Top 10 times when its acceptible for a guy to cry: movies
While it’s socially acceptable for lady folk to break into tears at the mere sight of sparkly Edward and whiney Bella or to unleash torrents of tears to whatever sentimental, sob-fest Nicholas Sparks has written on his Notebook, it’s not the same for guys. We get a select few moments when we can lose it and not lose the respect of our peers, the esteem of our colleagues and our attractiveness to the lady folk. No one wants a blubbering, emotional man-child breaking into tears every time they see the movie poster for Marley and Me. On the other hand, sometimes we are allowed to let our manly facades of steadfast stoicism slip. Whether it’s a single tear rolling down a cheek like a lone soldier who has lost his platoon, or a steady flow self-consciously wiped away with the heels of our hands lest the lady folk look down on us, sometimes it’s okay to cry at movies. These are the times:
10. Grave of the Fireflies
There’s a lot of sad movies on this list, but I don’t think any of them rival this one. While other selections on this list have complex reasons for why they are affecting or particularly evocative to a guy, this one is just straight up sad. The horrors of war juxtaposed with the innocence of childhood is brutally exposed throughout this move. As ever, the soldiers and generals fight the battles but it’s the regular people who suffer, and the most vulnerable have the least chance of survival. Nothing on this list is sadder, if you’re unmoved by this then you’re dead inside.
9. Its a Wonderful life
As with most people my age, I look back on movies from before 1970 with a mixture of confusion and trepidation. I’m never sure when someone’s going to break into song and dance, expose themselves as casually racist or slap a woman to put her in place. Despite all this, I saw this movie and the message and the story were so universal it was like it was written yesterday. Too brilliant to be explained on a website like this, you should simply go and see this movie if you haven’t already. Many cinemas play it at Christmas and its one of the finest movies ever made. The moment when George’s brother says “”To My Big Brother George, The Richest Man In Town”, I can’t help but struggle to maintain my composure. He means rich in love…….Goddamit I’m losing it again!
8. The Shawshank Redemption
This movie remains an inspiration for every filmmaker who has worked hard at something only for it to flop at the cinema. Shawshank performed terribly at the box office then went on to build a cult audience and eventually became such a well loved movie that it broke into the mainstream, boosted the careers of its two leads and frequently tops the lists of best movies of all time. There are many tough, emotional scenes in the movie, but the moment when Tim Robbins escapes the prison and emerges from the sewer pipe and raises his arms up to the sky cleansed is so iconic its instantly recognisable. The ending on the beach is a little over wrought; it would have been far more elegant to have ended with Morgan Freeman on the bus unsure of his fate. Nonetheless the scene where the two are reunited raises a lump in the throat and the emotional payoff is justified by how much shit (literal and metaphorical) Andy Dufresne has had to go through.
7. The Devil and Daniel Johnston
The word “crazy” is over used in popular culture. Whether you’re waiting in line for a sub thinking “if this guy orders ranch AND chipotle dressing I’m going to go crazy” or you’re listening to Britney sing “Let’s go crazy”, you’re not thinking of Daniel Johnston crazy. His kind of crazy is more the type where you try to kill yourself and your friends, communicate with and battle the Devil every day and write some of the most beautiful but weird music ever committed to tape. Inspiring everyone from the Butthole Surfers to Nirvana, Johnston battled his illness all his life and in this documentary, you feel as much pain for him as you do for his family and friends who he put through great stress and even physical danger. While there are hints of Johnston’s genius throughout the movie, it’s not till the closing moments of the film when we hear one of his finest and most poignant songs and see Daniel completely enraptured in his music that we understand how talented he really is but also how high a price he has paid for that talent. When the titles roll and “Some things last a long time” plays, only a robot would feel nothing for the guy.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
Another classic that I only watched fully last year, this movie is driven by an absolute master performance by Gregory Peck. It wasn’t until I watched this film that I realised exactly what kind of good person I had already aspired to be: it was Atticus Finch. Gregory Peck makes Atticus a sympathetic and grounded character that is nonetheless heroic beyond any action movie hero. He is brave, paternal, honest, protective, forgiving and willing to put his own reputation and safety on the line when he feels that something must be done to stop evil, even if it means standing up against a whole community. In my mind the most memorable scene will always be the tense showdown when Atticus is spat at and shows immense character and restraint in face of deliberate and twisted provocation. The most affecting scene though immedietly precedes that one when Atticus’ journeys to Tom Robisnon’s family to tell them what has happened to their son…
5. Schindler’s List
One of the films on the list that you absolutely CANNOT lose man points for crying at, Schindler’s list chronicles the real life story of the struggles of one man to do good at one of the darkest points in recorded human history. The moral complexity of the film comes from the fact that the protagonist of the movie enjoys great success as he saves Jewish people, thus posing philosophical questions about the nature of good or altruistic acts. In the end, despite all the people he saved he must weigh up his charitable deeds against his material gains. In this painful scene, Schindler considers his own motives and wonders how many more human lives his attractive pin could have bought.
