Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 08:15 pm est

ARTS ISSUE: Letter from the Editor

Posted on December 5, 2013 | by Jeremy Grossman

One of the biggest criticisms of James Cameron’s “Titanic” is that there’s just so much of it — nearly everything that could possibly happen to Jack and Rose happens.

In addition to being on a sinking ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which is enough of a problem, the protagonists must endure being hit, slapped, shot at, locked behind a gate and chained to a pole. And they still find time to have sex in a car. 

Furthermore, Jack and Rose endure the entire tragic experience of the sinking ship. They’re on the boat when it hits the iceberg, and they’re still on the boat — holding on for dear life — as it makes its final plunge into the ocean.  

For many, “Titanic’s” extravagance is laughable, to the point where it doesn’t even feel like a representation of reality but rather a product of the Hollywood machine, matching the size of its director’s ego. They’re not wrong, but it doesn’t matter. Art should take a note from “Titanic” and be unafraid to think big.  

I’m not suggesting every film have the budget of “Titanic” — that would be impossible. Instead, films, TV shows, books, music and theater should embrace the possibilities of excess. This lavishness can be accompanied by bold storytelling, characters, art design, marketing, costumes, makeup and performances — not just by financial backing. Extravagance allows artists to fully explore every facet of their creation, resulting in a final product as emotionally rewarding for the artist as it is for the audience.

This year, art has truly embraced the opportunities extravagance affords, from the big screen to the small screen, from MP3s to YouTube and from the stage to the page. What we are seeing is work that’s more willing to take risks.

The outrageousness of “Titanic” is what inspired this issue, because no matter how many times I watch it, it never fails to entertain me. The critics of “Titanic” can take comfort in knowing there will always be films that are reclusive, quiet and maybe a bit more grounded in reality. But there’s also going to be an audience next door enjoying a movie that’s louder, wilder and having a much better time.

Comments

  • John Francis Fox

    I am happy that Jeffrey Grossman appreciated the entertainment value and romantic allure of “Titanic.” However, I still feel somewhat bad that the extravagance of “Titanic” resulted in its overshadowing of smaller and better made films like “The Ice Storm,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “Ulee’s Gold,” and “Ponette.” We should all be willing to be taken in by the magnificence of “Titanic.” But we shouldn’t let it cause us to ignore the luminosity of smaller gems like the above-mentioned films.

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Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

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Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

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Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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