Today is the ten-year anniversary of Titanic’s release. Which is amazing and scary to me, because I can remember it so well.
When Titanic came out, I was That Girl. I saw it in the theater three times. I had a gigantic Leonardo DiCaprio poster on my bedroom door (the whole poster was his face, larger than life). My friend Jenna and I were full of all kinds of Titanic trivia and could recite entire scenes from memory. I became addicted to the Oscar telecast after seeing Billy Crystal host the show where Titanic won 11 awards. I sang “My Heart Will Go On” at the top of my lungs whenever it came on the radio. I had a Titanic T-shirt. I even sent away for a replica of the necklace, which turned out to be plastic and really cheap-looking.
Did I mention I was thirteen? I was the movie’s target demographic, so I can say all this without shame. Plus, if you’re going to get all nostalgic, it’s always more fun if you jumped on the bandwagon and were a complete dork than if you were too cool to be into whatever the trend was.
It’s funny to think about everything else that was popular circa 1997-1998. Dawson’s Creek was just starting. Boy bands were beginning to hit their stride. The Macarena was on Minute 14. People wore striped shirts a lot, or at least they did at my middle school.
But Titanic really dominated that year. Ten years later, I realize it’s not quite as good as I thought it was in eighth grade. It was nominated for fourteen Oscars, but Best Original Screenplay, rightly, was not one of them. The characters are very obvious and have no layers, and a lot of the dialogue is really cheesy. Example:
Jack: I’m not an idiot. I know how the world works. I’ve got ten bucks in my pocket. I have nothing to offer you and I know that. But I’m too involved now. You jump, I jump, remember? I can’t turn away without knowing you’ll be all right.
Rose: Well, I’m fine. I’ll be fine. Really.
Jack: Really? I don’t think so. They’ve got you trapped, Rose, and you’re gonna die if you don’t break free. Maybe not right away because you’re strong, but soon, that fire that I love much about you Rose, that fire’s going to burn out.
Rose: It’s not up to you to save me, Jack.
Jack: I know. Only you can do that.
Also, while Leonardo DiCaprio is a very good actor, you’d never know it by his performance in Titanic. Even when I was thirteen, I was afraid that both he and Kate Winslet would fade into obscurity or be typecast for therest of their careers. Happily, and surprisingly, that didn’t happen, and the two of them did another movie together that will be released next year.
And if you really think about the romance part of it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. How were they supposed to be soul mates? They only knew each other for a few days. Who knows how long the romance would have lasted if Jack had lived?
My thirteen-year-old self would be horrified to hear me saying this. But has any of this stopped me from getting the Special Edition DVD? Hell, no. I think that no matter how old I get, this is a movie that will have a special place in my heart, just because of all the memories I have associated with it.