Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I'm not sure how I missed this, but Jason has a list of movies that make men cry. I've bolded the ones that do, in fact, make me cry like a little girl who's just had her lollipop stolen by the creepy old guy who owns the local nuclear power plant.

It's a Wonderful Life

No, not really. I've never liked this movie all that much.

Schindler's List

Last time I watched it, I didn't cry at the right scene, but the film still moved me terribly. I know that the "I could have done more" scene didn't happen in real life, but it's still a terribly emotional scene. For me, even more emotional is the cast members accompanying their people they're playing in laying rocks on Oskar Schindler's grave. That always gets me.


I haven't seen this.

Dead Poets Society

What phony tripe this movie is. It's the desk-standing, "O Captain my Captain" scene that's supposed to be the tear-jerker, but as I've noted previously, this comes after these kids have already signed the paper getting Keating fired. It would have been more fitting if Keating had said, "Yeah, day late and a dollar short, fellas."

Forrest Gump

I refuse to hate this movie, even though it feels like I should, or something. First time I saw it I cried when Jenny died; for Forrest to wait for her his entire life only to lose her when he finally got her struck me as terribly sad.

The Natural

I haven't seen it, despite its being filmed in Buffalo. I stink.

The Shawshank Redemption

One of my favorite films, but it doesn't make me cry. It fills me with a deep sense of fulfillment, as if some rightness in the cosmic order has been restored when it ends. I can think of few films that give that sense of satisfaction that this one does. (Although I do think it should have rolled the credits with Red's bus heading down the road. We just don't need to see him meeting Andy on the beach; it simply isn't necessary and the whole point is that at long last Red has learned to hope again.)

Big Fish

I've had the DVD for two years and still haven't watched it. Gotta get to it; I've heard naught but good about it.


I haven't seen this.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

This whole trilogy is full of weepy moments for me. Just a few: when Frodo and Bilbo are reunited in Rivendell; when Frodo tries to leave Sam behind at the end but Sam just marches into the water after him; Eomer's arrival at Helm's Deep; Sam's "It's like the old stories" speech; Pippin's terror at being taken by Gandalf away from Merry; the lighting of the beacons; Gandalf's meditation with Pippin over the nature of death ("And then you see it: white shores...."); the charge of the Rohirrim at Pellenor; Theoden's fall and Eowyn's victory over the Witch King; "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!; when Aragorn leads all of Gondor in bowing to the four hobbits.

The Passion of the Christ

Nope. I ended up fast-forwarding through some of it; Christ's forced march to Golgotha with the Cross takes forever, and by the time they're nailing him to the thing, the entire movie has for me become a bit desensitizing. I also noted something else when I watched the movie: during the more violent parts, like when the Roman soldiers flog Jesus, I actually found myself admiring the make-up effects of the movie. It's supposed to be a horrifying moment, but I found myself wondering, "Wow, how did Gibson manage to simulate the whip actually biting into Jesus's skin and ripping giant chunks out of it?" (I seem to recall another blogger mentioning this, but I can't remember who that was.) I just didn't find this film all that emotional; it was quite the opposite for me. Cold and distant.

(And there was one moment that stood out like the proverbial sore thumb. When Pilate has the Jews choose between freeing harmless Jesus and murderer Barrabas and they choose Barrabas, a shocked Pilate glances at Jesus, who gives him this stare back that seemed to me to be Jesus basically saying, "You got any other bright ideas?" It kind of pulled me out of the movie.)

ET: The Extra-Terrestrial

When I first saw this at the age of ten, I cried long and hard during the death scene. After that, I never cried during that scene again, knowing that ET wasn't actually dead. (He was only mostly dead, har har!) But to this day, I cry immensely during the final farewell. In fact, I can actually work up tears if I just listen to that entire, magnificent "Adventure on Earth" cue that John Williams wrote for the film's last fifteen minutes. I always lose it at the exact same moment: after Gertie and Michael have said their goodbyes to ET, and then the mother and the "Keys" guy arrive just in time to look on as Elliot approaches for his farewell. Without fail, I start sobbing right then.

And I've noticed a couple of other moments that make me cry, earlier, before Elliot's "talking to dead ET" monologue. When ET is crashing, the first time they put the defibrillators on him and shock him, we cut to Gertie, who visibly jumps with surprise at the violence of the electricity being blasted through ET, and then she immediately starts to cry as only a little girl can. And so do I. And then, a minute or two later, as Elliot is looking on in total helplessness, having been shoved aside by all the doctors and officials, his mother comes up behind him, unsure of the reaction she's going to get – and he just throws his arms around her. I lose it there, too.

8. The Green Mile

No crying here.

7. Saving Private Ryan

I've beaten this movie up a couple times in the last week, so I'll have done; but it didn't make me cry. The Normandy stuff was incredibly visceral, of course, in the way that I think Mel Gibson wanted The Passion to be but didn't quite pull off.

6. The Pride of the Yankees

I haven't seen this.

5. Rudy

Ugh. Especially Jerry Goldsmith's bore of score, relentlessly pounding that one tune into our heads, over and over and over and over again....

4. Braveheart

I didn't cry at this. I love the movie, but it didn't make me cry.

3. Brian's Song

I haven't seen this.

2. Old Yeller

This movie, along with The Yearling, only made me cry tears of anger if any tears at all. "Boy becomes man by learning how to kill his beloved pet" is vomitous, nonsensical crap. I hate this movie, as you can tell. (There's a really funny episode of Friends where Phoebe walks in as the others are watching this movie and sobbing away, and Phoebe doesn't get it because it turns out her grandmother who raised her would invariably turn off sad movies before they got to the sad part so Phoebe's always thought that infamously sad movies actually have happy endings. In her attempt to re-educate herself she watches Pride of the Yankees and is horrified when the baseball player gets Lou Gehrig's Disease; someone else says, "Er, Phoebe, that actually was Lou Gehrig. Didn't you see it coming?")

