It all started quite innocently.
The twentieth century was coming to an end. James Cameron’s insanely expensive 1997 romance/disaster film Titanic was the biggest thing ever, dazzling housewives and teenage girls everywhere and out-grossing every other perfectly respectable highest-grossing-movie-ever by a comfortable margin.
It was the first film ever to earn more than a billion dollars at the box office. It won eleven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and scores of other awards. Celine Dion had a worldwide #1 megahit (and a Grammy, of course) with that wretched song, and the (mostly orchestral) soundtrack album sold over eleven million copies in the U.S. alone. The TV ads were relentless. People wouldn’t shut up about it. The film was #1 for fifteen consecutive weeks in the U.S. (still a record) and stayed in theaters for the better part of a year. It held the record for highest worldwide box office for twelve years — until Cameron’s own Avatar beat it in 2010.
I didn’t see it.