School of Rock 2

If there's one thing that rock establishes, it's that women are no good. In fact, they are the embodiment of evil. As a woman, I can neither confirm nor deny this thesis. I can however, compile a chronological list of songs containing the words devil, evil, and wicked in reference to women in the title.

1. Let's be honest, this theme's got deep roots in the blues. Here's Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman" (1920s/30s).

2. This even caught on with New Zealand's Elvis Presley, Johnny Devlin. "Wicked Wicked Woman" (1958ish).

3. Joe Hex brings us "Wicked Woman" (Mystery Year) complete with about 234987 key changes.

4. This one is a little more R&B and is also the best thing ever. "Wicked Woman" by Lynn Johnson (Mystery year)

5. Hell, even country got in on this. With a Spanish guitar flair. Here's Marty Robbins' "Devil Woman" (1962).

6. PJ Proby brings us a cheesy brass section in "Wicked Woman" (1963).

7. Well this is adorable. "Devil in Her Heart" by the Beatles (1963).

8. A blues-based rock epic, heavy on the organ, you ask? Here's "Evil Woman" by Spooky Tooth (1969).

9. I guess we were going to get to actual Satanists at some point. Here's "Wicked Woman" by Coven (1969).

10. "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)" by Crow (1969) was covered by Black Sabbath the next year, but--as you should know by now--a horn section trumps all.

11. So Ringo Starr has a B-Side called "Devil Woman" (1973). Let's be honest: this is awful. In a Meatloaf sort of way. At least he references Sexy Sadie.

12. The honor of my favorite "Evil Woman" song goes to Electric Light Orchestra (1975). Jeff Lynne writes a catchy song. Even better if you can include a cello.

13. Although Cliff Richard comes pretty close, too. Seriously"Devil Woman" (1976) is perfection.

"She's gonna get you from behind."

14. "Evil Woman" by Nightwing (1982) may or may not have been recorded in a garage. Also, crazy prog organ solo.

15. I draw the line of anything after this. For the most part it includes some magnificent covers. Suffice it to say, Shy's version of Cliff Richard's "Devil Woman" is my favorite.

Evilly yours,



The universe really wants me to be in the mood for Christmas. I mean, it's snowing in Seattle in NOVEMBER, and it reminded me of how much I kind of miss the way snow dampens sound and simultaneously mutes colors and reflects light. I miss real winter.

So, as a pre-Thanksgiving Christmas treat, the Cambridge Choir performing "Gabriel's Message."

(Or, if you prefer Sting's version)


Do you like the 70s and like to remember what you learned from college?

Then I have an awesome 4 part series from John Berger, who wikipedia tells me is "an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a college text."

No kidding. Anyway Ways of Seeing is actually a very interesting way to look at the purposes of visual art, how people perceive that art, and how the oil painting tradition of Western Europe has influenced how art is used today.

What I liked most about this series is how much Berger concentrates on personal reactions to art and keeping honest about what the messages these pieces of art are portraying. In the first couple episodes, he takes time to discuss art with first, a group of children and how they perceive a painting, and second, how a group of women feel about how women are portrayed in nude portraits. I think it helps his argument immensely by taking it outside of the blue-background studio where his talking head bits are recorded. The series also does a good job of letting a viewer make conclusions for themselves, quietly juxtaposing pictures, but then also emphasizing that this was on purpose to send a message. How meta!

Anyway, take 2 hours and watch the whole series. Part 1 of each episode and a description below:

Episode 1: An interesting view on how reproducing great works of art has decreased it's worth in terms of it's original intent/setting, but also how that has increased the value of works of art so much that it has become its own religion. He also touches on how cinematic elements changes art for a television screen.

Episode 2: How the female nude is different from just nakedness, how that is linked to female identity, and how the principles of female nudes in oil paintings are still seen today.

Episode 3: Berger discusses the messages from the oil portrait tradition (basically, "I'm rich"), and how paintings opened the doors for consumerism.

