Every once in a while, even an A**Hole Dad needs to get in touch with his feminine side and have a good cry. No, this has nothing to do with the fact that I attended BlogHer 2011, a conference for women and men bloggers with apparently ambiguous tastes. Anyway, here are the ten top movies to help those tear ducts start flowing:
#10. Jerry Maguire – We all need to forget every movie that Cuba Gooding, Jr., made after this seminal dude flick. Honestly, if we had any clue that he was going to follow up this classic with Snow Dogs, The Radio, or Daddy Day Camp, they would not have had us at “hello”, “good bye” or “it’ll be $12 for that ticket.” Still, we can’t deny this movie’s greatness even if Tom Cruise, the Grand Puba of Scientology and the most amazing set of teeth ever to be diagnosed as clinically insane, was the other star. When Cuba’s Rod Tidwell finally gets his contract and, yes, they SHOW HIM THE MONEY!, we laughed, we cried, we hugged whoever was sitting in the next seat, whether or not we knew them.
As a postscript, when watching Jerry Maguire today, I can also occasionally feel a tear rolling down my cheek remembering Renee Zellwegger as a cute, fresh, pretty newcomer to the Hollywood scene rather than as the anorexic, greasy, facially misshaped, plastic surgery-addicted freak that she is now.
#9. Rocky I & II & Rocky Balboa – The Rocky series is not generally known as tear-jerking. However, these three each had their moments. When Rocky loses at the end of the first movie and still proclaims his love for Adrian, you can’t help but tear up for everybody’s favorite knee capper turned underdog turned Oscar winner. In II, when Adrian wakes up from her coma and tells Rocky to “just win”, I jumped out of my seat, sprinted around the theater and made out with the usher.
In Rocky Balboa, after decades of worshiping the Italian Stallion, Apollo, Paulie and all other things Rocky, we cried when we finally realized (despite hoping against hope that he’d stop after Rocky III and IV and V) that Sylvester Stallone was just as narcissistic, self-aggrandizing and delirious as every other Hollywood piece of sh*t who runs their franchise into the garbage heap of history by producing four more sequels than there are decent scripts. How sad when true talent gets obliterated by old age and decades of steroid use.
#8. Leaving Las Vegas – Nicolas Cage, the alky who drinks enough booze during this movie to kill a small farm animal, finally gets a chance to have sex with the smoking hot hooker who was the original Karate Kid’s girlfriend, Elisabeth Shue. And while he’s inside her………………….he dies. ‘Nuff said.
#7. Airport – C’mon, they can’t all be sad. Airport stands alone as the single funniest movie of all time. Before Airport, comedy flat out didn’t exist, unless you count the campfire farting scene from Blazing Saddles. I can name 20 scenes from Airport off the top of my head that left me gasping for breath and my underwear sopping wet with urine. I laughed until I cried and, at 12 years old, I only understood about 1/3 of the jokes. But seriously, the old chick talking jive to the two brothers? If you didn’t end up shedding a few at the movie, you certainly did months later when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences committed the greatest injustice in the history of movies by denying Leslie Nielsen an Oscar. I’m still pissed.
#6. It’s A Wonderful Life – Can you believe there was a time before reality television? Well, yes, it existed and, before cameras entered our real lives, television never made anybody cry. Really, what’s sad about “The Brady Bunch” or “Cagney and Lacey”? Being the enlightened renaissance man that I am, I always enjoyed a good cry so I’d wait for It’s A Wonderful Life during Christmas season so I could sputter and weep like a 3-year-old when the cash starts rolling in at the end. Today, I still cry when I see the movie but only because somebody once stole a boatload of money from me and, since I had no friends, I had to pay it back out of my own pocket. Feels a little different than the old days, I must say.
#5. The Crying Game – There are a lot of reasons to cry in a movie. Before The Crying Game came out, though, I didn’t think one of them could be after you discover the blazing hot chick with the sexually casual attitude to match turns out to have a bigger dick than you do.
#4. The Champ – Look, we all hate Rick Schroeder. He was the cutest child actor since Shirley Temple. He continued getting movie and television roles even after he became an ugly albeit blond, blue-eyed adult. And instead of letting his parents blow his money, the guy’s made $50M in real estate. Trust me, I hate him more than you do because, when I was a kid, I had to go to clubs in Los Angeles and watch him and Todd Bridges hook up with every hot teenage girl in Southern California. Nevertheless, he made The Champ before he became the most adored pre-pubescent since Donny Friggin’ Osmond. So, when you’re bawling your eyes out as Angelina Jolie’s dad dies at the end, you don’t have to kick yourself, even if I still do.
#3. Mr. Holland’s Opus – It’s bad enough to know that, when we reach 50 and 60 and older, we’re going to be fat, ugly, wrinkled and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our lives have been wasted, useless and entirely unappreciated by everybody we’ve ever known. We are further aware that our greatest dreams are going to be dashed like a Bangladeshi ferry on the rocks during a cyclone. Finally, as dads, we intuitively understand that our kids will never fulfill our expectations and, very likely, will be unable to do so because of something that we screwed up. But to have to watch it all happen on a screen in less than 120 minutes is too much for any human being to endure.
#2. Rudy – There are a lot of sad movies and a lot of sad scenes. But, generally speaking, a movie has a sad part, and then 20 minutes where you can recover, then another sad part, then 20 minutes, and so on. Rudy is like a goddamn conveyor belt of devastation. Every time you think you can stop crying and let your spleen rest for a minute, you get smacked in the mouth with some new horrendous indignity for Rudy Ruettiger. Too small to play HS football. Smack. Too dumb to get into college. Wham. Best friend dies. Smash. Too broke to rent a room. Crush. Doesn’t get into Notre Dame. Pow. Doesn’t get into Notre Dame. Pow. Doesn’t get into Notre Dame. Pow. And on and on and on and on and on.
Enough! Enough! Enough! Jesus Christ (no offense, Catholics) but how much snot can I blow out of my head before it collapses in on itself?
AND THE NO. 1 MALE TEAR JERKER MOVIE OF ALL TIME:
#1. Brian’s Song – If sad movies are the foothills, Brian’s Song is Mt. Fu*king Everest. I heard half the production crew killed themselves after watching the dailies. I could show this movie in a cemetery and 500 male corpses will start crying. The amazing part about Brian’s Song is that it wasn’t even based on a book; it was based on a chapter of a book written by Gale Sayers. Are you kidding me? What’s the rest of the book about, Gale? Tortured children in a leper colony who find themselves in the path of an asteroid that’s going to destroy the world? When I finished watching Brian’s Song for the 80th time, I had spent my life savings on Kleenex and still sat in a pool of my own tears. I wish somebody had told me that James Caan was going to spend the next 40 years sleeping with every Playboy Playmate who ever lived. At least then I would have known that there was some hope left in the world.