Last year was the biggest grossing year in the history of movies. It was also a huge year for cruise ships. How are these two related? The travel experts say it has to do with the success of the movie, “Titanic.”

That’s right. So many people loved the idea of being on board a sinking cruise ship and then drowning in icy ocean waters, that they immediately called up Kathie Lee and asked if they could bunk in the stateroom with her and Frank. Funny, I don’t remember cruise bookings going up after everyone saw Shelley Winters drown in Jack Albertson’s arms in “The Poseidon Adventure.”

Okay, I lied. None of the women who made these bookings wanted to room with the Giffords. They all wanted to room with Leo DiCaprio, or at the very least meet him on the bow and let him be king of their world. How disappointed they were when they got on board and learned that the closest they could get was a bald guy at the buffet who wore olive plaid stretch pants and whose zodiac sign was Leo.

But that’s the power of the movies. And it explains why, logic be damned, James Cameron is now working on a sequel, “Titanic 2.” So what if the ship sank and there’s no chance in hell of getting Leo back? So what if the last movie sequel to take place on board a cruise ship was “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” the movie that almost ended Sandra Bullock’s career?

That’s why I’m here to beg of the Hollywood hotshots to stop the madness. They have to finally realize that there are certain movie themes that should never be tried again, because they have already been covered from every angle, and you can’t top the best of the bunch.

For instance, does anyone ever need to see another mafia movie? If you really have an aching for an evening with some wise guys, go rent a real classic. Go get either of the first two “Godfather” movies (but not number three, in which Sofia Coppola proves that she is the Fredo of the family) or Scorcese’s masterpiece “Goodfellas,” or the lighter side of the mob in “Prizzi’s Honor” or the capper of a couple years back, “Donnie Brasco.” If you’re a filmmaker, you have to look at those five and realize that you’ll never do it better. For proof, look at any TV movie like “The Last Don.”


Here’s another genre that we can lay to rest: war movies. After all the battles that have already been fought on celluloid — besides all the black and white classics, there’s “Platoon,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Courage Under Fire,” hell, even “Rambo” — I just don’t need to see another Hollywood star wearing camouflage again. Frankly, I don’t care whether or not Sean Penn saves Guadalcanal in “The Thin Red Line.” At the very least, pick a different war! I have yet to see the definitive flick about the weekend we won back Grenada.

The same is true for the horrors of outer space. Over the weekend, I stumbled across “Event Horizon” on cable. Now, I like Laurence Fishburne and there was nothing better on, so I sat though it.

Guess what the plot was? Way out in space, the crew of a spacecraft is awakened from hypersleep and forced to deal with some sort of alien life that is taking over the ship and will eventually kill practically everyone on board, preferably in a gruesome manner. Oh, and the interior of the ship has that musty metallic look, and the crew is made up of a bunch of characters who just want to make it back to Earth but they don’t dare bring this thing from space home with them.

Hello? Ring a bell? This was the plot to “Alien.” And “Aliens.” And “Alien 3.” And “Alien Resurrection.” which had the balls to bring back Sigourney Weaver from the dead just to keep the damn series alive. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that in the next one, they bring Roddy McDowell back from the dead to do “Beneath The Planet Of The Alien.” Get your stinking tentacles off me, you damn dirty extraterrestrial!

Hollywood keeps going back to that same well. Coming soon to a theater near you is a movie called “Virus,” with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Sutherland, and Billy Baldwin. They don’t even care if people think it’s a blatant “Alien” ripoff. They’re already running commercials for it with two cute tag lines: “It is aware” and “Humankind is history.” Hopefully, humankind will be aware enough to realize that we’ve seen this movie before.

And they’re not getting my seven bucks unless it’s Jamie Lee in that dirty, drenched, too-tight undershirt. Of course, with creative geniuses like this at work, it’s probably Donald Sutherland!