Real men shouldn’t cry during movies…or ever. And if they do, they’re not likely to air it out in the open. In the few instances that they do, the tears are induced by one of three things: sports, a best friend, or a love for their country. The following are movies dealing with a few such themes that have a tendency to make real men lose it:
Personally, I believe that this is the only acceptable answer. Ask any man over 40 if he’s ever cried during a movie, and 90% of the time Song will be part of the answer. Because it deals with 2 of the 3 “man themes,” it makes things even more difficult. This made-for-tv flick from 1971 does feel a little dated nowadays, but the messages about friendship and courage still hold true. It also gets sports fans (especially from the Chicago area) always asking “what if” questions with regards to Gale Sayers. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth checking out just to see James Caan and Billy Dee Williams so early in their careers.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
If you love America ( nod your head yes), then it’s probably pretty hard for you to get past the final scenes of this movie without losing your sh*t, that is if you can understand Tom Hanks saying, "Earn this." If you don’t appreciate the sacrifice that 292,000 American servicemen made WITH THEIR LIVES during WW2, then you will likely burn for eternity (if you’re into that whole "LOST" purgatory thing).
They’re called “man’s best friends” for a reason. So if you have to shoot your best friend in the face because it became rabid trying to save your life, then that’s gonna mess with your psyche. Yeller is represented Nas-style here for all such dog movies, including the over-expolitative Marley and Me.
Though my dislike for Notre Dame is significant, there’s no denying that Rudy is THE great motivational sports movie. It says something that ever high school coach screens it for their team before the start of every season (no matter the sport). As men, we love great stories revolving around sports so much that even the cheesiest Hollywood ending can bring tears to the most emotionally repressed of us.
The most recent film on this list, the 8 minute prologue of Up stands as cinematic perfection. The incredibly effective “Married Life” montage (set to Michael Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score) succeeds in telling an entire life story before the first act of the feature truly begins. In this short period, we see a marriage bloom and wilt, forcing an old man to come to grips with an unfulfilled promise as his lifelong best friend and wife passes.
THE KILLING FIELDS
Granted the saddest thing about The Killing Fields may be director Joffe’s career after directing the Mission (helming fine films as Super Mario Bros, The Scarlet Letter, and Captivity), but it’s not quite enough to draw tears. The reuniting of Schanberg with Pran after his remarkable escape from one of the worst war-crimes in history might give you cause enough to feel pressure behind your face.
THE GREEN MILE
The gruesome deaths of innocent people are usually not moments to rejoice. The death of John Coffey is no different…even if he is mentally handicapped with Jesus powers. If you can make it through the first three hours, then the final stretch of The Green Mile (pun shamelessly intended) might do you in.
I’ll illustrate my point with an excerpt from the fine film The Negotiator starring Samuel L. Jackson and David Morse with a mustache:
DANNY: I like Westerns, like Shane.
CHRIS: It’s interesting that you pickone where the hero dies.
DANNY: What are you talking about? He doesn’t die. He rides off into the sunset, and that kid says, "Come back, Shane!"
CHRIS: That’s a common misconception, in the last frame he’s slumped over on his horse.
DANNY: So he was slumped, slumped don’t mean dead.
CHRIS: Well I guess you think Butch and Sundance lived too.
Sorry to blow your mind about that ending. It’s alright, let it all out.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
With Hunting, we have several situations that by themselves don’t really come out to be very tear-jerking, but still meet together effectively. Though they most closely resemble the "man theme" with regards to friendship, things like child abuse and the death of a spouse contribute to a very moving ending. Years later, we can now look back at the finale and be moved to shed at how Damon went on to be a badass while Affleck, well, capped out (directing aside) on "Jimmy Kimmel."
With the exception of a certain infamous video featuring a drinking cup and two females, there are very few things that men find disturbing enough to cry over. The female form post-menopause is one of them (exception: Helen Mirren). Being “exposed” to Kayth Bates in Schmidt is certainly cry-worthy. Now I’m not saying that there’s a lack of love at this end for Bates as both an actress and a person. However, I also think nothing but good things about Jack Nicholson, but I still don’t need to see his wrinkly old coin-purse.
Tell us what movies make you tear up. It’s okay, you’re in a safe environment.