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August 01, 2011

Sue Thompson sang it right: "Sad Movies, Always...."

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I hate to cry. I know, people say, it’s good to “get it all out” and “let your emotions flow.” There’s some sort of a cliché about “have a good cry,” which I see only as an oxymoron. You know what I think? There’s no such thing as a good cry.

My eyes get puffy, I feel sad for days afterwards, there’s some sort of residual thing that happens so that even when I’ve stopped crying, and I’m not even sad anymore, it still feels like I’m about to cry.

Movie crying-woman  The problem is, I cry at EVERYTHING. Yes, the Hallmark commercials and anything where there’s a soldier, or a little kid, or anyone leaving anyone. I can’t discuss The Old Man and the Sea. Once, on a road trip, I read the whole thing out loud to my driving boyfriend. Buy the end, I was sobbing. THE WHOLE FISH WAS GONE! I wailed. Oh, nooooo.

Don’t even talk to me about the music from Candide ("And watch our garden grow..” Can’t even type about it.)  Defying Gravity, from Wicked. Nope. I’ll lose it. In Les Miserables, “bring him home, bring him home, Bring Him HOME!”  They almost had to carry me out of the place. I could go on.

Remember the movie Sling Blade? Jonathan and I went to see it, like our first date. We had planned to see something else, but it was sold out, and we really didn’t care, we’d known each other for a week and “dinner and a movie” was just an activity that one had to do. So we’re like, yeah, what movie has seats? And it was Sling Blade.

  Movie sling Remember, Jonathan barely knew me at this point.

So about ten minutes into the movie, I start to sniff. I am trying so hard not to cry, but I know the whole thing is futile.

 Jonathan leans over, whispers: “Do you have a cold? Do you want some Kleenex?”

I say, “No thank you, I’m crying.”

“Huh?” He’s worried. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. I’m crying at the movie.”

The look on his face. Utterly utterly baffled. “Why?” he whispered. “It’s not sad."

I whispered back “I know. But it’s going to be sad.”

 Oh, yes, and indeed it was. I cried all the way through our Chinese dinner. It’s a wonder J and I are still together. He still doesn’t understand why I get so sad.

 Which of course, requires me to protect myself from things that I know will upset me. If there’s a movie we might want to see, or a play, or whatever, I ask—“Is it triumph of the human spirit?" If so, I’m not going.

I ALWAYS cry at triumph of the human spirit.

 So. No Beaches. No Schindler’s List. No Fried Green Tomatoes, no Terms of Endearment, No Steel Magnolias, Marley and Me. No Philadelphia, no Boy in Striped Pajamas. Nope nope nope. Not doing it.

 No Pearl Harbor, no Band of Brothers (you kidding me?) no Saving Private Ryan.

 I couldn’t resist To Kill A Mockingbird, ofcourse. Exception. An Affair to Remember, okay, l loved it. Cried like mad at both. I cried in You’ve got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle and –anything that has any element of Cinderella or the Ugly Ducking. (I think I cried at Maid In Manhattan, okay?) (Psychiatrists, you’re having a field day, right?)

Movie cinema_paradiso The saddest movie I’ve ever seen? Maybe it was—what’s the title? It’s Italian (not Life Is Beautiful, not a chance I’m going to that) but it’s the one where the little boy hangs out with the film projectionist, who has to cut all the kissing out of the movies, and in the end, he finds all the edited bits, all spliced together, in kiss after kiss? What was that? Oh, yes. Cinema Paradiso. Sad. Lovely. But sad.

 There was just a survey, which said The Champ is the saddest movie ever. I didn’t see it—of COURSE—but if you have, you know why. I did see the number two sad movie, Bambi, which, indeed is sad. But is now kind of annoying, since it seems—creepy to show that to kids.

 ET! Now that was sad. And Old Yeller. And A Night to Remember, yikes, I saw that as a kid and was permanently traumatized. Still, I find its easier if I know what’s gonna happen. Tell me the end, I always plead. It’ll be easier to handle.  They die? They lose? They die, but the planet is saved? Okay, I'll get myself ready for it.

We had brunch this weekend with a bunch of pals, six of us all together, a pretty diverse group if you consider there were criminal defense attorneys AND trust and estate attorneys. But I asked—what’s he saddest movie you’ve ever seen? And do you seek them out? Or avoid them? They were all—analyzing what ”Sad” means. Sad, like, you cry at the end? Or sad like, it’s sad along the way, but happy at the end?

 Whatever, I said. Just whatever you think sad is. Love Story, a man said. He admitted he brokeMovie love story  down at Love Story. Someone else said The Bicycle Thief. Sophie’s Choice. The Green Mile. (Oh yeah, FORGET about it. I read the book. That was enough.) Bonnie and Clyde isn’t. Thelma and Louise isn’t. There was dissent over Titanic.

