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titanic-leonardo-dicaprio-18276571-672-288When “Titanic” premiered in 1997, my friends and I gushed over star Leonardo DiCaprio, not because his performance was phenomenal, but because we were 9 years old and had never seen a more attractive person in our lives. Not in school, not on TV, not in other movies. Leo was the pinnacle — we understood why he’d been named after da Vinci. He was just as good to us. Probably better, because who needs art when you can stare at a guy that may as well be a work of art? Unfortunately, we were too young, immature, and unsophisticated to appreciate how amazing a job he did at his role, but sixteen years later, at 25, we finally get it. We’re also somewhat relieved we can finally have crushes on Leo when we’re old enough to actually date him. Not that he’d go for any of us, but he did have a brief tryst with Blake Lively, who is only a year older than we are, so we weren’t crazy for liking him back in the day. We’d eventually reach an age when he could date us and it wouldn’t be THAT weird. Too bad he’s only into supermodels with cool names like Bar and Gisele. Hey, a girl can dream. Maybe he’ll want a pale, fairly tall lanky ginger someday. Fingers crossed?

As some of you know, “Titanic” is available on Netflix, and I spent the better part of Saturday night watching and live-texting the 3-hour masterpiece to my childhood buddy Crystal. It’s important to know that I met Crystal just two months before “Titanic” hit theaters, and because we were elementary school kids with no lives, our whole world revolved around “Titanic.” Crystal, Nikita, and I obsessed over the film for months and had a countdown until its video release at the end of the summer. Our parents bought the tapes (remember it was two tapes?!) immediately, and we devoted fall of 1998 to watching “Titanic” on repeat. We memorized every line and picked up on many goofs, and we even got mad about the fact that Leo’s hand didn’t match the hand of the artist sketching Rose. “Titanic” wasn’t just a movie with a cute blonde guy to us — it was a lifestyle.

The tapes!

The tapes!

Of course, we only liked Leo for his looks as kids. It wasn’t until Saturday night, when I watched the film as an adult for the first time, that I understood just how great he was as Jack Dawson. I definitely bought his portrayal of an optimistic but financially limited aspiring artist. He has the Midwestern warmth and candor of a true Wisconsin native, even though Leo grew up in Hollywood and not Chippewa Falls. Let’s not forget the easy rapport between Leo and Kate Winslet either — they truly seem like friends onscreen, and he calls her out on her BS immediately:

“Rose, you’re no picnic, all right? You’re a spoiled little brat, even, but under that, you’re the most amazingly, astounding, wonderful girl, woman that I’ve ever known…I’ve got ten bucks in my pocket, I have no-nothing to offer you and I know that. I understand. But I’m too involved now. You jump, I jump remember? I can’t turn away without knowing you’ll be all right… That’s all that I want…They’ve got you trapped, Rose. And you’re gonna die if you don’t break free. Maybe not right away because you’re strong but… sooner or later that fire that I love about you, Rose… that fire’s gonna burn out…”

Who could ever say no to that? The script for “Titanic” is amazing, by the way, but you already knew that.

I know Leo has said before that his life was never the same after “Titanic,” but I still think he totally knocked it out of the park as Jack. He’s down to earth, humble, adventurous, lively, and so convincing as the character. It doesn’t even matter that he also happens to be the gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio. I finally see that people loved the movie because he nailed the part of Jack Dawson. And for that, I’m never going to stop worshipping Leo. I mean, just look at this guy. They don’t make guys like this anymore!

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