Celebrate Titanic’s 20th Anniversary With These 10 Unsinkable Observations

Source: IMDb

Although Titanic was released on Dec. 19, 1997, it took me six months to convince my parents we should go see the film. While most parents refused because the car scene was supposedly “too mature” for my age group, my parents simply didn’t want to battle the enormous crowds. By the time they finally surrendered, the theaters were still packed. (That’s right—not only was the movie still in theaters six months later, but people were also still flocking to their local multiplex in record numbers.) Despite the rude, old ladies who forced me to dodge their towering heads the entire time, I’d finally reached my goal and I loved every minute.

Since that day, I’ve seen Titanic countless times. I’ve seen the film so many times, in fact, I can quote the characters well before they say the lines themselves. Decades later, each viewing reveals another overlooked element or random observation. Thus, on this, Titanic‘s 20th anniversary, I’ve gathered some thoughts about the unsinkable blockbuster that will surely go on and on for generations to come (especially if Celine Dion has anything to say about it).

Source: IMDb

I always thought I’d be too young for Leonardo DiCaprio. As it turns out, now I’m too old.

When Titanic premiered, Leonardo DiCaprio, the heartthrob of the moment, had just turned 23, making him much too old for my 10-year-old self. Now, 20 years later, DiCaprio continues to pursue women in their early 20s—women who were far too young to see the film when it was initially released. Pardon me; I’m just going to fill out my AARP application over here…

Source: IMDb

Mr. Bodine’s the most underrated character in the entire film.

Titanic might be chock full of A-list actors, but it’s Bill Paxton’s bearded sidekick, Lewis Bodine (played by Lewis Abernathy) that truly stands out. Compared to others, his role might seem relatively minor, but he delivers every single line as with an ease that makes it seem as if he’s not acting in the slightest. Plus, he adds an element of comic relief that makes the research ship scenes entertaining and fresh.

Titanic was an unintentional “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” reunion.

Twenty years prior to Titanic‘s release, both Bernard Fox (Col. Archibald Gracie) and Eric Braeden (John Jacob Astor) also co-starred in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, the third film in the Love Bug series. While this casting was likely just a coincidence, it’s certainly interesting to see these two actors together again playing characters from the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Source: IMDb

Rose’s granddaughter must be completely blind (or incredibly oblivious).

Once Rose (Gloria Stuart) and her granddaughter Lizzie (Suzy Amis) arrive on Brock Lovett’s (Bill Paxton) research ship, Lizzie sees the drawing and says, “You actually think this is you, Nana?” Of course it’s her! Have you been blind your entire life, young lady? Five seconds earlier, Rose mentioned how she has to have her pictures when she travels. One need only glance at those images to see that she’s most definitely the woman in Jack’s sketch. (Note: While old Rose must put her photographs on display, young Rose feels compelled to scatter her paintings all around the suite, making for an excellent juxtaposition.)

Cal has the best line in the whole entire movie, but no one appreciates it because he’s terrible.

“I put the diamond in the coat — and I PUT THE COAT ON HER!” I’m not sure how Rose managed to include this detail in the story she was telling Paxton’s crew, as she certainly didn’t her Cal’s exclamation, but I’m truly glad James Cameron didn’t opt to remove this line. Billy Zane doesn’t get enough credit for his fabulous turn as the fiancé from Hell because audiences rarely praise the people who take on the bad guy roles. He, however, deserves accolades for this outburst alone.

Source: IMDb

Rose’s mother might be selfish, but she speaks the truth.

“Of course it’s unfair. We’re women. Our choices are never easy.” Rose’s mother, Ruth (Frances Fisher), might be somewhat selfish, and it’s quite fun to watch her squirm as Rose walks away from the lifeboats in pursuit of Jack, but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. In fact, her most notable line hits on many underlying feminist themes that women must still grapple with 105 years later.

Source: IMDb

Cora’s there to greet Rose when she returns to Titanic at the end, which means she must’ve gone down with the ship.

SPOILER ALERT! When Rose passes away at the end, she returns to Titanic and reunites with her long lost love. As she enters, we see many familiar faces, all of whom went down with the ship. Cora, Jack’s adorable dance partner, waves as Rose glides toward the grand staircase, subtly indicating that the poor child must’ve perished that night, too.