We decided  "sad” was: unintended consequences. People just trying to do what was right and th en it goes wrong. War. Mistakes. Unfulfilled love. Missing someone, or departures. Saying goodbye. Bravery. Sacrifice.

 They all said they were happy going to sad movies. Didn’t avoid them. Me, I do. Avoid them. How about you? Any movies you wish you hadn’t seen? What’s the saddest ever?


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Hank, I cry at all the good parts in the Harry Potter movies, which means I'll be crying at least two evenings this week as I watch HP7.1 at a friend's house and then HP7.2 next evening at the cinema. Bad guy vanquished? Tears of relief. Valor exemplified? More tears.

I swore off sad movies years ago, so much so that I can't begin to bring myself to even try to remember what the saddest ever was. Maybe "A Lion in Winter."

Embarrassingly, I find I cry whenever I attempt to join in singing in a group, whether simply the national anthem at a ballgame or high school graduation, or some fun or silly or inspiring song. I used to SING when singing,for Pete's sake, not hiccup, sob and gulp. Sigh. Singing represents irrepressible human spirit to me, I guess.

I am not sure what the English title is, but a true event film of two elementary school teachers drowned to save a student. The bamboo bridge was destroyed by the flooded river and the student was determinate to cross the river anyway, and go to school in the morning to learn, and he nearly drowned but the two teachers went to save him, and they drowned instead… One of the teachers could have been saved if she was rescued minutes earlier, and the other teacher’s body was found at nighttime. The scene of the relatives running towards the river to save their family members, which was the time when I started crying.

What was my elementary school thinking? Showing this film to all of the students? I was totally traumatized after watching the film. I think I was probably in fourth grade. Classmates/schoolmates made fun of the people who cried. Well, it was not like I was sobbing so loud that all sounds were drowned out, besides, I do have a heart, unlike some people. The ultimate irony was that after the double drowning tragedy, all the sudden the government found the funds to build a concrete bridge for the village. I thought the dancing to celebrate to complete of the concrete bridge was in bad taste, but, a celebration is in order.

I try to avoid sad movies if I can help it. I wish I did not see this true event film, but there were some funny parts in it, and it is based on a true event.

Hi Hank,

Shadowlands is the saddest movie I've ever seen. Others are more tragic in the magnitude of sorrow and horror, but the focussed depth of the relationships in Shadowlands affected me more than any other.

Hank, Ghost did it for me. The whole theater was sobbing--full house, weekend crowd. Nobody talked exiting. It was like a funeral. Loved the movie but haven't seen it since.

Grave of the Fireflies was another. It seems more global in its sadness due to the bombings of Japan but it's the focus on the relationships and personal experiences of the children, brother and younger sister, that I find very moving and sad.

Um, I wish I hadn't seen Caligula, but not because it was sad, just because it was the all-time Worst Movie Ever Made. But then, if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have this wonderful memory 31 years later. So there's that. The bit at the wedding might have been a bit unexpected.

I cry at the end of "Big" every time but that's not because it's sad, just because I put myself in the mother's position, and, oh, I can't keep from crying.

Not two weeks ago, one of the movie channels ran SOMEWHERE IN TIME. I couldn't begin to even guess how many times I've seen this, starting with the theatrical release in 1980. S-I-T was one of the first two VHS tapes I ever bought, back in the day when a movie on video tape cost $99.00 or more (the other was DIRTY HARRY... Freud would have a field day with me). If I had to estimate, I'd say I've seen it more than CASABLANCA, less than GOLDFINGER, but not by much either way.

The last ten minutes of the movie, the scene where Richard finds the penny, that moment when it all starts to fade away.... does me in *every* time. Every single time. We are *not* going to discuss the final scene, where Richard has died... and Elise is waiting patiently for him to join her. No, we're not discussing that one at all.

Biggest 'choke-up' moment, no matter how many viewings?: "Miss Jean Louise...... Miss Jean Lousie.... stand up. Your father's passin'!"

And, of course, MOONRAKER always makes me cry, but not for the same reasons....

Reine, I was on about Grave of the Fireflies yesterday on Facebook. (I was watching Ponyo.) I think it is by far the saddest and most disturbing film I've ever seen. Epic sad. Too sad for tears. Also a masterpiece in storytelling and anime as art.

Going to the movie Shenandoah was a big mistake for a first date. Never saw the guy again. Luckily my husband is much more understanding and gives alerts. Even my neighbor's son warned me against watching Marley and Me.
In self defense, I watch movies only at home and usually only light stuff. Agatha Christie I can cope with.
If you want touching (as Ramona say, almost too sad for tears), try The Guys (Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia) or Grace Is Gone (John Cusack, Emily Churchill and Rebecca Spence).

What is Grace of the Firefiles? Dare I look it up?

