snails that carry a form of meningitis known as “rat lungworm.” If there has ever been an illness with a more horrifying name than “rat lungworm” I’ll accept your nominations now.
7) Be Chris Christie’s lap band. Yes, I’d rather be the silicon or titanium band wrapped around New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s corpulent stomach in order to keep him less hangry all the time than go see Baz Luhrmann’s music video version of “The Great Gatsby.”
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