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It’s Time To Admit That We All Need A Good Cry

Now that a poll has shown that REM’s “Everybody Hurts” is the song most likely to make grown men cry, perhaps it’s time to own up to the fact that, now and again? Crying is great – and so are the movies that make us cry.

Firstly, look: I’m really not making up that thing about “Everybody Hurts” (Other songs included in said list were Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” the latter of which proves the impact that Jeff Buckley and use of music in television and movies really has on people).

I’m comfortable enough with my masculinity to admit that I’ve teared up at the movies – Most recently, at the start of Pixar’s Up (Yeah, like you didn’t get a little bit heartbroken when his wife died. And if you didn’t, then shame on you, you heartless bastards) – and it’s always struck me that crying at movies, or getting very close and then catching yourself because, dude, you’re surrounded by strangers and what are they going to think, is a sign that you’re watching something great. For a movie to make you cry means that it’s managed to get past your suspension of disbelief, your cynicism and world-weary sense of familiarity about the tale it’s telling and made you believe in the world and characters it’s telling you about – it means that it’s succeeded. Crappy movies don’t make you cry, unless it’s at the thought of the money and/or life that you’ll never get back after the experience.

I’m pretty sure that the first movie that made me cry was Ol’ Yeller, when I was… five years old, or something? And the first television show I remember crying at was the episode of Doctor Who where Adric died (Spoiler alert!). Clearly, mortality is a necessary ingredient in making my tear ducts work in fiction. For whatever reason, though, movies and television shows that set out to make you cry – “weepies,” as my grandmother fondly called them – are looked down on by the majority of people as something insincere and somehow lesser than other genres, even ones as clearly (and intentionally) dumb and throwaway as action or horror. How, exactly, did that happen?

Don’t get me wrong; I like a good fright or fight as much as the next man who nonetheless thought that The Expendables seemed more like a sketch on SNL than an idea for a real movie – and that’s why I’m not a Hollywood executive – but what do we need to do to get the weepie recognized as a legitimate genre for movies again (Or, perhaps, a legitimate genre for male audiences, as it seems female audiences get it already)? Perhaps it’s time for today’s big name movie auteurs to truly challenge themselves: Yes, Christopher Nolan can make people take a Batman movie seriously, and okay, so Kenneth Branagh’s got no problem attaching Shakespearean intensity and tropes to Thor, but can either man own their emotions and come up with something that’ll make a grown man cry without shame?

Pop culture goes through cycles, with different genres popping back up and becoming rejuvinated and legitimized for new audiences all the time. In the past couple of decades, we’ve seen action, horror, pulp/grindhouse and superheroes all become renewed and accepted… What will it take to get sentimentality and the need for a good cry every now and again to become the next big thing?


  • WhatWhat

    Whoa, everything is a link.

  • Shaun Manning

    I've cried at the end of several series of Doctor Who. (But not this latest one.)

    Also, there's absolutely no reason Zoey Van Goey's “The Best Treasure Stays Buried” should make me weep, but it does.

    And yes, please fix the html. :)

  • pDUB

    I cried in all three spider-mans, usually whenever they brought up Uncle Ben, that shit is just too much for me.

  • Westlake

    i can't watch these two episodes of futurama:
    jurassic bark- the one with fry's dog
    the luck of the fryish- the one with fry's brother.
    i swear to god, i go out of my way to avoid those episodes.
    i will baul my eyes out if i watch them.

  • Delboy2099

    Im the exact same with tht jurassic bark episode! I man cry every time its on!

  • Tconrad001

    For me it's Monsters Inc. I don't even have to watch the whole thing just the parts where Sully is putting Boo back. There's something about innocence not grasping a serious situation that usually gets to me.

  • Michael P

    Well, there's a difference between movies that make you cry, and movies that set out to make you cry. The latter, what your grandma so aptly called “weepies,” are often so mawkish, so insincere, so crassly calculated to evoke tears that the response of any intelligent viewer is to say, “Screw you, I'm not your puppet.” Contrast that with the examples listed here (or my all-time greatest tear-jerker, The Iron Giant), which just honestly tell stories about people (or robots) and the connections between them.

