Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Repetitive Tears and Talking Animals

When my hubby and I got married, we were too poor to buy a TV. We were married in July. For our first Christmas, my mother-in-law gave us one. But we were too poor to afford cable,and since apartment living put an antenna out of the question, it didn't really help our TV-less condition.

A few months later (right after we FINALLY purchased a microwave), we scrounged up enough for a VCR. It was so exciting! We owned a whopping five movies, and they were all from my personal collection of old musicals. While I was more than content to watch Doris Day and Judy Garland every day, my husband wasn't quite as entertained.

We lived in this TV-deprived state for almost a year and a half. Then we moved. In our new duplex, sticking out of the wall, was a cable hook-up. Hmmmm. T.V. was finally an option.

We passed.

I know it sounds crazy, but we both had no real desire to sit around watching cable all day. Why? Mostly because with no children, a whole 900 square feet to clean, and no yard to take care of, we both knew that's exactly what we'd end up doing.

We've been married for eleven years. We have four children. We still don't have TV. What do we have? A huge video collection. This means that essentially, we sit around watching the same movies over, and over, and over again. But that isn't the strange part. The strange part is how I keep crying over the same scenes, in the same movies, over, and over, and over again.

It's blowing my mind.

Take the movie Ever After with Drew Barrymore, one of my personal favs. It's on my go-to list of movies I feel like watching almost anytime. The incriminating cry scene? The big reunion. The old servant guy gets sold by the mean stepmother, and is being shipped to America. Danielle (Barrymore's character), saves him and brings him home.

The scene changes, showing his old wife hoeing in the garden.

Camera pans. Danielle and old man are walking toward old wife/woman.

She looks up. She sees him. She drops her hoe, picks up her old dress, and runs towards him. Tears streaming down her face, scrawny legs going as fast as she can, while he runs to meet her with arms outstretched. They embrace. Triumphant-yet-emotional music plays, as other old servant and Danielle join the embrace.

I cry EVERY TIME I watch this scene! How can you not cry? They are so old. They have so little. They love each other so much!

My husband thinks I'm crazy and laughs at me, but it gets worse. At least in this movie I'm crying over people.

The next offender? Both the Incredible Journey, and its re-make, Homeward Bound. The remarkable thing? I don't really even like these movies. Especially the new one with the talking animals - way too obnoxious for my taste. Yet despite this, without fail, the reunion scene brings tears to my eyes.

I have been known to break down and bawl.

I'm not even an animal lover! (I like them, but come on - they aren't people) But when those little kids hear those dogs barking off in the distance, and then see them barreling down the hill, I start to feel the tears pricking. It's bad enough with the first dog and the cat, but when the oldest boy thinks his old dog couldn't make it and turns dejectedly back to the house only to hear that far off bark - I'm done for. By the time the boy and his dog collide (even with that ridiculous dog voice practically ruining the whole thing in the talking-animal version) I am a mess.

But this is not the most ridiculous example.

You know the movie Babe? That's right, the one about the pig? There is a scene in this movie (again, a movie I could totally do without) that will actually cause me to drop what I'm doing, move into the living room, and watch with rapt attention (shushing my kids if necessary, so they don't ruin the mood), knowing I'm about to cry.

Over a talking pig.


Which scene, you want to know? Or does it make you cry too, so you've already guessed.

Fine, I'll tell.

It's the end of the movie. Babe and the old man have just taken the field during the sheep herding competition. All the people are laughing, mocking the crazy old man with his pig, and you know he's got to be feeling a little insecure.

The pig runs over to the sheep and holds that ridiculous conversation (revealing he knows their secret "sheep chant"), and the old man just stands there silently watching.

The people are still laughing.

His wife is hysterically crying because she's sure her husband has gone insane.

And then the sheep start to move. In a column. With the pig behind them.

The crowd goes silent. Jaws drop as they watch in disbelief.

More ridiculous animal-conversation happens, and the sheep do everything they're supposed to, ending up in the little pen.

The silent old man walks forward, grasps the gate, swings it shut on the amazing, pig-herded sheep, and the latch clicks in the heavy silence...

And then pandemonium breaks out! Everyone is jumping and shouting, and cheering for the old man and his pig! You think they couldn't be cheering any louder, but as the judges all present perfect scores, the crowd goes wild!!!