Episode 4: Focuses on modern advertisements and what they cause a consumer to do (imagine a potential future), and how that compares to oil paintings of the past. It also touches on how absurd it's become.


PBS is lovely

Because it reminded me how adorable Rupert Graves is (you're still looking good, you silver fox). He plays the boss to the crazy and caustic Sherlock Holmes on House Sherlock. No really, it's basically House with British accents. Mix in some Martin Freeman as Doc Watson and of course I'm watching this.


Re: Howard Keel

Does Howard Keel always play the worst boyfriend ever? I mean, he masterminds the kidnapping of innocent women with the aid of misguided book-learning, and then he beats up his BFF and secret love, and now I find that he spanks his ex-wife on stage during a musical rendition of Shakespeare's creepiest love story?

Why are any of these women clamoring back to him. I mean, I'm a fan of a tall drink water and a deep voice as much as the next person, but goodness, there has to be a line in which you think "dealbreaker."

I don't know. Maybe if you're into the physically domineering type. And I can't say I'm against all that facial hair he sports:

And those gams! Has anyone seen this one (Jupiter's Darling)? It looks awful, in the best way possible.



Last night's episode of Glee didn't want to make me shoot myself so, I wanted to celebrate the most ridiculous thing about last night's episode--which was ridiculous delightful, not ridiculous cut myself--with you.

Compare Barbra's outfit...

...with Rachel's:


David Bowie might be next


Are you seeing how good he looks in suits? 80s fashion was kind to David Bowie in a way that is inconceivable. Anyway, I think I've warmed up to David Bowie enough that to start becoming a true fan. Recently, I can't stop listening to this song:

Anyone have any album/film recommendations?


Medley of the Day: Money edition

"Money Money Money" by Abba

Fun fact: This music video was heavily inspired by the song below.

"Money" by Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey from the 1972 film Cabaret

Why is this performance so awesome?


Medley of the Day: This was actually a medley in the first place

Anyone who has read this blog long enough knows of my not-so secret love of Sting. It's not because I love and adore everything he's ever written/performed (at least 30% of it is too bizarre to really enjoy listening to), but when Sting's good, he's good. And if I can look at him while he's being good at playing music, even better. Here he is performing "Why Should I Cry for You" (1991) and "Be Still My Beating Heart" (1987) in a sweet yellow vest.

Check out Dominic Miller's hair: what part of the 90s is this?


While watching Easy A...

...it occurred to me that the charming Emma Stone:

reminds me of the charming Lauren Graham:

I think it's partially to do with the pop culture-laden dialogue of Easy A that matches the similarly scripted Gilmore Girls. But also just find both of them so everyday quirky-cool. Like, at some point in my life I could achieve that level of awesome if I could figure out how to say wonderfully spazzy things that would come out funny instead of weird.

Here's possibly my favorite part of the movie because this was how I spent many-a weekend in high school, sans dog:

Also fun: Ferris Buellering in the shower. I would see this movie again just to catch all the 80s teen movie references. Also, because I have a girl crush on Emma Stone. Also, because it's funny. Did I mention Stanley Tucci looks weirdly good in a Henley shirts? Overshare? Too bad, you now know I found Stanley Tucci mildly attractive in this movie. Now watch this clip of him being ADORABLE.


More Goldblum!

This time, it's Holsten Pils advertisements, which presumably aired on UK television. Mostly, they involve Jeff Goldblum delivering terrible jokes in a charming Goldblumian way. You're welcome.

German jokes!

Physics jokes!

Geometry jokes!

Salesmen jokes!

Break-up/neurological jokes!



Because sometimes you need to watch obscure Jeff Goldblum movies.

Thank God It's Friday (1978)

Apparently it's Friday night and everyone is going to DISCO! Jeff Goldblum plays a womanizing discotech owner. The Commodores are there, along with countless other people in the club including the high school students who sneak in, a horny and really New Yorky guy, an uptight married couple, Deborah Winger, a manic pixie dreamgirl, the over-enthusiastic DJ, and Donna Summer. And most importantly, "the Leatherman" who has an overly long dance scene in the middle of a parking lot:

I'm not sure why this movie exists.

