I remember the first time I saw Titanic. I was in eighth grade and I went with some of my best friends to see the movie at the local “Flagship Cinema.” Three hours and fifteen minutes later I was a complete utter mess. I remember one of my friends’ moms dropped me off at my house after the movie, and I walked through the front door, sobbing to my mother, clutching my chest thinking HOW COULD I POSSIBLY DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW WHEN JACK, oh my dear JACK was DEAD IN THE OCEAN SOMEWHERE OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. And then I had to go babysit for some bratty kids who lived in a McMansion in West Falmouth and I was so far gone on tears and grief and love for Leo and the whole story and the entire thing that I wouldn’t shut up about it to the kids and later the parents when the dad drove me home and I don’t think I ever babysat there again but it didn’t matter because I had a future with Leo to plan.
By the time Titanic left theaters I saw it eight times. EIGHT TIMES. Yes, I spent well over a day in my life, in a movie theater, watching Titanic. I saved every movie stub, and almost instantly started to accumulate various movie paraphernalia. I think the obsession peaked when I took a framed letter of my brother’s acceptance letter to Williams College and put a photo of Leo DiCaprio over his treasured note. (My mother swiftly replaced his letter and got me a frame of my very own).
During the ’97 Oscars I won a local contest at the video store for accurately guessing the winner of the top 8 awards. All of them. My prize? A Phillips Boom Box. It was awesome. That was the year Titanic won Best Picture, and the year my film obsession started to border on the unhealthy (the TV obsession had already begun with The X-Files two years previous, and a combination of weird X-Files and cheesy Titanic posters adorned my walls for the next 6 years). In eighth grade my pop culture love was fully fledged and Titanic had released the beast within.
Since then, my insanity for various television and film has cyclically waxed and waned, but there’s always been something I’ve followed obsessively, complete with moments of full blown devotion, culminating in an ultimate loss of interest and moving on to the next captivating thing.
The point of all this ruminating? Well this weekend I saw Twilight. Not once, oh no. But twice. Honestly, that is the first time in a long time I can remember going to see the same movie twice in one weekend. And the thing is, I wouldn’t even consider it a good movie. Let me begin by saying I don’t think the book is all that great. Sure, it’s for tweens, but it is certainly not as well-written as Harry Potter and obviously comes nowhere close to the His Dark Materials trilogy. It’s essentially fanfic that tapped into a strange American pop culture captivation with vampires, teen angst, and what every woman secretly (or not so secretly) craves—true love with a devoted, godlike man. I read the entire first book on a plane ride—it’s definitely fun and entertaining and I might recommend it to people, at the very least because it’s fun to get swept away in the obsession and the phenomenon.
The movie was... well... AMAZING. In that, bad camp sort of way. So maybe not so good. Parts of it were well done, like the relationship between Bella and her father, and the depiction of the other high school kids, and the chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson was great. But the lines were so cheesy and some of the effects were so poor, and the delivery was almost miserable at some parts. However—it really was INCREDIBLE. Incredibly bad in a way—so bad it was good—but also it was a pretty fair adaptation of the book, and for the sappy romantics out there, it certainly was fulfilling. (Confused by this drivel? Obviously I myself am confused because I can't even articulate my feelings about the movie...)
OH BUT the best part was the first time I saw it when I was at the Arclight, which is definitely THE place to go for a big cult movie. The fans were crazy women who cheered at every moment—when the lights went down, at the main title card, when the kid who plays Jacob popped up on screen, and oh the crowd just died for Rob Pattinson.
Let’s be honest, I could watch Rob Pattinson read a phone book for two hours and be happy and I think watching him onscreen made the movie that much better. That man is insanely ATTRACTIVE (AND HE SINGS!!!! FANGIRL SCREAM!!!!!). And the whole thing is so incredibly... campy cheesy bad/amazing (?) that I really can’t help but be obsessed. Also, I think the fact that it is bad in a sort of hilarious way (I mean I literally was dying laughing at some of the painfully bad moments) makes it better. After each viewing I was pretty jazzed. Going with both roommates last night was hilarious. Annie had already seen it at the midnight showing on Thursday and was totally onboard the obsessed ship (had read the books too) where as poor DiTonto was quite miserable (her distaste and anger watching Gossip Girl should have clued us into her likely contempt for the Twilight cheese) but she too was loving Rob Pattinson (I caught her later that night downloading every available song of his and doing a little internet research into his love life. HAH!).
My conclusions after a very fangirly weekend: Thank God Twilight hadn’t come out during my Titanic days because I don’t think my fragile heart could have endured it. Paramore didn’t exist then to write emo rock ballads and the internet boom wasn’t there to make countless interview hours of various movie-related material available 24/7. Back then it was just Celine Dion and mix tapes I made listening to 97.9 for weekly Top 40s on the radio. Still, if Twilight had come out then, I would have likely been dangerously obsessed. Cried myself to sleep obsessed... (I remember thinking that even though Leo was 9 years older than me, it would still be okay for our eventual marriage—we could endure such an age difference, especially after he would fall desperately in love with me).
Okay, sure right now I am listening to the Twilight soundtrack on repeat and I may have watched many a RPattz (look he’s got a nickname!) interview on YouTube, but I’m pretty sure that at my soon-to-be-25 years of age, I can manage this obsession. I’ll skip viewing the movie eight times in the theater... but I can’t wait for the DVD. And I still have two more of the books to read to satiate my obsession until then...