Thursday, June 19, 2008


Titanic is the stupidest movie of all time.

Of course, it's also awesome. It's a guilty pleasure, but it's still a pleasure. I own the special edition DVD and watch it all the time. I'm watching it right now, in fact. The special effects are amazing and look as good today as they did when it first premiered. The set design, photography, and costumes are stunning. The attention to detail is absolutely astounding. And the final hour or so where the ship is sinking is breathtaking, edge of your seat entertainment. James Cameron the producer and director deserves all of the accolades he received for this movie's impeccable design and production.

But James Cameron the writer is a hack. Seriously, this screenplay is terrible. When anything is happening that isn't from any actual historical record, James Cameron's imagination and writing ability simply run dry. But as bad as his hackneyed, trite dialogue is, it's his attempts at characterization that always make me cringe.

So here's my list of the eight worst written characters from Titanic. This might take a while:

8. Jack Dawson
Leo gets a bad rap. Everybody always points to this movie as his absolute worst performance ever. And it was, but only because all of his other performances have been so good. The guy's a great actor. I don't care what anybody says. This character just happens to have the distinction of being his worst written character ever. Seriously, he was given more nuanced, intelligently penned scripts while he was a cast member on Growing Pains.

But I kind of liked Jack, if only because Leo is such a charming, likable, natural actor. But it is a stupid, cliched character.

Jack's entire character can be defined by the party in steerage, which is the dumbest, most moronically conceived scene in movie history. You know... the scene after Jack has dinner with all of the rich people, and he then takes Rose down to steerage to show how poor people party so much harder. It's so annoying and ridiculous and, frankly, offensive to both rich and poor people alike. It's so dumb and over the top in how it strives to make its point that rich people are assholes who are all miserable, boring people while poor people are the only ones who understand what life is all about.

I'm surprised James Cameron didn't put Montel Jordan in the backround, singing "This is How We Do it" remixed on bagpipes.

7. That Irish Guy
I don't remember his name. I just remember that scene where Jack first sees Rose and becomes stunned, until that Irish Guy says, "You'll just as soon have angels fly out of your arse as you will get close to the likes of her."

Was he the great great grand father of Wayne from Wayne's World or something?

6. Cal Hockley
I just love how James Cameron takes every opportunity to make Hockley into such an nonredeemable dumbass. Like that scene where Rose is setting out her Picasso paintings and Hockley complains about how horrible they are, and how Picasso will NEVER amount to anything. Contrast that to the scene where Jack sees her paintings and gushes over them. Because, according to James Cameron, people who hate art are evil and those who love art are angels.

And what a prick this guy is. From the minute he meets Jack, he treats him like shit, and all but laughs when he finds out that all of the poor people are going to die. Why didn't they give him a Snidely Whiplash like handlebar mustache for him to twirl? Or they couldn't have included a scene where he raped one of his servants and then bit the head off of a live puppy?

5. That Fat Guy
You know... Bill Paxton's friend or partner or something. Who put that guy in a movie? That character wasn't just poorly written, but the actor was disgusting. Sorry, but it's true. In fact, was that Bruce Villanche?

4. Fabrizio
You know, Jack Dawson's annoying Italian friend. I'm sure you remembered who I meant after I said he was Italian, because he's the most ridiculously stereotyped Italian character since Chef Boyardee. They should've just named him Mario so he could've jumped around the ship, eating mushrooms, and saying things like, "It's a' me... Mario!!"

3. Jar Jar Binks
I have no idea what James Cameron was thinking. Why the hell was Jar Jar in this movie?

2. Molly Brown
Kathy Bates is a wonderful actress who should've known better. But boy was she annoying. That horribly, phony accent. Those obnoxious southernisms she worked into every line of dialogue. I don't really have much more to say. You know what I'm talking about.

1. Rose
I hate, hate, hate hate HATE Rose DeWitt Bukater. What a selfish, loathsome, insensitive, pathetic shrew. And she's actually our film's hero!

Rose's first big scene is when she is at lunch during the first day of the ship's voyage. She's mostly quiet for the whole scene, until her mother complains about her smoking. So what does Rose do? She turns to her mother and blows smokes right into her face. What a bitch! Sure, we later learn that her mother was expecting Rose to marry the admittedly loathsome Cal Hockley, but still. If you don't want to marry the guy, don't. But don't blow smoke in your mother's face. That's just mean.

And then, after Bruce Ismay talks about how he coined the named "titanic" because he wanted something that would convey the sheer size and power of the ship, she insulted him by telling him he should read Freud, because he obviously has a small penis. What the hell? I'm sure James Cameron thought this was funny. But it's just rude, pointless, and makes Rose look like a bitch. I tried to justify (or at least explain) why she was cruel to her mother, but I can't for the life of me figure out why she was openly insulting to Bruce Ismay.

And then she tries to kill herself. Why? I dunno. Because she's too much of a free-spirit to handle being tied down in the claustrophobia of wealth and privilege. Yeah, go and tell that to the people who had to pile 12 people to a room down in the steerage cabins.

And the entire movie was the story she was telling to Bill Paxton and the other treasure seekers. Remember them? They were excavating the Titanic's remains because they were looking for the diamond the Heart of the Ocean. So she tells them some incredibly long story about every minute of her time on the ship.

Why did they cut all of the scenes where Bill Paxton was like, "I don't give a shit about how Jack Dawson taught you how to spit. Where the fuck is that diamond?!!!"

At least she looks great naked. Best scene in the movie... which quickly turns into the worst transition in film history. The camera scans along Kate Winslet's naked body up to her face, which morphs into the wrinkled, liver-spotted visage of Gloria Stuart, the elderly actress playing Rose in her later years. Thanks, Jim, that's exactly what I want to picture when I think about Kate Winslet naked: how old and disgusting and wrinkled she's going to be some day. And as if that isn't gross enough, Gloria Stuart has some line about how it was the "most erotic experience of my life." Ugh.

No offense to Gloria Stuart, who I'm sure was a wonderful, beautiful actress in her younger years.

But the real capper on her character, the real moment where she ceases to be simply an annoying, self-hating, cruel shrew and becomes actually immoral and evil is when she drops the diamond into the ocean at the end of the movie. Seriously? That's how she honors the memory of Jack Dawson? By tossing millions of dollars into the ocean?

I hate this movie.

Why am I still watching it?

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