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My heart will go on, but get off the door

By Melinda Mawdsley

Rachel and I strongly disagreed about the ending of "Titanic," so we decided to settle our debate in the deep end of the Orchard Mesa Swimming Pool.

Note: We don't disagree about the sinking of the real Titanic ship 100 years ago this month. That was a tragedy. Our disagreement is about the movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, which was re-released April 6. Extra note: We are about to discuss how the movie ends.


Rachel is on "Team Jack." She fervently believes there was room for Jack on the door, so he didn't have to die.

I am on "Team Rose." I fervently believe Jack's survival was not the point. The movie was a 1912 love story, and what's more romantic than dying for love?

We needed an answer to this ultimately meaningless question. One of us needed to be RIGHT!

Rachel found a door. We dressed the parts. Officials with the City of Grand Junction laughed at us but gave us permission to re-enact the movie's ending in the OM pool.

Here is how it played out in our own words and through the eyes of a video camera.


Melinda: America just saw the video, Rachel. Rose needed the whole door to safely get her limbs out of the frigid north Atlantic.

Rachel: No, what she needed was a stern lecture on sharing and helpfulness. And a good talking-to about gratitude for having a solid wood door (no way the White Star line would chintz with hollow, particle board doors) that would float like a dream in salt water.

Melinda: What if Rose tried to share the door with Jack, but the door couldn't support both their weights? Jack was a gentleman and gave up his life to save the woman he loved. That is romantic.

Rachel: A.) I contend that in salt water, a solid-oak door would support both their weights. They just didn't try hard enough because they'd obviously been reading "Romeo and Juliet," which leads me to B.) that's not romance. That's lurid infatuation tinged with an addiction to drama. Romance would have been her counter-balancing the door while he got on, so they could float to shore and raise little bohemian children together.

Melinda: Really? You want to go there? Fine. A.) I contend that in the north Atlantic, in the middle of the night, while developing hypothermia, Jack turned primal and saved his love instead of "trying hard" to fit himself on a wooden door next to a soaking wet woman, who also was freezing. They probably tried really hard just to get her on the door. B.) You want to bring logic to a James Cameron movie?!?

Rachel: I do want logic, because you know what else? There were lots of other pieces of wood in that water! Was it so vital that they hold hands every single second? Couldn't he have said, "Look, I'm going to swim over there and get on that other piece of wood, and we can just holler back and forth until we're rescued. Or, better yet, I'll swim over there, push that piece of wood back over here and you can lean over and counter-balance it while I get on." All I want in life is a little counter-balancing!

Melinda: I doubt there was enough time as hypothermia set in, in the complete darkness for Jack and Rose to problem solve how to build a wooden raft to float to the mainland. There were a lot of floating pieces of wood in the water that wouldn't have supported the weight of my right leg, let alone two adults in soaking wet clothes. I like how you think there was time for Jack and Rose to swim around and gather pieces of wood and experiment with how best to fit on a door. There was no time, Rachel. They were literally freezing to death!

Rachel: I'm not asking them to build a raft, just for Jack to wriggle up onto, say, a piano that happened to be floating by. I'd like to hope his survival instinct would be the last thing to freeze. But I guess you're right: The film ended the way it was supposed to, because Jack was spared a life with a woman capable of saying things like, "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets."

Melinda: She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. Maybe it was from that line. Who knows? All I know is a lot of men died when the Titanic sank. Jack symbolized the tragedy of that event. I guess we'll agree to disagree on whether he could have lived. But ultimately here is the most important question. Is Titanic one of the most memorable movies of all time? (Not good or bad. Memorable.)

Rachel: Memorable? Oh, sure. I'll definitely give it that. Very few films have inspired me to rend my clothes in anguish at the end -- not because of any emotional content, but because she threw that pendant into the ocean. ARRRRRGGGHH!! Why?? I'm all for symbolic gestures, but that was so dumb. But yes: memorable. We definitely can agree on that.


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