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The New Saddest Movies
August 1, 2011 2:04 PM   Subscribe

The Saddest Movie in the World (starring Ricky Schroeder) has been used to make people cry in scientific studies, as we recently discussed, and the runner-up sad movie starred a famous animated deer. The scientific list of saddest (and most amusing, and scariest, and most disgusting) is now 16 years old, so Slate wants to update it. Their current suggestions to make people cry are these scenes from Finding Nemo, Dancer in the Dark, and Mystic River, but they are looking for others. Perhaps from the AV Club's films too disturbing to watch twice? [Warning: sad scenes are sad, gross scenes gross, scary scenes scary, and the funny one amusingish]
posted by blahblahblah (363 comments total) 111 users marked this as a favorite

 
...listen to the sounds of Winnipeg
posted by The Whelk at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


What if you think it is funny when Ricky Schroeder cries?
posted by ian1977 at 2:08 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


The saddest movie in the world is Ponette.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


First 15 minutes of Up, no question.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:11 PM on August 1, 2011 [111 favorites]


I would say the flashback scene from Up.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 2:11 PM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


Does anyone have a link to that horrible audition by that greaser-looking kid?
posted by griphus at 2:11 PM on August 1, 2011


Their clips for Contentment are just two stock footage things? Surely the last line of There Will Be Blood could replace those.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:12 PM on August 1, 2011


Followed by the scene of me posting after mr_crash_davis. But I brought the link!
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 2:12 PM on August 1, 2011


Here's a story all about how / he don't want me man
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Clyde Mnestra, I wouldn't even have thought to look for a clip - I would have had to watch it to make sure I had the right one, and I wouldn't want anyone to walk into my office and see my crying all over my desk.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've already mentioned it once today, but the last scene of Jurassic Bark. I know it's not a movie, but I don't care. I cried at the beginning of Up too, but I cried more at Jurassic Bark.
posted by kmz at 2:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [26 favorites]


Cannot unsee: last scene of Kids.
posted by wowbobwow at 2:15 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


The "Su-Per-Man" ending of Iron Giant makes every geek I know blubber, but it requires a lot of context.
posted by benzenedream at 2:15 PM on August 1, 2011 [30 favorites]


Every scene from A Woman Under the Influence.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:15 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Goodbye penguin
posted by theodolite at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


The "Su-Per-Man" ending of Iron Giant makes every geek I know blubber, but it requires a lot of context.

That's a great one too.

And oh, another one from TV: All of the episode "The Body" from Buffy.
posted by kmz at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think every guy I knew made a blustering excuse about how it was okay to cry at the end of Toy Story 3.
posted by Madamina at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Truly surprised that the saddest scene doesn't involve a dog
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:18 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scene where E.T. is dying in a ditch. oh my god why mom why?
posted by ian1977 at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


No. No, you can't... STOP. Please don't go away. Please? No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave... if you leave... I just, I remember things better with you. I do, look. P. Sherman, forty-two... forty-two... I remember it, I do. It's there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I... and I'm home. Please... I don't want that to go away. I don't want to forget.
posted by Jpfed at 2:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


playing this clip is how I weed out replicants from my social circle (WARNING MUPPPETS)
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [22 favorites]


The funniest movie for me is still Laurel and Hardy and a piano and a very high step, the saddest scene for me is still the final scene of Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with the snow and the car and the heartbreak of never getting what one fully desires, the funeral scene in Imaition of Life comes close--as does Fassbinder working through some of Sirks trope's but those might be a little too absurd or meta. The scariest scene for me, is either Reagan's vomit in the exorcist, the last few minutes of hostel, or some of silence of the lambs.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hell, why is Slate even asking about these old emotions? It's fuckin' 2011, man, let's get some clips that reflect all the new emotions we've captured and refined in the 21st century.

Anticipatria:
- The scene in Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior where the protagonist is told never to use his fighting skills by his old master
- The beginning of Tree of Life, prior to the arrival of the father-son dynamic midway through the film

Spelunken:
- In The Descent, when you see the creatures moving in the background
- Werner Herzog breathing excitedly in the Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Bullockry:
- In Deadwood, when Timothy Olyphant first kisses the Widow Garrett
- The female cop from Demolition Man, giggling about the 3 Seashells

Hairwhipstressmanship:
- Willow Smith demonstrating the ur-example
- Ariel, from the Little Mermaid, emerging from the ocean and jerking her head backward as she arises

Hammerfight:
- The scene in Old Boy in the hallway
- The entirety of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie
posted by Greg Nog at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [57 favorites]


The tricky part is finding a scene that retains its full emotional punch entirely on its own, without all the subtext provided by the rest of the movie.

That kind of scene is extremely rare.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


First 15 minutes of Up, no question.

Yep, the poignant inevitability of living with loss summed up in an empty chair and a scrapbook. I tear up a bit just thinking about it.
posted by quin at 2:23 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The result is one of the only genuinely effective, non-hysterical anti-drug movies ever made.

We must have very different definitions of 'hysterical.'
posted by invitapriore at 2:23 PM on August 1, 2011


I believe this is the saddest short film ever made.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:24 PM on August 1, 2011


Here's a direct link.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:26 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Threads is the most frightening movie I've ever seen, simply because at the time I saw it, it was just so very plausible.

