Not a Dry Eye in the House

on Monday, January 08, 2007

Photocredit: makeupvixon

I don’t always but at the funeral I attended around New Year’s Day, I cried. At the service, the husband gave a moving speech. He spoke of his special plans to celebrate their 25th wedding Anniversary; a special trip after years of austere living, but they only made it to 23 years of marriage. Nevertheless, he thanked God for the gift of his wife who had been truly his life partner for those years and ended by saying that he was now saying goodbye to his beloved and returning her to the care of her Beloved in heaven. At the end of his speech, there was not a dry eye in the house.

My wife calls me a “sensitive new age guy” after a title of a song because I occasionally shed a tear. I don’t know why she makes such a fuss about this after all we have long left behind the era of the stoic, unemotional male. The way that she goes on, you’d think I fall apart at almost anything. It’s not true. I did not shed a tear for Ali McGraw in Love Story, nor were my eyes damp when Bambi lost his mother.

However, there are certain scenes from the movies and TV shows, that can be relied upon to just open the faucets in my eyes and allow the tears to roll unabated, no matter how many times I have already seen it. You might call this the confessions of a sensitive new age guy but anyway, here are some of those scenes;

“Final farewells between parents and child.” (Scene from the movie, Running on Empty)
River Phoenix’s character and his brother has been on the lam together with their parents, all their lives. The parents are fugitives because they accidentally killed someone in an anti-war protest and have been hunted by the FBI all this time. Although a tightly knit family held together by love, the parents realize that River’s character is becoming a grown man and will miss out on a real chance to study at University, to develop his musical talent and to have girlfriends if he continues to follow them as they hide from place to place. Motivated by love they arrange for his estranged grandparents to take care of him. Finally, the family packs up into the car and is about to leave when he sees them. When he realizes they are leaving, without hesitation he wants to get into the car and leave all the opportunities behind. However in a tearful farewell (at least I will be tearful by this stage), the parents say their goodbyes to him forever from the car windows and offer him back a chance to live his own life. They then drive out of his life. Pass the tissue paper please.

“Tears of a Clown.” (Scene from TV series, M*A*S*H)
Viewers of M*A*S*H which is set around the goings-on in a mobile army surgical hospital in Korea during the war there, will remember Hawkeye as the good, well meaning doctor who kept morale up with his humor and pranks. It was therefore unsettling when in this episode, we find the indefatigable Hawkeye in a psychiatric hospital as a patient. The psychiatrist keeps asking Hawkeye to relate what happened when he and some other doctors took a bus of orphans and refugees for a day at the beach. Hawkeye tells the story again and again and something funny always happens but he does not reach the end of the story. The psychiatrist tells him that he is using humor to avoid facing his pain and until he stops and faces the pain, he will not be cured. Finally, with much coaxing, he finally relates how they were caught out by enemy troop advancements and had hidden the bus –trying to remain undetected from the enemy troops. There was this baby crying and wouldn’t stop. He desperately told the mother to keep the baby quiet, breast feed it, do whatever it takes, cause otherwise its crying would give away their position and they would all be killed. Finally, the baby was quiet and the danger passed. It was then that Hawkeye discovered, that the distraught and panicked mother had smothered the baby and killed it to keep it silent. This was the ending he could not tell. As he remembers this, tears roll from his eyes and mine. There are few things sadder than the tears of a clown.