Into the Night (1985)

Like the last 1980s neo-noir film I watched, this movie makes absolutely no sense. Written by the man you brought the world the mediocre TV shows "Beauty and the Beast" and "Moonlight," Ron Koslow is incapable of creating a coherent plotline. Every scene brings a new villain with a new ethnicity. Two very telling things about this film: Dan Akroyd shows up for only 5 minutes at the beginning of the film, and John Landis--the director himself--plays one of the bumbling Persians. Sigh. It switches from emotionless and dull to slapstick to Jeff Goldblum's confused face to some awkward cameo. I think it was supposed to be funny kind of on purpose, but it was so, so terrible. And there's an inexplicable soundtrack by BB King.

Basic plot: Michelle Pfieffer stole some jewels or something and is now being chased by Persians/men of ambiguous ethnicity and makes insomniac Jeff Goldblum help her out. Violent/humorous moments ensue forever.

Honestly, the only highlight was David Bowie:

Side note: was Jeff Goldblum even shot on the same day as the rest of the actors when he didn't have to be? I'm going to go ahead and assume not.

Vibes (1988)

Hey look! A competently made film! It's the sort of movie I would to expect to be on Saturday morning cable in the 90s, except I'd never seen Vibes before. Here's the trailer:

All you really need to know is this: Jeff Goldblum is at his Dr. Malcolm best, albeit with less smarm. He doesn't belong in a disco or a neo-noir, he and his "what the hell am I doing here?" face need to be in comedic roles always. Another thing you need to know: Cyndi Lauper is a good actress. This role required her to talk to a spirit, Louise, the whole time, and she pulls it off beautifully. And the two of them together actually have some cute chemistry. And oh my gosh they tango.

I love comedic action-adventure.


St. Elmo's Fire: Why did I enjoy this movie so much?

A stream-of-consciousness review.

It's not like these were particularly interesting characters, although Andrew McCarthy's Kevin was endearingly love-struck and shy and Mare Winningham was mysteriously conservative and overdressed (as in 3249827 layers a day with a jumper on top), and oh my goodness what was Rob Lowe doing with that saxophone? Emilio Estevez was a waste of space, basically stalking Andie McDowell until he steals a kiss from her (what?). Judd Nelson was a philanderer which I kind of hated because Ally Sheedy is super cute, but then she hooked up with Andrew McCarthy's character and that scene was the definition of delightful and fun. But then Demi Moore was a cocaine addict and a pathological liar and I didn't care.

And it's not like it was well-plotted. In fact, it had about a thousand plot lines too many which reassures me that the recent influx of multi-plot lined, we're all connected on some level movies aren't exactly anything new. It's just the 80s were more overt about the connections, like a group of BFFFFFFFs the summer after they graduate from college.

Also, why were all the women in this movie besides Demi Moore so dowdy? Was that the thing to do once you graduated from college? Get a mom haircut and high-collared shirts? And do I think of those as mom haircuts because that time period was when my mom was being a mom? You know that's coming back in style in about 10 seconds. Stupid hipsters.

Hey look, Andrew McCarthy is the only one who doesn't look like a jackass.

Wait, I've got it. The soundtrack.

We had countless piano books growing up that had the St. Elmo's Fire theme in it, and it was so familiar. David Foster wrote most of the music used in the film and John Parr performed several of the songs (including the below "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)") with so much enthusiasm that would almost make Kenny Loggins jealous if he hadn't owned the entire decade in movie theme songs.

I mean, how can you resist a movie that so unabashedly uses the saxophone. And dammit, if it isn't a catchy and really well written soundtrack despite its cheese. I think the take away message from this film, if there is one, is that the combination of synthesizer strings and saxophone enhances everything a thousandfold.


