From Titanic to Downsizing: How American fantasies have shrunk

Titanic, James Cameron's epic film about the massiveness of boats, luxury, hubris, and teen love, celebrates its 20-year anniversary today. This weekend will also see the premiere of Downsizing, Alexander Payne's sci-fi comedy about a world in which Americans who want a better life will literally shrink themselves down in order to get it.

The contrast is telling. Titanic was in part about how technological progress metastasizes into a tribute to greed and luxury doomed by virtue of its...

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