I have a lot of information stuck up in my brain about things that will never serve any use to me. Greek mythology. American assassinations and attempted assassinations. The name and representative color of every member of JLS. And, of course, six million historical facts about the sinking of the Titanic. Because I was a nine-year-old girl in 1997. And we all know what that means:
(On that note, here’s some mood music for the rest of this post.)
I don’t really want to talk about Titanic today because, while I understand the movie is legitimately not very good, somehow my elementary school self still comes out swinging every time I hear a word against it LIKE OMG HOW DARE YOU TITANIC IS MAJESTIC I LOVE LEO THE MOST. Here are some things I may or may not have done as an awkward nine-year-old in love with a movie character for the first time (I definitely did all of these things):
1. Saved my pocket money up for weeks to buy The Leonardo DiCaprio Album, which I purchased secretly and hid under my bed, because I was weirdly embarrassed about the prospect of my mom finding out I had a crush on a boy. I remember being extremely scandalized when I read that you could see Leo’s junk in that movie he did about Arthur Rimbaud.
2. Cut Leo’s picture out of every magazine I could lay my hands on (this was in the late nineties, so he was in pretty much every magazine). I kept these in an old lunchbox, which I also hid under my bed. I don’t remember ever doing anything with these scraps of paper, I think I just liked collecting them, like a magpie.
3. Wrote a weird third-person short story about a two star-crossed lovers who meet while traveling on the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic. But see, in this story, the man (“Jake Dodgson”) was a wealthy, disillusioned socialite and the woman (“me”) was a charmingly impoverished street rat, so it was totally different from Titanic. Anyway, it was fanfic. I didn’t find out that fanfic was a thing for another five years or so, but it was still definitely fanfic.
What I’m saying is, growing up in the time and place that I did means that to this day I maintain in my head a rolodex of information about the Titanic, both cinematic and historical. A couple of months ago my friend Nick sent me a postcard from his trip to France, and as soon as I saw the word “Cherbourg” on the front my brain went: “At Cherbourg, a woman came aboard named Margaret Brown. We all called her Molly. History would call her The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Cherbourg is where Molly Brown boarded the Titanic. TITANIC. TITANIC. LEONARDO DICAPRIO.”
(I did not have to look up that quote about Molly Brown, it has remained lodged in my head since 1997, thanks to viewing Titanic five times in theaters and approximately one million further times on VHS.)
But the point of all this, really, is that Leonardo DiCaprio is great. Right? His beautiful face made me learn about an important historical event when I was in elementary school. AND he’s like a really good actor now. Remember when he was a teenage heartthrob? Who would have thought it! Good for you, Leo. Actually Leonardo DiCaprio seems to have grown up to be a legitimately decent person, and I’m kind of proud of my nine-year-old self for having a crush on him, the same way I feel very self-satisfied when I remember that I have never owned a single *NSync or Backstreet Boys album. (I genuinely loved the Spice Girls, though, so it evens out.)
In conclusion, here are some pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio’s circa-1997 face:
PS: If we’re being totally honest, my first movie love was Jack Kelly from Newsies. Oh, and by the way, guess who knows the most about the newsboy strike of 1899?