Taking advice from the media: How to find the love of your life 3

There's much more advice to be taken from the media on your love life, but part 3 will conclude this week's online seminar in how to find the love of your life. (parts 1 and 2)

1. Warm up to the person you married out of boredom and then may or may not have cheated on. (The Painted Veil)

2. Make your friends confront your crush because your only direct(ish) interactions with him/her are through bizarre haunted house rides. (Amelie)

3. Start a long-standing banter. (Much Ado About Nothing)

4. Fall in love with the painting of a (presumed) dead person. (Laura)

5. Promise to meet up with a brief fling at a well-known landmark. (An Affair to Remember)

6. Go for the fun brother. (While You Were Sleeping)

7. Give sound but unwanted advice. (Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel)

8. Become the cliche that falls for their bosses. (Two Weeks Notice)

9. Give your roommate/co-worker a chance. (Someone Like You)

10. Remember: outsiders have more fun. (Gone With the Wind)

And by special request:

11. Hook up with a friend of a friend: it's easier than a friend. (When Harry Met Sally)


Taking advice from the media: How to find the love of your life 2

Here's part 2 of how to find the love of your life. (part 1)

1. Pursue your childhood clergyman. (The Thorn Birds)

2. Ditch your travel companions for a good looking stranger. (Two for the Road)

3. Be extra sassy to a celebrity. (Singin' in the Rain)

4. Seduce your sibling's almost-girl/boyfriend away from them for business purposes. (Sabrina)

5. Reignite a childhood romance (The Village)

6. Call out your crush on their mixed-signals bullshit. (10 Things I Hate About You)

7. Take your sibling's rejected cast-off. (Little Women)

8. Develop a relationship with the house ghost. (Just Like Heaven)

9. Decide the nice guy/girl that likes you just the way you are is worth spending time with. (Bridget Jones's Diary)

10. Find the smart side of someone frivolous. (Legally Blonde)


Taking advice from the media: How to find the love of your life

So I've managed to make some friends with some of the neato techniques I picked up from film and television (parts 1 and 2), but now I feel compelled by the media to find the love of my life. After all, the only way I'm going to be content in life is if I find a man to share it with, amirite? So anyway, here's part 1 of 3 of how to find the love of your life based on movies in my roommates' and my own DVD collections.

1. Adopt a helpful--although perhaps conniving--stranger as your travel companion. (It Happened One Night)

2. Be flirtatiously caustic. (Love Story)

3. Spend time with your neurotic neighbor. (Breakfast at Tiffany's)

4. Force your way into the life of exactly the wrong person. (The Way We Were)

5. Private dancing lessons. (Dirty Dancing)

6. Become a casebook example of Stockholm Syndrome. (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

7. Fall for the savior of mankind. (Titan A.E.)

8. Give your number to a closeted genius. (Good Will Hunting)

9. Recruit a hot, young thing for your money-making scheme. (Anastasia)

10. Fall for the subject of your big news article. (Roman Holiday)


Some great beards 5

Great beards for everyone.

1. LeVar Burton. His beard makes him child-friendly.

2. Heath Ledger. Fact: The beginning of A Knight's Tale is possibly the only time I find Heath Ledger attractive because of his looks. Somehow the beard outweighs the white-man dreads.

3. Jean Reno. Sporting a barely-there beard and gun holsters in The Professional--great choice.

4. Kyle Howard. It's from My Boys episode 1 of season 3. It's adorable.

5. Christian Bale. Reign of Fire reminds me that I like my Christian Bale skinny with a struggling beard.


I was going to do an album review,

and then I discovered this gem of a special recounting The Band's eponymous 2nd album from 1969. The surviving members of the Band talk about each other and the creation of the music, and it makes me so, so happy seeing as how I can't stop listening to the album. It's glorious and sounds like the 19th Century South I find so fascinating. Enjoy:

I would give this special a hug if I could.


