About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Save the Titanic

TCM had Titanic on Saturday night, and I watched large chunks of it. It's so much nicer to watch this three hour plus movie when it isn't interrupted with on toward an hour of commercials.

So if Avatar wins Best Picture a week from when this post goes live...

Well, not only will it be wrong on its own terms, but it will demean Titanic. Which is really everything that Avatar was not. Three hours, but oh, does it move. None of the toe-tapping of Avatar. When I turned to Titanic at around 12:28 AM, I was utterly rapt for the next 40 minutes; couldn't go for the dental floss until the movie was over at 1:32. Serious minded, but with a constant twinkle in its eye. Oh, the bad husband character played by Billy Zane is a bit of an unwanted buffoon, but there's a subtle pleasure to David Warner's performance as the valet that gives compensation. Kathy Bates is a joy, Gloria Stuart is a wonder, the music by James Horner is such a delight. No, the special effects aren't as good. The artificially inserted air vapor looks weird and artificial. But it has the biggest effect of all, which is real heart. It's like the song says, "my heart will go on." If there's a cliche, like "guy drops keys to lock, Jack must dive down, get key ring, find right key before he and Rose drown," you don't mind because your heart is in it. When Sam Worthington proclaims "at first, it was just a job, and then it became love," it's just a boring cliche in a boring movie.

It was a wonder to watch this unfold on the mammoth screen of my beloved Loews Astor Plaza, now 5 1/2 years gone but it will live in my memory forever, and Titanic is that kind of movie. Avatar doesn't hold a candle to it, it's not even a little teeny tiny Hanukkah candle against the brilliant lustre of Titanic.

So please, let's not have an Oscar for Avatar sitting on James Cameron's shelf next to the one for Titanic.

1 comment:

Bill Swears said...

Inappropriate moments:
Teri and I are both subject to the occasional movie theater outburst. My first was during the initial run of “The Empire Strikes Back,” when Leia says “I love you,” and Han Solo replies “I know.” I burst out laughing, in an otherwise completely silent downtown Seattle Theater. Teri elbowed me in the ribs.

Last year during the latest Dan Brown inexplicable blockbuster, the heroes are just arriving at the latest place they’ve gotten to, too late, and the power begins to pulse and flicker. I said, “Of course it is.” Teri was silent, because:

When Teri and I watched Billy Zane chase Kate and Leo down that beautiful grand staircase, shooting at them, Teri had her moment. “Oh come on. Haven’t we already seen this?”