Saturday, September 18, 2010

Movies It's OK to Cry At

Some of you may be a bit weary of reading posts about football and gambling, so allow me to offer a slight change of pace. Here at the blog we try to be as real as possible, so none of us would have trouble admitting that, yes, there are a few movies out there that produce tears on a consistent basis. The following are a few such movies off the top of my head, and, amazingly, not all of them are sports movies.

Forrest Gump
The end is what gets me, when Forrest is standing and talking to Jenny's gravestone. It's not so much about Jenny passing away that's so sad; it's more that Forrest lived his whole life devoted to Jenny, despite the fact that she was a slutty cokehead who paid him no mind except for when she needed him for something. Then, when everything had fallen into place and Forrest finally had the life he'd wanted with her, she was gone. The breaking point is the emotion in Forrest's voice (one of a select few times he shows any real emotion in the movie) as he talks about how he's raising their son and how smart little Forrest is. It's something about how the love that Forrest had for Jenny for so many years had now been directed toward their son that just makes you really happy - in a sad way. (Couldn't find the specific scene on Youtube, sorry.)

You knew this would be on here, but doesn't make it any less worthy. The plight of the undersized football player obviously resonates with me more than many other people, but you don't have to be a sports fan for this story to grip you. The final scene, built up by the background score and the growing "Rudy, Rudy" chant, delivers a haymaker of emotion at its apex when Rudy is put into the game, despite the fact that everyone watching the movie knows what's coming. The nicest touch of the ending is the shots of all of the family and friends who have been a part of Rudy's quest, all getting to witness the moment. Bonus points for it being a true story.

This movie probably scared the hell out of our generation as children (my hand is certainly raised), between the first encounters of E.T. and Elliot in the woods, the ghastly white and dying E.T. toward the end, and who could forget the government taking over Elliot's family's home and turning it into an alien medical center. But even a child can grip the power of the story. You get softened up by the lovable kid-like nature of E.T., you're downright disturbed when E.T. is being given the defibrillator, and your heart is warmed during the climactic government agent chase scene. That's what sets you up on a tee to absolutely lose it when E.T. and Elliot have to say their goodbyes outside the spaceship. Elliot is an outcast with a slightly shaken-up family situation, his only friend in the universe is a 3 foot tall alien, and yet the ultimate outcome of the movie is to find a way to send that friend back home a million miles away. John Williams' score deserves just as much credit as Steven Spielberg's story. (Once again, the final scene was no where to be found on Youtube.)

A League of Their Own
The last few scenes of the movie (immediately after the flashback ends) take an unexpectedly sharp turn. I think the heaviest moment comes around the 3:45 mark of the scene where music drops and the camera tilts to the bottom of Jimmy Dugan's display to show he had died in 1987. However, it's not all sad, because the shot of Jon Lovitz's aged character with a cigar in his mouth is hilarious, and the final exchange between Dottie and Kit leaves you on a very high note (and implies pretty well that their relationship had been fractured for a long time). The movie goes from an entertaining, downright funny baseball movie to a seven minute essay on the power of memories and the fragility of life (or, in a certain respect, the inevitability of death).

Rain Man
The character forces in Rain Man are great. Ray, a man who remains strictly in his same ways and routines, causes his brother Charlie, a self-centered money-hungry yuppie that's pissed off at the world, to do a 180 on his personality and priorities. Over the course of the movie, you see Charlie make emotional strides as he gets to know the brother he just found out he had, yet the closer he tries to get to Ray, the clearer it is made that Ray's world is largely impenetrable. In an annoying trend, the final scenes were unable to be found on Youtube, but the tearjerker is the moment when Charlie and Ray touch heads before Ray is about to be sent back to Walbrook. The exchange between the two as Ray gets on the train back to Cincinnati, where Charlie simply smiles after he tries to give Ray a heartfelt goodbye and Ray replies along the lines of "of course, 11 minutes til Wapner" provides a bittersweet yet satisfying ending.

Honorable Mention: Field of Dreams (it's become cliché), American History X, Cinderella Man, It's a Wonderful Life (I have to let other take the reigns on that one since I'm not as well-versed in that movie)

Dishonorable Mention: War of the Worlds, Slumdog Millionaire (I wanted to cry during each of these because I paid actual earned dollars to see these two pieces of crap.)

I know I've left a few deserving movies off the list. That's what the comments section is for. Have at it.


  1. I want to add one to the Dishonorable Mention List: Toys, starring Robin Williams. While Mom actually paid for it, you wanted to see it, I wanted to see Aladdin, and you won. Horrible film. I know your point here was NOT to add bad movies, but oh well.

  2. It's a Wonderful Life ... To my big brother George, the richest man in town.


    Wes Chamberlain 44