Saturday, March 10, 2012

She Rode a Horse

They're not gonna make it.

Titanic is coming back, and I’ll probably have something to say about it when it does. It’s one of my favorite films and I don’t really care who knows it, or for that matter what they think of it. But right now, though, the thought of Titanic is inextricably intertwined with one of my most memorable and hilarious moviegoing experiences.

It could have been awful, I suppose, since it involves a screening that was almost ruined, but I’d already seen the film once or twice, so I was able to kind of enjoy the situation. It had to do with a thirtyish or fortyish man in front of whom my friend Wendy and I had the unique bad luck of sitting. He was there with a date, and he seemed to be a mostly normal guy – slight New York accent, presentably clothed, no visible head wounds, etc.

Pretty early on, however, it became evident that this gentleman was going to say something -- anything -- about everything he saw in the film. Not in a loud, talkative way, but in quiet, brief remarks to his date that casually stated the patently obvious, every few minutes or so. So, please imagine the following being delivered in a dry, low-voiced monotone:

When we first saw Leo in town around a poker table, he said, "They're playing poker."

When the spiritually torn Kate Winslet saw a prim, proper little girl at a table and had a reflective moment, he said, “She sees herself.”

When we first saw the captain, he said, "That's the captain." (It was at this point that I turned around to see if maybe he was talking to a child, or a blind person. As I noted earlier, he wasn’t.)

When we saw the passengers singing hymns in the chapel, he said, "They're at church." When Kate Winslet mentioned “Dr. Freud,” he helpfully added, “Sigmund Freud.”

And on it went...until he actually started predicting things.

When the ship was about to hit the iceberg, he said, "They're gonna hit the iceberg." But then, the ship skimmed the iceberg and didn't quite hit it. So he said, "See? They skimmed the iceberg."

When the ship was preparing for its final descent, he said, "They're not gonna make it." (I wish I could show you how beautifully timed this comment was. Come to my basement sometime and I'll re-enact it for you.)

When the aged Rose went to the edge of Bill Paxton's ship, he said, "She's gonna throw herself over. She's gonna jump off." But then she stopped and took out the Heart of the Ocean instead. Very quickly, he said, "She's gonna throw the jewel over." She threw it over. “See? What'd I say? She threw it over."

My favorite though was the very last thing he said. As the camera panned in the old woman’s bedroom -- past the photos of all the things young Rose had done, as a result of her awakening to the possibilities of life -- he said, as the image faded out, "She rode a horse."

And, really, who could have argued with him?


  1. matthewdavidwilderMarch 11, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    I've said it before....can't get with ya on that one, kiddo!

  2. Wilder, most of my friends can't/couldn't either. For most of the world, the first run of Titanic was marked by people and friends agreeing on how great it was; for me, it was marked by endless arguments and relentless mockery. JC owes me.

  3. I love Titanic, too. I wish I had had the luxury to see it in theaters during initial release, but I was 6 years old at the time and I'm sure my parents didn't figure it was something I could handle. But when it came out on VHS a year later, we all watched it as one family. To put it lightly, I was - and still am - captivated by it.

  4. I've never disliked TITANIC. But this post, and that guy who narrated it for you in the theater*, may have made me fall in love with it. Am I ever gonna be able to see it again without saying "She rode a horse?"

    *Maybe Malick should hire him to narrate TREE OF LIFE if he ever releases the extended edition. You know, for those people who need EVERYTHING explained.

  5. I have a story that might top yours. Some annoying dude was translating the onscreen action, in Chinese, to his girlfriend in a movie theater.

    The guy is my dad.

    The movie? Cast Away. And the "translation" became most irritating during the silent second act.

    Sample of inane patter: "Look, there's a box. I wonder what's in there. Maybe a ball? Yes. I knew it!"

  6. I love this story. When I found the Irreversible joke missing at the end I initially thought you were some random blogger trying to pass the Screengrab story off as your own, but making it family friendly.

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