    Moving the metaphor back to music, it's the difference between “Hallelujah” and “The Christmas Shoes.”

  • Inspirus

    Iron Giant is my most infamous tear-jerker. A cartoon movie about a giant robot, and I cried my eyes out. And every other guy, adult men in their 20s or 30s that I've spoken to about it, all cried over it too.

  • John Joseph Murro

    What if The Dark Knight already gave me tears? There was plenty of sadness in Harvey's story and the ending… and on the subject of Christopher Nolan, I came close at some points of Inception as well

  • Guest

    I cry EVERY time when I see the humans bowing to the hobbits at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. DAMN GOOD

  • Ortiz

    You right, that scene is so powerful, is about courage and heroism, haven't cried, but is incredibly emotional.


  • Ortiz

    I can't watch that episode with Fry's dog, I cry like a baby.


  • stealthwise

    Exactly, same for me, especially on the first go around when I had no idea where this film was going.

  • K.M.B.

    Anyone who doesn't admit to crying straight-up during the last half of the third act of Children of Men is a goddamn liar and no longer has my trust.

    Infamous crying moments for me:

    The Carnivale episode “Lincoln Highway”, from Ben's discovery of Jonesy and Libby to Ben healing Jonesy from the tarring and, miraculously, healing his long-wounded leg, and then returning him, whole and healthy, to his wife, smiling in the Dust Bowl sun. This episode is the reason why television exists, people.

    The Fringe episode “White Tulip”. John Noble always brings his A-game to this show, but this episode…Jesus. Walter's confession to Peck sent me into silent tears, but at the end of the episode, when Walter gets the note from “God”…I honest to God wept. As always with this show, Walter's emotions are palpable and operatic and hit you square where it matters. The episode “Peter” is like this too; it doesn't tell you too much you couldn't have guessed on your own, but the audience needed to see it to understand Walter that much better. That final line, after Walter tells Olivia what happened in 1985 — “You can't know what it's like to lose a child” — is especially affecting to those of us who have either been or seen parents who have watched their children die.

    The Lost finale hit me at two points: Jin and Sun in the hospital, reuniting with Juliet, serene smiles on the couple's face as they have everything figured out, knowing full well that nothing will ever hurt again. And, going through a massive break-up as I was at the time, when Charlie and Claire “remember” each other and Dominic Monaghan lets out some of the most honest fucking tears I've ever seen flow from an actor, and Emilie deRavin, beautiful and weeping, cries too…Goddamn.

    Battlestar Galactica's “Exodus Part II” has that brilliantly-acted scene wherein Saul poisons Ellen for collaborating with Cavil and the Cylons. Kate Vernon's firm, resolute “I'd do it again for you” speech, mixed with Michael Hogan's stone-faced certainty that this needs to be done eventually culminates into turning me into a giant messy blob when Saul, holding Ellen's corpse in his arms, weeps from his one eye and tells her “I love you…do you hear me?”

    Also, the moment I realized that after escaping their respective confinements that Truman Burbank (from The Truman Show) and the titular character of THX 1138 probably didn't live very long on their own in the “real world”.

    Quite a few comics have gotten to me too: Promethea, anything by Jeff Lemire, The Walking Dead, etc.

  • K.M.B.

    Oh yeah, Inception's a toughie too.

    And the end of Daytripper. Jesus. I had to go have a Community marathon after that to even begin to remember how to fight back tears.

  • Kcviking65

    The scene in Dances With Wolves where Wind In His Hair is up on the moutain when Dances and Stands With Fist are leaving the tribe….gets me every time.

  • K.M.B.

    And goddamn fucking Cast Away. Especially Chuck's monologue at the end. Jesus, I need to check my gender next time I piss.

  • causticacrostic

    wesley and fred's deaths in Angel season 5 was tough.

  • Josh.

    I cried during Up, The Dark Knight and Friday Night Lights. Last Kiss by Pearl Jam always makes me cry.

  • K.M.B.

    Especially Fred's. “A Hole in the World” is like watching your best friend die for forty-five minutes and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Heartwrenching.

  • K.M.B.

    And the hits keep comin', this time all from one of my favorite, underappreciated TV masterpieces.

