Has anyone besides me never seen “Titanic”? Anyone?

Don’t judge; I have my reasons.

It was just more than 18 years ago – Dec. 19, 1997, to be exact – that James Cameron’s really long tale of the infamous and “unsinkable” luxury liner was released in theaters.

At the time, I was the assistant manager at one of the local cinemas, and I thought this would be just another movie with a near-Christmas release date.

The film did little business the first week. I don’t know what happened after that, but all of a sudden the flood gates opened and mobs of people rushed to see this thing – again and again.

And again and again and again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There were preteen and teenage girls buying tickets for their fourth, fifth, ninth viewing. With a running time in excess of three hours, seeing “Titanic” multiple times was hardcore dedication.

There were couples on dates who couldn’t get tickets because shows were consistently selling out – for seven months.

It probably wasn’t quite seven months, but it was close – and it felt longer.

And the frustrations and exaggerated sighs and angry words of those patrons were taken out on the person who had to deliver the bad news.

Because it was totally my fault.

“Titanic” was playing on two screens, with start times staggered mere minutes apart from one another. And they were set in such a way so as to squeeze in as many showings as possible within the theater’s daily operating hours. Even with that, each auditorium only allowed for three screenings per day on the weekends, two each during the week.

It didn’t matter; if we played it, people came – like swarms of aggressive locusts.

On occasion, I would poke my head into a theater during the show to make sure things were running smoothly, that auditorium temps were comfortable, that there were no disruptions. I saw a little bit of footage here and there.

That was enough.

And one night someone actually threw up while watching the movie. No comment.

So I spent a good chunk of time, mid-show, in a sold-out auditorium no less, discreetly and desperately attempting to tend to that chunky mess while suppressing my gag reflex, all to the pulsating hum of the projector and by the dim light of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose’s (Kate Winslet) blossoming romance.

The memory is still that vivid.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Heh.

I know the story (who doesn’t?), and I know how it ends. That was always the joke: “I don’t want to ruin it, but the boat sinks.”

Hardy har-har.

But really the film ends with that awful Celine Dion tune.

Sorry, not sorry to anyone who loves her or that song, but good lord.

There are only so many times a person can hear it. Anything beyond that should legally qualify as cruel and unusual punishment. And considering how many times a day I heard it back then, it’s a wonder I didn’t go completely mad.

It didn’t take long to reach – and exceed – my threshold of tolerance for that Canadian crooner.

After about a week, I’d had enough; my heart couldn’t go on. I begged the projectionists to kill the sound during the end credits so I could help the ushers clean up theaters after each showing and not risk having to perform a self-lobotomy.

Pretty sure that when the souls of the damned are entering the tarnished gates of hell, they’re moving to the sappy cadence of that song.

G’head and hate; no one could ever despise me as much as I despise that song.

And didn’t the MythBusters investigate the heart-wrenching destiny that befell Jack and Rose, whether there was room on that piece of wooden debris for both of them?

Yes they did.

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage discovered it was “plausible” for both characters to have waited for help whilst floating on that board, much to the chagrin of Cameron, who insisted that the script – and not wisdom or resourcefulness, pfft – dictated Jack’s fate.

Guess who wrote the screenplay?

Whatever you say, Jim. Just another reason, among so many others, for me to skip over this one.

There probably are a few other nit-picky things, but the hype surrounding “Titanic” became so overwhelming that it completely sank any inkling of curiosity; I just didn’t care to ever see the film.

Still don’t.

I’ve seen “A Night to Remember,” so I’m good.

“Titanic” is probably a decent movie; they don’t (usually) give 11 Academy Awards to complete crap.

I’m sure the film is very pretty; director of photography Russell Carpenter’s imagery was rewarded with the Oscar for the film’s Cinematography.

I bet it’s mostly historically accurate, save for that fabricated love triangle, which got a huge knock because Billy Zane was part of it. He’s creeped me out since “Dead Calm.”

The cast seems otherwise pretty solid, and the performances are probably top-notch.

Winslet and Gloria Stuart received Oscar nods for their efforts, and DiCaprio – though, at the time bordering on being Justin Bieber-annoying – had girls everywhere mourning his fictitious finish.

And I love Bill Paxton. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more enthusiastic about his films who isn’t the man’s college pal or a blood relative.

But even my love for Paxton was suffocated by the ever-growing pile of “not a chance” cards that continued to stack against “Titanic.”

I have every confidence that the visuals are faithful to the time period, and there’s no doubt the effects are spectacular.

I mean, this is James Cameron, the guy who delivered to the masses films such as “Aliens” and “Terminator” and “The Abyss.”

And he gave us another overly long, special-effects saturated movie in “Avatar,” which – don’t even get me started. Kevin Costner’s version was better. Y’know, the one called “Dances With Wolves”?

But that’s another rant for another week.

In the mean time, I’ll just be over here not watching “Titanic” – and not regretting a single minute of it.

Article Source: SC Times

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