I developed a love for Leonardo DiCaprio at the same rate I developed a hatred for Kate Winslet. While a 10-year-old should be able to figure out the difference between a movie and real life, I just coudn’t reconcile that there was no room on that board for Jack. Rose was selfish through and through and because of her a good man died.
Every time I watched the move after that (and there were lots of times after that thanks to the two-tape Titanic boxset I got for Chanukah the following year), I grew just as frustrated, as if the movie was some kind of Choose Your Own Adventure and this time Jack could make it (and Rose could die. Whatever. Call me when I care). But he never did make it. He never did get to safety.
Except in my heart. Where he lived for close to a year. Oh also on my walls, he lived on my walls in every single form possible. Movie posters, Seventeen cut outs, Time articles about the success of Titanic that I ripped out of my mom’s copy and taped to my wall. There was no mention of him too small or too insignificant for my wall of love.
The year culminated in my Leonardo-DiCaprio-themed birthday party. Before the big day I went with my mom to Blockbuster and handed the man a list of the movies I needed for my all-night marathon.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
This Boy’s Life
The Basketball Diaries
The Blockbuster rental clerk (is that the correct title?) informed my mother these were probably not appropriate titles for a child my age. I informed him that I watched Leo have steamy car sex with (that wretch) Rose this year and I really could handle anything. He disagreed, but lucky for me he wasn’t the one with the Blockbuster membership card.