I went to see Sweeney Todd on New Year’s day. I doubted my ability to be attracted to scary-deadly-barber version of Johnny Depp, but lo and behold, it happened. I also had a throwback moment: Exactly ten years before, I took my father to see Titanic. This was my third time seeing the movie (in five days) and perhaps my most selfish birthday present to dad ever. He hates sitting still and hates all movies except for Armageddon, Men in Black, and Lethal Weapon 3. I knew this, but did not care. I was already full-on fully obsessed with Titanic. I was that movie’s target audience: 12 and female. I saw it a grand total of five times in the theater, plastered my walls with over 500 pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio (I counted), and fell asleep to Celine Dion more nights than I’d like to admit.
Ten years on, and at least eight years from my last viewing if Titanic, I’m still feeling the effects. Besides jumpstarting puberty, Titanic created a separate, not-solely-Leo-based obsession with movies. My brain became the fine-tuned trivia-absorbing machine it is today thanks to my drive to know every goddamn thing about Titanic. There is one simple answer to the question each and every person I meet asks me at least once — Why do you know that? — and that answer is Titanic. Usually I find it less embarassing to say “imdb” or “my brother told me” or “hey, look over there!” but now you, all two of you, know the truth.
As for the other effects…they have diminished. My walls are no longer plastered with posters, although Mom did just give me a pink bathtowel with Johnny Depp and “I Heart Jack” emblazoned on it (there’s a chance my mother has a crush on Captain Jack, too). The days of Celine are, thankfully, far behind me. And although I would definitely scream and faint if I ever ran into Mr. DiCaprio, I would probably be able to collect myself relatively quickly without too much sobbing, and maybe even get out a complete sentence or two about how much I like his work and his man-crush on Al Gore. I’m a grown up, dammit. It takes more than a floppy haircut, a perfect smile and a big boat to get me swooning. Now it takes dreadlocks, terrible teeth and a much smaller boat.