wine by the color

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

While watching "Rudy" for the 253rd time last week, I started to think about movies that make me weepy, many of which are sports movies. I am a complete sucker for the underdog sports flicks. Or dying athletes. There's nothing I love more than a tug-at-the-heartstrings sports movie. They don't even have to be good. Hell, I once cried watching the Lil' Bow Wow film, "Like Mike." Shut up. He got a new father, dammit!

But it's not just sports movies. It's everything. So I decided this sort of endeavor would call for two separate lists - sports and non-sports. Some are movies I've watched repeatedly, with tears every time. Sometimes it was just the initial viewing that caused the tear-duct breakdown.

Let's start with the non-sporting weepers (and I'll warn you, some of these are flat-out embarrassing).

10. "A Stranger Among Us." It pains me to describe this plot and then admit it made me cry. A tough female NYC cop (Melanie Griffith at her worst) and a Hasidic man fall for each other while she investigates a murder in his jewelry-dealing community. He eventually marries the woman his father has arranged for him as she looks on. It's a horrible movie.

9. "Love Story." I worked in a video store while in college, and my roommates and I decided we needed to rent this one night, having heard what a tearjerker it was. So I bought it home, we had some cocktails and popped it in. The movie runs 99 minutes. We ripped on the overacting and horrid dialogue for 93 of those minutes. And bawled for the remaining six.

8. "Up Close and Personal." I watched this a few years ago on Thanksgiving, when I was too sick to join my family and thus spent the day home alone on the couch. I was watching a harmless little romantic comedy, and then, wham, not so comedic. Perhaps it was because I was alone on my favorite holiday, but there was a lot of crying. Despite the Celine Dion theme song. Or maybe that added to the tears.

7. "A River Runs Through It." When the main character is doing the voice-over at the end, as he fishes in the river and talks about everyone being gone, it just made me very sad.

6. "Good Will Hunting." When Ben Affleck shows up on Matt Damon's door and realizes he's gone, it sets me off.

5. "Saving Private Ryan" - it's impossible to keep it together when Matt Damon falls to his knees at the cemetery.

4. "Beaches." Yes, it's the ultimate chick flick. But I've had the same best friend for 34 years, so watching a woman lose her long-time best friend is an emotional doozy.

3. "Armageddon." I'm not proud. But every time Bruce Willis says goodbye to Liv Tyler, I lose it.

2. "The Notebook." As the granddaughter of someone who suffered from Alzheimer's, this movie crushed me. I watched it while on a plane that was grounded at the terminal for hours, and the flight attendant had to provide me with a hearty stash of tissues.

1. "Shawshank Redemption." I can turn this on to the last 10 minutes, when Red is on the bus, talking about how excited he is to be visiting his friend, and then their reunion on the beach, and the waterworks kick in. Guaranteed. They're not sad tears, but they are there every time.

Huh. Who would have thought that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon would each appear in two of these movies (and, quite frankly, it would have been three except I just couldn't admit "Jersey Girl" is really on this list too).

Moving on to the ice, court and fields...

10. "Ice Castles." Yes, it's a stretch to call figure skating a sport. But it's in the Olympics, so we'll count it here. "We forgot the flowers." God help me.

9. "Remember the Titans." The knowledge that a huge number of important facts in this movie were out and out falsified did nothing to alleviate the crocodile tears.

8. "Miracle." Knowing what was going to happen, having actually watched the game in 1980, didn't help me. I saw this in the theater with BAM, and she said the best part was knowing that I would cry. And I delivered.

7. "Brian's Song." They made us watch this during class in middle school. Cruel.

6. "Field of Dreams." "Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?" Egads.

5. "The Rookie." Tell me when Dennis Quaid realizes that half the town came to watch him when he makes it to the majors, including his semi-estranged father, that you didn't get worked up. No? Heartless wenches.

4. "Rudy." I hate Notre Dame. But the first time I watched this, I was all but sobbing when he finally made it into an ND uniform, and when he gets carried off the field. Ok, I WAS sobbing. A friend happened to call and heard me breathlessly crying, and asked, "Oh my God, is everything ok?" to which I replied, "I'm watching a movie. I'll have to call you back."

3. "The Champ." This flick came out in 1979, so if you haven't seen it by now, you're probably not going to. Therefore, I'm not going to ruin this tale of a boxer and his little boy by pointing out this weepy scene.

2. "Something for Joey." One of two TV movies on the list ("Brian's Song" is the other). The true story of a Penn State football player who wins the Heisman Trophy while his young brother is dying from leukemia. I remember watching it as a kid and thinking I'd never see anything sadder. And I didn't even realize it was a true story at that time.

1. "Million Dollar Baby." I started crying about 2/3 of the way through this one, when Hilary Swank tells Clint Eastwood, "I've got nobody but you, Frankie," and the tears continued until after the credits finished rolling. I have only seen this movie once, in the theater, and I think that might be the only time I ever see it. It devastated me. We had to sit there for a few minutes so I could compose myself to drive home.

I called my mother the next day, as she and my father had already seen it, and yelled at her for not warning me. Her response: "What was I supposed to say?" Fair enough.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something important. Please feel free to point it out.


  • At 12/13/2006 8:52 PM, Anonymous WendyU said…

    OMG! Million Dollar Baby!! I can't not ever see that again. I was a mess. Just a mess.

    Ok - here's one for the sports category and it's because I'm a sap for true stories but "The Greatest Game Ever Played" gets me too. I had to buy the DVD because i like to watch it over and over again. I cry when Frances' Dad comes out to congratulate him. I'm a such a sap!

  • At 12/14/2006 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I, a grown man, generally do not cry as a result of a movie plot, it is a movie for Christs sake. I guess one gene is damaged / broken / deformed / altered / fxcked up because Rudy gets me every time. Right about "Who's the wild man now!" all is lost. I have to watch it alone.

  • At 12/14/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger freakgirl said…

    Oh! "Ice Castles"! Just hearing the theme song gets me all choked up. And "The Champ", holy crap. I was with you for "Million Dollar Baby", damn that movie was tough.

    Have you ever seen "Grace of My Heart"? I've seen it about seven times, and the end montage always leaves me sniffly.

    The movie that utterly emotionally destroyed me, that left me snorgling on the couch in the fetal position with set spots on my pillow, was "Dancer in the Dark". At the end, I felt so manipulated and wrung out that I vowed never to watch a Lars Von Trier film again. What an asshole.

  • At 12/14/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger freakgirl said…

    oops - "set" should be "wet"

  • At 12/14/2006 12:38 PM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    I would comment, but I fear ripping from other members of my gender.

  • At 12/14/2006 1:15 PM, Anonymous maddie said…

    Life as a House - Sobbing like a little baby at the end. So good, but so sad.

    My Dog Skip - Boy gets cutest dog ever. Boy and dog grow up. Dog dies. Most depressing movie EVER.

  • At 12/14/2006 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Oh, and "Schindler's List." I had to be carried out of that one. I'm at the point now where I cry when they light the candle ... which is the movie's opening shot.

  • At 12/14/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Go ahead, Sandman. Your secret is safe here.

    "My Dog Skip." Excellent call.

    Brooke, I have the Capelletti book by the same name, and even that sets me off. So damn sad.

  • At 12/14/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Pay It Forward" is a tough one to watch.

    So is "Ishtar".....but for different reasons...

  • At 12/16/2006 2:24 PM, Blogger ClarkKent said…

    We just watched Field of Dreams, that was a tough one to get through without tears.

    And, in an entry that mixes sport with drama, I vote for the football game in Sleepers. Rizzo, Rizzo, Rizzo.


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