And I cry.

Because I'm so happy the old man doesn't feel stupid, and everyone finally appreciates him and his pig.

Why do I get so involved? And why do I feel extra sympathetic because he's a tall old man??? And why don't I get desensitized? I was crying over this scene just two days ago. Crying, and marveling at my ability to continually empathize with made up characters, doing made up things, in movies I don't necessarily even love, involving talking animals.

I'd ask if anyone else does this - just for re-assurance - but I'd be scared of the response. I have this sinking feeling that I'm alone on this one. But if someone wants to lie, and pretend like Babe makes them cry too, I'd be totally grateful.

If you think about it, I am now kind of like the old man. Here I am, feeling a little insecure about what I've just shown the world, and there's that crowd of readers - laughing, mocking, and jeering at the crazy lady...

Except I'm not so tall. Why does that help?


Anonymous said...

HOLY COW, WOMAN!!! We might as well be twins separated at birth! First, you tell me you're a Park Plaza Alum, and second you tell me you were married in July (I'm afraid to ask you what date because if you say the same day I was married on then it would be really spooky), and now you list off two of my all time favorite bawl-your-eyes-out movies, not to mention the reference to DORIS DAY and JUDY GARLAND???!!!!! Good grief!! What are the chances??

Ever After (classic)...Homeward Bound (didn't get into those much)....Babe (I'm not so much into the talking animals either, but this was so precious. Especially the singing mice.)

When I want or need a good cry, I usually pop in something like Little Women or Yentl or even the Prince of Egypt. Just depends on who else is watching it with me. But let's face it, I cry in Kleenex commercials, so it doesn't take much to get me blubbering. In fact, I think I'm going to stop now because just thinking about that blue couch the Kleenex spokesperson drags around America as he interviews total strangers .... well .... does anyone have a tissue?

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Barbaloot said...

I LOVE crying in movies. I think it's cuz I spend so much time making sure I don't cry in real life---that is my relief. Or something?

Anyway, I'm bad enough that I cry in the Disney Channel movies. The ones MADE for TV. But the ones that always get me: sports movies. Every time. Rudy---when they all chant his name. Miracle---when the guys says he plays for America. Or the other guy finds his dad in the crowd. Even Mighty Ducks. I'm pathetic.

So yeah-you're not alone:)

Jen said...

For real? July? The similarities just never end! And I cry at commercials too! (When I actually get to watch TV, that is).

Oh, and you really crack me up:)

Jen said...

And Barbaloot - thanks for the commiseration. And for reminding me why I avoid sports movies. I could have added a few of those to my list as well...

Alison Wonderland said...

I always cry at the end of Armageddon but that's about it. I mean I cry at other movies sometimes but that's the only one I'm ashamed of. But just to make you feel better I'll mention that I've never seen Babe or Homeward Bound or the other one. And I've seen it but I don't remember Ever After.

LisAway said...

I cry on both Babe and Homeward Bound. I think what it says about you is that you're one of the greatest people in the world. Yes, that must be what it means.

That Girl in Brazil said...

Nope, not alone. I cry during GUY movies, for crying out loud (pun intended.)

Also - we don't watch TV either. Yes, wee own one, but only to watch the 4000 movies that cram our shelves. (Okay, maybe 75.) I think I have watched a total of five hours of television this year - and that's all news and Olympics.

Who needs soap operas and bad sitcoms with Ever After in the house?

Claire said...

One film that has made me not only cry, but SOB uncontrollably, is Truly, Madly Deeply.. It's a british film and it was kind of like the pre cursor to Ghost. You must find it, own it, watch it. And then tell me how much of a mess your mascara gets in after watching it.

Machen Family said...

Oh Jen you're so loveable! A great movie to watch is "Cinema Paradiso" it's an Italian film. It is so good! I highly recommend it. (Try to find the American version if you can. The European version, well, it's European!) You forgot Somewhere in Time (the greatest love story of all time)! and another show I could watch over and over (without crying) is the Scarlett Pimpernel! I SO wish we were neighbors!

Anonymous said...

Don't watch "P.S. I Love You" then. I was gasping for breath and had a headache from the crying. I haven't cried like that in a long time!

CassiB said...