Jack should’ve died when Rose chopped him off that pipe because there’s no way she didn’t slit his wrists in the process.

When Rose can’t find anyone who’ll help her save Jack from captivity, she decides to grab an ax and take matters into her own hands. However, upon her return, the shivering girl demonstrates that her aim isn’t all that precise. Unfortunately it’s their only option if they hope to escape before the water drags them under. Then Rose shuts her eyes and swings away, hitting Jack’s handcuffs at an angle that, by all rights, should’ve sliced downward, grazing his left wrist in the process. Yes, luck might’ve been on their side — in the given moment, anyway — but no matter how many times I watch her haphazardly hack at that pipe, I can’t believe there wasn’t at least a little bit of blood involved.

Source: IMDb

Just because there was room for Jack on the door doesn’t mean it would’ve stayed afloat.

For some reason, people are still arguing about whether or not Jack could’ve fit on the door at the end and avoided certain death. While there certainly would’ve been enough space for him, as its surface area was spacious enough for two, few account for the fact that his weight would’ve left both him and Rose submerged in the sub-freezing waters. James Cameron tested the door’s buoyancy to guarantee this end. After all, if both stars died from exposure to the elements, the film would cease to exist, as Rose wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale. Jack’s fate was sealed from the very start.

Source: IMDb

Jack and Fabrizio won their tickets from two Swedish guys named Sven and Olaf!

If those names sound familiar, that’s because Frozen‘s reindeer and snowman sidekicks share the exact same monikers. Of course the Titanic characters came to be nearly 20 years prior to Disney’s animated hit, but it makes me wonder… Are the names merely a coincidence, or are the creators of Frozen major Titanic fans, too?

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)


Trump’s War on Women Includes Mother Nature

Women’s bodies are always under public scrutiny. We’re on display from the moment we’re born. Why do you think so many of the naked babies featured in films and advertisements are clearly girls? Even before we learn to command our own bodily functions, our bodies are not our own.

And ever since Trump and his cohorts came to town, it seems almost illegal to inhabit the female form.

Sexual assault victims, as it stands, will soon be treated as accomplices of their own attack if the GOP has anything to say. Under Trumpcare, victims will no longer have access to safe abortion services, should the need arise, leading them to take matters into their own hands or carry the child to term—an alternative to the traditional life sentence. Because rape will soon count as a pre-existing condition, victims likely won’t be able to afford maternity care and mental health services either, forcing them to pay—both monetarily and emotionally—for the sins trespassed against them.

Of course, while women are nothing more than “second-class” citizens whose only crime was being born, Trump has chosen to tackle an even greater foe of the female variety—Mother Nature. By pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump has stripped Mother Nature of her rights. And she will not remain silent.

Source: kellybdc/Flickr

While women continue to speak out against the injustices we face, it’s easy for the predominantly white, male Republican Party to brush us off as nothing more than noise. But Mother Nature? No, she will never go quietly into the night. No matter how deep their denial flows, lawmakers cannot and will not put an end to climate change by pretending it doesn’t exist.

Because it does exist. Anyone with common sense and an eighth grade education will agree. We’ve failed our planet and, in response, our planet has begun to fail us. Why do you think the massive crack in Antarctica’s ice shelf grew 11 miles in only six days? Why do you think the once-vibrant Great Barrier Reef now suffers from coral bleaching and imminent death? Why do you think koalas, polar bears and countless other animal species are struggling to survive in their evolving habitats?

It’s downright preposterous that the political party that so closely associates with the pro-life movement continues to pursue policies that imperil the lives of those who are and those who will be. They might not live to experience the repercussions of their decisions, but their children and grandchildren certainly will. Even great wealth won’t save them from what’s to come.

Remember when Cal, played by Billy Zane, tries to bribe his way onto a lifeboat in Titanic? While Mr. Murdoch takes the money initially, he ultimately throws the stack back in Cal’s face as he says, “Your money can’t save you anymore than it can save me.” No amount of money will ever be able to reverse the damage Trump’s decision will inflict.