The Band > Hipsters

Until hipsters start playing blues-based rock with a heavy streak of nostalgia for the South*, their beards can't even compete with the early era of the Band.

For your viewing pleasure:

So many delicious facial hair options.

And again:

So many delicious hat options.

Here: watch them jam "King Harvest" and "Long Black Veil" from 1970:

Piano and an organ? The best. Drummer-singer? Impressive. What can I say, I'm mildly obsessed with their first two albums. The late 60s/70s rockapalooza continues.

*Fun fact: 4/5 members of the Band are Canadian!


Medley of the Day: What is with my taste in music?

Honestly, I can't figure out my brain.

"Bulletproof" by La Roux (2009)

Dance party!

"The Mirror" by Spooky Tooth (1974)

I have to keep listening to this on YouTube because I'm not willing to spend $30 to buy an apparently rare album. Anyway, the combination of acoustic guitar and Foreigner/Bad Company sounding vocals is perfect. Also, acid trip synth.

"Crystalised" by the xx (2009)

I love their vocals.

"Throwing It All Away" by Genesis (1986)

I can't even express how much I can't stop listening to this song. So catchy, so pop perfect, so heartbreaking if you ignore the melody.


The hair on Mr. Bingley in P&P (1995)...

...is so incredibly curly...

...I almost thought I was watching a Simply Red video.

This song's for you, Crispin.


School of Rock 1

So the other day I was talking to my parents, and once we exhausted the common topics of parent-child conversation (mostly consisting of my mom giving me the latest gossip from home and updating me on their current television obsessions), the conversation turned to who was married to certain members of certain rock bands. While this seems like a conversation right up my alley, my parents cannot remember anything for the life of them. Let's just say at one point, my mom confused Bon Jovi, the Allman Brothers, and Van Halen, stating that they all sound the same. And then my soul died.

Anyway, I'm here to poorly inform people on the internet about what the difference between these bands are, if only to save one more person from this terrible fate. Because really, they aren't much alike at all besides the fact that they're all named after band members' last names.

So Van Halen was started in 1972 by brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen in California, although it was originally named Mammoth. Awesome. So, they found success in their debut album from 1978, Van Halen. David Lee Roth fronted this line-up of Van Halen until 1984. After that, I don't really care. Mostly, the band is known for Eddie's ridiculous guitar solos and Roth's weird high-pitched screamy thing and on-stage spazziness. Also, the band is known for frontman drama I'm too lazy to look up.

"Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen (1979)

Is he or is he not wearing shoes?

It should be enough to explain that Bon Jovi is the band that's seen a million faces and they've rocked them all. But if not, I could see how you might get them confused with Van Halen...in that they're both part of the smilier hard rock set. Founded in 1983 in New Jersey, the band named after lead singer Jon Bon Jovi found success in cheesy rock hits off their 1986 album, Slippery When Wet (see: "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer"). They also may not have given you herpes if you chose to be their groupie back in the day. I base this solely on the fact that I don't immediately want to shower when I look at them. Take a listen and learn:

"Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi (1986)

They also play for keeps.

Now here's where I have no idea what my mom was thinking with the Allman Brothers Band. I think any confusion can be cleared up by this simple formula:

Southern rock ≠ hair metal

In other words, if you feel like you're on a road trip in a car with no air conditioning driving passed miles and miles of flatland, it's probably the Allman Brothers Band. If you've got some mellow guitar harmonies happening, it's also probably the Allman Brothers. If they jam forever on a song and it sounds essentially like this:

"Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers Band (1972)

In other news, that's a great 'stache.

it's the Allman Brothers. The band was founded in 1969 and was named after brothers Gregg and Duane Allman. Duane died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident shortly after the band found success with its live album, At Fillmore East, but the band carried on. They've dissolved and gotten back together several times, bringing in new rocking guitarists and always bringing in that Southern rock spirit with a slide guitar and Gregg's gorgeous rock vocals.

Any questions?


Best recent purchase

"My Boys" seasons 1-3.

