Monday, December 29, 2014

Films That Will Make a Man Cry (And It's Okay).

Guys, fess up. There are movies that tug at your insides and turn on the waterworks. Even the darkest of hearts will find themselves feeling terrible after watching these fantastic films. In no particular order, I present an abbreviated list of cinema classics that will make a man shed a tear...

*There are spoilers ahead, though the newest film on this list is from 2009. If you haven't seen these movies by now, then that's your problem.

The Green Mile - I can remember seeing this for the first time when it premiered. My brother Joshua and I went to the movie theater on base at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia. We had no idea what we were about to witness. What was expected to be a sci-fi film turned into one of the finest heart-wrenching modern classics I've ever seen. I can remember very vividly how my cheeks were soaked as I walked out the theater.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Another movie I saw opening weekend, the Return of the King unexpectedly turned on the the plumbing in my face. I was so absorbed by the film that I didn't even notice how sad I was towards the end. Surrounded by a large swathe of my family, I choked up during the scene where Sam picks Frodo up and carries him up Mount Doom. Sorry folks... Sam was the real hero of The Lord of the Rings. From that scene till the very end, I was weeping.

Up - Just about one of the saddest animated films I've ever watched, Up proves how far one person will go to honor the memory of their lost love. I can't do this film justice - just go watch it if you haven't already.

It's a Wonderful Life - I never appreciated this movie as a kid. It wasn't until I was an adult and dealing with depression that it hit home how very special this movie truly is. Jimmy Stewart proves his worth in a picture that wasn't even celebrated when it premiered. In fact, most audiences and critics snubbed It's a Wonderful Life and said it was rubbish. The lesson to be learned here? There's no amount of wealth on this planet that can replace friendship, respect and love.

Gladiator - Maximus' death scene is haunting and chilling. Though he fought to ensure the freedom of his fellow enslaved gladiators, it was apparent that his soul had long left the mortal realm before his last breath. Maximus was a man living on borrowed time, longing to return to his family. In the end, he received his much-deserved prize... a peaceful release from life. His family awaited him in the Elysian Fields.

The Iron Giant - The other animated entry on this list, The Iron Giant proves you don't have to actually be human to be human. In fact, our titular robotic hero is more human than most of the other characters in the movie. By film's end, he saves an entire town in a selfless act of sacrifice. It's the only time you'll catch me actually liking something Superman-related (I hate that boy scout).

The NeverEnding Story - I was probably five or six years old the first time I watched The NeverEnding Story, and it still gets me right in the feels. Poor Artax sinking into the Swamp of Sadness is a terrible, terrible thing to watch. Atreyu's screams stick with you long after the scene is over.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Yet another film on my list featuring a robot acting more human than the real thing. By journey's end, the T-800 has saved the future (or so we thought), destroyed the CPU and arm from the previous Terminator and kept the Connors alive. Though, it realizes that the future can never truly be secure in so long as it functions. Something inside the T-800, beyond all the programming and logic circuits, makes it realize that self-termination is necessary. That final thumbs up... boy that gets me. The dire score by Brad Fiedel is the icing on the cake. You will cry for a machine.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles - You literally spend the whole movie watching Neal and Del go from bitter frenemies to the tightest of pals. The scene in which Neal rips Del apart for being a blubbering, annoying mess is enough to get you boo-hooing, but the final sequence where you realize that Del is a homeless widower punches you right in the gut. It finally dawns on you that Del stuck by Neal's side throughout their entire adventure for no reason other than to be his friend. Of course, Neal returns the favor and takes him home to meet his family. 

Starman - Jeez, can I watch this movie without crying? It's just too much for anyone, let alone me, to process. We watch an alien being come to Earth, learn how to love and give Jenny the one thing she could never have -- a child. The Starman adapts to Earth in a way that reflects the best in humanity. The final scene in the Barringer Crater turns me into a blubbering idiot. Jack Nitzsche's score (also did One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Stand By Me), full of pounding synthesizers and strings, only accentuates how damn sad the ending is. The Starman has to say goodbye, never to see Jenny or his child ever again. GRAB THE TISSUES!

Once - The final entry on this list (which is in no way exhaustive or complete) is about loving someone in only the short time that you have, even though it's not meant to last. Like two ships passing in the night, Guy and Girl (as they're known in the film) fall in love for only a brief while. They can not stay together due to outside commitments, but the emotions they share, even only temporarily, are very powerful. The fantastic music in Once pushes this above average romance tale onto much higher ground. Falling Slowly indeed... right into your shirt sleeve to hide your face!
That does it for now. Do you agree or disagree with a film on this list? Perhaps you feel I forgot something? Or... you just want to laugh and call me a wuss? :-D

Either way, I'd love to hear your feedback. Until next time!

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