I've always wondered if George RR Martin was making fun of Old Yeller in A Storm of Swords, when Daenerys hires an army of soldiers who have been methodically desensitized to just about everything through their lives. The guy in charge tells her how each soldier is given a puppy when he reaches manhood, and as his final test before being allowed to become a soldier in this army, he is required to kill his dog.

1. Field of Dreams

You'd better believe it! At three points, even: when Ray realizes that Doc Brown can't return to being a ballplayer; when he realizes that the catcher is his father; and, of course, "Dad, you wanna have a catch?"

Jason also gives some movies that make him cry, so I should do the same. I used to be really bad about crying at movies when I was a kid; The Wizard of Oz did it, and Snoopy Come Home was positively traumatic. Dances With Wolves used to have me in a waterworks as soon as Cisco's death, but in more recent viewings, I hold it together until the very end (but Wind In His Hair's cries of friendship from the clifftop still get me, to this day). I admit I got seriously choked up during the slaughter of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith, and while I haven't cried at that sequence watching the film at home, I still find it a terribly emotional scene.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, An Affair to Remember, the obvious last scene, when Cary Grant is about to leave when he suddenly says something that makes him put two and two together and realize why it was that Deborah Kerr wasn't at the Empire State Building like she'd said she'd be. Beauty and the Beast does it now and then. I haven't seen it in a very long time, but I remember Shadowlands being quite the tearjerker.

As long as we're talking tearjerking stuff, a lot of episodes of teevee shows have had me all weepy. A bunch of Once and Again episodes do it (the big catalyst here being "There Be Dragons"). ER, in its hey-day, could uncork a good weeper about once a season; there was Dr. Greene's baby-delivery-gone-awry in season one, the EMT guy who suffered third degree burns over ninety percent of his body in the season two, Carter-and-Lucy-get-stabbed, and the episode when we learn that Dr. Greene has died. That was a masterful episode that I thought a wonderful send-off for Dr. Greene, so much so that the next episode, which backtracked a bit to show Dr. Greene's last days, felt superfluous to me. In the episode in question, at the beginning, Carter reads a letter Dr. Greene has written from Hawaii, where he's gone to live out his last days [brain cancer]. It's a warm and funny letter, but then at the end Carter grabs one final sheet and says, "Oh, Elizabeth [Dr. Greene's second wife] wrote something here too..." And he's silent for a moment, and we know what's coming: "Mark died this morning at sunrise." The rest of the episode shows the rest of the ER staff struggling with the news that Mark is gone; Carter posts the entire letter on the main bulletin board, and at the end of the episode, we briefly flash forward a year to see that the letter is still there. That was a great episode, back when ER was actually good.

Let's see, what else? The West Wing had some teary moments too. "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" opens with the aftermath of the assassination attempt, and the way Toby catches himself when he finds Josh and, after telling him to get up, realizes that Josh is bleeding profusely from his gunshot wounds, always gets me; so does Mrs. Landingham's death later that season. And yeah, on Friends, I usually tear up a bit for Chandler's proposal to Monica.

Star Trek? A few times, but not that often. I find that the climax of "The City on the Edge of Forever" unfolds too quickly for tears (not a fault with the episode, just a fact about the way it's done). The DS9 episode "The Visitor", though, is extremely moving, despite the technobabble that pads out its running time.

And then there's that old family chestnut, Little House on the Prairie, which always had a lot of attempted tear-jerking moments. I think they tended to try too hard, though; sometimes it almost became laughable. (Poor Alice Garvey's fate was so over-the-top that I found myself wondering if I was supposed to take it seriously, and the final episode where the people of Walnut Grove dynamited their own buildings while singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" in order to thwart some kind of evil capitalists very nearly had me on the floor in stitches.) But there was a very fine episode guest-starring Patricia Neal that was quite the weeper, and the all-time champ for this show was an early two-parter when Laura is jealous of her new-born baby brother's attention so she prays for him to die, and when he does, she runs away to climb a mountain where she meets an angel played by Ernest Borgnine. Yes, it's exactly as cheesy as it sounds, but wow, does that one lock my personal floodgates in the "open" position.

Well, that's about it. I'm basically an emotional basket case. What can I say?


Anonymous said...

I almost never cry at movies and when I do it's usually not really crying just bordering on weepy. I guess that's strange because women are supposed to get openly emotional about everything.

One movie I remember that did make me cry that's not on the list is Where the Red Fern Grows. I'm not sure why. It was sad but far from being the saddest movie I've ever seen and I'm not even a dog person.

Roger Owen Green said...

yup - Field o' dreams. Even when the girl falls during the argument, before Doc steps off the field, I'm getting a little choked up. But just THINKING about the catcher as his dad makes me teary - seriously.

teflonjedi said...

Return of the King, like you, but also when helpless Gondor soldiers are plucked up from the walls of Minas Tirith, and then dropped, helpless, to the ravaged city below.

General Order 66.

And, Montgomery Scott playing the bagpipes always affects me.

On the TV side, "Sleeping in Light" profoundly affected me.

melinama said...

you would really like "Frequency," I own it and have watched it several times.

redsneakz said...

I haven't seen you rant about 4 Weddings and a Funeral (and it's understandable that you might dislike it), but the funeral scene does me in every time. So does Brian's Song.