I too cry while watching movies. It's usually the kid ones that get me too. Ice Princess when she sees her mom in the crowd. Babe, yeah for sure. It started at a young age, Benji and my mom caught me crying, I made up something about being hungry so she wouldn't know. The embarrassing thing now is my girls 5,8,9 notice and ask why. What I don't get is that I can watch the saddest grown up movie and not shed a tear? go figure

Laura said...

Hey, I teared up in High School Musical 3--several times. I felt like such a goober. Oh, and P.S. I Love You, which is a Terrible movie btw, I cried during the ENTIRE movie. Sobbed. Horrible.

Laura said...

Hey, I teared up in High School Musical 3--several times. I felt like such a goober. Oh, and P.S. I Love You, which is a Terrible movie btw, I cried during the ENTIRE movie. Sobbed. Horrible.

Laura said...

Hey, I teared up in High School Musical 3--several times. I felt like such a goober. Oh, and P.S. I Love You, which is a Terrible movie btw, I cried during the ENTIRE movie. Sobbed. Horrible.

Laura said...

Sorry, delete two of those please!

The Grandpa said...

Enjoyed this post. Crying during a movie is cathartic and good for you. And it's good that you do it at home because in a movie theater (unless everyone's crying as happened when we went to see Dancer in the Dark--grown men wiping there eyes and blowing their nose as the lights come up)in a movie theater people stare. Went with my wife to see When a Man Loves a Woman, and she was sobbing so loud I thought they were going to make us leave. But that wasn't as bad as when we went with another couple to see Phenomenon. I was sitting in between the two women and first my wife on my left and then our friend on my right started crying and didn't stop until the movie was over. I'd heard of surround sound. This was surround weeping.

Jen said...

So Laura, it turns out I don't know how to delete comments on my own blog.

Some Blog Administrator I turned out to be!

Natalie said...

Boy, I feel heartless. I COULD lie and commiserate with all of you warm blooded ladies, but alas... I never cry. It's wierd. I kind of want to. Like, I'm watching the movie and I'm thinking, "Oh- that's sweet. How touching." and that's it. It's very odd when you're watching Titanic with a group of people and everyone including your macho husband is tearing up as Jack is drifting off to sleep forever in the sea and you're just like "Yep. That's what happened. Can you pass the popcorn?" Maybe I should see a therapist about this. I suspect it's WAY healthier to cry at Kleenex commercials and talking animals.

Pat said...

Oh my goodness I cried reading your post, what does that say about me? I love, love, that scene from Everafter. What is your favorite Judy Garland movie, I think mine is Meet me in St. Louis. Ding, Ding, Ding, went the trolley. Ah, good times. And Doris Day, how great is she. Hard to pick a favorite of those, one with Rock Hudson probly.
And what about Sleepless in Seattle, or Return to Me. That one really gets me. Oooh, an Affair to Remember.
I actually grew up with TV and cried regularly at Little House on the Prarie. Yes I totally get the crying at imaginary things. Well and how about books? Do you cry at books. I suppose the list is endless.

ZenMama said...

I wrote a blog about this a while ago. I cry over EVERYTHING since having babies. And I think one of your other commenters, hit the nail on the head when she said it's because she spends so much time in real life trying not to cry!
I cry over commercials, tv shows, movies, ANYTHING! So you aren't alone! And it's good to know neither am I!!

Jen said...

I love that I'm not alone!

And Pat - my favorite JG movie is definitely In the Good Old Summertime. And for Doris, it's On Moonlight Bay, and the sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon. All these are definitely on my go-to list!

*MARY* said...

You're all a bunch of babies!

Melissa Bastow said...

I could lie and say that I cried in Babe....but....sorry, I'm going to keep pointing and laughing.
Yeah, except that you have read my blog and know that I've been horribly moody lately so I cry quite a bit. But more at things like Pat Benatar songs and when my husband says that he "liked" the sludge I made dinner instead of telling me that he loved it so much that he couldn't get enough and could I please buy him bigger pants so that he can eat more.

Annie Valentine said...

Charlie? Phenomenon? How could you leave out the two greatest tear jerkers our generation has ever seen. The part where she shaves him...oh gosh, here they come.

Kristin said...

You probably like cutting onions too don't you?

Laura said...

Oh you are sneaky!
petitioning for votes on the CRASH contest...
oh you are good!

all's fair in love n war n blog contests...
thanks for popping in .