Monday, November 5, 2007

I'm Cryin' Already!


Watch 'Em and Weep
Washington Post
Style and Arts Section
Sunday, November 4, 2007

My title line is what we sometimes say in our family when we are considering going to a movie that we know is going to be a tear jerker. It's what I said when I found out that The Kite Runner was being made into a movie. The Post article explores the psychological reasons why we cry at movies, and what triggers those tears. It also recreates the conversations that we have about those movies in a really funny and true to life way.

Interesting fact in the article: there are three kinds of tears that we all have and/or shed: 1)basal - these keep our eyes moist and allow us to blink without pain. 2) reflex - the kind that we get when cutting onions or get a finger poked in our eye. 3) emotional - and these are the only kind of tears that release toxins from our bodies. So, a big ole bawl is a good thing once in awhile.

Also - until puberty, boys and girls cry in pretty much equal amounts. As they mature, the guys load up on testosterone, and the women on estrogen. You know the rest. Statistics show that women cry four times as much as men, and most often between the hours of 7and 10 PM.

The article also explores the question of WHY certain movies make us cry. I actually thought it over analyzed the question a bit, because there is no ONE reason. A lot has to do with how we are feeling when we go to the movie in the first place. Some days I can sit through Old Yeller unfazed and another day Ferris Bueller's Day Off can get me going ("I want a day off! I want to be that free and uninhibited. My youth is over! WAAAAHHH!"). For me, though, the movies that get to me the most usually have something to do with situations that cause people pain OR great joy with which we all can identify - loss, grief, moral injustice, sacrifice, spiritual struggles, etc. If the movie handles the issues well, pass the Kleenex. If it's overdone or poorly done, the trip can turn into a hoot fest.

So - what are your all time weepy movies? Some of the ones that people sent into the Post were obvious ones - Terms of Endearment, the aforementioned Old Yeller. There were also some surprises, like The Incredibles and Terminator 2 (okay, I haven't seen that one but - HUH?). Here are my boo hoo flicks, in the approximate order in which I saw them:

Where the Red Fern Grows (the book by Wilson Rawls will also get you)
The Champ (Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder, the boxer dad gets killed in his final fight)
Kramer vs. Kramer (when Billy thinks it is his last morning with his dad)
Terms of Endearment (hospital room scenes, especially mom saying good-bye to her boys)
Dark Victory (when the Bette Davis character says bye to her husband, knowing she will be dead before he returns)
It's a Wonderful Life (the last scene)
Driving Miss Daisy (when Miss Daisy starts to lose her mind and when cops are racist and abusive to Hoke)
Sling Blade (the scene where Karl says good-bye to Frankie)
Schindler's List (too many places to enumerate)
Young Frankenstein (ok, I'm kidding about that one. I was getting too sad thinking about all these sad movies and had to lighten things up a bit.)

Am sure I will think of more later. Send me yours - it will be cathartic!

Reverent Reader

11 Comments:

At 11/5/07, 7:07 PM , Blogger Erin Duffy said...

Actually "I'm cryin' already" originated with the Almeidas in reference to the show "Seventh Heaven." I brought it to our family!

Let's see, big time weepers in addition to those you've already mentioned:

Steel Magnolias
Dead Man Walking
Hotel Rwanda
Iris
On Golden Pond

I'm sure there are many others that just aren't coming to mind. I think the main thing that makes people cry at a movie is somehow relating what's happening to your own life. Either it reminds you of something that has happened to you or to someone you care about, or it deals with something you fear happening to you (that's the big one, I think), or it reminds you of human failings and frailties in general. My sister-in-law has been unable to watch even a minute of Terms of Endearment since her daughter was born in 1987.

 
At 11/5/07, 8:55 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Oh yeah, those are all major cryfests. Although "Steel Magnolias" and and "On Golden Pond" also have funny parts. I had forgotten the Almeida connection to "I'm Cryin' Already!" Thank them for me, would ya?

 
At 11/5/07, 9:12 PM , Blogger reverendmother said...

I agree with lots of yours (the Champ! I forgot about that one), and would add Big Fish. Albert Finney looks just like my dad, and the character. I even own the movie and haven't been able to watch it again...

Agree about Terms of Endearment. I don't think I'll be able to watch that movie now that I have children.

 
At 11/6/07, 7:34 AM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Hi there, RM - I'll have to see "Big Fish." Somehow I have missed that one. Your comment and my sister's comment open up a sub-category of these movies - what is a movie that you really like but cannot watch again because it is just too hard? I put "Schindler's List" and "The Shawshank Redemption" in that category.

 
At 11/6/07, 11:09 AM , Anonymous nancita said...

I agree with Erin on what inspires tears. Besides movies already mentioned: Philadelphia and Field of Dreams inspire major sobs for me. Both hit close to home.

 
At 11/6/07, 11:46 AM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Oh man, Nancita - how could I forget "Philadelphia?" E. loves "Field of Dreams," but it has never done much for me. But then, am not a Kevin Costner fan. Thanks for writing!

 
At 11/6/07, 11:52 AM , Anonymous nancita said...

It's the meeting his father again at the end and seeing him in a new light.

 
At 11/6/07, 12:39 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Ah yes - that makes sense.

 
At 11/18/07, 2:47 PM , Blogger LeAnn said...

I finally figured out how to subscribe to your blog, which I so enjoy, but forget to look for it. Now I should be able to join in the conversation in my real time!

As for weepy movies, one I would add is Pursuit of Happyness. Went over Christmas holidays last year. First date with my hubby in quite some time, and ended up sobbing through the whole darn thing, and for a while afterwards. I also remember being terribly affected by Saving Private Ryan. That would be on my can't see again movies. But that movie in conjunction with the old movie The Mission challenged my understanding of "just" warfare in all new ways! Ah, the power of movies!

 
At 11/20/07, 9:48 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Hey Leann - I have been meaning to rent "The Pursuit of Happyness," now will have to make sure I do. I totally agree with you about "Saving Private Ryan." Wonderful movie, but the gore in the opening scene was just too much for me. It gave me nightmares, literally.

 
At 11/21/07, 9:13 AM , Blogger LeAnn said...

Let me tell you, Pursuit of Happyness... that movie will preach!!! It creates such amazing empathy with the marginalized who live right on the edge of squeaking by... or not. The bathroom scene still haunts me. I will say no more. Let me know after you have seen it. It probably didn't help my sob fest thinking of my A in the place of the little guy in the movie. Could have been his childhood if things had played out ever so slightly differently for him at birth. Okay, almost crying again!!! Happy almost Turkey Day!

 

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