    MillenniuM – “Lamentation”. After Bob Bletcher's death, Frank takes Jordan to the top of the same mountain where Bletch and Frank had gone hiking.
    MillenniuM – “Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions”. Frank realizes who he really has in an interrogation booth. It's never overtly stated, so when the man discusses how much it pains him to have to be there, it makes it all the more powerful. He's not talking about jail, folks.
    MillenniuM – “Midnight of the Century”. Henry tells Frank the story of Frank's mother's death from his point of view. A heartbreaking reminder that you can have a four minute monologue on TV and make it work without talking down to your fans. Later, Henry appears to Frank and Jordan as a fetch, signaling his own impending death.
    MillenniuM – “Luminary”. Reminds me of my friend Joe's death. I cannot watch this episode anymore.
    MillenniuM – “The Innocents”. There's a scene where Frank talks with Catherine's dad where, in an obviously unscripted moment, Catherine's dad unnerves Frank so much that Frank's hand spasms and a glass of water falls off the table, breaking.
    MillenniuM – “The Sound of Snow”. Frank's visions of Catherine are haunting if you've ever lost someone you really care for.

  • demoncat_4

    proably when some studio decides time remake terms of enderment. is when holly wood will make films needed for a good cry cool again. or Disney remakes old yeller.

  • demoncat_4

    which i did cry when i first saw the film along with home ward bound. also cried when Adriac died on doctor who plus when the doctor had to say goodbye to rose.

  • Neo_jb

    yes both those moments made me really tear up

  • K.M.B.

    I just got linked to this, from, of all things, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

  • Dan

    Up made me cry. As I looked around the theater, i saw everyone else was too. I shed a tear when Professor X died in X-Men 3 too. But Up was just brutal. That hit hard.

  • portnoy de agentina

    call me a cry baby but in the avatar movie ( i didn´t watched in 3d God knows what would have happened if I did it ) two moments make me weep and cry: when the tree home falls in flames and Neytiri the na´vi chick seeing this with that face of dispair and deep pain sheding tears, i mean you have to be a sociopath for not to feel at least a little tear comming.
    and the haranguing speech of jake to the na´vi, that goes from a pep talk to churchill and his we will never surrender, henry the fifth before battle (shakespeare playwright) patton and god knows who more in a can rageing the tribe to spot hat evil. something in that great melodramatic speech to stand up and fight make my eyes water. i don´t know why

  • jmart

    The final episode of Lost had me crying like a little girl, and I am a 6'6 225 lb dude, Toy Story 3 as well

  • axonrey

    Three to date:

    1) A Perfect World- I think I was like seven at the time…

    2) The Professional (Leon the Professional)- I watched this movie a solid five times before I managed to subdue my tears.

    3) Highlander:Endgame- this might be too revealing, but the scene where Duncan kills Connor. I mean, fuck.

  • axonrey

    Also, allow me to qualify this by saying that since I've become a father, I've turned into an incredible sissy. These were things before my fatherhood. I'm afraid to watch dramatic tv now.

  • noshame

    Buffy – “Becoming Part 2″: The finale ends with the bus driving past a sign that read “Now Leaving Sunnydale. Come Back Soon.” After everything that happened during that season, they end with a simple, affectionate farewell from the cast and crew. That broke me.

    The Two Towers – “The Tales That Really Matter”: I really liked the music to the epilogue from Fellowship. I bought the soundtrack to Two Towers before I saw the movie. Without knowing the film's plot, I could hear that it would reprise the music to first film's epilogue while elevating it to a whole new level. I already fell in love with the track even though I had no idea how it would be used. While seeing the film for the first time, the final act took me through an emotional roller coaster by the time they allowed the characters and the audience to finally see the light of the day. Sam starts his speech as the music begins and I start tearing up.

    The Return of the King, Live in Concert – “The Battle of Pelennor Fields”: Another one of my favorite tracks. As the scene starts, I was shocked by the rattle of drums that are nearly inaudible on my album. Hearing it live completely transformed one of my old favorites. By the time Theoden finishes his speech, the horns blow on screen, the orchestra hits its peak, I was wiping my eyes.

    Lost Finale – Sawyer and Juliet reunite: I skipped the previous season so I never saw their relationship. But even as an outsider, you could feel what an important moment it was to them.

