Just to respond to Dave (old school style, pre-comments or eProps).
To be clear, I didn’t say that if you don’t get Titanic, you don’t understand people, I said if you don’t understand Titanic’s appeal, you don’t understand people. Meaning, you might not like it yourself, but you get why other people do. I think you fall into this camp. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, you recognize that it appeals to romantics, of whom there are many in this world. So you get the appeal. This is in contrast to other people out there who literally cannot understand why Titanic was/is popular. Those are the people I’m talking about.
The romantic / cynic thing got me thinking, because I’m not sure which one I am. I actually think I’m more cynical than romantic. Not as much as, say, my mom. Her first words after watching Titanic were “she should have listened to her mother.” But even the first time I saw it, I didn’t think the love story was that compelling. I just thought it was narratively necessary to drive the last half. Even that first time, I wasn’t sure if their romance would have survived over the long-term. I’ve had that reaction with other movies also. Like the ending of the Graduate, I felt like they had no idea what they were doing. And I saw Say Anything in my mid-20s, and thought their relationship was entirely impractical – they didn’t even really know each other and it could never work. So I have that cynical side.
At the same time, in my heart I *feel* like I’m a romantic. Even in the way I process music. And I was trying to figure out how to reconcile the feeling that I’m romantic with my actual reactions to most romantic movies. I think I’ve concluded that I believe strongly in romance, but also believe that it rarely actually happens, certainly not the way it’s shown in the movies. And I think I react especially negatively to impulse or illogic – I tend to think that anything based on that will never last. If I really process how I feel, I think true romance requires a logical commitment and dedication. Which sounds pretty unromantic, but there you go.
What confuses me is that you say you don’t like how romantics “are always following their passions, jumping headlong into things.” The thing is, I think you do resonate with characters like that who drive me crazy. Like, I may be wrong, but I thought you liked Say Anything, when I find them hopelessly naive. I think you also like other characters who drive me nuts for being so impetuous and unthoughtful, like Starbuck, Crosby, and Amber. If I were to take a guess, I don’t think it’s impulsiveness you dislike at all, but how easy something is. Like you mentioned, Rose and Jack’s love didn’t have to be proven, and so you find it superficial. But I think you resonate with Starbuck, Crosby and Amber because their impulsive decisions screw up their lives, and dealing with the hardship that results from that somehow makes it “real”. Me, I just don’t resonate with impulsive characters period.
I miss Dave’s blogging. His Korea entries remain to this day some of the most insightful things I’ve ever read about Korean (and Korean-American) society. Even his throwaway asides (like how there’s no word for “cheesy” in Chinese because the concept doesn’t exist there) I find fascinating. Hope he does it more.