Man who’s never seen Titanic can describe entire movie

I’ve never seen Titanic, but just based on 20-something years of parodies, references and other detritus of living in America, I think I can describe the whole movie.

The movie begins in the “present day” of the late 1990s. Bill Paxton is some sort of nautical archaeologist, and he’s exploring the wreck of the Titanic, the massive ocean liner that sunk on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic ocean in 1912. Paxton and his crew of deep-sea-diving robots or whatever discover a gorgeous, invaluable diamond necklace in the wreck. The necklace has some name that’s both cliché and pretentious, like “Heart of Gold” or “Pearl of the Ocean.”

Paxton discovers that the necklace once belonged to an English aristocrat named Rose. He discovers that she’s still alive and living in New York. She might be portrayed by the actress who played Aunt May in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. Paxton brings her the necklace and asks her to tell him about her time aboard the Titanic.

The movie then flashes back to 1912. Rose is now a young woman, portrayed by Kate Winslet. She’s boarding the Titanic along with the rest of her family, who are all stuffy English aristocratic types. She’s amazed at the sheer spectacle of the enormous ship. She’s engaged to be married to a handsome young aristocrat played Billy Zane. But she doesn’t really like him. Instead, she has eyes for a young, hat-wearing poor guy named Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, because he’s an artist.

She eventually asks Jack if she can do some nude modeling for him. He agrees, because it’s a pretty easy decision, and then he draws her, and then they make love, maybe in a car for some reason, although that doesn’t make much sense because they’re already on a boat.

After the love-making, they’re happily in love, and they run around the ship like a couple of school kids, much to the annoyance of everyone around them, especially Billy Zane, since he loves Rose, too. They lean off the prow of the ship, and Jack shouts, “I’m the king of the world!” This whole section of the movie is scored to Celine Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On,” the song that ruined pennywhistles and love for an entire generation.

Meanwhile, Captain Smith, played by Bernard Hill, a.k.a. King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings, hears from one of his crewmen that the ship is nearing some iceberg-infested waters, but he isn’t afraid, because, lo, verily, that’s the hubris of captains and kings.

The ship hits an iceberg, of course, and then there’s a long ’90s-CGI-effects sequence of the boat sinking. The poor people fall into the icy waters. The rich people get on life rafts. The band keeps playing throughout the evacuation. I’m not sure what music they play, but it might be an instrumental version of “My Heart Will Go On.” Captain Smith also goes down with the ship.

After the ship sinks, Rose is trapped on a door floating in the water. Jack hangs on the side, slowly freezing to death. After a long, tearful exchange, during which the ample space on the floating door is ignored, Jack lets go and slowly descends into the icy abyss below.

The movie ends by cutting back to the “present day” ’90s, and Bill Paxton thanks Rose for sharing her story with him.

And then there’s an encore of “My Heart Will Go On” over the credits.

How’d I do? Pretty close?