Spoiler Alert: They Still Hit The Iceberg

Titanic (in 3D)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ (4.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: If you have trouble convincing him to take you, these 4 words should do the trick: Kate Winslet’s 3D boobs.

When Titanic came out in theaters for the first time in 1997, I was in the third grade and it was a magical experience that evoked a lot of “firsts” for me: first time I got to see a PG-13 movie in theaters, first time I saw a pair of boobs that didn’t belong to my Mom, first time I decided I wanted to go to “movie school” (which I did) so I could become a big-time director (which I didn’t), first time my Dad let me get popcorn AND Sno-Caps (hey, it’s a 3 hour movie!), first time I fell in love and could use the fancy cursive I just learned to write “Christie DiCaprio” all over my schoolbooks… Cut to 15 years later: I have seen more than my fair share of boobs (even though I never seemed to grow any), the AMC near me has abhorrently retired Sno-Caps, I don’t remember how to write in cursive, and my heart has gone on from Leonardo to a string of other Hollywood infatuations (most currently – Andrew Garfield). One thing that hasn’t changed? The wondrous movie magic that mesmerizes my entire being throughout the 194 minutes of James Cameron’s Titanic.

Now, I have faced a lot of criticism over the years for my unabashed love for this movie. During my time at Tisch, my high opinion of the film was undoubtedly in the vast minority and I found myself in one too many heated debates over the 1997 Academy Awards. Yes, L.A. Confidential was an amazing film that would have deserved the award any other year… but against Titanic? Bitch, please. Forget for a second that this bad boy set box office records (which is not something the Academy generally cares about anyway), grossing close to $2 billion worldwide. Forget about its script, which is amazing and easily the most quoted script in movie history despite it being criticized for its sappiness and repetitive use of the main characters’ names (Rose: 76, Jack: 85). Forget about how completely ahead of its time the stunning special effects were. Instead, just think about it’s impact. I was in the third grade and I still remember what I was eating in the theater that night, and who I talked about it with at the lunch table the next day (Heather Frederick, thank you very much). Did it impact every person to the same extent as it impacted me – who decided then and there at the age of 8 that I would go to film school? Of course not. But people of all ages and genders worldwide came out in droves to see Titanic multiple times. Why? Because there is literally something in it for everyone: a hard-hitting historical account of one of the world’s saddest tragedies, an epic tale of romance and loss, fearless action sequences, beautiful cinematography, mind-blowing visual effects… even some nudity! And although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I firmly believe whoever claims that the film sucks is just saying it to be ironic. [No offense.]

Now that that’s off my chest…

It was hard for me to imagine what a third-dimension could add to a film that was already so aesthetically spectacular and pretty-effing-perfect in 2D. To be honest, I don’t think it added all that much. I’m not saying it didn’t look completely awesome – it’s James Cameron, of course it did. The dude spent over 60 weeks and $18 mil converting the movie frame by frame (all 260,000 of them). But I always felt like Titanic in 2D had a bit of a 3D feel to it already. Granted, there were a few scenes that particularly stood out due to this conversion. The 3D permits us to teeter with Rose over the ship’s railing as she contemplates suicide, and the depth and darkness of the ocean at this angle truly spooked me. Later on, post-iceberg, Jack and Rose are at that same location on the stern, when it is split in half from the rest of the ship. Clinging onto the outside of the railing, they are pulled into the air at a 90 degree angle before facing a steep plunge into the icy water. That moment was alway the scariest part of the film for me, and in 3D, my stomach dropped like I was on a roller coaster. A really, really high one.

But, I didn’t pay the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic in 3D… I paid the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic. Again. On the big screen. Because every time I watch this movie, I discover something new about it that I love. This time around? I found out that a part of me actually feels kinda sorry for Cal Hockley. In my previous 15 or so viewings of Titanic, I had always written Cal off as Rose’s arrogant and possessive fiancĂ© – a storybook villain. But this was the first time I ever watched the film as a grown-up who has experienced heartbreak firsthand. And, for whatever reason, all my previous perceptions about Cal were now erased. It had never occurred to me that he might actually love Rose (or at least the idea of her), and it is the heartbreak that comes from not being loved in return that causes him to lash out. When Cal puts the Heart of the Ocean around Rose’s neck for the first time, a glimmer forms in his eyes. I had always assumed it was the wealth surrounding the diamond that caused the glimmer, but for once, I felt like it was because he thought he was giving the world to the woman he loved. Later on, that glimmer is replaced by sadness caused by the realization that Rose is in love with another man. Yet, he can’t shake the hope that she may come back around, which propels him to skip out on his initial chance for a lifeboat in an effort to save her. Later on, after Rose has blatantly made her choice, Cal still doesn’t give up hope and searches for her on The Carpathia. Truthfully, it all kind of broke my heart. Of course, I am completely 150% for Rose being with Jack, but I couldn’t help feel a bit more sympathetic towards Cal’s character. After all, wouldn’t you want to frame a robbery on the jerk your still-fiancĂ© posed nude for behind your back? I would also like to take this time to apologize to Billy Zane, whose strong performance as the man scorned I have long overlooked.

