• The Martian (a faithful but very Hollywood depiction of the novel; it is exactly what one would expect upon hearing that The Martian was being turned into a big-budget film starring Matt Damon & Sigourney Weaver, glossy special effects and overwrought soundtrack and all. What is cut from the novel was of no importance.)
  • The Great Gatsby (another glossy big-budget Hollywood adaptation; marred by the, thankfully brief, frame story in which Tobey Maguire ascends to heretofore unseen levels of schmarm and schmaltz as the narrator. The novel is so short that it's almost a scene by scene adaptation, and the main directorial choice seems to be to put a heavy emphasis on it happening to be set during the 'Roaring Twenties', so every scene or party is punched up as much as feasible. The narrator doesn't encounter Gatsby when the two are calmly sitting down at a party, but encounters him in the crush of a giant uproariously drunk crowd backlit by fireworks; the narrator cannot lunch with Gatsby at a dusty obscure roadside cafe, but they must lunch in a giant speakeasy with strippers/chorus-line dancers; in spending an afternoon with Tom's mistress & friends, he does not get tipsy on whiskey but he gets falling-down drunk with the half-naked women & popping up champagne bottles to bath in; women are not properly 20's flat-chested but all bare cleavage with pushup bras; Gatsby is not shot offscreen, but rather onscreen shortly after parting from the narrator while rushing to a phonecall he thinks is from Daisy; and so on. This damages the original atmosphere of the book, which conveys the sense of dusty dog days on rural LI in a way the movie does not at all, but I don't think it's a loss; the book is still the book, and it's fine for a movie adaptation to make more of a spectacle of itself and revel in audiovisuals. The party scene makes full use of its latitude. What is more annoying, or perhaps amusing, is noting the hamfisted touches of modernity. For example, the movie chooses to keep the part of the dinner where Tom alludes to Lothrop Stoddard; Fitzgerald brings this up not for being racist, but as part of his character study showing Tom to be pitiable as his athletic career is over & he's starting to realize his lack of worth, and the movie omits any hint of this in order, obviously, to simplify things by casting Tom as The Bad Guy, since of course bad guys must be racist - an edit which reflects the crudity & narrowness of the writers and also really does do harm to the literary qualities of the movie. A less significant, but much more amusing, example would be the attempt to whitewash the Meyers Wolfsheim character; never mind that he is repeatedly identified as Jewish, and that Jews at the time were deeply involved in NY organized crime & the numbers racket and the Wolfsheim character pretty much has to be Jewish or Italian, no, the movie determinedly edits out all uses of the word 'Jewish' from dialogue and goes so far as to cast Wolfsheim using an Indian actor! Because apparently there are no Jewish actors in Hollywood they could use.)
  • Back to the Future II

November 2015 Media Thread

by ArisKatsaris 1 min read1st Nov 201536 comments


This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. Post what you're reading, listening to, watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing! To see previous recommendations, check out the older threads.


  • Please avoid downvoting recommendations just because you don't personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific flaw in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect.
  • If you want to post something that (you know) has been recommended before, but have another recommendation to add, please link to the original, so that the reader has both recommendations.
  • Please post only under one of the already created subthreads, and never directly under the parent media thread.
  • Use the "Other Media" thread if you believe the piece of media you want to discuss doesn't fit under any of the established categories.
  • Use the "Meta" thread if you want to discuss about the monthly media thread itself (e.g. to propose adding/removing/splitting/merging subthreads, or to discuss the type of content properly belonging to each subthread) or for any other question or issue you may have about the thread or the rules.