Titanic: Big meal, big ship, big deal

March 19, 1998|By Kevin Cowherd

Chronicle of a night on the town:

FINALLY WENT to see "Titanic." Went to see it because I was the only person in the contiguous United States who hadn't seen it yet.

Went to see it because Monday night is the Academy Awards, during which they will have to back a Brinks truck up to the Shrine Auditorium for all the hardware this movie will win.

Then someone might ask me if I thought it deserved all those Oscars.

If I hadn't seen it, this vacant look would have come over me and a thin sheen of perspiration would have formed on my upper lip and I would've stammered: "Uh, missed that one."

Then I would have been shunned.

Shunning is a heavy deal. Isn't it the Amish who shun people? Or am I thinking of the Mennonites?

Whatever. If the Amish or the Mennonites won't hang out with you, who the heck will?

Even if people didn't shun me, they would look at each other and form an "L" with their thumb and forefinger whenever I walked in a room.

Lame. Loser. Clueless. No life.

Didn't even see "Titanic."

I couldn't live with that. Who could live with that?

So, anyway, I go to see "Titanic." It's a Saturday night. The scene at the theater is like Opening Day at Camden Yards.

On the surface, you might think maybe I wasn't the only person in the contiguous United States who hadn't seen the movie. But almost everyone here appears to have seen the movie at least once.

(Luckily for me, no one makes the "L" sign as I walk by. Or if they do, at least they have the courtesy to do it behind my back.)

I buy a trash barrel-size popcorn and a Coke that is about three-stories tall, which burns most of a twenty.

Tell me something: Whatever happened to the popcorn in the little white paper bags? The ones that went for, what, 75 cents?

Did these go the way of running boards on cars?

The thing is, how much popcorn do you need? How much Coke can you drink? I had enough for the 101st Airborne.

Here's what kills me: Now you can buy Buffalo wings at the movies! You can buy shrimp combo buckets! (Maybe you knew that already. I don't get out much.)

But, Buffalo wings. Is this a good thing?

Do you really want some guy behind you gnawing on a chicken wing while you're watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a love scene?

What's next, people slamming mallets into crabs at the movies? Shucking oysters? Buttering corn on the cob?

Are we here to eat or to watch a movie?

Inside the theater, there's an expectant buzz. The hard-core DiCaprio disciples, the multiple-viewers, chatter excitedly, reciting their favorite lines from the movie.

zTC "I'll never let go, Leo!" I hear one giggle.

And people wonder how cults get started.

In the dim light, I see something else that makes my blood grow cold: at least a half-dozen pre-schoolers with their parents.

What are parents thinking when they bring little kids to a movie like this?

I feel like yelling: "Yo, mom, we got 1,500 people ready to die in the icy North Atlantic here! We're gonna see people air-mailing themselves off the upper deck and slamming off propellers! We're gonna see people getting crushed by toppling smokestacks and mangled by falling lifeboats!

"You want your little kid to see this? Yeah, I'm sure he'll have sweet dreams when it's time for beddy-bye. What are you two doing tomorrow night, staying home and renting a documentary on the Jonestown massacre?"

This is why I say there a lot of people out there who are simply

too stupid to be parents.

Maybe we should make people pass a basic intelligence test before they can have a kid. Ask them something like: "Would you take your 4-year-old to see 'Scream 2'?"

And if they answer yes, you put a big stamp on their forehead that says: "Too stupid -- not allowed to procreate."

I'm serious. I haven't worked out all the details, but we could make it a felony offense for those people to have kids.

Anyway, I thought "Titanic" was strictly OK. The acting, if that's what you want to call it, mainly consists of Leonardo DiCaprio grinning inanely and Kate Winslet looking at him like he's a cut of prime rib and she hasn't eaten in a month.

When Leo checks out at the end and slips under the waves for the last time, a lot of the hard-cores around me were sobbing.

Me, I didn't start sobbing until after the movie, when a pack of M&M's cost me three bucks.

You talk about emotional -- I was a wreck.

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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