I am a crybaby.
I admit it.
It’s hard to refute when you are sitting there watching a sad movie and the waterworks begin. Since it is part of me, I’ve never cared to downplay it. I’m not embarrassed by it; it’s just who I am. I used to tell my friends I would kick their asses if they gave me any shit about it, so no worries.
It only takes me a second to invest enough of myself in a storyline to “hook me.” Karen will be watching something and I will sit down and can be crying in two minutes.
It’s called emotion and as you know, I’m a big emotions guy.
I also laugh so hard I cry on occasion (see my blogpost on Karaoke).
Crying can be just what you need. It can be a cleansing, cathartic act, releasing emotions fighting for their place in your sphere of existence (damn this weed is good). It can express deep-down feelings with a single tear, or you can settle in for a good long cry. I call it good because it IS good. It’s good to allow your feelings inside come to the surface so you can face them, realizing they are every much a part of you as your physical appearance. (I don’t know where I accumulated the necessary life-experience to talk in psychological terms like this unless it was from watching every episode of The Bob Newhart Show).
Crying due to loss or grief is the worst. It is incessant and heartbreaking to endure whether its yourself, a friend, or a loved one. The heavy heart it brings is something you don’t want to wish on anybody.
Crying is also a skill.
The ability to cry on cue must be a part of every actors’ toolbox. They made a really big deal about how Demi Moore cried incessantly in the awesome movie Ghost, but there are several actresses who have made me bawl my eyes out at one time or another.
Katherine Hepburn in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and On Golden Pond.
Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer.
Ali McGraw in Love Story.
Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey in Beaches.
Bette Davis As Apple Annie in 1961’s: Pocketful of Miracles.
Barbara Streisand in any old damn thing she wants to do. (The Way we Were, Funny Girl).
Leelee Sobieski makes me cry. Crazy-good young actress. The more I watch Sidney Bristow, er Jennifer Garner, disembowel spies around the world, the more I am somehow attracted to her vibe.
Karen just rolled her eyes.
I would be remiss if I did not mention an actress who was so spot-on in her performance in the 1957 classic Imitation of Life that she needs to be recognized. The subject matter was one of controversy, addressing racial roles and identification.
Juanita Moore played a role that was groundbreaking and never more relevant or pertinent than today. Her performance showed so much suppressed emotion and the power she exercised to act with sheer dignity and self-worth is a lesson to people everywhere, not just actors.
Check it out. Even better, have your kids watch it with you.
You’ll be glad you did.
What about male actors?
Who makes you cry?
For me, I guess it started with the amazing religious spectacles like Cecil DeMille was famous for. Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, etc. Actors like Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Gregory Peck all had influences on me and our culture.
I remember being extremely moved by Sidney Portier in his Oscar-winning role in Lilies of the Field.
If Spencer Tracy doesn’t make you cry in EITHER his role as Father Flanagan in Boys Town, or with his speech to his daughter and her fiancé (Sidney Portier again) in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, take a pulse.
I remember crying with patriotic pride at the sight of Audie Murphy manning the tank machine gun against hordes of enemy soldiers as he fought to his death in To Hell and Back.
I cannot end this blogpost without mentioning the star of the SADDEST MOVIE I EVER SAW.
The actor’s name was Spike. That’s it. No last name. Spike’s most famous acting role was as Old Yeller. Now Spike could make you cry.
If the scene where little Tommy Kirk has to try and fight back tears to shoot his best furry friend in the world does not move you, I don’t want to know you.