ANd this is fascinating..some of these movies I've never heard of. I guess we know why.

TWo elementary school teachers--it's not that schoolbus moive where the--what's that called?

And Oh, Lion in Winter. Yup. Definitely in the running for saddest ever.

I hate being manipulated. HATE IT. So a movie that sets out to deliberately make me weep--nope, not going. Either I'm bawling or fuming that somebody was so determined to upset me.

That said, I went over the edge during some really stupid movie with Al Pacino, I think, playing a race car driver. I think I was newly pregnant, though, and didn't know it yet, so I blame that embarrassing scene on hormones. My husband was beyond baffled.

Here is Roger Ebert's review of Grave of the Fireflies:

I agree with every brilliant word. You think they're just cartoon characters and you won't be moved. Ha. I dare you to watch it and not feel devastated.

The saddest movie I've seen is Lady Jane, with Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes. It's the true(ish, I'm sure) story of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days. You know going into it that she's going to die at the end, but I SOBBED during this movie. Fortunately I was watching it at home. Now, I was only 20 at the time and I'm sure there were other things affecting my mood, but I hid in a closet in my bedroom and bawled for 30 minutes after the movie ended.

Hank, do you cry at books or tv shows, too, or is it only the movies that get you?

I thought "Bonnie And Clyde" and "Thelma and Louise" were sad! Oh, dear. I cried at the end of "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid." I loathed "The Green Mile" and *didn't* cry! I fear I am a sick, sick person who used to be a gangster in a previous life.

My students laughed at me for crying when we read _The Day No Pigs Would Die_. Then they said I didn't need to try to hide the tears . . .
When we had to face the death of a student, I opted to stay with my class despite my tears. "They need to know how much we care."
One wag asked, "You would cry for me if I died?"
I looked at him for a long moment, right into his eyes and said, "Yes, I would."
Tears show we care; they make us human.

I forgot to say--I LOVE to cry at movies. My only regret about them is that I feel constrained from doing the sobbing I want to do. But I do sympathize with you, Hank. If I were as susceptible to them as you are, I'd avoid them, too. You must sometimes feel, "okay, enough already!"

Now it all becomes clear, why I rarely have seen movies everyone else talks about. My husband is the family softie, a fact it took me years to cotton onto. He's one of those silent criers, whose face gets wet, but he barely changes expression, doesn't sniff, and can sneak all the weeping he wants into a darkened theater.

The first time I noticed this was at the end of Terms of Endearment. Usually, we stay to watch the credits, since Steve is in the movie business himself (not that we ever know anyone, it's just a thing), but this time he stood up and made a pronouncement: "That's it. From now on, no sad movies. Only funny ones, or sexy ones." Which also means: no violent films, either. I'm good with that, since I feel very strongly about most gratuitous violence--that's entertainment? Unh-uh.

Rod Pennington, if he were still posting, would be the first to tell you he cries at the drop of a whimper. He warned us in advance that he would be sobbing at our daughter's Citadel graduation, bless the man.

I was 18 years old and my boyfriend knew I LOVED Robert Redford. So we went to see The Way We Were. I sniffled some when she was pregnant and asked him to stay until the baby was born. I had tears rolling when he left. By the time they saw each other on the streets of NYC after many years, I was sobbing full on. The napkins from the snack bar couldn't put a dent in the blubbering and runny nose. Boyfriend was totally confused until I told him, through the tears and the sup-supping, "That's what is going to happen to us."

And it did.

Give me a comedy please! A Musical Comedy is even better. Make me laugh!
I want to escape from sad things. And I too Hank cry at sad things. I saw Romeo and Juliet 13 times in High School. It took me years to get over the sadness.
Nothing more attractive than your mascara dripping off your chin!

Karen...where is his Rodness?

Nancy, I agree. The manipulation part is offensive--now are you sad? NOW are you sad?

Oh, Xena, Romeo and Juliet--of course. Good intentions gone wrong. Eesh. How about West Side Story? (I know, he'd dying and he's singing, but hey, it's a movie.)

And yes, real-life sad, Mary, that's a different blog. I agree. In that case you have to cry.

Nancy, yes, books and TV shows. Absolutely. I mean--bus cards, okay?

I just found the list from the brunch--I wrote it on a napkin and thought it was lost. Il Postino. Bridge over the River Kwai. Atonement. And a show-offy person said Hedd-Wynn, about Welsh coal miners in World War One, which is sad enough without even seeing it.

Sandi, you hid in a closet? Oh. xoxo

Yes! The manipulation aspect! Pisses me off, too. Commercials using little kids, or those awful ads of children with cleft palates. Yanking my chain for fun and profit. Ugh.

I am a human fountain. I watched a news report yesterday on the children starving in Somalia and wept. I can also cry happy tears, like when I met the new girlfriend of a good guy friend of mine and realized that he'd found his soul mate and she loved him in return. How wonderful!

