Having his Words with Friends movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby pushed from a December 2012 release date to this weekend might have been the best thing to happen to Baz Luhrmann, since it’s given him a chance to expatiate on how Gatsby is the ultimate summer movie for the ultimate summer partygoer. You want to truly understand the decadence of America after her role as a World War I munitions profiteer?
There’s no better way to do this than by having a Gatsby-themed pool party, at the end of which you (the host) can have someone (spoiler alert) shoot you in the back to symbolize the inevitable August decay of a festive season too swollen with sunlight, tanning oil, and sandy booze to last any longer. According to Luhrmann, people shouldn’t just flock to his movie (which they have, somewhere to the tune of a $50-55 million opening-weekend gross) — they should also celebrate in the orgiastic spirit of the Jazz Age in the aristocratic corners of New York:
The idea is that you don't just come see the movie, but also celebrate that extraordinary book throughout the summer. There's an intoxication that (protagonist) Jay Gatsby used to draw all of New York into his glittering parties and his mysterious gardens.
About competition from summer blockbusters, Luhrmann added confidently:
Those summer blockbusters? I get it. Yet what we are saying with 'Gatsby' is our film shouldn't live or die in one weekend. We've got to play throughout the entire summer. It's going to be the summer of Gatsby.
Here’s a little hint for those of you who somehow managed to escape high school without once reading The Great Gatsby: the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated novel will most certainly not make you want to party. At all. The end of Baz Luhrmann’s not-so-celebrated movie about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated novel will either make you want to nap, or make you reconsider the harsh words of screenwriting guru Robert McKee: “And God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you! That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of the character.”
Image via AP, Warner Bros.