Oh, and ditto on the first 15 minutes of Up being among the saddest, as well as "The Body" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


let's get some clips that reflect all the new emotions we've captured and refined in the 21st century.

Ooh, if we're doing this, I'm going to go with

Asskickery:
- Five an a half minutes of "Put the glasses on!" in They Live.
posted by quin at 2:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


The finale of Runaway Train might not be sad-sad, but it is awfully moving.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


And ooh, another tearjerker, though from poignancy rather than sadness: the Marseillaise scene in Casablanca.
posted by kmz at 2:33 PM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


CQ, this is W9GFO, do you copy? Dad, this is Ellie, come back?... This is Eleanor Arroway, transmitting on 14.2 megahertz. Dad, are you there? Come back? Dad, are you there? Dad, this is Ellie...

I cry every time.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


Not surprised that "Requiem for a Dream" is #1 on the list of films you never want to watch again. I saw that and was damaged for a while.
posted by SirOmega at 2:38 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


There was a this American life episode about a guy who can only cry at movies when on a plane and it's not just any movie, it's every movie . I have the exact same thing happen. I have never cried at a movie, unless I am on a plane for more than three hours, and it doesn't matter what the movie is. It doesn't even have to be a drama. I think Monsters vs Aliens resulted in a long, moaning sob session.
posted by The Whelk at 2:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The ending of the 1978 TV movie A Christmas to Remember jerks the tears like nothing else. Jason Robards' finest performance.
posted by Iridic at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2011


Maybe I'm supersensitive or something, but the ending of "Remains of the Day" killed me.
posted by Melismata at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


...Listen to the sounds of Winnipeg

Winnipeg is a frozen shithole.

posted by azarbayejani at 2:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have never cried at a movie, unless I am on a plane for more than three hours, and it doesn't matter what the movie is. It doesn't even have to be a drama. I think Monsters vs Aliens resulted in a long, moaning sob session.

If I was stuck in an airplane and had nothing to occupy myself but watching Monsters vs Aliens, I would probably cry too.
posted by kmz at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


For saddest (and possibly most enraging) I nominate the end sequence of The Mist. Warning: this is very disturbing.
posted by Lieber Frau at 2:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


A soaking wet Sam climbs out of the water into the boat. "I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise! 'Don't you leave 'im, Samwise Gamgee!' And I don't mean to."

(Cue: me bawling. Every. Time. Even if I happen across it on TV without seeing the rest of the movie first.)
posted by dnash at 2:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


No film ending has ever made me cry harder than I did at the ending of El Norte.
posted by treepour at 2:50 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought the most disturbing part of Requiem for a Dream was what happened to the Ellen Burstyn character, and am continually surprised by how many people find the infamous 'A-to-A' scene more disturbing. Really, the whole Jared Leto/Jennifer Connelly story is pretty standard anti-drug movie fare. The Ellen Burstyn story is a whole different species of disturbing.

(as a sidenote, I am pretty damn sick of the whole "pretty girl tries hard drugs, pretty girl becomes a prostitute" trope. it seems like every time a pretty girl does hard drugs in a movie, she becomes a prostitute. this bothers me because it's just not mathematically sound : nearly 15% of Americans have tried cocaine. there just aren't enough prostitutes out there for the trope to be even remotely accurate)
posted by Afroblanco at 2:50 PM on August 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


We're just buried in prostates, really.
posted by The Whelk at 2:52 PM on August 1, 2011


The Undefeated is simultaneously the saddest, most amusing and most disgusting movie ever.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cried my way through The Sweet Hereafter, and that was before I had a kid. I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to watch it again now that I do.
posted by biddeford at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


That scene in Whale Rider where Pai plans a surprise speech about how much she loves her grandfather, only to stand up in front of the audience to realize he skipped her performance absolutely destroys me every time I watch it.
posted by lilac girl at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


If I was stuck in an airplane and had nothing to occupy myself but watching Monsters vs Aliens, I would probably cry too.


Los Angeles to London Heathrow. Broken in-flight entertainment. One film. Failure to Launch.

I might have cried a little blood.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:55 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq: "The tricky part is finding a scene that retains its full emotional punch entirely on its own, without all the subtext provided by the rest of the movie.

That kind of scene is extremely rare.
"

Unless you're watching a 3-minute long Thai commercial. dabs at eyes with tissue
posted by Gordafarin at 2:55 PM on August 1, 2011


Funny story, I once ended up watching Requiem for a Dream ten times in one week. I'm basically immune to anything, now.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:03 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


My dad took me to see The Red Balloon when I was eight or nine. I was sobbing at the end (starting at about 3:20) but so embarrassed about it that I vehemently denied that the movie made me cry. I told my dad that I just had a really bad headache. He obviously knew better, but told me that if my head hurt that badly I needed to go straight to bed as soon as we got home. I stayed in bed for the rest of the afternoon, bored out of my mind. There was no way I was ever going to admit that I was crying about a stupid balloon.
posted by Dojie at 3:03 PM on August 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


What if you think it is funny when Ricky Schroeder cries?
posted by ian1977 at 10:08 PM on August 1


Then Oscar would approve.