  • Quantum

    grave of the fireflies is a good one
    i dont know about avatar, i liked the movie but came know where near crying

  • Ndhorse

    Start watching Friday Night Lights, the TV series. That gets me almost every week. Tears of sadness or joy.

  • Every single time

    “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human. “

  • rob

    EVERY issue of Daytripper hits me. That was a fantastic series.

  • nik

    What? No Saving Private Ryan? My older brother's a vet and we went to see it at a special screening for vets. Within the first 10 minutes these guys are all crying around me. I look over and see my brother crying and I've never seen him cry so then I just set in, too.

    So that and Up turn me into a big blubbering baby.

  • jephd

    buffy's the body had me in tears, Chasing Amy gets me everytime as does the opening of UP. most recently though? This is England and its TV followup hit me hard about half a dozen times

  • Srjuanm

    First movie I can remember that made me cry was The Champ with Voight and Schroeder. The ending when The Champ lies dead and his son shakes him and says “Wake up, Champ”. I cried like a little girl.

  • Eric

    1) Maximus' death scene in Gladiator.

    2) The charge of the Rohirimm in RotK.

    3) Up (of course…)

    4) Too many scenes to count in Blood Diamond

    5) Kirk eulogizing Spock

    6) William Wallace's death scene

    7) “Dad? ….wanna have a catch?” from Field of Dreams

    8) Many parts from “Life as a House.”

    9) Many parts from “Schindler's List.”

    10) Totally weird, but…the first time my son saw the Charlie Brown Valentine's special he was five, and we watched it together. When it ended, I noticed he was barely holding back tears. I asked him why he was sad…he said, through the now big tears streaming down his face: “Daddy…why didn't anyone give him any valentines? Doesn't anyone love him?” And so I started to cry too….

  • Ap0k

    This is going to sound really dumb, but the only movie I remember actually crying at was the original Transformers cartoon movie. Keep in mind, I was 10 when I saw it, but man, when Optimus Prime died, and he turned all black, that tore me up as a kid. I freaking LOVED Transformers, especially Prime back then!

  • Joey Ice Cream

    Is it bad to say 'My Girl'? Jesus, that flick gets me EVERYTIME.

    The episode of SMALLVILLE where Ryan dies fucking killed me.

    Another one in recent memory was Benjamin Button.

    And fucking Bambi…yeah I'm a sap.

  • VanGoghX

    An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was pretty sad.
    Episode 76, “The Visitor” gives us a glimpse at an alternate future where Jake Sisko had lost his father to a mishap. We discover through an old Jake that his father wasn't dead but was “suspended out of time”, never aging, never dying yet forever alone. Jake, obsessed with rescuing his father, sacrifices his marriage, his career as a successful writer and, ultimately, his very life all to save his father, Ben Sisko. This episode is powerful and tragic. We understand Jake's sacrifice but at what cost? In the end, we see a lonely old man, who could never move on, attempt to alter the past so he can be with his dad again.

    I challenge anyone to NOT cry at the ending. This episode is an emotional triumph, DS9's best indeed.

  • Reviewcrew4

    Lost always gets me, especially that series finale…

  • Drfunkphd

    The beginning of the new Star Trek movie, where Kirk's dad sacrifices himself while talking to his wife. That one hit me hard.

    And every. Single. Issue. Of Daytripper. Good god. It felt like my heart got yanked out on a monthly basis.

  • K.M.B.

    “Dad? Are you okay?”
    “I am now, Jake…I am now.”

    I felt a shiver in my entire body just typing those words.

  • Infected

    “The Body”, the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that deals with her mom's death always gets me. Mostly when she tells Dawn, Willow's clothing meltdown and Anya's speech about not understanding death. I never too much cared about Joyce as a character, but some really strong performances from the main cast made it a tearjerker.

  • Randy Watson

    Essex County
    Futurama: Jurassic Bark and Luck of the Fryrish
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Pan's Labyrinth
    Flowers for Algernon
    Charlie Chaplin's The Kid
    Extras: The Christmas Special

    There's my shame list.

  • AudioComics

    The afterlife reunions in the last “Lost,” especially Sawyer and Juliet's reunion.

