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Pass the Popcorn, and the Tissues
by Tim Josephs

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Don't cry, it's only a movie

Don't cry, it's only a movie
Generally speaking men don't do a lot of crying. I think I heard someone once say men should only cry on three occasions: the birth of a child, the death of someone close to them, or after getting hit in the crotch by a softball. But it is the 21st century after all and perhaps it's acceptable for men to cry more often. But what about from watching a movie? Say what you will, but I think most men, if they were found out would be ostracized or at the very least made fun of by their friends incessantly.

The classic example used when talking about men crying is the TV movie BRIAN'S SONG, the true story of football teammates Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers and the relationship that develops between them when Piccolo discovers he's dying. I've actually never seen it so I can't give a first-hand account of its tear inducement. However, I have seen other sad films or films with sad moments. Below are the movies during which I'm not ashamed to admit that I almost, kind of, perhaps felt at times the possibility that I
Great movie, but I'll never watch it again

Great movie, but I'll never watch it again
could feasibly shed a tear. Whew, it was really cathartic to let that out.


This was a really good underrated film. Bjork is wonderful and the choreographed music and dance scenes are great. But the movie is ultimately gut-wrenching. Bjork plays a woman with a congenital eye disease that will eventually cause her to go completely blind. She works at a factory and saves every penny for an eye operation for her young son so he won't have to suffer like she has. Ultimately she is wrongly accused of a murder but doesn't care that she's executed just as long as her son gets to have the operation. The last ten minutes will bring you to your knees.


Call me a nerd but when Gandalf, while attempting to keep the Balrog at bay, gets pulled into the abyss, and everyone is either upset or crying, I got a little choked up. Ditto for the end of the RETURN OF THE KING when everyone bows down to the hobbits. Wow, now that I've seen those
Oh no! Not the look!

Oh no! Not the look!
sentences written out I think I have to call myself a nerd.


The emotional ending didn't get to me nearly as much as Pai's speech. She dedicates it to her idol, her grandfather, but he isn't even there to hear it, and because he has rejected her, Pai begins to weep uncontrollably.


In 2001 I was living in New Jersey, in a city about fourteen miles from Manhattan. On September 11th I remember getting up around 10 am to go to an early afternoon college class, turning on the TV and seeing the whole thing unfolding. It was horrific and just as people say they'll never forget where they were when they heard JFK was assassinated, I'm sure the same will be true of that day. In 2002 I moved out to Portland, OR, and that's where I saw UNITED 93. I mention this because I'm not sure I would have seen it had I still been living in the NY/NJ area. Being 3,000-plus miles away I was able to have some distance (literally and figuratively) so I decided to see the movie, and I'm glad
Oh Captain my- (sniffle) you know the rest. Stop looking at me.

Oh Captain my- (sniffle) you know the rest. Stop looking at me.
I did. Just from a film perspective it's great. From an emotional point of view it's at times excruciating. My wife wept through practically the whole thing and I just remember feeling numb as we walked out of the theater.


Neil's suicide was awful but what got to me more was at the end when Mr. Keating, having just been fired, is leaving the classroom. Painfully shy Todd finally makes his own statement by standing on his desk and shouting "Oh Captain my Captain" to honor his scapegoated teacher.


Early on I had a feeling this film would not end well, though I didn't think it would end the way it did. Generally speaking you don't see children when they're main characters anyway die in movies. But leave it to a foreign film to make that happen.


This movie throughout is terribly sad but what got to me the most was the scene with the opera music. You can really feel Andrew's pain as he lip-synchs to what sounds like a heart-breaking aria.

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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.

Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Women are Once Again Kicking Ass

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

All Columns

Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.

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