raise the Titanic!!!

10 Nov

Is it time for us to re-evaluate the highest grossing film of all time?   It might be worth a shot.  It’s been eleven years since James Cameron’s Titanic was released and became a national phenomenon.  It made most of its money from people going back to see it, seven or eight times.   This is back in the ’90s, you understand, when people could afford to go see a movie seven or eight times and also pay the phone bill.

Tasha Robinson, from The Onion’s AV Club, thinks so, although she apparently never saw the movie during its original run.  She actually never saw it until recently, which means that she is neither swayed by romantic nostalgia, nor biased by lingering feelings of resentment towards the stupid girls who went back to see it fifty-seven times in a row every weekend.   I do know for a fact that the only reason people hated Leo DiCaprio (at least until The Departed and Blood Diamonds came out) was this movie, and the ubiquitousness of his floppy hair and enigmaticly chiseled Sicilain features.   He was everywhere.  The dude was like the Nike swish logo for a while.

Here’s what Ms. Robinson thinks:

For me, the whole Jack-Rose-Cal plot read like the ur-chick-lit novel. It’s just about the most basic possible expression of a romantic female fantasy. (Also like a remake of 1994’s Reality Bites, but with fewer rooftop Schoolhouse Rock sing-alongs and more mass death.) If only every woman in the world was periodically forced to choose between two fantastically beautiful men—one rich and civilized yet stuffy, and one poor but free and capable. Then we wouldn’t have to keep seeing that plotline over and over again, because everyone would be so bored from dealing with it in real life that it wouldn’t be the stuff of clichéd dreams.

However, she also says stuff like this – about her favorite part of the film, just after the iceberg hits:

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From there, the movie goes into a heightened surrealism that says a lot of entertaining things about how people approach catastrophe, with confusion and denial and outright bureaucratic lies. The scenes where the upper-crust passengers refuse to stand out on the cold deck, or get into the scary lifeboats, and stand around in the salon listening to music and ordering drinks and bitching, were some of my favorites in the film. And once things really start to fall apart and the ship is obviously sinking and Titanic becomes a flat-out disaster film, it’s as well-made as 11-year-old special-effects extravaganzas get.

I’m with her.  It was spectacularly made and beautifully structured, directed and designed flawlessly and full of memorable moments (i.e. the woman telling her kids the story of Tir-Na-Nog before they all drown, “you’re just as likely to have angels fly out of your arse as get next to the likes o’ her”, the loogie scene, the young dudes kicking around chunks of ice like soccer balls, and any time Victor Garber is on screen as Mr. Andrews), but the love story was kind of dumb.   Sweet, yes, charming, definitely, and undoubtably necessary to the film, but kind of dumb nonetheless.

But here’s what’s really interesting: It’s the most successful film of all time, and everyone hates it.  Why?  Feel free to comment.

You know what?  I’m gonna re-watch it sometime and live-blog the experience.  We’re gonna settle this once and for all.


Posted by on November 10, 2008 in Uncategorized


11 responses to “raise the Titanic!!!

  1. Bill D.

    November 11, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I think what people really came to hate was the hype, not necessarily the movie itself. I went with some friends the Sunday night after it was released, and we all enjoyed it for the epic popcorn movie it was (and incidentally, the same group of us saw Jackie Brown the following night… and though JB was about 20-30 mins. shorter than Titanic, the three of us all agreed it felt a good hour longer; for coming in at the 3 hour mark, Titanic really moves, plotwise). But in the months to come, I sure got sick of hearing about it, thanks to all those 12 year old girls seeing it dozens of times, all the airplay the Celine Dion song got, the full frontal assault Oscar campaign, James Cameron’s “king of the world” speech (even if he didn’t mean it that way, as he claims, and was just quoting the script), and yes, Leo’s floppy hair… it all got to be a bit much.

    But the movie itself… no, it wasn’t really all bad. I enjoyed the cinematography, the vast majority of the cast (esp. Garber, Kathy Bates, and the often underrated Billy Zane), the fast-paced (if by-the-numbers) script, and of course, if I’m being completely honest, Way Naked Kate Winslet. It’s not a movie I’m going to choose to sit down and watch again any time soon. But if I found myself in a situation where I was going to be watching it, I wouldn’t mind so much, either.

  2. Shelley

    November 18, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    I have never watched Titanic. Partly because of the excessive hype, I admit–James Cameron’s arrogance in the wake (har har) of it was just a tad annoying. But my biggest problem with the idea of the movie was that it took such a fascinating, real-life event full of hubris and tragedy and individual moments of cowardice and bravery… and slapped a trite love story over it. I will eventually watch it someday, I’m sure, as long as I can fast-forward through every Rose/Jack scene.

  3. carla

    December 11, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Well I think that people who don’t like titanic are weird! Its a great film and its really sad at the end where you see everyone dieing…to think about what really happened! The love story part of it, it sweet because nowadays you wouldn’t get a girl choosing a poor man over a rich one, would you?! I think that Titanic is one of the greatest films ever to be filmed….its just got something about it that …i don’t know what it is but its just a really cool film!!

  4. pickle lover

    January 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    wow make that movie just for giggles for real that movie would be so funny! rose left him to die so he should take revenge.

  5. cassi

    January 26, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I just wanted to say that i love the dynamic of Titanic!!!

  6. kmhappybunny240

    February 1, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    is there really a titanic 2

    • geekusa

      February 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      Oh, totally. You never saw those trailers with an unthawed zombie Leonardo Di Caprio terrorizing New York? Classic.

  7. savanah

    March 11, 2009 at 11:11 am

    i think leonardo di caprio is amazing and so is kate winslet. they made titanic perfect. and it would be kind of cool to make a second movie to maybe see what would happen to rose before she died. you all are nuts if you don’t think titanic is the best movie. or maybe your just not in love yet.

  8. Patricia

    March 20, 2009 at 11:20 am

    okay this sounds completly and totaly retarded (no offence to those who like it) i mean he DIED! Jack turned into a freaking popsicle! HOW THE HELL IS HE GONNA COME BACK FROM THE DEAD!?!?!

    • geekusa

      March 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm

      Patricia –

      No one’s making a Titanic 2. He’s dead. I was thinking about rewatching the movie and writing about it, cuz I haven’t seen it in a while. I just thought the Photoshopped poster was funny, because obviously there could never be a sequel to a movie like Titanic (at least without being totally tasteless.)

      The only reason I’m spelling this out is that you’re not the only person who thought this was real.

  9. brittani spencer

    April 15, 2009 at 8:18 am

    that will be so cool if yall do that i love titanic and would love jack to come back for her


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