May 10, 2013, - 6:18 pm

Wknd Box Office: The Great Gatsby, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Peeples, Upstream Color

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing new that’s notable or good at theaters, this weekend.



* “The Great Gatsby“: Should have been called, “The Great Glitz-by,” or “The Jay-Z-izing of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” ‘Cuz that’s all it was, a bright, loud, horribly miscast, rushed-and-yet-long 2.5 hours pretending to be “The Great Gatsby,” the Fitzgerald novel about a mysterious millionaire trying to woo his married long lost love. And it was ridiculously drenched in cacophonous Jay-Z-infested synthesizer noise.

While the movie is better than I expected, that’s only because I set my expectations extremely low. It is pretty true to the book, even though reports said it was based on the darker first draft, “Trimalchio,” which Fitzgerald lightened at the request of his publisher. Still, the movie is filled with Jay-Z music, hip-hop, and rap. And the few musical notes that actually come from the era of the 1920s were pumped up on steroids, sped up and chock full of loud hip-hop beats. And the movie was way too bright, flashy, and glitzy from start to finish. It wasn’t eye candy. It was garish, distracting, and annoying. Oh, and I saw it in 3D. Why on earth does a novel about the wealthy old- and new-moneyed on East and West Egg (the fictionalized Long Island) in the 1920s need to be in 3D? I still don’t know.

I just didn’t see Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious stalker Jay Gatsby or Carey Mulligan (whose acting “talent” seems limited to pouts and tears) as Daisy Buchanan, the selfish, torn debutante who was his love five years earlier. Joel Edgerton as wealthy polo player Tom Buchanan was a better pick, but even he was far too cartoonish to be the guy I pictured as I read the book. The only one that I think fit the bill was Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway (Daisy’s distant cousin and Gatsby’s neighbor), but even he looks too young. Like DiCaprio, he is too boyish-looking and looks like he had his Bar Mitzvah yesterday.

The movie went way too fast at times and then way too slow. It was kind of exhausting, though the two-and-a-half hours dizzyed past me. Also an annoyance was the constant use of handwritten words on the screen as Nick Carraway uttered them. Why did we need that? The screen wasn’t busy enough? This movie is very high on style–in fact, it’s overloaded with it (the costumes and sets are fabulous but excessive)–but has little substance.

The best way to see “The Great Gatsby” is in your own mind as you are picturing the book while you read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words. This movie proves yet again that attempts to best that by putting it on-screen generally fail.

I didn’t completely hate it, and it was mildly entertaining, so I give it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Reluctant Fundamentalist“: More like, “The Liberal, Muslim Fantasy of Why Muslims Are Right to Hate America.” I hate, hate, hated this movie. It’s typical anti-American crap based on the novel of the same name written by Muslim author Mohsin Hamid. Like the book, this is pan-Muslim propaganda. There is nothing “reluctant” about this movie, including and especially the anti-American orgy that populates it. I’ve seen other critics upset that this movie “doesn’t explain” the “subtle reasons” why the Muslim main character smiles and rejoices at the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. . . as if there is a justifiable reason for that, “subtle” or otherwise.

The main character in this movie, Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), has been given everything by America–an athletic scholarship to Princeton, a prized, high-paid position at a high-powered consulting firm in New York, and the personal tutelage of one of its principals (Kiefer Sutherland), who takes Khan under his wing and gives him a plum promotion. And, yet, he smiles at the attacks on the World Trade Center, a move that this horrible (and horribly slow and boring) flick’s point of view believes is justified.

Khan is shown unfairly harassed by police and strip-searched at the airport because he is Muslim and has been profiled. But, while we should have done that to Muslim aliens here (in Khan’s case, he is here for no legit reason–we have plenty of Americans suited for consulting jobs and on unemployment), that is exactly the opposite of what politically correct America did. We didn’t and still don’t profile Muslims.

Khan’s rich American photographer girlfriend (the always annoying Kate Hudson, who, herself, said she hates Americans) also ridicules him in her art exhibit which features his photo, recordings of him, and phrases in Arabic. Yeah, right. Like liberal American rich girl artists ridicule Muslims. Just the opposite, sadly. They readily lie down and spread eagle (and she did some of that, too, in this film). But in this movie, the Muslim main character is endlessly the victim of countless horrible acts by the evil Americans.

And after this, Khan is ordered by his “evil” Western boss (the one who hired him instead of Americans and promoted him ahead of Americans) to fire a Muslim publishing house exec. He refuses, quits his job, and moves back to Pakistan, where he leads student radicals and is suspected of helping kidnap an American professor.

