The Great Gatsby has not been what you would call great but, it has defied expectations as well. The latest attempt at a film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has done better than anyone has predicted. That was mainly because all of the former attempts have completely bombed. Some stories just do not lend themselves very well to film (Dune comes to mind) and it has been generally thought this was true of Gatsby. Well Leonardo DiCaprio disagreed and along with his own production company, Appian Way, they have proven the critics wrong. Leo seems to like doing that sort of thing. He actually got in a bidding war with Brad Pitt over the rights to the soon to be released World War Z. I'm kind of wishing that Leo had won that war because of two things. The first is Leo shows a gift for taking chances, doing things originally, and using imagination on some of the hardest projects to film. He likes mixing formula and genre. That might have turned what was a truly novel book, World War Z, into a ground breaking zombie film. Instead, coming in June, we're getting a Brad Pitt hero movie that does not even remotely resemble the book. The second is reason is as follows.
So what does that have to do with the title of this article? What does JFK have to do with the Titanic? The answer is Leonardo DiCaprio. He was the star of Titanic. Now he wants to be the star of the second reason I wish Leo was killing zombies instead. If he were then it would mean that Leo would not want to be the main star in what is basically a remake of the old Oliver Stone movie, JFK. Yes, I'm not kidding, DiCaprio has announced he is making a JFK assassination conspiracy movie. Leo will not just be taking on the critics with this new project. He wants to take on historians as well. While Leo has an entirely different paranoid conspiracy (Leo is pointing fingers at the Mob), than does Oliver Stone, it is still the same rehashed crap. I find this somewhat ironic.
The reason why is, DiCaprio starred in a hit movie, Titanic, that went out of it's way to be as historically accurate as possible. In fact, the only time that James Cameron deviates from reality in his Titanic movie is when he wants to make his own polit... err I mean social commentary on how evil rich people are. Hmmm, rich people like James Cameron maybe? Maybe that's ironic too? Is it any more ironic than Kevin Costner's most famous "I believe" line in the movie Bull Durham? At one point he states "I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone" only Kevin goes on to play Jim Garrison, a guy who championed the paranoid conspiracy version or reality. Well, welcome to the new view review only, Leo is taking yet another chance and, this time, I hope it blows up in his face. It's not because I don't respect his talent as an artist and his refreshing attempts to breath some life into a movie industry that seems firmly rooted in turning out reboot, after remake, after sequel. No, the reason why I hope this project flops is simply because I have a problem with historical revisionists.
The one thing that James Cameron got very right about the Titanic was, his opinion that what most people will know of the actual event will be his movie. In the future, it too will weave a layer of legends and attitudes about an event that only happened once, can never happen again, but can be deconstructed and reconstructed over and over. That is also the real connection between JFK and the Titanic. It isn't some dark conspiracy led by cancer man acting on the orders of UFO's as relayed to them by Bigfoot, via Elvis. The real commonality is they are both good stories and that is why people still take notice. That is why filmmakers refuse to leave them both alone. That is why protecting the reality of the facts is important or the true stories will be lost to us forever. We will not learn the lessons needed and that will doom us to repeat the mistakes.
Now I do fully realize that there is a generation of people out there who do not remember or even care about the JFK assassination. Even Oliver Stone's movie is two decades old now. That's why revisiting the conspiracy stuff is just a bad idea. Before Stone released his movie, the conspiracy theories were dying a well deserved death. Now it's all going to be rehashed, all over again. I also realize that there are still some people out there who not only still care about the assassination but also think they know everything about it. How much they really know is not as relevant as the fact that they will believe it was a conspiracy no matter what. I suppose you will never get rid of people like that, hell some people still believe the moon landing was faked and the earth is really flat (no joke). It's the majority of people that concerns me more because such beliefs translate into political views and, bad misinformed ones at that. There is nothing more poisonous to democracies than that.
Movie makers will ultimately be the historians of the twentieth century. The problem there is that only certain kinds of stories work in that medium, which is why the Great Gatsby has had such a hard time. Movie's are great entertainment but lack the ability to convey large sums of facts in a digestible form. Movie is about emotion and attitude. They portray that very well. Unfortunately, that leaves the details a blur, and in something like a murder investigation the devil is the in the details. This November, the JFK assassination will be fifty years behind us. In that time, advances in forensic sciences, and follow up evidence has shown conclusively that Lee Harvey Oswald was the one and only killer that day in Dallas. The conspiracy theories that place blame all over the place from, Fidel Castro, to Vice President Johnson, to the Mob, and even the guy who played the Skipper, on Gilligan's Island, has all fallen flat. Everyone of them evaporates when subjected to even the slightest scrutiny. Diving into the details is history and, it's also boring. A conspiracy is more sexy and when you take all other motives away from people like Stone and DiCaprio, that's the real reason they come down on the side of the paranoid. It's so they, like James Cameron, can be evil rich guys. What else can I say but, sex sells.