It's like a well-worn pair of shoes wrapped in a flannel blanket. As this show's only fan, who should I convert first?


Meldey of the Day: Pandora hits me with my childhood

"The Living Years" by Mike + The Mechanics (1988)

I feel like I'm driving to a soccer game.

Children's choir! Yes.

"Valerie" by Steve Winwood (1982)

From the 1988 Roll With It concert.

Rolled-up sleeves and suspenders? Please.


This 1989 Kids Incorporated version of "The Living Years" featuring Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson may eliminate the poignancy of the song.

Here's Eric Prydz's 2004 remix of "Valerie" entitled "Call on Me." Warning: thong leotards ensue.

Cannonball Read #20: In the Path of Falling Objects

In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith ended up crazier than I thought it would go. Absolutely nothing at the beginning prepared me for the Silence of the Lambs villain that cropped up in the middle of the story.

So the book is about a pair of teenage brothers, Jonah and Simon, who live in the southwest United States in the 1970s. They've been abandoned by their mother, their older brother's been in Vietnam, and their dad's in prison. They've decided to travel to Arizona to find their brother now that he's out of the army and their dad who's about to get out of prison. Taking minimal equipment, they start walking, but then are picked up by an odd pair: a pregnant teenage girl and controlling slightly older guy. Almost immediately, they regret the decision, and things just keep getting worse.

One of my biggest complaints is that most of the story is told in first person as if Jonah is telling the story, but every so often it turns to another character and is described in 3rd person, kind of like Jonah is still telling the story, but with a ridiculous amount of insight to that perspective. Most of all, the parts that were from the villain's perspective. It took me out of the story because it seemed so out of place.

Overall, it's a decent read, but it just kept going and odd things kept happening. A hidden commune in the wilderness, death, sex, brotherly tension. I honestly thought desert sage Tom Waits would show up at the rate the book was going. Mostly, I'm just glad it's over.


Happy Fourth of July

In honor of Independence Day, I'll be watching Titanic. Because it's tradition. According to my roommate. So in honor of both America and the first film that James Cameron fooled everyone into thinking was good but was really just overly long and full of special effects, I give you my analysis from way back in April 17, 2008, Titanic: Greatest disaster flick ever?.

Most of the world got it wrong*. Titanic (1997) is not a romance. It's a disaster movie--a horrifying disaster movie. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. In fact, it's kind of an awesome thing. And really, what else could you expect from the man who wrote all three Terminator movies, Aliens, and Rambo: First Blood Part II**? Not anything less than terror and shallow character development.


First of all, let's map out why Titanic is pretty much just a disaster movie (or horror if you prefer):

1. Ironic Foreshadowing
Every disaster movie has to have some really awkward exposition detailing how safe everyone is. If it's a meteor, something about the odds of it hitting earth are very slim. If it's aliens, they're probably nice. If it's a boat, it's unsinkable. In any case, all of this quickly becomes moot as disaster becomes inevitable. Going into the movie, the audience knows what's going to happen, so these lines are always ironic. In Titanic, this works to create a facade of romance--they're now star-crossed lovers!

2. A confined place
The characters must be trapped in something in order to create tension later on. This could be anything from a house to a ship. Titanic gets bonus points for continuing to create a confined place the further the boat sinks. The more water fills the boat, the more cramped the space becomes and the more opportunity for chaos (see #6).

3. An attempt at emotional attachment to characters
Usually a girl and a guy meet at the beginning and end up hooking up in the course of the movie. In The Day After Tomorrow it was Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum (body heat cures hypothermia, you see). In Titanic, two lovers from different social classes end up really liking each other, sneaking off to spit off balconies, draw/pose for a nude drawing, and hooking up in a very fogged up car***. By the time the Titanic hits an iceberg, we have two characters to root for that we want to stay together.