Most of the movie consists of Khan telling an American journalist/CIA agent (Liev Schreiber) his story, while the agent wants to know where the professor is so he can be rescued. Schreiber accuses him of being part of the kidnapping. Of course, predictably, Khan is innocent, wrongfully accused. And, yet again, we Americans are the bad guys.

High quality Bin Laden cinema brought to you by Indian director Mira Nair, whose hubby is Muslim. Ms. Nair has made millions showing her films in America, and this is how she slaps us in the face in response. One other thing: the movie is financed and produced by the Doha Film Institute, funded and run by the same Qatar government that funds and runs Al-Jazeera, the Terrorist News Network. This is typical of the kind of propagandistic crap they put out.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Peeples“: Prime Gitmo torture material. Absolutely awful. Extremely painful to sit through. Anything with two words attached to it–Tyler Perry–is absolute crap. And this is no exception. It’s “Exhibit A” of the rule. And it’s an example of the real racism that permeates Hollywood: that Hollywood execs believe Black America apparently isn’t worthy of anything better than this Black version of “Three’s Company” misunderstandings as plot points and groanworthy, unfunny jokes. And apparently Black America is self-hating and racist against itself, too, because the screening I attended for this horrid cinematic display was chock full of Black moviegoers who seemed to love this tripe.

Kerry Washington plays the girlfriend of a man (Wade Walker), who is not up to the standards of her wealthy, snooty family. He crashes her family weekend at a Hamptons beach house and learns the family is unaware he exists. But now that they know, they mostly don’t like him, as made known to him by his girlfriend’s judge father (David Alan Grier). Soon, the boyfriend begins to learn that most of the family is weird, living a lie, and really not better than he is. But to get there, the audience has to endure cheesy, unfunny jokes, bad dialogue, and other silliness.

A complete waste of time and ten dollars. Skip this.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Upstream Color“: WTF? I’m not sure what this was about. I spent ten dollars and over 1.5 hours to see this artsy-fartsy movie that has no story. Instead I sat there and watched scenes of a guy in a pig farm interspersed with scenes of a woman hypnotized to give her life savings to some guy and a woman (may be the same woman–don’t know, don’t care) and a man who are dating and then hiding from some invisible thing while sleeping in their bathtub. Oh, and the guy with the pig farm also records noises of rocks, insects, and streams. This is one of those horribly boring, David-Lynch-style, pretentious nonsense movies. When I asked others who saw it if they understood what was going on, they responded that it’s “art” and that “you’re not supposed to understand what’s going on. It’s designed to evoke emotion.” (How much you wanna bet these phonies and idiots, who pay ten dollars to see a nonsensical movie “to evoke emotion,” voted for Obama?)

Well, it evoked emotion all right: anger and frustration that I wasted money and time I’ll never get back. Thanks for nothing.


Watch the trailer . . .

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

84 Responses

We’ll see SK buddy,
stay frosty my friend

Frankz on May 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

In “The Reluctant Fundalmentalist” you write that Changez was given a job and education? Because he didn’t work for it, right? Then I guess you admit all of those white Ivy League types were GIVEN their education and –by extension– their jobs, from their rich parents, most of who inherited their own wealth .

THOOM on May 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

TRF, the title alone makes me want to vomit. Outstanding waste of efforts. Idiots that like that crap are probably the same kind that feel guilty for feeling anxiety when they see a group of youths roaming the streets looking for a victim to beat the s— out of. Amazing how much propaganda keeps getting churned out.

samurai on May 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and
we are looking to exchange techniques with other
folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

Jaxon on June 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

The Great Gatsby is one of the last Hollywood pics I’ve cared to lay my eyes on. I do not go to theaters any more and do not currently have a TV or cable service. Debbie is right about the gratuitous use of hip-hop music and culture, as well as the miscasting. My main criticism, though, (not just of Gatsby but of most of what emanates from studios today) is the glorification of immorality, in this case adultery and materialism. Without any moral compass, Hollywood creates environments where we find our selves mistaking sinners for saints, even rooting for them, and excusing bad behavior. It’s what directors do best.

Admittedly, just out of curiosity I did peak at each of the trailers. When I got to the Upstream Color preview, I immediately understood Debbie’s confusion with the plot, but more importantly was reminded of the prohibition against pork, even contemplating some new connotations regarding it.

YCHtT on March 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field