We are all in the same boat and everyone’s the captain—if the U.S. proves to be the iceberg that destroys the world’s environmental efforts, we’re all going to go down with the ship.

Government officials and their law enforcement lackeys can continue to treat women like one collective menace to society, but they cannot punish Mother Nature without being punished in return. Climate change will persist no matter how fervently the GOP resists. We might not be able to leave this planet in a better state than it was when we arrived, but we can do everything within our power to make the future brighter for those who don’t yet have a say.

In this instance, Trump shouldn’t be concerned with the people of Pittsburgh or Paris. When it comes to Mother Nature, he should focus solely on the children of tomorrow. He has an 11-year-old son, after all. Such disregard for science should be considered some form of negligence, if you think about it. In fact, it’s downright criminal.



(This post originally appeared on the Ms. Magazine Blog.)

The Bill Paxton Effect

Despite our presumed differences, it’s safe to say that we’re all looking for that elusive “something” that makes us feel complete. Our specific pursuits are irrelevant when we stop to consider that, deep down, we’re all desperate to find meaning in a world that seems devoid of logic, especially now.

Film and television are notorious for bringing such feelings to light, for it’s in the eyes of the actors that we can see ourselves. Bill Paxton’s body of work—his characters, in particular—personifies our innate desire to seek what’s just out of reach. But if there’s one thing we can learn from what the beloved actor and director left behind, it’s that what we want and what we need don’t always align.

Source: CraveOnline

Source: CraveOnline

Paxton’s roles often looked to the outside world for direction. His unhinged persona in Frailty believed he was destined to rid the world of demons, for instance, while his adventurous alter ego in Twister unearthed renewed purpose when chasing tornadoes. But it was his turn as Brock Lovett in 1997’s Titanic that demonstrated how tunnel vision might distract us from the critical lessons of life.

“Three years, I’ve thought of nothing except Titanic, but I never got it. I never let it in.”

Spoken by Paxton’s Lovett at the end of the film, these words emphasize the character’s epiphany. While he’d spent years searching for the Heart of the Ocean, a rare diamond once worn by the now aging Rose Calvert, he neglected to explore the rich history buried deep within the ship’s wreckage. Lovett longed to find artifacts, forgetting that each item pulled from the ocean floor carried the stories of those lost and found. As he said, he never let the immensity of the disaster sink in, so to speak.

Source: CinemaBlend

Source: CinemaBlend

But isn’t that how most of us go about our daily lives? We are selfish. We rarely stop to observe what’s all around. We are oblivious to both the beauty and the injustice right before our eyes.

Though we live in an increasingly enlightened time—an era filled with activists who wish to fix the faults of our ailing society—many people opt to look the other way. Face forward and eyes down, they trudge through life with little regard for those who are suffering. If they stop to acknowledge these issues, they run the risk of derailing their own efforts. One step off the beaten path could mark the beginning of the end for their personal success.

Nowadays, we call that privilege. Historically, we call that ignorance.

But now, more than ever, we need to open our eyes and our ears. We must extend our hand and heart to our neighbor, both near and far. Local communities may be close-knit, but we’re all global citizens now. We owe to our people and our planet to seek solutions to the problems that affect everyone worldwide. We must spread the stories and amplify the voices of those in need to educate the selfish and encourage the selfless.

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

During an interview with “Film School Rejects” in 2014, Paxton expressed his boundless fascination with human-interest stories. “My father always read obituaries to me out loud, not because he was maudlin or morbid, but because they were mini biographies. ‘Listen to what this guy did! Look what he said. Look how he started out.’”

Human-interest stories, those that truly touch our hearts and inspire change, are born from an interest in humans from all walks of life. But to learn the lessons our friends and strangers have to teach, we must commit to walking with them, hand-in-hand, even if only for a short while.

Fans will surely quote Paxton for generations: “Game over, man!” For those blessed with life, however, the game has only just begun.

But we’ve got to be in it to win it.

Let’s allow Paxton, the director, to call the next shot. Let’s show more interest in our fellow humans, for it’s in every human’s best interest to cultivate an overarching culture of curiosity and compassion. From this core value, we can achieve anything as long as we do so together.

