Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

An ironclad agreement

May 10, 2013

While it might not be sunbathing weather, the summer movie season is upon us. I just saw “The Great Gatsby.” Earlier in the week, I saw “Iron Man 3.” I liked them both.

Both movies are about rich guys wanting something they can’t have. Jay Gatsby wants Daisy. Tony Stark wants world peace. Neither of them would be very interesting if they got what they wanted right away.

Neither Gatsby nor Stark seems to care about their wealth. Wealth is a great thing to not care about when you have it.

Both men have swimming pools they never use, yet both of them ended up in the water, dying. I won’t say which one survives, but Stark will be in the Avengers sequel. And if we’ve learned anything from “Titanic,” we’ve learned that Leonardo DiCaprio and water don’t mix.

Do I have to issue a spoiler alert if the book has been around for almost a century?

OK. Gatsby dies in a pool of water. He even says the name of his great love before he goes. I couldn’t help but think of Kate Winslet saying, “I’ll never let go.” You know. Right before she lets go.

I found a few more parallels. Both movies are in 3D. Go figure.

Both Gatsby and Stark aren’t proud of the way they made their fortunes. Gatsby was a bootlegger. Stark made weapons. They are both very self-assured. I have never known anyone rich who didn’t believe in themselves. Ego seems to be a key component for the affluent. That said, I should be rolling in it. I talk about myself every week here on this very page. I guess it’s not the only factor.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is known as one of the great American authors. Stan Lee is not. Though I’m not sure why. I read a lot of comics growing up, and Stan Lee wrote almost all of them.

The very first restaurant I ate at in Hollywood was Musso & Frank’s. It was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite restaurant. My waiter was about 75 years old. He probably waited on F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a thrill to sit in a restaurant where a great American writer once sat.

A few years later, I was walking on the lot at the Walt Disney Co. I had to deliver an envelope to someone. Stan Lee came out of a building. I followed him. Don’t judge me. He was going in the same general direction that I was supposed to be going in. It was a thrill to see my favorite American writer.

I don’t ask for autographs, especially when I’m on the company clock. I wanted to pat him on the back and say, “Good job.” I chickened out. It’s funny. I’ve hung out with movie stars. I once went roller-skating with Adam Sandler. I’ve sat in David Spade’s green room, just shooting the breeze. I’ve had dinner with Sinbad. But Stan Lee made me all tingling inside. Maybe it was my Spider-Sense.

I also loved seeing both “The Great Gatsby” and “Iron Man” on the silver screen. Frankly, the only thing I’ve learned from both movies is that 3D gives me a headache.



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