Last night, I spent a couple hours sorting through a chest of collectible action figures I purchased nearly 10 years ago for $5 each at Family Dollar. They were from James Cameron’s very popular movie, “Avatar,” and currently are worth between $20-$100 each, depending on the particular character.
To date, “Avatar” has grossed close to $3 billion, which made me think about another James Cameron movie back in 1997 that grossed “only” $2.2 billion … ”Titanic.” I had to chuckle as I recalled just how difficult it had been for me to see that movie.
“Titanic” had been playing for nearly three months and I still hadn’t seen it. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. Let’s just say my husband wasn’t exactly thrilled about accompanying me.
“I’m not about to sit in a crowded theater for over three hours, just to watch some movie where I already know the entire plot,” he complained when I first asked him to take me.
“You know the entire plot?” I asked.
“Yeah. The ship sinks.”
“But the whole movie’s not just about the ship sinking,” I argued. “It’s also a beautiful love story!”
His expression immediately told me I’d just blown any chance I might have had to convince him to go. If I’d have been smart, I would have told him the Titanic’s passengers included a gang of cutthroat pirates, a werewolf and a convention of striptease dancers, all floating in an ocean full of man-eating prehistoric monsters.
Tired of my constant nagging, my husband finally gave in and took me to see the movie on his day off, which fell in the middle of the week. We figured the crowd wouldn’t be too bad on a weekday.
We’d figured wrong. There wasn’t even one parking spot available in the gigantic parking lot when we arrived. And even after we drove around the lot for 10 minutes, there still weren’t any available.
“Aw, gee,” my husband said with feigned disappointment. “The movie must be sold out. We’ll have to try again some other time.”
But I never was able to convince him to try again, not even after the movie was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won best picture of the year. Having no recourse, I finally decided to go to a matinee by myself. By then, all of my friends already had seen the movie, so I pretty much was on my own. Unfortunately, I chose a day during school-vacation week, and there was a long line waiting to buy tickets.
“I’ve seen this movie three times already!” a teenage girl in front of me was telling her friends. “And I still can’t help it. Every time Leonardo DiCaprio has a close-up on the screen, I scream my lungs out! He’s such a hunk!”
“Me, too!” her friend added. “Last time, I screamed so much, my throat hurt for two days afterwards!”
I left the theater and went back home.
A week later, I returned to try again. By then, I was so determined to see the movie, nothing short of four flat tires was going to stop me.
It was a Tuesday, and the movie started at noon. The parking lot was nearly empty, there was no line to buy tickets, and when I entered theater number four and took my seat, to my delight, only three other people were in there. Even better, they looked way too old to be screaming over Leonardo DiCaprio.
And so there I sat, for the next three-and-a-half hours, desperately wishing I hadn’t gulped down two cups of tea before heading to the theater.
It took about two hours for the Titanic to finally hit the iceberg. And just as it was only inches away from doing so, with all of the ship’s crew members running around and frantically shouting, “We’re going to hit an iceberg!” the screen went completely black.
I sat there, in nearly total darkness, wondering if it was intermission – and if I had time to bolt to the restroom. But no theater lights popped on, and the word “intermission” didn’t flash across the screen. So I just waited…and waited.
The movie returned just as the Titanic was sideswiping the iceberg. I was glad I hadn’t left my seat (although my bladder wasn’t) or I would have missed the most important part of the film.
Everyone had warned me in advance the movie was a real tearjerker, so I sat there holding a wad of tissues, prepared for the worst. When the movie ended, I felt as if I had a lump the size of a baseball in my throat, but I didn’t cry…mainly because I wasn’t wearing waterproof mascara, and I didn’t want to look like a raccoon when I left the theater, especially since I had to run some errands on the way home.
But the minute I stepped into the house and my husband asked me if I’d enjoyed the movie, I burst into tears.
“It was wonderful!” I choked between sobs. “I definitely want to see it again, and I really think you should come with me this time. I guarantee you’ll like it.”
He frowned at me and shook his head. “Like it? If your reaction is any indication, all I’ll end up doing is getting depressed. And believe me, if I want to get depressed, all I have to do is go to work!”
“Gee, that’s too bad,” I said, wiping my eyes. “You won’t be able to see the part where these four sexy-looking women on the ship get all of their clothes ripped off by a giant wave.”
“I’ll go warm up the car,” he said.
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