4. Really bad decisions by the ones in charge
Usually, "Hey, let's ignore this problem." In this case, "Hey let's go really fast in a ship that's already lacking essential safety equipment like enough lifeboats for everyone." Of course it's the worst idea ever.

5. Huge disaster happens
Aliens start shooting people, zombies start attacking****, a boat hits an iceberg.

6. And things continue to go wrong
People start to die. Chaos breaks out. The ship starts filling with water and Jack is hand-cuffed to a pipe downstairs and no one is around to help except Rose and her horrible axing skills and then they can't get on a lifeboat together and then the boat breaks in half and then...it keeps going. Basically, horrible things happen.

In the middle of the chaos, looking sufficiently terrified.

7. Only a few survive
Usually, someone really important or likable dies in the midst of the horror. Um, SPOILER, in Titanic, Jack dies. And so do over 1,500 other people.

8. Half-assed inspirational ending
Hope in America/humanity/love is restored or something. Titanic actually subtly shows us through photographs how Rose lived a very full and adventurous life, but only after having some cheesy lines from the treasure hunter about never thinking about the people on the Titanic before. Then Old Rose throws "The Heart of the Ocean" into the ocean and presumably dies reminiscing of her lover on the RMS Titanic.


Now why did Titanic become the most successful disaster movie ever? The little extras:

1. It's based in history
--which means you can totally take it serious and add in poorly developed subtext about social class. There's more context to work with, which gives Titanic more depth.

2. Great costuming/sets
A lot research and effort(money) went into creating this world and it's very well done. Part of the reason it's such an engaging watch is because nothing looks out of place and is simply gorgeous.

3. Awesome FX
At least for 1997. Some of the CGI is pretty obvious, but overall, the effects are great. Creating a giant sinking ship is very impressive, and it was very well done in this film.

4. Spent a Bollywood amount of time on the relationship we're supposed to care about.
The first half is mostly just spent on the characters and is fairly light-hearted. We get to see more of the main couple than is usually afforded in a typical disaster/horror movie, and therefore become more attached to their destiny. Although not enough time to care too much.

5. The leads do a good job
I'll admit it, Leonardo DiCaprio is actually pretty good. I never got caught up in the Leo craze when this movie came out*****, but I can see the appeal now (suspenders anyone?). His character's only flaws are his association with prostitutes (how Rhett Butler) and his poverty. You can't get much closer to perfection. Also, Kate Winslet is, in all seriousness, radient. In basically a reprise of Marianne from Sense and Sensibility, she has enough spunk to keep the audience interested. Both of these characters are much more likable than the one-dimensional caricatures that usually reside in disaster movies.


However, I still claim this movie is not a romance. To put it simply, because it's not a character movie. It's plot driven. There's little chemistry and little development in the relationship******. The characters on their own are likable enough, but they just don't do much for each other. Almost immediately they like each other and their relationship is sweet and brief. Where's the sexual tension? It's a romance that's more told than shown because so much time is spent in setting up the all the pieces (characters, social-class, the Titanic's greatness). The interactions are perfect for setting up a young crush, but to label that as an epic romance is false. I can see calling it a coming-of-age movie since Rose grows up and escapes her family, but ultimately not enough time is spent on it to even call it that.

And that's what it comes down to. There's more time dedicated to the disaster than the actual romance itself. The relationship is still more fleshed out than in other movies of its kind, but when it comes down to it, the relationship is still shallowly explored and way too easy. In the end Titanic is still just a disaster movie. A true and therefore more believable disaster movie that does it's job well. It's filled with tension and protagonists we like, and it has a decent plot outside of the ship wreck itself. Some extra time on the setting makes this the greatest disaster flick of all time.

*$1,845,034,188 worth wrong. Although it is hard to judge a person's motivations for seeing a movie based on box office stats.
**Okay, co-wrote with the help of Sylvester Stallone's genius.
****Yes, zombies are a natural disaster.
*****Nor did I actually see the movie for the first time until about 4 years ago.
******Although not George Lucas underdeveloped. That's just hard to beat.