    And the final scene, where Jack lay dying, and who shows up? Vincent. Who stays with him to the end. As a dog lover, that scene really hit me hard.

    Lance Roger Axt

    The AudioComics Company

  • Joe H

    I usually cry at the happy inspirational parts of movies. I didn't cry when the wife died in Up (though that was sad) but I cried at the old guy (SPOILERS) finding the note from his departed wife in the scrapbook saying thanks for the adventure and telling him to make a new adventure. Damnit, I'm crying right now just thinking about it.

  • Baseball Fan

    Field of Dreams – “Hey… Dad? You wanna have a catch?”

  • Flowbish1

    Movies that i can't watch anymore,because i've cried and now,every single line in these movies is tough for me:
    -Life is Beautiful
    -Million Dollar Baby
    Oh,and the end of Star Wars:A new Hope,when they give away the medals always seem to crack me up also

  • Andrew Collins

    Up- The saddest and most poignant 15 minutes on screen EVER. The whole theatre was in tears when I saw it. The only thing that broke up the crying was when a little boy at the front of the theatre asked very loudly “What happened Mommy? Why is everyone crying?” :)

    Forrest Gump- I've seen FG about 10-12 over the years and the scene where Bubba dies is bad enough, but when Forrest visits Jenny's grave, I absolutely LOSE IT every time. I'm tearing up now just thinking about that scene…

    Last Of The Mohicans- the ending to the Daniel Day-Lewis version, when the brother dies and Madeline Stowe's sister throws herself over the cliff and Lewis can only watch.

    Glory- that final charge with that epic chrous in the background…I don't last long during that scene…

    Dances With Wolves- teared up during the scene someone described above…

    The two Futurama episodes others have mentioned are hard for me to watch as well. I've changed the channel more than once rather than watch them…

    Field Of Dreams- others have mentioned the “Hey dad…wanna have a catch” scsne, but to me, the scene where the doctor has to leave the field to save Costner's daughter tears me up everytime as well. James Earl Jones' monologue later on is damn emotional too.

    Fox And The Hound- what Bambi and Ol' Yeller were for some people, this is for me. That first childhood experience with death and mortality. I haven't seen it all the way through since I was 6 and I still can't watch it to this day.

  • ION

    Fuck. I'm in the process of watching the entire series of Angel on Netflix (only on Season 3). I was a huge Buffy fan and never really got into Angel until now. Thanks for the spoiler alert 6 years after the fact ;-)

  • MadMikeyD

    “It's a Wonderful Life” is the biggest one for me. “Up” also. The final episode of “Quantum Leap.” Far more than I care to admit to.

  • HeroWithoutaCape

    I cried toward the end of Green Mile, when Coffey is in the chair, and Barry Pepper and the others are streaming. I lose it every time.

    Four scenes made me tear up in Return of the King:

    Theoden rallying the Rohirrim at Pellenor Fields. Still gives me chills if not tears every time at the end (“Death! Death! Death!!!”)

    Everyone kneeling to the hobbits.

    Sam picking up Frodo. “I can't carry it for you, but I CAN carry YOU.”

    Faramir's exchange with his father. “You wish now that our places had been exchanged, that I had died and Boromir had lived.” Anything dealing with a father-son relationship gets to me (don't get me started on a few scenes in Final Fantasy X).

    Speaking of video games, Lost Odyssey made me bawl like a baby at the end of disc 2.

  • Sean

    Agreed! I love Fred. And I was crying so hard during “The Body” episode of Buffy, when Joyce died, and the entire episode was just natural reactions to death. It was by far the most I've ever cried from a fictional medium.

    The last ep of BSG when Roslin died was sad for me, and when Kat died in an earlier season too.

    The Wind That Shakes the Barley made me cry, too. It's one of the very few that get to me.

  • EYY

    OMG! Fry's dog and the brother episode.

    I thought I was the only one…

  • Zaftig

    Titanic – where the irish mother and kids can't get out and she is calmly reading a story to them, knowing they are doomed – and the end – will never watch that one again!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pez-la

    Big Fish managed to reduce myself and 5 male friends to tears, whilst the one girl with us was unphased by it…