16 years later, there’s still nothing better than Leo in ‘Titanic’

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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‘There was a cosmic misunderstanding’

On my seemingly neverending wait for the subway late Saturday night, the overcrowded platform fell silent as a conversation between two women had escalated into a screaming fight.

Well, only one person was yelling, and she appeared to be either homeless or mentally unstable. Meanwhile, the other woman was laughing uncontrollably alongside her boyfriend, seeming to love riling up one of New York City’s many crazies. How original and funny, right? I doubt she would have been cackling and snorting had she been alone, sober, or not in the company of her significant other. If there’s anything I have learned growing up around hobos, it’s that engaging with them is the worst thing you could ever possibly find yourself doing in that scenario. The rabid, deranged woman continued shouting at the giggling female, who had an awful pageboy haircut and set of jet black bangs, until the train arrived. Upon hopping into the car, the short-haired woman began talking about why crazy people like that make New York a hilarious place to live. On one hand, the weirdos here are amusing (i.e. the crazy naked man who ranted on the subway). They can also be destructive and harmful, and using them for entertainment value to draw attention to oneself is not only cruel but unwise. The girl seemed to think it was hysterical that she laughed in the face of a lunatic. It’s all light-hearted fun until you get stabbed or worse.

Anyway, this same girl regaled several people on the train about her unusual altercation, adding that she has always felt like a true New Yorker at heart.

“I was born and raised in L.A., but both my parents are from New York, and I fit in better here,” she said. “As for the place of my birth, there was a cosmic misunderstanding.”

Having been born in Los Angeles as well, I know the feeling of displacement all too well. I’d like to think there’s nothing about me that indicates I spent the first nine years of my life in Tinseltown. Perhaps I have too high an opinion of myself, but I never identified with the city at all. Even as a child, I disliked my surroundings. I always believed that the smog, the traffic, the superficiality, the graffiti, and the lack of community robbed me of the childhood upbringing I deserved — that of my east coast cousins, all of whom I’d visit every summer. During trips to Boston, New York state, and northern Virginia, where I’d marvel at the size of my cousins’ homes and green backyards, I’d ask my parents, “Why can’t we live somewhere like this?” I wasn’t referring to the high quality houses, either, but the charm, tradition, kindness, and safety of their towns. My cousins rode yellow school buses to school while I was always strapped into the backseat of my dad’s Ford Explorer, stuck in traffic and late for class. Some of them could even walk to school. The vastness of California landscape made that impossible for me. Besides, even if I could trot 10 miles to my private school, the journey would have been unsafe. While my cousins had sports matches afterschool, I had to go to daycare because both my parents worked. Thankfully, my weekly ballet class gave me some variety, but daycare seemed to fill up the majority of my afternoons and evenings. As my cousins hung out with their neighbors, many of who happened to be classmates as well, I sat in my house and watched TV because my neighborhood was too dangerous for me to roam solo. It also wasn’t kid friendly, so there was little for me to do.

Thankfully, my family and I relocated to the bay area a little before middle school, and I believe I fit in best with northern California culture. As much as I love heat and eternal sunshine, I find few redeeming qualities in southern California. Practically everyone I’ve met there has serious psychological problems or entitlement issues. Just look at the douche-tastic characters on “Entourage.” I’d love to get into screen and sitcom writing someday, so I’m going to have to move on from my aversion to Los Angeles eventually.

Besides, as much as I don’t like southern California, it taught me more about life than nor Cal ever did. All the bullying and closed-mindedness I ever faced growing up took place in the bay area. I attended a diverse school system in L.A. and felt far more accepted and comfortable there than my mostly Caucasian schools in Scotts Valley, which isn’t exactly known for its diversity (the 2010 Census reported Scotts Valley’s population as 86.0 percent white). Upon seeing Scotts Valley for the first time in 1997, I turned to my mom and dad and asked, “Where is all the graffiti?” I actually convinced my parents to drive through the entire town twice in search of street art, which was completely absent in my new home. Floored, I said we had to move there, as I associated graffiti with gangs and was happy to be away from such roughness. While Scotts Valley was free of serious crime, it was as far away from the real world as you could get. Bored housemoms gossiped about everybody, teachers antagonized children and ganged up on the bullied, and wealthy kids harassed those outside their circle. I’d seen none of that in Los Angeles, where people had bigger problems than mean girls and over-privileged, disengaged students. A lot of the folks in L.A. were just trying to get home without being attacked, whether by family members, friends, or randoms.

Aside from some of the nastiness and small town ignorance I observed up north, I’d rather say I was born and raised in the bay than simply brought up there for the second half of my childhood. Even so, I know I made my world debut as an L.A. girl for a reason, so as much as I’d love to have been born in San Francisco or Santa Cruz, I’ll always be tied to smoggy Los Angeles, and there was no cosmic misunderstanding about that.