The one time I won't cry at sad points in movies is if the people did something ridiculously stupid. Like the end of Message in a Bottle when a lifelong waterman jumps into a raging sea without a life vest or life preserver, completely dressed in foul weather gear that will weight him down and hamper his movements. Of course the idiot's going to drown.

Mary Stella, yeah, sad means "not stupid." (And I'd have no idea about that movie, because, as now you know, there's not chance in the universe I would ever see it. Bridges of Madison County, also a "no.")

But the manipulation thing is pretty important...I suppose ET was manipulative, but I didn't care.

Camelot. I cried for Arthur.

Old Yeller scarred me for life. Lady Jane--you bet. I fell in love with Cary Elwes. I'm still "in love" with him, only celebrity crush I ever had. And I finally got to meet him and he's as beautiful in person and so charming.

So crying is not good for the face. But, it sure makes us nice and human.

Brian's song. Field of Dreams. Shadowlands. Kramer v. Kramer. Love, Actually. Saving Private Ryan. Heck, yesterday I got all sniffly watching Crazy, Stupid Love. Sometimes I cry so hard I make noise. I can't help it. And yup, those coffee commercials at Christmas do me in every time.

I guess I should say what it was that offended me so much about the manipulation of The Green Mile. It was the device that is infamously known as"The Magic Negro,"whereby bad white people are miraculously saved by a poor dumb supernatural black man who dies for their sins. How nice for the white folks.

Oh, God, the heat is making me SO cranky. I need some supernatural interference.

Hank, I admit to laughing almost all the way through "Bridges of Madison County". The premise--of someone falling that hard and that fast for a total stranger in a matter of a couple of days--was just too ludicrous.

A friend and I saw it in a theater with just a handful of other people, and they must have been sorely irritated with us, but we could not stop making wisecracks to one another.

Alcohol may have been involved.

Oh, Hank, I am a crier, too. The difference here is, I love love love love sad movies. I was hooked by Romeo and Juliet at the age of thirteen and never got over it.

I don't like tragic stories with no redemption, however. I will never, ever see another Nicholas Sparks movie again. There's no point to those endings. They're just rotten. MARY STELLA!!!!!! That was the one that made me so mad I couldn't stop raging for two hours afterward, even when my sister said, "I am not ever going to the movies with you again if you don't stop this right now," and "Just because you are a writer doesn't mean you know how all stories should end." And I had to say, "Oh, yes, I do know that that was a big fat CHEAT!" She did not go to the movies with me again for two years.

But Romeo and Juliet? Yep. Titanic, if it had ended with Jack slipping into the sea, would have infuriated me. To get the grace note of the old old woman dying in her bed and then reuniting with all the people she lived on behalf of--I was a mess. A complete mess. Loved The English Patient, too.

Best cry of all, and I go back for it over and over and over, is The Last of the Mohicans. Brilliant orchestration in the last ten minutes of the movie. I start to cry when the English soldier steps up, and cry all the way through the acts of enormous bravery by each character, step by step by step. Beautiful stuff, and I feel so satisfied in my weeping.

Reine, I loved Shadowlands. Truly sad, but also beautiful.

My favorite television shows always make me cry, too. Friday Night Lights, most recently.

Thanks for this post!

Hank says:
Oh, Nancy, (you're not that cranky..) yeah, I suppose...but in the book, it didn't feel so much like that. I mean, the mouse. And the peppermint...

Shadowlands, Judy--is that the Anthony Hopkins? What’s the one about the school bus that has a similar title?

Love, Actually. OH, I love that movie. Yes, I cry at that. But it's worth it. (The sound track is great, too....)

Oh, what a fun post! The first movie I remember crying over was "Stella Dallas" - the original with Barbara Stanwyck. I watched it in the comfort of my living room so my cry was private. And when everybody was crying in "Romeo & Juliet" in the movie theatre, well, it turned me off. I didn't feel a thing.

When other people cry, I don't. I cry privately. "Love Story" annoyed me - with all of this preppie talk and the line, "Love means you never have to say you're sorry." I never understood that. So, I would have to say I cry when I least expect it. For example, I cried when the daddy lion died in "The Lion King."

I had been through a painful time.
I finally took a good vacation and ended up in The Adventurers Club in Downtown Disneyworld's Pleasure Island. The show made me feel good, so I went back.

In 2007, I caught the Adventurers Club Christmas Program which presented a funnny, but psychotic version of "Pretty Little Dolly." Later the same actress sang "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and everybody cried. Except me, because...well...I am a guy.

It was the last Christmas Show of the Adventuers Club, for in a very BAD business decision based on burreaucracy, Disney Bean counters closed the Adventuers Club in September 2008.