4. I am Legend
A movie with as much good as bad, this Will Smith vehicle fails to make good use of the excellent source material. The original story by Richard Matheson was ahead of its time, dealing with a post apocalyptic world of vampires and dealing with themes of alienation, loneliness and morality, the main character in Matheson’s novel realises that in killing the inhuman he is losing his own humanity. The alternate ending version of the movie is better than the original theatrical release and despite a disappointingly formulaic version of the story, Smith turns in a good, believable performance. The best character however is his dog, Sam (Samantha). The death of man’s best friend is always tragic, but when your pet dies defending you from zombie dogs and then you have to kill that same pet with your own bare hands…..that justifies man tears.
3. The Deerhunter
Christopher Walken and Robert Deniro at their absolute best, portraying two regular guys ruined by war. Walken, racked with guilt and driven insane by the atrocities he’s seen can’t stop participating in the games of Russian roulette that his captors had forced him to play when he was a POW. This scene is beautifully acted and utterly tragic. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve tried to talk a friend round from doing something stupid and here, Deniro is so close, so close to getting through to his friend.
2. Field of Dreams
Unresolved father issues will always strike a chord with sympathetic guys, regardless of their own relationships with their dads. In Field of Dreams, Ray (Kevin Costner) chases his dream and builds a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield costing him time, money and almost ruining his family farming business. From the beginning, he follows the voice in his head as it sends him on one crazy journey after another. Melancholy and sentimental, the movie nonetheless touches on the male desires to both gain their parents approval and also to rebel. In the end, Ray’s journey was intended to give everyone a second shot whether it was to get Terrence Mann to write again or give Moonlight Graham a chance to bat in the big leagues. When it’s all over, Ray is rewarded with a second chance himself…to play catch with his dad.
Wanna have catch?
1. Rocky 3
The wrinkled and wizened heart of the Rocky franchise was Mickey, but it was his own heart that couldn’t go on after Rocky 3. Old and weary, Mickey wants desperately to retire with Rocky feeling that neither of them has anything left to prove. Rocky’s pride is hurt though as he comes to realise Mickey protected him from the toughest opponents and he vows to face the formidable Clubber Lang with or without Mickey’s help. Guilted into helping Rocky train, it all goes wrong as Mickey’s weak heart begins to fail before the fight. By the time that Rocky returns having been soundly beaten, Mickey is almost gone too. Even though Rocky doesn’t say, you suspect Mickey knows he lost but is happy they can both now rest. Despite being hard on Rocky through all the movies his last words are his most honest.
“Is it over?” growls Mickey.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s all over,” answers Rocky, putting his hand on his mentor’s chest.
“Hey, listen, what happened?” whispers Mickey in a quavering voice.
“It was a knockout,” replies Rocky.
“What round? What round?” Mickey smiles.
“Second round,” Rocky says.
Mickey struggles to laugh with joy as he believes Rocky as won the fight. “Yeah, I knew it. That’s good. We did it, huh?”
Rocky stresses that Mickey needs to go to a hospital, but Mickey is still overjoyed.
“We did everything right. I did everything right…” continues Mickey.
“No, no, listen,” Rocky stops him. “We ain’t done everything right. Listen, we still got more to do. Mick, whatever you want to do, we’ll do it, okay?”
“I love you, kid,” Mickey says. “I love you.”