Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Five movies that make me cry

On a recent episode of “The Sopranos,” Johnny Sack broke down in tears while being dragged from his daughter’s wedding by police. Almost immediately, right-hand man Phil questioned his manhood. If the cops can make you cry, what else can they make you do?

I’m neither ashamed nor scared to admit I enjoy a hearty man cry every now and then. I might feel differently if faced with potential whacking (as opposed to mocking) from my so-called friends, but I’ll chalk that one up as another benefit of not being in the mob. (No. 1 benefit of being in the mob? The best table at the Copa when Bobby Vinton is in town. At least that’s what I learned from “Goodfellas.”)
I don’t cry at weddings, but I do cry at movies. In fact, there are five movies guaranteed to make me cry every time I see them.

1. “Rocky III”: Actually, the Mr. T installment of the Rocky saga doesn’t make me cry. But it taught me it’s OK for a man to shed a tear.

Sylvester Stallone wept like Stephanie Stallone when trainer Mickey died before Rocky’s first fight with Clubber Lang. When I saw “Rocky III” on HBO at age 6 or 7, not only did I think it wasn’t cool for grown-up dudes to cry, I thought men literally couldn’t cry. I figured your tear ducts dried up and fell out of your skull during puberty or something. Rocky taught me even the toughest guys go the Niagra Falls route when the situation allows, and I’ve been a blubbery baby ever since.

2. “E.T.” : This movie came out back when Steven Spielberg thought aliens were nice little creatures that drank domestic beer, not faceless killing machines, and it’s still one of my favorite movies ever. Why? Because “E.T.” makes me weep. Not cry, weep. And not a quick little weep, but a colossal, full-box-of-Kleenex weep.

There are five moments in “E.T.” that make me cry. I probably won’t cry at every moment during a particular viewing, but at least one will get me: (1) When E.T. and Elliott fly on the bike for the first time; (2) When E.T. dies; (3) When E.T. comes back to life; (4) When E.T., Elliott and the other boys fly on their bikes to escape the feds; (5) When E.T. points to Elliott’s chest and says “I’ll be right here.”

OK, I started to get that pre-weep sinus tingle while typing “I’ll be right here,” so we better move on to the next movie.

3. “Field of Dreams”: This is the best male tearjerker of all-time. Yes, it’s cheesy and kind of creepy. (If you replaced Kevin Costner with Kirk Cameron, “Field of Dreams” would be a sports-oriented “Left Behind” movie.) But even the most macho man on the planet will cry at the end when Costner asks his dad’s ghost if he wants to have a catch. What guy doesn’t want to have one more catch with his dad?

4. “The Karate Kid”: I woke up with a wicked hangover on a recent Sunday morning, and “The Karate Kid” nursed me back to clearheadedness. Many people turn to church for clarity on a Sunday morning, but a sermon from Rev. Pat Morita is just as enriching. It’s also emotional. When Daniel San kicks Johnny in the face with the crane technique to win the karate tournament, I lost it like I always do.

5. “Schindler’s List” : Another movie from Spielberg, a man whose tear-inducing skills are rivaled only by Simon Cowell. I saw “Schindler’s List” again recently and made a concerted effort not to cry, because crying at “Schindler’s List” is such a cliche. (Maybe I could have made out with somebody a la “Seinfeld.) But, alas, my stiff upper lip came crumbling down as soon as Oskar Schindler cursed his Nazi pin for not allowing him to save one more Jew. From there, it was major league sniffles as the real-life Schindler Jews visited his grave.

I cry regularly at “E.T.” How could I think I was strong enough to resist “Schindler’s List”? I bet even Phil would get misty-eyed over that one.

So, what movies make you guys cry? Be honest...


Anonymous cheddar said...

"Crash" - the scene where the little girl is "shot."

Steve, you know why that one gets me. Remember the first time we saw it?

4:41 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Although I've grown a little more stingy in my old age, I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to holding back tears.

Not very original, but "Field of Dreams" and "Schindler's List" came to mind immediately and would probably be #1 and #2 on my board. Surprisingly, "It's a Wonderful Life" got to me when I saw it again last year. "Shawshank Redemption" still generates tears and served as a metaphor for graduate school.

Special category: For some reason, I have consistently had a teary weak spot for characters who are mentally challenged, eg "Rainman", "I Am Sam", "Forrest Gump", even television shows. For example, the scene in "Forrest Gump" where Forrest, upon realizing Forrest Jr. is his son, wonders fearfully if Forrest Jr. is smart or ....

5:53 PM  
Anonymous lori said...

ditto on the "crash" scene. "mask" (no jokes, please. we're talking cher and eric stoltz here) always makes me lose my stuff, and remember when we went to see "life is beautiful?" i couldn't stop sobbing.

6:10 PM  
Blogger mark said...

gump makes me cry too.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous The Lachrymal Gavin said...

After watching "Field of Dreams" like 2 days ago for the first time, it did make me cry... (I even mention this in my review of it on IMDB). The only other film I remember making me cry is "A Walk to Remember"... I tears were dripping off my chin.

I think there was a third one that I saw in the theater last fall but I can't recall what it was.

10:44 PM  
Blogger klhp said...

The Notebook. I started tearing up 45 minutes into the movie, and continued crying until I was weeping uncontrollably by the end. I couldn't talk about it for days without starting to cry.

Gump also makes me cry. "I may not be a smart man, Jenny, but I know what love is."

11:11 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I hate to repeat, but it's true that some of these movies are real tear jerkers: I am Sam, Life is Beautiful, Seven, The Notebook, Simon Birch and I get misty on almost all movies that involve terminal illness, children or animals dying.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Olson said...

Some new ones...Saving Private Ryan caused a few tears the first time I saw it; The last scene in Finding Neverland when they bring "Neverland" to her, I couldn't hold back.

Jen, I don't know you, but Seven really made you cry? I love the movie, and its one of only a handful to make me jump in the theater, but which part did it to you? In all sincerity, I'm just curious.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

The very end with the delivery in the desert. Imagine the emotion you would feel. That's the part. Newly pregnant... he didn't even know yet... and the memory of what he had seen inside the box. I don't know, it gets me everytime.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Gavin said...

Waitasec... "Karate Kid"? That movie's totally lame. Ralph Macchio could never beat those evil dojo-loving monkeys.

Elizabeth Shue was, possibly, cute in this movie... if she wasn't so damn 80s.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous K said...

I don't know if there's a single movie I cry during every time I watch it, but the following movies have at one time in my life made me cry:

Garden State
The Lion King (I was 12, shut up)
Of Mice and Men
John Q
Man On Fire (it must be a Denzel thing)

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh geez paul want a hanky. suck it.

9:27 PM  
Blogger road apples said...

I don't about movies but I have 5 lines that make me cry.

1. My credit line
2. My waist line
3. My fence line
4. My ancestor line
5. My hair line

7:38 PM  

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