Three Christmases later, when I hear "Have yourself a very Merry Christmas," I become verklempt. I don cry because.....well...I am a guy.

Barbara, "The Last of the Mohicans" caused an enormous change in our household. Too long to go into, but I was swept up in the romance and drama of that movie and agreed to a truly wacky moment in my marriage.

That movie also caused me to waste a couple weeks of my life reading the Leatherstocking series by Fenimore Cooper, looking fruitlessly for some of the same romance. Ha! One lousy scene in the entire movie was even remotely similar to the dull, plodding books. How they came to be considered classics is beyond me.

I'm not adverse to sad movies EXCEPT ones where an animal gets hurt or lost or dies. I'm still angry about Old Yeller! How could anyone do that to kids? Saw the previews for WARHORSE before COWBOYS AND ALIENS yesterday and even that upset me...no way I can see the movie.

Oh, War Horse. Maybe it['s genetic. I had dinner with my father (he lives in Washington DC) last weekend, and he and his wife saw WAR HORSE on Broadway. They loved it. So I said to my Dad--tell me about it. And he got about two sentences in--and then started to tear up.

Holy moly.

Lion King, Kathy! You are brave. I cry as soon as I hear Circle of Life, let alone see the play or movie.

Barbara, that story is hilarious. I love the "just because you are a writer" remark. I felt that way after watching the world's worst movie--another blog--which was Up Close and Personal with Robert Redford and, ah...who? Oh, that movie was TERRIBLE. And supposed to be sad, but was actually idiotic.

Don't get me started. Oops, too late.

No. No! NO! We will *not* discuss Simba's dad. And don't EVEN go near Bambi's mother, okay?

Josh - My first job was at a movie theater. I got my brother hired on. I was working the night the detectives showed up on a complaint about Emanuelle. They watched about 15 minutes and came out and asked when the dirty parts were. When I told them they just saw it, they laughed and walked out. The same could not be said when my brother was working and the movie was Caligula. I have seen both the R and unrated versions of Caligula. People should either make explicit movies or movies with stories, the combo just doesn't work.

I even teared up during a Herbie movie.

I have seen several movies on the Holocaust. The only thing close to Schindler's List was the night Molly's cousin brought out his papers from World War II. On paper he was a Polish Catholic slave laborer. It was hard to even hold a paper with that eagle and swastika.

I cry at movies. Foxes, a terrible movie with Jodie Foster hit too close to home. One of the characters dies in a DWI crash. I saw the movie in February 1980. My best friend was murdered by a DWI the previous July.

Bye Bye Love hit a little too close to home too. I know too many dads who live that exact life.

The end of Working Girl used to make me cry. Part of Working Girl was filmed at 7 World Trade Center. I thought it was Tess McGill's office at the end, but it is not. Joan Cusack's desk on the other hand, it disappeared on 9/11.

Alan, I just gasped. I always cry at Working Girl, it maybe my favorite movie ever, if I have to confess. (The song alone...)

Joan Cusak's desk--oh. I didn't know that. Why is that so chilling?

Because of the lost innocence, maybe..

Holocaust things, another category entirely.

Yeah, I have a policy against death penalty and Holocaust/concentration camp movies. Both hit a little too close to home for me. I did make an exception for Monster's Ball, but that was for reasons obvious to anyone who has seen it. I do have to say that the director captured the mood of the prison perfectly on the night of an execution.

Hank, many of the movies that you refuse to see are on my own personal list of movies to avoid because of the tears/sadness.

I love suspense novels (not surprising to anyone here, I imagine!) and someone told me that "you really should see 'Gone Baby Gone'; it's exactly the kind of thing you like." Well. I saw it, cried, had nightmares for FOUR DAYS, and will NEVER watch it again. If you haven't seen it, then DON'T! I asked my friend "what makes you think I would find that sort of movie entertaining?"

I saw You've Got Mail, cried and cried, and I refuse to watch that one again, too. I can't even watch snippets of it when it's advertised on TV.

The first movie that ever made me cry, but in a "good" way was It's a Wonderful Life. I was in second grade, and it did something to my heart. I could watch that one over and over, although in private!

As for TV: almost every single time I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer I end up in tears. I wasn't able to watch it when it was first on TV, due to the schedule that I had then. A sister recently bought the full collection of DVDS and has been letting me borrow a couple of them at a time. I watch an episode just before bedtime, nearly always at least have tears in my eyes, then often dream about the episode, and live through it all over again. That often means more tears!

Honestly, I sobbed uncontrollably through THE LITTLE MERMAID. I could not believe that this woman was giving up who she was, and everyone she loved, to be with a man she barely knew. My boyfriend at the time, a nice guy but quietly controlling, could not figure out why I was so sad. By the end of the movie, I figured it out. We broke up shortly after that.

