(This is a repost from HH2B as I transition that site to a comics-only site).
I don’t watch chick flicks. You can count on one hand the number of “chick dramas” I’ve watched voluntarily, and I shun Lifetime-style movies like Steel Magnolias or The Notebook like a zombie apocalypse. My movies have explosions, guns, ninjas, swords, sexy coeds, and Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme and/or Sylvester Stallone. Guy movies, you know? And yet… I STILL find myself crying at the movie theater every now and then. There are some film makers who really know how to tug a heart string, and there are some films that give you such an emotional suckerpunch at the end that all you can do is weep uncontrollably. Like a little girl. Like a man in touch with his feelings. No bones about it. If you want to see what it’s like to be attacked by onion-slicing ninjas in the middle of your living room, then watch these movies. But do it with care. Your buddies may never stop ribbing you — after their eyes dry up too, of course.
You know what? I am bawling already, just from looking these quotes up. These movies hit me deep. If you didn’t cry the first time you saw these films, then you have no soul. Begone from me, foul undead minion of Lolth! But if you haven’t, then I cannot recommend these movies strongly enough. There are just snippets of quotes below. I won’t give anything away. You deserve to be stomach-punched as hard as the rest of us were. In order from weakest to strongest response, here are the movies that make me cry like no Fremen ever did.
“Make a wish, Lo” — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
This is one of those films that catches you off-guard. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon follows a formula that I did not know when I first watched it: In Chinese cinema, no one ever gets a happy ending. If I’d known this, I would have been ready for the ending, wherein a witch and her disciple, an aging mercenary and monk who could have been lovers in a different world, and a sword of destiny all work themselves into a lather. But that’s not the ending. That’s the set up. See, we see people die there, and you know. You know people die in movies, especially movies with a lot of sword play and the like. But it’s later, when the young bandit prince is reunited with his lover, and after all he and she have been through, in this grueling ordeal of a movie, she utters one line to him that breaks him as utterly as a man could be broken. And what she does next breaks the heart of every person watching.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Hidden onion-slicing ninja, I say.
“You died on a Saturday morning”– Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is the least exciting movie about football, Viet Nam, racism, deep sea fishing, and technology ever made. And yet it is compelling to watch a simpleton bumble through the events that shaped our American life. Through all the changes that occur in Forrest’s life, through all the history he personally witnesses, there is one constant in his life. And when that’s taken away from him, nothing — not witnessing the death of his mother, his best friend dying, his former boss coming to grips with double amputation — none of this prepares you for the heart-felt good bye he has to make then. Forrest Gump is an example of movie-making done right. You don’t even realize how attached you’ve grown to these stupid screen characters until one of them is hurt so badly, you can feel it yourself.
“Thanks, guys” — Toy Story 3
I went into Toy Story 3 knowing that this was being billed as the last Toy Story. Disney and Pixar had gone through their famous divorce, and this franchise was the child they’d fought over for custody. This movie gave us several opportunities to fear for the fates of the characters we’ve come to know and love over the course of three films, and there’s a scene near the end where the director threw out all the stops to convince us that this was the end, for everyone. The characters made their peace with each other, found solidarity, and waited for imminent, utter destruction. I mean, this is Disney? Oh whew! It was. They don’t die.
But something else happens. And you have to be a man for this one to hit you. You have to have owned things, and lost them to get that gut-punch the director was waiting to spring on you. The last scene of this movie… Is one of the best scenes ever. In any film.And I absofuckinglutely HATE Andrew Stanton and John Lasseter for writing it. If I ever meet them, I’m going to punch them in the face for making me cry so hard. Dude. Have you ever cried so hard in a movie you wished you could go back to 8th grade and play with that Luke Skywalker and Yoda action figure set you had when you were 12?
You will. You will.
“Hey… Dad? — Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams is not the kind of movie I would normally watch. It’s a silly magical realism film where a man hears a strange voice in his head, builds a baseball field in his yard, and dead people come to play baseball in it. Ok, so maybe it is the kind of film I’d watch. And that’s how Field of Dreams hooks you. The premise is so preposterously silly that you start watching it just to see what all the fuss is about.
The movie sets up its gut punch almost immediately, but in a subtle way. By the time the trigger has been set, the film is already underway, and there’s an emotional timebomb ticking inside of you that you don’t even realize. Every single time I see Field of Dreams on the television, I watch it. Every time I watch it, I cry. I cry, and then I call my dad, because, damn. This movie really makes you appreciate dads sometimes.
“Earn this” — Saving Private Ryan
The first time I saw Saving Private Ryan, I had the most unusual thing happen. This movie didn’t just punch me in the face so hard both my eyes broke and all their fluid pour out everywhere. No. Saving Private Ryan’s denouement was a question so powerfully phrased, that I didn’t just weep uncontrollably through the end credits, aghast at its implications. No… I burst into tears again in the bathroom, popping a deuce. An emotional aftershock? Are you kidding me? I was crying in the bathroom, trying not to make noise, because, really, above and beyond the bodily function noises, you just don’t do that in a public place. And I was stunned. How did they do that? How did they know how to hit me so hard I’d fall down twice?
The only three things I remembered about Saving Private Ryan after that second emotional nuclear bomb — Steven Spielberg’s heart-string Fat Boy to my ravaged Nagasaki –was that the sniper was so very cool, how pissed off was I that the coward of the company was an actor with the last name Clary, and Tom Sizemore should just play sergeants in every movie. Oh, yeah, and I was blubbering inconsolably about none of those.
I notice now that Tom Hanks is on here twice. No, check that. Tom Hanks is on this list three times, and Gosh darn it, I was going to include The Cloud Atlas on this list — and The Green Mile, too. The Green Mile makes me cry over the stupidest little thing in the world. Every time. I think it means just one thing:
Tom Hanks is evil. He feeds on the tears of men. He must be destroyed. I am not watching his new pirate movie ever. Because he’s gonna make me cry. I just know it.