I'm the king of the 90s hair!
He Said: Talk to the Hand
I have seen this movie once before when it was out in the cheap theatre (at my spouse's birthday party before we started dating). I really didn't want to see it back then because of all the hype and it seemed like a boring romance with some disaster thrown in for good measure to keep the boyfriends/husbands happy. And then there was the “Leo-factor.” In the 1990s Leonardo DiCaprio was the it guy that all the teenagers were swooning over at the time. It probably started with his role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and snow balled from there with Romeo and Juliet and then Titanic. At the time I hated him, he was uber popular for no particularly good reason other than his babyish looks (his acting was okay, but nothing to celebrate), and this just added to me not wanting to see Titanic. But it was my friend's birthday so I went along with it. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the first half, with the character development, etc, but I really didn't like the disaster half. It was so long winded and I felt like, okay it sinks we get it, just get on with it already! The sinking part was so boring, and the special effects were good at the time but even so it just dragged on. I figured it was James Cameron just trying to one up himself from his previous special effects efforts.
Now time for the second viewing. I actually forgot about how long the first bits are with Rose as an old lady, but I guess that is necessary to set the stage for the whole plot. While watching it this time around I wanted to see if it really is a classic and something that withstood the test of time (it has been almost 20 years since it was first released!) or a bombshell that hit it huge when it was first released but has since faded to unwatchableness. I have immediately noticed how the computer special effects are very dated, and what was breathtaking back then is cartoonish and antiquated now. Although this is the same with any movie that relies so heavily on special effects, the development in special effects is amazing (although I still prefer real movies and hate computer generated special effects) and the special effects of today's movies are outdated within just a few years, let alone 20 years. This movie really is a visual feast with the huge set designs and costumes and special effects, and it seems like the plot of the rich woman and poor boy is just tagged on to give us some reason to watch it.
Another disappointing aspect is the hair. I don't know who was in charge of haircuts for that movie, but none of the main characters have anything remotely resembling period hair from the 1920s. Leonardo has his 1990s Leo hair, Billy Zane has his bad ass 1990s hair (although he does slick it back a few times), and Kate Winslet has her Kate Winslet flowing curly dyed red locks. When I first watched it, I thought nothing of the hair, maybe because I was younger and didn't care about hair cuts and costumes in movies, maybe it was because it was the 1990s and I enjoyed seeing hair from the 1990s. But watching it now, I found it very distracting to see non-period hair (strike 2). Billy Zane was his typical 1990s creepy villian, which he does really good, but it is the same character that he has been doing since Back to the Future and I think it is high time to see something different from him. Overall, the plot much more boring this time around than I remember it being before. Was it because I had seen it once already or was there something more sinister afoot? I am not entirely sure. The plot is absolutely nothing new or inspiring, we have seen this sort of thing a million times before, but it was also likely more boring this time around as I was familiar with the plot, even if I hadn't seen the movie in 20 years.
I have seen a few of the other nominees, and frankly I don't think this was a particularly good year for movies. I certainly enjoyed As Good as it Gets and L.A. Confidential better than Titanic, but I couldn't see either of those as being best pictures. I would say the Academy went for the big showy epic, with big special effects, especially as there wasn't much in the way of good competition for films that year. Ultimately I cannot say this is a best picture and it certainly does not stand the test of time. This movie should be left in the 1990s along with Leo's and Zane's hair and James Cameron's career.
Other nominees: As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, and L.A. Confidential
Next up: Lawrence of Arabia 1962 (oh my this going to be a long one)