“Holding on to the Memory, Keeping Them Alive” (Scene from TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Willow’s long time girlfriend, Tara, has been killed by this guy, Warren. It’s been awhile and she has been hurting inside. Now it seems like she is moving on and a new girl Kennedy is interested in her. Willow at first tries to push Kennedy’s advances away but eventually in the heat of a moment, they kiss. To their horror, Willow begins to change into Warren. At the end of the episode, we realize that Willow has turned into Warren due to a combination of a spell by a jealous witch and her own guilty feelings. When finally confronted with her suppressed guilty feelings, Willow keeps changing between herself and Warren’s visage. In this state, she asks Tara for forgiveness for killing her (she identified with Tara’s killer, Warren, which is why magically she took on his image). She felt she had killed her, because she had guarded Tara’s memory closely all that time but when Kennedy kissed her, she let slip for a moment and she felt that she had let Tara slip away, she had let Tara die in her memory. At this stage, I would be crying with her. (Okay, I know this might be a bit difficult to follow for those who do not know this show. Suffice to say it was a cult hit and was about vampires, witches, monsters and those that fight them. Also please get over the fact that it is a lesbian relationship and appreciate the very human qualities of trying to hold on to our memories of a loved one).

Well, that is pretty much my soul laid bare for you to see. Please reciprocate and share what gets you sobbing at the movies and TV.


Le Nightowl said...

I'm afraid I haven't seen any of the 3 movies/TV series you mention in your post, but I get the drift :)
As much as I would love to reciprocate, I need to think about this a little more. I haven't watched a film in years, so I need to tickle my little grey cells. If I come up with something, I'll let you know :)

Josie said...

Well, it shows you're human. I have been known to shed a tear during a few movies as well. And I found myself "welling up" when I watched the Munchkins singing Handel's Messiah for young voices. I looked around, and everyone was having the same reaction.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thank you for sharing. This has been a quiet post so far as comments go.

I hope other readers will "release their inner child" or for the guys, "get in touch with their feminine side" and other such New age mumbo jumbo. If you, don't "cry" but get "allergy attacks" involving rolling tears, we would also love to hear from you! Haha!

...Kat said...

a favorite movie moment but not one I cry over-

Paul Newman in the HUSTLER...the scene in which he describes what his pool means to him.... I read somewhere once that it was Newman himself that suggested such a scene needed to be in the movie and that he wrote the scene himself...I do not know if that is true but I sure like to think it is.

...."But I just hadda show em, just had to show those creeps and those punks what the game is like when it's great, when it's REALLY great. You know, like anything can be great, anything can be great. I don't care, BRICKLAYING can be great, if a guy knows. If he knows what he's doing and why and if he can make it come off. When I'm going, I mean, when I'm REALLY goin' I feel like a jockey must feel. He's sittin' on his horse, he's got all that speed and power underneath him...e's comin' into the stretch, the pressure's on 'im, and he KNOWS...just feels....when to let it go and how much. Cause he's got everything workin' for 'im, timing touch.... it's a great feeling, boy, it's a real great feeling when you're right and you KNOW you're right. It's like all of a sudden I got oil in my arm. The pool cue's part of me. You know, it's uh_pool cue, it's got nerves in it. It's a piece of wood, it's got nerves in it. Feel the roll of those balls, you don't have to look, you just KNOW. You make shots that nobody's ever made before. I can play that game the way....NOBODY'S ever played it before."

Dave said...

Though I have never cried during a Buffy episode, I have felt teary eyed for some movies thought I can't think of one right now though.

I guess being a man doesn't mean you don't cry.

...Kat said...

I cry all the time actually so the list of movies and other triggers are too many to list

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

kat, I never saw the Hustler but from the excerpt you quoted, I can understand why it stood out. You can feel the passion which transcends the fact you may know nothing about pool but you understand his fervour.

I'll see if I can get the Buffy script because I thought the writing was also very good.

dave, okay my wife kids me all the time about crying during a Buffy episode. But that aside, do you watch the series? Seems like we share a few quirks.

celestial opus said...

Yes, that M*A*S*H episode gets me every time. Heart wrenching sobs.

Wasn't it a rooster in his memories not a baby until the end? Doesn't matter, I'm just trying to remember the episode and all his ways to avoid the truth of the situation.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Celestial opus,
thanks for visiting. I believe you are absolutely right that it involved a rooster. It's been awhile. I'd like to see that episode again.

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