The only issue with seeing a movie you love dearly in theaters fifteen years after it’s initial release is that there is a whole generation of teenagers who weren’t alive when it originally came out and may have never gotten around to seeing it. (Gasp!) To be quite honest, I am not even sure the teenage girls in my theater knew that it was a re-release. When Jack dies, there was a collective “Huh? He dies? What kind of movie is this?” and when My Heart Will Go On plays during the end credits one of them literally went, “Ohhh. So that’s where this song comes from.” Thankfully, I think they had learned in some history class that the Titanic sinks so at least that wasn’t a big shocker. That aside, seeing it on the big screen again was still a magical experience, particularly on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. If you like the movie half as much as I do, you cannot miss this opportunity to give James Cameron even more money than he already has.

Things I’ve Learned Since I First Saw Titanic In 1997:
1) When Jack says, “I saw that on the Nickelodeon,” he isn’t referring to the TV channel.
2) Jack and Rose are doing more than just “kissing naked” in that horse-drawn carriage.
3) Billy Zane made male eyeliner sexy long before Johnny Depp.
4) There’s no way that necklace would’ve stayed in Rose’s pocket that whole time.
5) I’ll never be blonde, foreign, or a supermodel, so Leonardo DiCaprio will never date me.
6) Trying to master Rose’s party trick will result in a sprained ankle.
7) And mastering Jack’s “man spitting” is not something you should show to anyone. Ever.
8) The woman who plays Old Rose wasn’t a Titanic survivor. (Where did I hear that?)
9) Rose is 17 in the movie, proving that slutty high school girls have been sending naked pictures of themselves to boys long before ‘sexting’ was a word. It also proves that you never know how old you might be when those pictures resurface. (Crap.)
10) That very last scene doesn’t actually mean everyone came back to life again…

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Happy (Day After) Valentine’s Day!

As I mentioned in my review of The Vow, Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. So it’s completely understandable that today, after I’ve used up the last of my red pancake batter and only have the gross strawberry nougats left in my box of chocolates, I’m struck with post-holiday blues. To help me combat them, I’ve given myself the very difficult task of narrowing down my favorite chick flicks to a top 10 list…

Before you read, this is not to be confused with a list of the 10 Best Chick Flicks. That would be an entirely different list, and would include movies like Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Notebook (no, The Notebook is not on this top 10 list. Read #6 to see why). This is a list of My 10 Favorite Chick Flicks, based on the number of times I’ve watched them, the memories I have from watching them, and the happiness I feel when watching them.

Drumroll please…


#10 – Pretty in Pink
The Pretty in Pink vs. Sixteen Candles debate is a tricky one, with an equal amount of support waging war from both sides. For me, Pretty in Pink always takes the cake (see what I did there?). Even though Blane is a complete tool and Jake Ryan could kick his wimpy ass, Andie is a way better heroine than Sam. In high school, I was Sam, but I wanted to be Andie. That scene where Andie throws Blane against a locker and rips him a new one over prom says it all – Sam/high-school-me would never do that. But there were plenty of times where we should have! Plus, Pretty in Pink has Duckie♥ and all of his mistaking-tampons-for-candy glory. ‘Nuff said.

#9 – Jerry Maguire
“You complete me.” Not only was this one of the greatest lines uttered in any romance movie EVER, but it was uttered by Tom Cruise when he was not only still in the Sexy Men Top 10 – he was right at the top of it. And not only was this one of the greatest lines uttered in any romance movie EVER, but it prompted Renee Zellweger’s character to say THE greatest line uttered in any romance movie EVER: “You had me at hello.” That line right there created a whole new level of hopelessness for hopeless romantics like myself. And since I am 99% certain that this movie is why I am currently dating an aspiring sports agent, it had to go in the top 10.