You people CRY over You've Got Mail??? Oh, for Pete's sake!!

I will admit to the first movie that ever set me off--Becket. I had to hide in the bathroom because my family would have been RUTHLESS with me for all the sobbing.

My friend Vicki and I had never been to an opera before, back in the late 1970s. We chose to see La Boheme, in Italian, pre-surcap translation. We didn't have a clue what they were singing, but both of us had tears streaming down our faces at the acting, the settings, and the heartbreakingly lovely music.

Deb,I'm sorry, I just burst out laughing. I can just hear your tone. Hilarious. And I know just what you mean. That's the good intentions and impossible decisions sadness.

So, you and I can NOT go to the movies together! Think how much money we'll save!

Clare, I'm with ya. An old boyfriend and I broke up over Nashville. I loved it, and was so touched by it, and he said--I can't even understand what they're saying. And--adios. I mean, isn't it a question of heart?

Nancy, yes, we cry over You've Got Mail. (And laughed.) And okay, fine, the ending was bad, the triumph of the big book store. (oops, spoiler. But probably not for this group...)

Funny,huh. How dated that is now...

And--when Harry Met Sally. No question.

I specialize in what Oprah terms "the ugly cry", and anything involving animals -- commercials, movies, "All Creatures Great and Small" -- will set it off, even when the storyline is positive ("Secretariat").

For non-animal tear-inducers, music tends to amplify the effect. It's got to the point where watching the beginning of "Les Miserables" gets the waterworks going, and the end of "Man of la Mancha" hits me every time. The final episode of "Babylon 5"'s storyline is a marathon of trying to keep the tears from flowing, and the music just ramps up the tension.

I bless Netflix for giving me the opportunity to see the movies/series that hit me hard without the embarrassment of snorting sounds and burrowing in the purse for the Kleenex that I should have remembered but didn't.

Hands down it's On The Beach. Schmaltzy stuff, but so believable at the height of the Cold War. Looking into oblivion with no redemption.

Oh, yeah, On the Beach, Michele. The book was amazing, and horrifying, and the movie, too. And as Cyranetta says, did you ever hear Waltzing Matilda after that without thinking of it? SO SAD.

I saw a great documentary once, about the power of sound. And it showed movie scenes WITH the music, and then the same ones without it. You know how dopey Chariots of Fire looks, guys running on the beach, without the music?

With? Ah HA.

What does Oprah mean by "the ugly cry"?

Since "Buffy" was mentioned, I'll confess right now the episode 'You're Welcome' from the spin-off ANGEL does me in, every single time.

I always go on alert when I cry at a movie. I hate to be manipulated, but don't mind honest emotion. Hated Dances with Wolves, Steel Magnolias and wouldn't even go see Love Story. But sobbed when I saw Hideous Kinky (go figure) and during the "Crispian" speech in Henry V.

Interesting post.

I cried at the end of SLEEPING BEAUTY, SHREK and THE MUSIC MAN, both the Colin Firth and Keira Knightly PRIDE AND PREJUDICEs and THE KING'S SPEECH, and those are happy endings. And forget about YOU'VE GOT MAIL. I've seen it several times and always cry at the end. In fact, a few weeks ago I saw the last five minutes and was bawling like a baby. So, I'm like you, Hank. If I know it's going to be sad, I just won't go. Did NOT see ET, TITANTIC, SHINDLER'S LIST, or TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, because I knew I'd cry.

Once my cousin and I went to see what we thought was a fun movie. Turns out it wasn't (CIDER HOUSE RULES). It was a great movie, just not a happy movie. Of course, I cried.

So I stay away from a movie or a book if I know it's going to be sad. I want to spend my money and time on something that's going to cheer me up. I prefer to cry at happy endings. ;-)

Hank, I think it was that I saw it on tape shortly after 9/11 and the end scene does pull back from a building with a similar design to WTC and then the WTC is to the side. It is sort of a visual of the less public side of 9/11. My MIL has several e-friends in the NYC area. I remember one of her friends was trying to figure out how to deal with attending four funerals in one week. Another was planning several funerals. The downside to a family business, five family members in one room, all gone in an instant.

If you get to Kansas City, the Hallmark Visitors Center has a row of monitors with the Hallmark ads running. It is bring your own kleenex though.

I cry at commercials, especially the family ones at Christmas. Right now there is a homecoming party for a vet commercial; I always tear up for that-and it's for Budweiser! Operas are a multiple whammy-the story if you know it, the incredible music, and the experience. Puccini is really good at causing tears. Placido Domingo once said he would get chills at the end of La Boheme, and he must have sung in it hundreds of times. I'm with you guys on most of the movies. "Love Story" is just too sappy for me.

Holly, yes, that was the Anthony Hopkins/Debra Winger movie. Was the school bus one The Sweet Hereafter?

