5 Things To Do Before Seeing ‘The Great Gatsby’

by Jessica Bloustein Marshall

Gatsby. Merely uttering his name sends a shiver of delight down our spines. He’s mysterious. He’s gorgeous. He’s insanely rich. And he’s coming to theaters near us today.

His lavishly tumultuous tale, from the imagination of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, is gracing the silver screen once again thanks to Aussie director Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (as Gatsby), Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, this modern adaptation spares no expense in portraying high society scandal and the American Dream in the time of jazz and prohibition.

Before you saunter down to the theater to ogle the glitz and Gatz, here are five things you must absolutely do, darling.

Read the book
If you paid any attention in your high school English class, odds are that you’ve already read the book (and you know what the green light at the end of the dock symbolizes). But that was probably a long time ago, and the book’s status as an American classic merits it a reread.

Host a roaring ’20s party
Take a page from Gatsby’s book and throw a lavish party that lasts from dusk til dawn. Everyone must come dressed in period garb (hello fringe, floral hairpieces and ruby red lips!) and sip drinks from elegant rounded martini glasses (Shirley Temples for the non-drinkers and under-agers, of course). And by golly, there should be dancing. Lots of dancing.

Watch “Romeo + Juliet”
Leo was just a teen heartthrob the last time he worked with Baz Luhrmann in this modern-day retelling of the famous Shakespearen tragedy. Now, he’s a man, baby, and the actor/director duo has moved on to a serious big-boy project with “The Great Gatsby.”

Ride in style
Gatsby’s cream-colored motorcar— the eternal symbol of the early 20th-century American Dream— factors heavily into the plot. By today’s 21st-century standards however, that car is a tin death trap. But thankfully we have more modern vehicles that can elicit a similar sense of optimism and opulence. Find a friend who has a flashy convertible or rent one and go for a drive, and if you can, make it a cruise around in the stifling heat of a New York metro area summer.

All that jazz
The revelries of Gatsby and company take place smack dab in the middle of the Jazz Age. Tune into the melodies of the time with a little Duke Ellington, Joe “King” Oliver or Jelly Roll Morton, and let the good times roll.

BONUS: Turn on the green light
Oh that famous literary reference that has haunted us since 10th grade English class…how can we forget the dockside beacon of hopes and dreams that fuels Gatsby’s every move in pursuit of his lost lady love, Daisy? Set a green lamp or light in your window, and maybe you’ll inspire your own Gatsby somewhere across the proverbial bay.

Do you plan to see “The Great Gatsby” this weekend?