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Monday, May 14, 2007


I just got mildly chastized for not feeling the weepy spewings in SPIDER-MAN 3, but let me make it absolutely clear that I am not without emotion; it's just that if I wanted the weepy stuff I would have resorted to any one of literally thousands of films where such histrionics would have been welcome, not so with a movie about a comic book superhero, especially once we're waaaay past the umpteenth retelling of his tragic motivation.

Movies have made me well up with tears of both joy and sadness since childhood,and that lachrymose state continues to freak out people who witness me reduced to blubbering simpleton when they didn't expect it. I mean, Ive been known to lose it during the oddest and sappiest moments of films, and here are some examples of the stuff that opens the emotional sluices:


Yes, the one about the two dogs and a housecat who must find their way home after their idiot human family leaves them behind at the place where they spent their summer vcation. The animals have voices provided by Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche, and Sally Field, and after the initial cutesy banter among the housepets we see them shed their bullshit attitudes toward one another and band together to survive on what turns out to be a harrowing journey. That's all well and good, but when Sassy the cat, whom the dogs have presumed is dead — she wasn't; she got separated from them and found by a nice human, but she just had to return to her real family, even if they were a couple of sloppy ol' dogs — returns, the three run to each other, calling out to one another, and the sheer joy of their reunion just plain hits me in the guts. Fuck, I'm getting misty just thinkng about it.


Animator Hiyao Miyazaki's masterpiece, this may be the best children's movie ever made. There are dozens of reasons for that statement, but to find out what I mean you'll just have to see it for yourself. It's about two little girls who move to a pastoral countryside with their dad while their mother lies sick in a hospital bed (the film is very much form the point fo view of the kids, so the details of mommy's illness are not provided). The girls befriend the local forest spirit, a gigantic thing resembling an acid head's imaginings of the fattest cat you've ever seen called a Totoro, and have a bunc of charming adventures that teach them about the beauty of nature and the awesomeness of life, all of which unfolds at a leisurely pace. When three-year-old Mei picks a fresh ear of corn as a gift for mommy, she gets lost in the vast woods; thanks to Miyazaki understanding kids, he presents them as real people and not the precocious homunculi that can sink even the best of films, so when Mei gets lost we fully relate to her sense of fear and lack of security, and even though I've seen this film several times and know she'll be rescued by her older sister and Totoro, I am so strongly in Mei's shoes that I cry and shout, "Hurry up and find her, dammit!!!"


If you don't cry at the end of this story about a boy and the most awesome dog who ever drew breath, you have no soul. Even Al Bundy cries whenever he watches it, so that'll clue you in on how this affects the heart of a manly man. (What?! I'm as butch as leather chainsaw, gawdammit!!!)


A very sweet love story about an unglamorous, utterly ordinary interracial couple and how they weather the tensions others have about their relationship. It's very much of its time — back in the days when "checkerboard" romance was verboten nearly everywhere — but what gets to me is that the white chick has a daughter from a previous marriage to a total asshole, and the kid adores her new Black pop, so naturally when her biological father hears that his daughter is being raised by a Black man who's also fucking his ex (and having a new baby with her) all hell breaks loose. The ending is a total downer, and I sobbed like there was no tomorrow, almost putting my foot through the TV in sheer, frustrated sadness.

There are several more films that affect me enough to make me bawl, but I can't think of any at the moment. More on this subject some other time, but what movies make you other he-men out there lose your emotional shit?


Anonymous said...

That damn "Harry and Tonto"... when Art Carney sings to his dying friend (a cat, of all things), you'd have to be a fuckin' corpse not to well up

Anonymous said...

Jim Browski says:
possible spoilers-----

Homeward Bound: But not the part you mentioned, the end is what does it to me though.

Pride of the Yankees

Uncommon Valor: The end , when Gene Hackman finds out about his son's fate.

My Dog Skip: I don't even want to go there.

Dumb and Dumber: Just Kidding.

Anonymous said...

not a movie per se, but more of a screen performance. kermit the frog singing "it's not easy being green" gets me every time. i get misty just thinking about it. such a sad song, even sadder because kermit is just jim henson's alter ego, and jim henson died way too young. and that version with lena horne...forget it.

Anonymous said...

Platoon - The scene where the G.I.'s burn the village and lead the sobbing villagers away, everyone wearing an expression of "What the fuck just happened here?" It's so real I can't help thinking of the actual war and all the misery it caused.

Hair - The very end where Berger and the others march up into the belly of the cargo transport and then we find ourselves in the cemetary looking at his grave. Same reason as the last film.

Big Fish - The whole last ten or fifteen minutes of that film wreck me every time.

Chasing Amy - I tear up toward the end of the film because I know how badly he's gonna fuck everything up and I can't stop him from doing it.

Spirited Away - I guess it's just the sublime beauty of the scene, but the "night train" sequence when she's riding the silent, spirit-filled train beyond the water always gets me. The "ghost airplanes" scene in Porko Rosso has a similar effect.

Anonymous said...

hey bunch, your friendly uninvited editor here, i believe you did not intend sally or whatever the cat in homeward bound's name is, to be come searated from her owners. throw a P in there, you're in front of the public boy-o :)
also how sweet is it that i'm not the only one that loves totoro, spirited away, and porco rosso. i think porco could hold it's own even compared to casablanca. fuck bogart, he ain't got no pig cursin 'pon him head gettin him irie wit de ladies! porco is straight playa pimp!
-big mike