Hank asked what Oprah meant by "the ugly cry". It may have variations, but it's basically anything that doesn't resemble the dew-in-the-corner-of-the-eyes genteel and gentle kind of cry one sees being acted. It's when, among other symptoms, your tissues swell up, your skin blotches, your eyes get red, your nose runs. It's problematic for a talk show host to succumb to the ugly cry, apparently.

Hank, I think we were sisters in another life. I too cry at the drop of a hat. And your note about the triumph of the human spirit? Let's just say I sob through the Olympics. Every event, every time.

How about the opening sequence of UP? Wow, that was good, and I was weeping inside of 30 seconds. I avoid sad movies too, but that one snuck up on me. My husband (who was also sniffling at that) and I didn't get to finish watching it, and I don't think we ever will, because we'll have to subject ourselves to the opening again.

Oh, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy: Regarding You've Got Mail -it is just so heartbreaking to watch Meg Ryan's character lose her store, the place where she grew up, the place where she felt close to her deceased mother...As her character said, it was like losing her mother all over again. It also hits close to home for ME because friends of our family lost their own independent bookstore when one of the big bookstores moved in across the parking lot from them. The big store, instead of using the name that they use in other cities even opened up their store under a name that was similar to the name of our friends' store, which confused a lot of people.

You've Got Mail: So sad!! I can't even LOOK at Tom Hanks, which I know is crazy, but still...

One movie that made me bawl was Boys on the Side. My dad had died the year before and I hadn't really cried since, I went to the movie, one of the characters died and there I am bawling in the theatre. The friend I was with actually apologized, said she wouldn't have talked me into going if she knew it was going to affect me so much. I needed the cry so it turned out fine.

I usually go for funny or action movies. If I am going to cry, I will watch it on tv, by myself. Don't like the whole public crying thing.

You've Got Mail didn't make me cry, I find Meg Ryan annoying and I seem to remember being cranky because I spent money to see it. I just went because Tom Hanks was in it.

Anyone see Larry Crowne recently?? That is my idea of a comedy.

Finding Nemo, now there is a movie that had me crying a couple of times.

A Canadian indi film that I found had some interesting/touching moments in it was Dance Me Outside.

So why did Robert Redford have to die in "Out of Africa?" Okay, somebody had to die... but Robert Redford?

The Way We Were. I've never been able to watch it the second time bacause of how much I cried the first time.

Yeah, manipulation sucks, which is why I don't watch Lifetime movies.


LOATHE anything that feels engineered to tug at my heartstrings. If it feels false and sentimental and manipulative!!!! OH, no I do not cry. Itjust makes me FURIOUS.

Actual starving orphan kitten lost in the rain with a hurt paw? I am all over a rescue mission. But show me one in a film to make me weepy, and I will punch you in the face.

Things that are GENUINE and make me cry, those I love. Movies you named here like Schindler's List...

Ramona, thanks for posting the Roger Ebert review of Grave of the Fireflies. I didn't want to be the one . . . .

SOPHIE'S CHOICE is beyond sad; it's a category unto itself. I saw it decades ago (once! only once!) and can still not even think about it without going into a black pit of despair.

Of course, I too regularly cry at BUFFY reruns, but that's not in the same league as SOPHIE'S CHOICE sad.

Tammy, if we're long lost sisters--and hurray, if so--how come you're such a good driver? You must have gotten all the car genes..

Oh, Thundermuffin, you KNEW that was gonna happen, right? He about had a halo over his head in every shot.

And UP? Not a chance. I was warned. How about the beginning part of Wall-E?

Steel Magnolias (yes, I know it's manipulative, but all the same . . .) and of course Random Harvest. Even though I've seen it a dozen times, I always have a box of tissues nearby.

On a sweeter note: no sobs, but made my eyes mist over at how happy this dog is:

And while I intensely disliked You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle gets to me every time. To me, it's even better than the original Love Affair to Remember. Although that scene where Cary Grant realizes who bought the portrait . . .

Yes. Sleepless in Seattle. Is it when she finds the stuffed animal? Or is it that the little boy is so cute? Or when she's crying, listening to the radio?

And in A to R, when she's sitting on the couch, with the blanket over her legs...am I remembering this correctly?

Off to look at the dog video. :-)

I have never allowed myself to see Sophie's Choice. Just the THOUGHT of it makes me want to cry.

A few years ago when I was recuperating from surgery, someone let me borrow a couple of dozen videos, including Schindler's List. There was no way I could watch that subject matter at a time when I was looking for humorous stories to cheer me up.

Aww...very cute dog videos Margaret... xo

OH, yes, The Sweet Hereafter, Judy. Exactly. I knew it was something like Shadowlands. :-)

The final notes from La Boheme always bring tears, and the same theme in the overture.