Source: SunStar

Source: SunStar

Pop Culture References for Those Who Cannot Comprehend Trump’s Presidency

During the days immediately following the election, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the nightly news. If boredom struck, I’d cautiously scan Twitter, squinting as I scrolled, but nothing more. Yet, once Donald Trump began announcing his Cabinet picks, I ultimately realized that most major news outlets were also in some sort of daze. Most anchors made only brief references to each appointee’s disturbing history, completely disregarding their racist, sexist, and xenophobic views in the process.

Now, however, as Trump continues to treat this transition of power as nothing more than some makeshift white, male Miss Universe pageant, it’s clear that these media outlets are eager to normalize this parade of so-called “competitors” and gloss over the potential danger each candidate could pose to our civil liberties. Somehow, they’ve already come to accept that our new “reality” means treating the United States government like some second-rate reality program. Of course, while I’m sure Trump wishes he’d been elected to serve as the new host of America’s Next Top Model instead—more women for his tiny hands to grope!—that’s simply not the case.

But what will it take to get someone (ahem, everyone) to recognize the indisputable threat Trump poses to our country?

Last week President Obama claimed the U.S. government most closely resembles an ocean liner, not the speedboat many Republican lawmakers wish it to be. Unsurprisingly, that metaphor evolved into Titanic comparisons, which are never promising. But that’s when I discovered what might work—pop culture! If people are too dense to recognize the blatant parallels between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, maybe they’ll understand things better if I throw television and movie references into the mix.6d289e61_ar-302029982

For instance, there’s always that one villain on every single season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. You know, that one person who’s not there for the right reasons? That’s Donald Trump! While the man or woman of the hour carries on blindly (a.k.a. Trump supporters and, apparently, the media, too), falling for said villain based on little more than chemistry, the other contestants in the house (a.k.a. people who have learned from the past and don’t wish to repeat it) cannot help but warn the season’s star about the villain’s hidden agenda. Each concerned contestant then proceeds to use his or her alone time with the star to express their worries, risking their own chance for happiness just so they may protect this person from potential heartbreak. (Protesters may be on to something, huh?)

However, no matter how many kindhearted contestants come forward, the star of the show always gives the villain the benefit of the doubt (just as Trump supporters keep telling critics to “give him a chance”). But, like clockwork—almost as if the show were scripted!—the villain ultimately reveals that everyone’s suspicions were valid and that they were fooling the star the entire time. They’re usually two-faced liars who say one thing, but mean another, all in the pursuit of fame. (Hmm, sounds familiar…)

e6ae3c95f0af33832c3c54d9adb8c0Movie buffs may also note that Trump has this whole Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath vibe happening, too. [SPOILERS AHEAD!] He tries to uphold the ‘respectable man of high society’ façade in the company of his friends and colleagues, but deep down, he longs to silence those who may expose his misdeeds to the public. He’ll stop at nothing to make sure his shady dealings remain private.

But we, the people? Collectively, we’re Michelle Pfeiffer during the bathtub scene. Trump’s unexpected victory left us all immobile, much like the chemical that Ford used to temporarily paralyze Pfeiffer. None of us could speak, stunned silence spreading across the country. We were in shock, motionless, but we could still feel the terror bubbling inside. Like Pfeiffer’s character, however, we have emerged from our paralytic state and are ready to fight. We may stumble as we try to regain our footing, but we will stand together and persevere in an effort to protect the innocent and defend our rights.

Good always triumphs over evil in the end. Each bachelor or bachelorette finds love, even if only until the attention dies down, and Michelle Pfeiffer never fails to solve the mystery of her husband’s missing mistress. But we cannot expect the same fate if we neglect to acknowledge and oppose the elephant in the room. The media must take Trump to task with regard to his policies and his appointees. If he won’t condemn the racism and hatred that continues to spread in his name—and no, an arbitrary “stop it” will not suffice—then we, the people and the media, must do everything in our power to hold these groups accountable. Dozens of red flags signal an impending presidency marred by corruption and disarray.

If only more people would open their eyes to the truth… Maybe then they would’ve recognized the evil on their doorstep before inviting it inside.


(Images courtesy of PopSugar and Cinematic Corner)