Internet, TV Ad’s Should Not Advertise Traumatic Images

Last November, I saw the movie Twilight in theaters, and I expected to endure countless previews before the film started. What I didn’t expect was to see an extremely disturbing trailer for the horror film, The Unborn. Though the film was rated PG-13, the trailer played graphic, horrific images of devil children, a disfigured, possessed man with a distorted back crawling up the stairs, and a demonic Jack Russell Terrier. This content was inappropriate for the Twilight audience, which reaches out to pre-teens and teenage girls. There were people simultaneously shading their eyes and plugging their ears, waiting for the exorcism clip to pass.

While I was reading an online movie review of the new comedy I Love You, Man, I was forced to see a moving photo and trailer for The Haunting in Connecticut, also about demonic possession, seances, and vengeful spirits.

Why does the internet make me view these terrifying images against my will? I know the advertisements pay for the websites, but there’s no reason why these scary movies have to dominate the advertisements. I do not need these video clips in my brain. As someone who lived in a haunted house, I am sensitive and especially troubled by these types of movies, and the genre creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety in my life, so I avoid scary movies. How possible is that while they abruptly pop up on my television screen, internet, and in a movie theater? It wasn’t as if I was waiting to watch a rated R film, so I felt violated and imposed upon when I saw these trailers.

What these film producers don’t realize is that they are fueling anxiety and unnecessary fear among the public. It’s irrational to fear ghosts and the paranormal, but many people cannot handle thinking of these things. These same individuals do not, in fact, enjoy having such horrifying pictures surprise them. Some people, such as myself, cannot see these images without having them re-play in our minds during vulnerable moments. It’s one thing to choose to expose oneself to scary movies, but another to be forced to see a man completely scarred from demonic scratches and choking on an indistinguishable object.

Thanks, Hollywood, for making us watch your terrifying images.

Why I Don’t Ski

British actress, Natasha Richardson died before her time this afternoon. The 45-year-old star suffered a traumatic head injury during a skiing lesson yesterday. Hours before Richardson’s death, sources close to Richardson blasted reports that she was brain-dead. These reports may not have been far off because Richardson’s friends told the Internet Movie Database that there was “no hope” for the actress’s survival:

Just before the tragic news was confirmed by Richardson’s publicist Alan Nierob, close pal Ted Casablanca reported the family members spent Wednesday afternoon saying their goodbyes to the actress on his Eonline.com blog.

He wrote, “The two-day vigil is over. Close relations to Natasha Richardson tell me there is no hope for the 45-year-old actress.”

It looks like the media didn’t want to report their doubts about her survival. It’s not necessarily nice to predict someone’s death, but if it’s obviously about to happen, it should be in the news.

Gwyneth Paltrow Scolds Co-Worker, Joaquin Phoenix

If case you’re sick of all the shallow news at Perez Hilton, read my bi-monthly take on celebrities because I only report on their psychological/social problems.

Judging by her harsh words, Gwyneth Paltrow would probably disagree with my blog questioning Joaquin Phoenix’s sanity. It looks as if Paltrow has no sympathy for Phoenix’s strange new behavior patterns. Six months ago, he said he was quitting the acting business to pursue rap music. Then, he made an aloof, uncomfortable appearance on David Letterman, where he was unresponsive. Chicago-based psychiatrist, Paul Dobransky told the L.A. Times that Phoenix’s “socially inappropriate” behavior is a symptom of schizophrenia. I found myself in accordance with this doctor in my listed post.

The two actors starred in the recent Two Lovers, so Paltrow can actually make accurate claims while I base everything off my own observations.

Though she’s “not quite sure” what’s going on, she’s definitely unconvinced by Phoenix’s credibility. She told E! Online:

“What advice would I give to Joaquin? Hmmm…maybe to go live in the projects for a few years to get some authenticity, maybe.”

Sounds like she thinks he wants attention. She may not be far off, but if he seriously needs professional help, she’s at risk of seeming highly insensitive.

Joaquin Phoenix Out of His Mind?

“He’s in the chair, but is Joaquin Phoenix present for his interview?” joked David Letterman in response to the highly unusual behavior of his guest, Joaquin Phoenix.

Letterman may have laughed to lighten the otherwise awkward interview, but the mental state of Joaquin Phoenix is not a laughing matter. Hollywood is making light of the fact that he recently quit acting to pursue a rap singing career. To promote his “final” film, Phoenix made an appearance on David Letterman, and he gained a considerable amount of weight, wore dark shades, and put Tom Hanks’s Cast Away beard/wild hair to shame. He was unresponsive and gave one-word answers, acting very awkwardly.

Letterman joked about Phoenix’s uncomfortable visit, but it’s very unsettling that no one recognizes the real problem. Phoenix is obviously mentally troubled. For whatever reason, he’s acting strangely, and I may not be a doctor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he developed some sort of personality disorder, and he’s being exploited on TV. Yes, it’s at his own accord, but this man needs help. He exhibits symptoms of depression by drastically changing in appearance, behaving like a recluse, and stopping his successful acting career.

How is it that someone in the spotlight, someone so obviously disturbed, is not getting any help? Why can’t all the rabid tabloids and reporters figure out that something is wrong? They’re not his parents by any means, but it seems morally questionable to laugh at someone while knowing they are very sick.