Monday, 11 February 2013

Cry Me A River – Spoiler Alert!

To balance out my last post about loving to laugh (but hating the use of canned laughter), I thought I’d add an entry regarding enjoying – or enduring – a good ol’ cry.

Here are some of the films I’ve watched that have caused the tears to flow freely; sometimes to the point of using a brown paper bag and having friends tease me to this day…


I dare anyone to deny that they weren’t a quivering mess during the opening set-up when the touching montage of an animated husband and wife’s living, loving and dreaming of one day traveling together ends with the wife’s sad passing. Sniff.

(I thought I’d start with a safe one – there may be snorts of derision for the upcoming choices. See how I lay myself bare for the blogosphere?! ;-)


I know. I know. Look, it was 1997. I was a naïve innocent boy that believed in one day finding their soul mate and the power of love…blah blah blah. (Have I convinced you that I’m now awfully cynical? No? Well, you’d be right. I’ll always be a hopeless romantic). Back to this choice… When Jack let go and slowly sank to the bottom of the Atlantic and then Celine Dion brought the credits rolling in, my heart could not go on. I started to gasp and pinch my nostrils while my whole body convulsed. It was a full theater and I had my friend, Kat, rub my back as my head was in between my legs and I was crying like a child. I literally had to wait until everyone had left the cinema to compose myself and sheepishly escape. I was all too aware of people passing me and making comment. And if some of you think I’ve exaggerated this to be witty, I so wish you were right, but you’re not. Cringe.


Heartless is he or she who watched Hilary Swank’s Maggie climb out of trailer-park hell to make it as a boxer, only to suffer the ultimate injustice and become a quadriplegic. Her hideous vulture-like family circling her broken body and her trainer Frankie's devotion (a suitably grizzled Clint Eastwood) – culminating in the revelation of the meaning of his nickname for her - ‘mo cuishle’ - and his ultimate act of love via the administration of a fatal dose of adrenaline… oh boy…I watched it at the theater alone during the day and was glad it was an almost empty session. Still, I pulled my peaked cap as far down as I could and cried both as hard and as quietly as I could manage. I remember driving to the beach and sitting on the sand for a good while afterwards.

Stop laughing at me, I can hear you!


I can hear the snorts all over the Internet regarding this one, especially from fellow men. I’ll keep it short. Watching James Garner’s Noah reading a romantic love story – their love story - to Gena Rowlands’ Alzheimer-affected Allie at a nursing home, hurt the heart a bit. Okay, a lot. Watching the actors do justice to the horrors of the disease dotted with periods of lucidity for Allie was heart-wrenching. At the end of his storytelling, when the nurse finds them together in bed, having passed away, hand-in-hand…it was simultaneously beautiful and tragic. Take a bow author Nicholas Sparks who wrote the novel after being inspired by his wife’s grandparents.


An Oscar-winning turn by the affable Tom Hanks held my interest throughout but had me blubbering uncontrollably in front of the television at the end of the film when the mourners at his funeral watch home movies of Hanks’ Andrew Beckett as a playful and healthy child. Add Springsteen’s haunting ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ title track and you get absolute viewer devastation. 


Can I just cut to the chase and tell you how my friends, Jenny and Brooke, still tease me about my hyperventilation over this film. Yes, I’m aware it was a chick flick, and more than acutely aware that the two girls I was with didn’t shed a tear, but the quilt! And the women and their stories! And finding ‘The One’ all conspired to… alright alright, I admit it. You can join my friends and laugh.


Stephen King! Who knew? The Shawshank Redemption AND The Green Mile? Seriously ridiculous, mate! Masterpieces – both of them. And may I add beautifully acted and superbly handled by the irrepressible Frank Darabont. When Michael Clarke Duncan’s innocent and angelic John Coffey walks the ubiquitous mile to his tragic execution, both Kat and I (she cried as much as I did this time) held hands tightly  - if the lights were on in the theater our knuckles would have been white as we gasped and choked all the way through the scene. When he asks Tom Hanks’ Paul Edgecombe not to put the black hood over his head because he was afraid of the dark as he sits in the electric chair, I think we both let out an anguished cry in unison. After the film ended we went to a café to order some lunch. We looked so devastated that the waitress actually asked us if we were okay. Her gorgeous concern made us cry again, this time with laughter.

Which films get your waterworks flowing?

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