should help quell your seasickness as you navigate through James Camerons celebrated
epic wreck, Titanic, a $200 million extravaganza so lacking in scintillating
dialogue that its a wonder the ship sank. But now the Maven has revealed the ending
and for this she is sorry. Its just that James Cameron (Terminator,
Rambo,), who wrote and directed, should have known better than to trust the
pint-tanic acting of Leonardo DiCaprio. As the films star, he lacks the charm,
charisma, and most of all the believability for the role of an adventure seeker and lover.
Otherwise, hes perfect. Kate Winslet, his leading lady, fares better.
While its no secret that the movie is headed for monetary
success, Cameron surprisingly has received praise for miscasting, with DiCaprio being
nominated for everything except the Nobel Peace Prize. Here the Maven suggests a PETA
award for the actor who insisted that his pet lizard named Blizzard accompany him to the
movie set in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he was nearly squished by a truck. Stunt
lizards being what they are, its a pity that something along these lines was not
thought of for Camerons character Jack Dawson, who wades us through 3 hours and 15
minutes of sophomoric dialogue, without managing to convey the true catastrophe of the
ships sinking into the icy North Atlantic seas in 1912.
Not since Mad magazines Poopseidon Adventure has the Maven
unintentionally laughed so hard. Perhaps Titanic would have been funnier if
Shelley Winters had signed on, instead of being stuck with two star-crossed lovers
(DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) who cannot carry a motion picture. Winslet, so lovely in
Sense and Sensibility, plays a once wealthy Philadelphia society girl named
Rose, who is escorted on board by her straightlaced nudnick mother (Frances Fisher) and
snooty but rich fiancée (Billy Zane). Although Winslet wears fetching costumes that
include a chiffon parasol and plumed hat, she appears in desperate need of an
old-fashioned Westmore make-up man, especially when pitted against DiCaprio who looks
Since $200 million was lavished here and there, its puzzling
why a few hundred dollars, lets say, was not set aside for toupees, specifically for
Billy Zane. With different hairlines and Dracula-like eyebrows, its not a wonder
Rose runs from him. Enter DiCaprio in the guise of a penniless artist who nonetheless has
lived all over the world, but who still resembles an extra from a Gidget
movie. (beach accent optional) Please tell the Maven how Rose could be attracted to such a
person. Could it be Jacks talent in drawing? Hardly, as we glimpse his sketches of
nudes in Paris, proving that its not enough to know the names of the great
Impressionists when your work gives the impression of Art 101.
Speaking of 101, Cameron throws in a silly story of Rose, now a
centenarian, who hears about the raising of the Titanic by some fortune hunters, and
arrives on the scene to retell her story on board the ill-fated ship. Actress Gloria
Stuart, a spring chicken in her 80s, is engaging as the elderly Rose, yet doesnt
bear any resemblance in speech or looks to Winslet.
The modern day tale is lame and predictably peppered with witty
dialogue such as, Youre so full of s--t, boss. Actually, this should
have been DiCaprios response when he was handcuffed to a rail and left to drown.
Rose miraculously locates him below deck. I say miraculously, because she has sloshed
through the cold torrents of water that even Russian swimmers would run from, only to
realize that she cannot free her lover. Ill be right here, he tells her
as she sloshes away for help. Hey, dont laugh. Think its easy to rescue
someone when everyone on board is running for their lives?
Titanic, the vertical nightmare, keeps your attention as
expensive china crashes and champagne glasses break, bodies whirl and fall overboard, and
the stern with huge propellers rises straight up and out of the water. Nothing on
earth could come between them reads a current ad. Well, nothing except poor
dialogue, and this the Maven says with love & knishes.
# # #