Oh, yes, Skipper. We said the Baz Luhrmann (wasn't it?) version on Broadway (With an Elliot Spitzer in the audience sighting, I might add)

It was--transporting.

Right, Nancy M., BECKET!! If ever anything puts steel in my spine, it's thinking of Becket and his integrity.

Although this has been implied in the comments more than specifically stated, I think it is pretty cool when a film gives us perspective/insight that helps us put a finger precisely on what it is that's bothering us about a relationship (re: those who broke up with bf/date after The Way We Were, etc.)

Boy, you can tell that Mr. Increase Height luurrvves today's discussion, LOL!

Oh, never mind, the spurious post from Increase Height just disappeared.

All of you who mentioned La Boheme, remember how Cher cried over it in Moonstruck? "I mean, I knew she was sick, but why'd she have to die?"

"On Golden Pond" with Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda. When Henry Fonda returned from a short walk and confessed his memory loss.
When Jane tried to reach her father and make a connection at the wharf.
Believe it or not I sobbed at the end of the Mary Tyler Moore TV series..when everyone was hugging each other and did a group hug.
Sometimes, I cry in the theatre and hope that I can gulp down my tears and see DH with shimmering eyes and denying to me that he is crying.

Talk about crying at seeing things onscreen . . . right now watching Gabby Giffords return to Congress to vote.

Hank, I just cried during the Special Report on the evening news when Diane Sawyer said that Congresswoman Giffords showed up to vote today and was welcomed back with thunderous applause.

I just have to say that I am wildly entertained by all of our comments. Here we're confessing to the things that make us sad to the point where we sob buckets and yet everybody's funny in the writing.

Harley, you're right about SOPHIE'S CHOICE . . . I've thought over the years that I should see it again, but then, I have this image of Sophie in a bare room, staring down her decision, surrounded by this oppressive black cloud in my sense-memory, and I think, 'nah, not tonight.'

Thanks, Mary Stella, for posting re: Congresswoman Giffords: I just read a news account and it totally gave me chills. So proud of her, and glad for the reception she received (not to mention, her 'yes' vote!). Definitely tear-worthy, but since I read it instead of watched, I could (barely) avoid choking up.

Nancy P, that bothered me about The Green Mile, too.

Wait a minute. Aren't all works of fiction manipulative?

"Since "Buffy" was mentioned, I'll confess right now the episode 'You're Welcome' from the spin-off ANGEL does me in, every single time."

William, you are a man of great depth, previously undisclosed. Going to downlod Buffy now.

Barbara, Friday Night Lights makes my husband cry . . . and I have to join in to make him feel like okay about it. :|

Oh, I didnt see Congresswoman Giffords--thank you...oh, that's amazing. I'm glad to be warned. Ths most definitely would have done it.

MOONSTRUCK! I love Moonstruck. (I cried when she came out in the dress and new eyebrows.)

Mary Stella, you're right. We're laughing while talking about crying.

And thinking about you all,now, too.

Reine, I'm a huge Roger Ebert fan and always happy to share his reviews.

I did not cry at The Boy in the Striped Pajamas movie, because I was too distracted by some minor changes in the adaptation. The book--made me bawl for hours.

Has anyone seen My Boy Jack, on Masterpiece Theater? It's the true story of Rudyard Kipling's son Jack and his effort to enlist to fight in WWI, despite very poor eyesight. Daniel Radcliffe plays Jack. The ending is phenomenally sad and painful.

I guess I'm moved by anti-war movies. Rom-coms, not so much!

Ramona, I was interested in MY BOY JACK for a bunch of reasons, including having not too long before that having read Kipling's KIM and Laurie R. King's THE GAME. Kipling was (to my mind) the British equivalent of today's flag-and-country-conservative or a faction of the Tea Party, so committed to a cause that he felt it almost impossible for anything bad to happen if he stayed firm on principle. The movie, like the real life story, made me so sad, and it didn't help that Daniel Radcliffe was Jack--I'll probably always think of him as young Harry P., come what may.

Laraine, I agree about Rudyard Kipling. Jack had the vision problem, but it was his father who was really blind to what he was doing in encouraging his son to enlist, despite the fact that he could hardly see. I thought the battlefield scene was devastating.

At the end of Downton Abby, when they get the telegram that England and Germany are at war in the middle of the lawn party, I nearly lost it. Most of those beautiful young men, at all social levels, would probably go to war and die.

Oh, Ramona, I agree about Downton Abbey! In another era, my mother tells the story about a wedding shower she attended, the groom was there, in his navy dress blues. (whites?) The word came--Pearl Harbor had been attacked.

Maybe we agree--real life is sadder than movies?

Going to sleep now...love love love to you all..

Haitchi with Richard Gere...so, so sad!

I'm going to look up all these movies I've never heard of..but then--I'm NOT gonna watch them! xxo

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