So last night over several Hamm’s beers, a bottle of champagne and some mean paella at the house, a group of us got to discussing Son of Rambow (an amazing little film), which led me to admit that I cried quite a bit toward the end of the film. Which then led to an assault about my penchant for crying during movies, largely spouting from my older brother, Matt.
Yes, this whole crying during movies thing happens a lot. No, I’m not embarrassed by it. I like to think it means that somewhere in the frozen chambers of my heart, I can still feel something. So what if it’s only for imaginary people in imaginary situations. I need this!
After defending myself from a barrage of insults, mostly having nothing to do with the crying, more focused on my other flaws (“Your heels are dry and cracking!” “You’re a failure at life!” “How could you get an F in high school computer class?”) the conversation shifted to those times we’ve cried in movies and look back on with regret. This typically happens because the film is utter horseshit, because why else would we cringe when recalling it?
I decided to put myself out there first, informing my friends that I sobbed like a widow during Riding In Cars With Boys. The film was a travesty. A bleak, endless, tiresome travesty that worked me over until I caved at the swamp of sadness I was bogged down in for the duration of its running time. The worst part was, as I watched it, I knew it was awful. Garbage. I mean, really bad. Structurally, it was a trainwreck. And I won’t even begin to knock the acting, it totally speaks for itself in that regard. But yeah, it was, to say the least, the very definition of embarrassing.
With that initial, and perhaps worst, admission out of the way, it opened the door for others to reveal their inner cinematic regret. My girlfriend, the only female in attendance, dug deep and, helping reinforce the reasons why I love her, came up with Titanic. My soul smiled.
You see, a certain ex of mine held this film on a pedestal like some golden idol and it made me cringe to even think about. I constantly had to remind myself of the moral behind High Fidelity. It’s not what people like, but what they’re like that matters. It’s true, right? Maybe? Alas, no matter how much I tried, Titanic could never be more to me than an overlong cinematic death rattle. And given my describing this person as an ex, my attempts at convincing myself not to care that she enjoyed such swill never quite worked out.
And then came our friend, let’s call him “Bob,” who pulled some bullshit, claiming that he’s only cried twice in ten years, and never cries during movies. After a moment’s reflection, I recognized that he’s an actor and sadly, may not be lying (but it’s gonna make it awful difficult for him to dig up the sense memory required when he’s out there pulling the Method from his butthole like the Brando worshiping jackass that he is). Although, he’s shooting his part in Terminator 4: Still Terminating (break a leg!) pretty soon, so maybe he was just getting ready for his role as some hard-ass robot killer.
However, after a bit of coaxing, we pried an admission about his eyes welling up during the climax of Crash. No, not that Cronenberg oddity, but rather the sappy, “everybody’s a racist” tripe shat from Haggis’ womb. This admission in particular gave me chills. The boy sings praises of City of God, drools over Day-Lewis’ performance in There Will Be Blood and studies Brando (even going so far as to make us watch some filth called Fast Money with him last night, a film that escapes me. Really, I have no idea what that film was. It had Charlie Sheen in it, for fuck sake. And can I just say that I had no idea Brando had come to resemble a marginally thinner Harry Knowles late in his career).
And then we came to my brother Matt. Oh, Matty. What have you done? Perhaps not understanding that I would put this in my blog, his story unfolded on us like a dirty diaper, starting out innocent but once that foul smell crept in, everyone in the room was worse for having to experience it.
At a young age, as my family sat around our plush New England living room, enjoying ourselves a bit of Annie, that story of the fire-crotched orphan girl, something must have struck a chord with my elder sibling. During an early scene in the film, where said fire-crotch curls up in the orphanage window to sing a ditty, my older, frequently bullying, protein shake drinking, sports fanatic brother crouched behind the sofa where no one could see him and broke out in a crying fit reserved for mothers who’ve just been told their child won’t be coming home from the war. This sob-fest lasted several minutes before my brother, the same brother that, at the ripe old age of ten, hung the “My Buddy” doll I held near and dear as a child from the basement ceiling and beat it with a baseball bat until only the head remained, left the room, deciding that the story of Annie, that lonely orphan child, was just too much for him to experience.
Oh, and he also went out to the swingset in the backyard after a screening of Beaches and cried for a half hour over Barbara Hershey’s untimely demise.
So the next time he picks on me for openly weeping during every third film I watch, I’ll have some ammunition to fire back his way. Though, to be honest, I’ll probably just resort to insults that hurt his feelings (“Your putting game is keeping you from realizing your full potential as a golfer!” “I beat you at ping pong last week! “Mom loves me more!”).
And now it’s your turn, dear reader. What film did you shed a misguided tear in? Come on, I admitted to that piece of Drew Barrymore dreck, give me something!