It’s been 15 years since Titanic came into our lives and I can still remember anxiously sitting in my seat waiting to see it for the third time. I was 13 when it came out and I had exactly the reaction to it that you would assume I had. I was already obsessed with Leo from Romeo + Juliet and then Kate Winslet swept into my life and I loved her, too.
Obviously Titanic has been on our minds a lot lately with the 3D release quickly approaching (and these awesome posters existing) as well as James Cameron going on a crazy dive. I mean, I’m 100% seeing it in 3D but only to see Titanic in a theater again and not for the 3D specifically. (But that’s another story.)
Titanic touched me in ways I haven’t even been able to process. My friend and I like to yell, “Is anyone alive out there? Can anyone hear me?” whenever it’s least appropriate. If anyone even mentions Tir na nog, I start crying thinking about that poor Irish mom with her little kids when they’re just waiting in bed to drown. And my BFF does a ‘Victor Garber Changing the Clock On The Mantle As He Goes Down With the Ship’ impression that can’t be beat.
I’ve already talked about how Titanic influenced my obsession with the Oscars, but it did so much more than that.
Here are five ways Titanic ruined my life:
1. I’m Both Desperate to Go on a Cruise Ship and Terrified At the Same Time
I’ve never been on a cruise before. I sort of get seasick pretty easily and I hear cruises are kind of lame.
But I still want to go on one.
Yes, I DO understand what happens at the end of Titanic (and what happened in real life) but I don’t care. (I mean, I care, but it’s not stopping me.)
I still look at everyone’s amazing clothes (okay, this is mostly just the First Class passengers) and all the beautiful rooms they get to spend time in and I just want to be there. More than anything.
Actually, you know what? It’s NOT just First Class. Because also, how much do I want to be dancing down in steerage with Rose and Jack? SO much. (I don’t think that made any sense, but you get what I’m saying.) I just want to take a glamorous trip in a giant ship and hopefully we’ll look out for icebergs better on my trip.
2. Made Me Start Being an Obsessive Movie Fan
By the time I got Titanic in my life, I had reached a whole other level of movie-watching. Yes, this movie made me obsess over the Oscars but it was so much more than that. This was the turning point for me of, “Oh, now I’m a teenager and I’m into love stories, hard core.”
Really, I always loved a good love story and I was already at this point obsessed with sexual tension (we’ll talk about that once I get to The X-Files) but this was the first time where I was just head-over-heels into the romance aspect of a movie. Just that. Honestly, if you cut out all the parts of Titanic that take place in present day, I’d be fine. I barely paid attention to it except to say, “Wow, that piece of paper sure is preserved well! We can read the date and everything!” I just wanted Rose and Jack 24/7.
I definitely saw it three times in the theater, much to my parents’ annoyance (but wanted to see it 100 more times). I also begged to go to Media Play (yep, Media Play) to get the 2 tape VHS at midnight on the release night. (Wide screen version, natch – I was already paving the way to go to film school at this point).
A few years ago, Victor Garber was a guest on a show I was working on and we were discussing Titanic and my boss said, “Yeah, he was the ship captain.” And my immediate, no-holds-barred response was, “Um, actually, he played Mr. Andrews, the ship BUILDER. I can see how you’d make that mistake since he ALSO goes down with the ship, but he actually wasn’t the captain.” (If you’re hearing that in an annoying know-it-all voice then you’re hearing it correctly.)
When I visited the Belfast Museum (birthplace of the Titanic) in 2004, I spent a lot of time taking photos like this:
3. Made Me Listen to a LOT of Celine Dion
I want to get one thing straight. Celine Dion is an excellent singer and I appreciate her for that. But she’s kind of bonkers. I mean, her story is bonkers, the way she moves her arms when she sings is bonkers and just her general persona is, well, bonkers.
But, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ will always make me cry. Sorry.
Now, the Titanic soundtrack was (shockingly) NOT the first Celine Dion album I owned. I bought ‘Falling Into You’ (also at Media Play – I went there a lot) and loved it. I’ve listened to ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ hundreds of times and it just gets better. But post-Titanic, I had this feeling like I had to support Celine Dion. Like, because she was part of this magical thing that I loved, I should probably love her too. And I find her songs. . . amusing, sure. But it’s not the kind of music I’d generally listen to (okay, it totally is but like, not ALWAYS).
Titanic had a hold on me and therefore Celine did as well.
4. Blur the Lines Between Kate/Rose and Leo/Jack
I feel like I’ve talked a lot about now really grasping the idea of Actors vs. The Characters That They Play. But that’s only because sometimes it’s really hard for me to separate the two, duh.
It’s even harder, of course, when both stars of a movie are amazing and you convince yourself they should be together in real life and then you find out they ARE really close BECAUSE of this movie that changed your life and then you kind of can’t breathe thinking about them.
Remember 2009 when Kate finally won an Oscar (for The Reader) but also she and Leo had starred in Revolutionary Road together that year? Everyone who was 13 when Titanic came out died when they heard about Revolutionary Road. I even remember seeing a picture on my teenage cousin’s Facebook page where her friends were watching Revolutionary Road at a sleepover. (Probably solely because of Leo – because, duh, all 13-year-olds until the end of time will love him) but I like to think it was ALSO because of Titanic.
But Kate and Leo don’t help this situation at all because they’re always gushing about each other in interviews and stuff! At the 2009 Golden Globes she won for Revolutionary Road and there’s a point in her speech where she just starts professing her love for Leo. And it’s amazing. Both because I’m still 13 inside and just want Jack and Rose to make it but also because it’s just really nice or something that they do have this connection.
It makes Titanic that much better.
5. Obviously, in General, Made Me Desperately Want a Jack Dawson
Clearly, this goes beyond just Leonardo DiCaprio and hits a very basic nerve in me which says, “Please send me Jack Dawson immediately.” He loves Rose almost instantly even though she’s a jerk to him, which obviously seemed great to me since I have a history of being a jerk to people I like. He comes from Chippewa Falls, which sounds magical and also is name-checked in Annie Hall so it’s pretty much amazing. He talks back to Rose’s mom who is an actual mean person and he travels all around the world, drawing one-legged prostitutes. Genius!
But really, (and I AM going to get real for a minute), Jack is amazing because he convinces Rose to follow her dream. She’s stuck in this life that she doesn’t want to lead and feels absolutely suffocated and he saves her. He breaks her free from this and that is fantastic. Even though he dies and can’t be with her, living out her new path, he initiates it within her and she DOES end up riding horses on the beach.
Jack . . .Rose . . . my heart will go on.
(Main pic from here with Erin added in)