Episode 84: Titanic (1997)

Film chosen by Gali

God himself could not sink this ship! We’ve snagged a ticket on a lucky hand of poker and are setting sail on the grandest vessel ever built, James Cameron’s all-conquering disaster romance epic Titanic.

Eventually emerging as an unsinkable box office phenomenon and Oscar magnet, Cameron cashed in all his chips as one of the most successful filmmakers of his era and created the most expensive movie ever mounted – attracting obvious, negative headlines when this venture was earmarked ahead of release as a thuddingly on-the-nose allegory for hubristic folly that would inevitably fail spectacularly. Yet his fervent (or psychotic, depending on your viewpoint) self-belief and meticulous craftsmanship shone through, while his star-crossed romantic pairing of promising young actress Kate Winslet and next-big-thing-in-waiting Leonardo DiCaprio struck a heartstring chord with audiences worldwide, launching both to the top of their profession and paving the way for Cameron to go even further with his mind-bogglingly successful $3 billion-grossing follow-up Avatar.

Join Gali, Devlin, Patrick and Matt as they light the last two boilers and go full steam ahead, reflecting on their own histories with the film – whether they sniffled silently into their Kickers jumpers as abashed teenagers in provincial multiplexes, or cursed every winsome appearance of sprout-faced Leo and cringed through the ubiquity of Celine Dion’s lachrymose, maximalist theme song. Is this one of the all-time great, audience-uniting epics from one of the premier directors of his generation? Or a cynical exercise in broad-brush pandering that irreversibly pierced the hull of a once-great creative who has been stuck treading water ever since?

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