#8 – 10 Things I Hate About You
You will soon enough realize that I am a Shakespeare freak. So the fact that someone cleverly turned The Taming of The Shrew into an angsty teen romcom that starred Alex Mack and had Heath Ledger singing Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” is sheer genius. Plus, this movie helped prevent me from dating any unworthy guys in high school. If he wasn’t willing to hire the school marching band to woo me or wasn’t going to buy me a guitar every time he screwed up, then no thanks.

                                                                 
#7 – 500 Days of Summer
I first fell in love with 500 Days of Summer, when I was visiting the Mud Truck in Astor Place one summer afternoon and got a free iced coffee as part of Fox Searchlight’s brilliant “500 Treats of Summer” marketing campaign. Having just found out that my hipster roommate was leaving me to live with other hipsters, I was very bitter towards the whole hipster race and had no intention of seeing this hipster movie. But after the free iced coffee, I figured – why not? I ended up seeing it 3 times in theaters, and I watch it every single time I have a bad day. It’s not for everyone because, as it states upfront, it’s not a love story. It’s just a story about love, and that’s what I find so charming about it.


#6 – A Walk To Remember
I fully recognize how incredibly amazing The Notebook is. And when it comes down to it, The Notebook is absolutely a better movie. But I personally like A Walk To Remember more. Maybe it’s because I read both books before the movies, and A Walk To Remember was hands down the better book so I cared more about it. Maybe it’s because I was Jamie, not Allie, in high school. Maybe it’s because the soundtrack had FOUR Mandy Moore originals. Maybe it’s because Shane West is sexier than Ryan Gosling (Yep, I said it). All I know is after watching A Walk To Remember, I made a bucket list and put the pressure on my boyfriend                                                        at the time to make it happen. I never wanted him                                                         to build me a house.


#5 – Titanic
To say I am excited for the 3-D re-release in April is an understatement. I freaking did a back flip from my office chair when I heard the news. Titanic came out when I was in the 3rd grade. It was the first PG-13 movie my parents ever took me to and they didn’t even make me close my eyes during the “naked kissing” scenes. Right after it, I told my Dad that I wanted to go to “movie school” and he told me I should go to NYU (which I did). Years later, my best friend and I still take a “King of the World” picture every time we are on a boat and write “You jump, I jump” in every birthday card we give each other.


#4 – Love Actually
I watch this movie a minimum of 5 times during Christmas – once while I’m baking cookies, once while I’m decorating the house, once during the first snow, and twice when wrapping presents. Like the poster says, it is the ULTIMATE romantic comedy. You think you love Jamie and Aurelia the most because they’re true soulmates, but then Hugh Grant dances to The Pointer Sisters, and Carl takes his shirt off, and Mark does that whole cute thing with the signs, and Daniel & Sam re-enact the Titanic, and Billy Mack strips down on camera and… actually, you love every character equally! Except Professor Snape. He’s horrible.


#3 – Ghost
It is easy to decide whether you are a Ghost person or a Dirty Dancing person. You just have to watch both sex scenes (which both include a shirtless Patrick Swayze, a record player, and an element of dance) and decide – if you were given the opportunity, would you rather be in Demi Moore or Jennifer Grey’s scene? For me, it’s Ghost. Patrick Swayze makes the first move, Righteous Brothers are on, they’re in a sexy New York loft, and there’s something so erotic about them being covered in clay. But if you’d rather make the first move and do it in a twin bed in a cabin somewhere to a song no one’s ever head of – you’re a Dirty Dancing person.


#2 – When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally is the perfect example of a romantic comedy because it is just as romantic as it is comedic. It also was completely ahead of its time, setting out to prove that friends with benefits never works before friends with benefits was even a term. If you thought that last year’s Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis and/or Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman movies were good, then do yourself a favor and re-watch this 80s gem. It’s way better and you’ll be quoting it for days.

               

               
#1 – Shakespeare in Love
I told you already that I am a Shakespeare freak – so a movie that ties in elements of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and multiple other Shakespearean plays is right up my alley. But even if it wasn’t, I still think Shakespeare in Love would be at the top of my list. After all, what is more romantic than a story about the King of Love falling in love? Especially when the Shakespeare in this particular story looks nothing like the receding hairline, mustached man we know from that portrait, but instead has a full head of hair, a chiseled body, and wears eyeliner. And we haven’t even gotten to Ben Affleck’s or Colin Firth’s parts!

So that’s my list. Like I said, it’s missing a lot of good ones – i.e. The Notebook, Pretty Woman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dirty Dancing, Say Anything, The Princess Bride, Ever After, Moulin Rouge, and ton of others. But you gotta draw the line somewhere. What’s your top 10?