The Great Gatsby takes place during the 1920s Jazz Age, but this movie's soundtrack makes it seem like the Rap Age or Disco Age. Mashups of modern and contemporary music form a strange backdrop to elaborately staged scenes of epic parties at the Long Island mansion of Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 1925 novel. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby, the mysterious millionaire who mesmerizes New York's high society. Tobey McGuire plays Nick Carraway, a Wall Street bond salesman who falls into Gatsby's circle and narrates his story in flashbacks. Fitzgerald's morality tale of upper-class extravagance would seem to be especially relevant after the 2008 Wall Street crash and subsequent concentration of wealthhence, perhaps, the mashup soundtrack. But Gatsby's obsession with a lost love (played by a curiously unmagnetic Carey Mulligan) overshadows the social commentary. Fitzgerald's novel, like Tom Wolfe's 1987 homage, The Bonfire of the Vanities, inevitably loses some power when adapted to film.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mini Movie Reviews
Tom's Guitar Cheat Sheet
BYTE Magazine Archive
Unofficial BYTE FAQ
( R.I.P. 1975-1998 )
(free Java applet)
(free Java applet)
Tom's Oscar Contest
Tom's Oscar Contest
Tom's Oscar Contest
Hall of Fame
Favorite Web Links
to build this site
About the Electric Brain
Who is Tom?
The Company You Keep stars several Hollywood veterans (including Robert Redford, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Susan Sarandon, and Chris Cooper) as former Weather Underground radicals who have been living under false identities since the 1970s. When one is arrested by the FBI, the others fear exposure. Hanging over their heads is the death of a security guard during a long-ago bank robbery. Who shot the guard, and who will take the rap? With such a stellar cast, this film can't fail to be a well-acted drama. But the story detours when a reporter uncovers another secret. Although this one seems trivial compared with the murder, somehow it seizes center stage and muddles the conclusion. Nevertheless, it's fun watching these geezers show that their acting skills are as vigorous as ever.
42 tells the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson (whose uniform number was 42) breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Recruited by Dodgers owner Branch Rickey from the Negro Leagues, Robinson played a year with a minor-league team in Montreal before moving up to Brooklyn. It was not a smooth path. Robinson faced racism from every directionfans, team owners, managers, opposing players, and even his own teammates. Chadwick Boseman makes his big-screen debut with an exceptional performance as Robinson, and Harrison Ford is wonderfully gruff as Rickey. This film pulls no punches and portrays a transition that was pivotal not just in baseball history, but also in American history. Like many sports movies, however, it can't resist ending with the cliché of rising music and slow-mo action.
>> See more mini-reviews, including Oz, The Great and Powerful ... On the Road ... Zero Dark Thirty ... Silver Linings Playbook ... Les Misérables ... Promised Land ... Life of Pi ... Hitchcock ... Lincoln ... Chasing Mavericks ... Cloud Atlas ... Argo ... Looper ... The Master ... Robot & Frank ... Ruby Sparks ... Hope Springs ... Beasts of the Southern Wild ... Moonrise Kingdom ... Prometheus ... and many more!
Tom's Inflation Calculator
Tom's Inflation Calculator includes the latest U.S. government inflation data plus alternative data sets. Both calculators are free and will automatically run in your web browser after clicking on the links above. By using historical data and forecasts, they can adjust U.S. dollar amounts for retail price inflation either forward or backward in time for any years between 1665 and 2100. (The alternative data sets have narrower ranges.)
Common Terms Defined
Are you baffled by a technical term or acronym you've never seen before? Or just curious about the latest techie slang? Tom's Computer Dictionary may have the answer. From "AAC" to "zoo virus," it defines more than 800 terms in plain language.
Guitar Cheat Sheet
Do you want to learn the most common major and minor guitar chords? Instantly transpose songs from one major key to another? Find out which major and minor chords go together? Play scales in any major key? Learn the notes on the fretboard? It's easy! And it's free! Just download and print Tom's Guitar Cheat Sheet.
Index to Tom's Articles
Here's an index to more than 350 of Tom's articles in Microprocessor Report, the insider's guide to microprocessor hardware. Learn about embedded processors, microcontrollers, digital-signal processors, and other chip-related topics. (Subscription required for most articles.)
Test Your Java Security
How safe is your system from hostile Java applets? Find out with JSecure, one of Tom's free applets. JSecure harmlessly tests the security manager of your Web browser or applet viewer by trying to access information from your computer's operating system and hard disk. Try it today!
Scramble Text With ROTator
ROTator is a Java applet that lets you encode and decode text in the popular Internet format known as "ROT 13." Lots of other programs do that, too, but Tom's ROTator applet goes further by allowing you to encode and decode text in any rotational letter-substitution format. With ROTator, you can shift the letters left or right, and you can shift them by any number of letters from ROT 1 to ROT 26.
Here is an index to more than 180 of Tom's computer articles from BYTE Magazine published from 1992 to 1998. (BYTE ceased publication in June 1998.) Most articles are still available online and include the original photographs, figures, and screen shots.
And more stuff...
- Tom's Mini Movie Reviews. Snappy reviews of recent movies, like those in the blue column on the left. Reviews that scroll off the column end up on the Mini Movie Reviews page.
- Shutterbug Articles. More than a dozen of Tom's photography articles from Shutterbug magazine are now online. Learn how to personalize your film speed, banish dust from your darkroom, make professional-looking postcards, find the best deals on used cameras, create special effects with open flash, and more.
- Tom's Oscar Contest. An annual tradition for 25 years, Tom's Oscar Contest is both entertaining and challenging. Hundreds of people have tried to guess who will win an Oscar in each Academy Award category. Competing against them is the computer brain of Tom's famed OscarCalc program, which sometimes wins the contest and always places near the top.
- The Death of BYTE Magazine. In 1998, after 23 years of operation, BYTE Magazine was shut down by its new owner, CMP Media. A year later, CMP launched BYTE.com as a very different web-only publication. To learn the inside story about what happened to the world's second personal computer magazine, see Tom's Unofficial BYTE FAQ: The Death of BYTE Magazine.
- Tom's Favorite Web Links. Find information about personal computers, microprocessors, Java, and other technologies. There are quite a few photography-related sites, plus some offbeat places you've never been. Lots of new links!
- Tools for Web Builders. The hardware, software, programming tools, and books used to build this web site might be useful to you, too. Most of these tools are linked to their vendors' web sites so you can find more information.
Visitors to this web site since August 29, 1966:
Last site update: May 13, 2013