"One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing."
posted by Decani at 3:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dancer In The Dark just makes me throw up rather than cry. Damn shaky camera.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:11 PM on August 1, 2011


Damn, I just have to think about "su-per-man" and it's a struggle...
posted by NiteMayr at 3:12 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The end of The Elephant Man scarred me emotionally when I was small, still can't watch it (it's way too sad)
posted by NiteMayr at 3:12 PM on August 1, 2011


My vote is the short film "Kiwi".
posted by beccaj at 3:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fifty plus comments and no one has mentioned the saddest movie of all time, Grave of the Fireflies? Come on, MeFi, you can do better than that.

Though to be fair, picking out an individual scene probably wouldn't have the impact that you get watching it the whole way through. I made it almost to the end of that movie before crying like a baby. And I never cry while watching movies.
posted by zardoz at 3:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


Dammit, zardoz. Now I'm getting all misty at my desk.
posted by Uncle Ira at 3:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found Von Trier's Breaking the waves to be much sadder than Dancer In The Dark. However, I can't think of any specific scene, as the entire last two thirds of the movie is pure heartbreak.

Also, I just have to think about Marisa Tomei from In The Bedroom and I get teary eyed.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


A soaking wet Sam climbs out of the water into the boat. "I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise! 'Don't you leave 'im, Samwise Gamgee!' And I don't mean to."

(Cue: me bawling. Every. Time. Even if I happen across it on TV without seeing the rest of the movie first.)


I honest to god have tears running down my face just from reading that, and I didn't even much like the 3rd film. Also, many, many bits of WALL*E.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The hardest scene for me to watch isn't from a film at all. It's this scene from The Wire when Wallace is executed by his childhood friends.

Beyond that, the Dagestan execution videos are probably the "worst" thing I've ever seen. Teenage Russian soldiers slowly beheaded one at a time by partisans while they are crying for their moms and being taunted. As a child of the 21st century, I'm pretty damn desensitized towards violence. This is the only video that ever made me feel close to ill. Search for it if you want, but trust me, you don't.
posted by WhitenoisE at 3:24 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dumbo is way sadder than Bambi, in a really vicariously sadistic way. I didn't work up the nerve to watch it until I was about 25, and I sobbed for the entire hour. It taps into every profound childhood fear. Christ, those HORRIBLE female elephants being so cruel to little Dumbo [lip quiver]. I can't stand to think about it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:28 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fox and the Hound (again) - I think there's like 5 or 6 in that movie. I saw it at age 8 and refuse to watch it ever again. I can't even watch the clips.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:28 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cried my way through The Sweet Hereafter, and that was before I had a kid. I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to watch it again now that I do.

I don't remember crying at any movies prior to my daughter being born, but afterward, good grief. Now I can't watch anything without some part of me thinking "what if that was her?" It's horrible. I could get teary at a car commercial. "Oh, look, that salesman is totally treating that woman with the respect she deserves. I hope my daughter has...*sniff*...a car buying experience like that someday." *wiping the corner of my eyes*
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [55 favorites]


Actually, the scene from The Sweet Hereafter when the bus goes into the water is the most horrifying moment I've seen on film. It haunts me. I was unable to cry because I was so devastated and aghast.

The movie that has made me cry the hardest lately is actually Marley and Me. Laugh your ass off for most of it, and then cry buckets.
posted by bearwife at 3:33 PM on August 1, 2011


It's this scene from The Wire when Wallace is executed by his childhood friends

For me it was Bubbles' "Ain't no shame holding on to grief" speech from the last season. Hell, just thinking about it I'm tearing up a little.
posted by Lorin at 3:34 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whatever teenage age I was, I cried near the end of Field of Dreams because it made me think hard for the first time about how much I love my Dad.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:34 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Y'all are making me feel like a steely-minded robot here.
posted by The Whelk at 3:41 PM on August 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


The only movie I've ever cried at was a documentary called Flesh and Blood, about a woman who takes in high-need foster children. It has a turn in the middle that the participants and the filmmaker did not anticipate. I think the fact that it was real, and so existentially tragic, was what really got to me.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:43 PM on August 1, 2011


HEY WHY DON'T YOU ALL JOIN ME ON THE SOFA EVERY FUCKING YEAR WEEPING AND WEEPING AND WEEPING TO THIS BIT
posted by Jofus at 3:43 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find I share Ebert's take on movies: I don't usually cry at death or other "typically sad" moments, but when characters are noble and selfless. The selfless love and devotion of an dog gets me every time.
posted by maxwelton at 3:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, it's called My Flesh and Blood. The documentary Flesh and Blood is a documentary about body modification, and might make you cry for other reasons.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


One scene that always got to me was the booth scene in Paris, Texas (I knew these people... these 2 people).
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:46 PM on August 1, 2011


I didn't even much like the 3rd film

Whoops, "A promise" is from the first film, duh. I get them conflated because fuckin' Sean Astin made me cry like 12 times: "Do you think we'll ever be in stories or tales?" "It's springtime in the Shire now. . . . Do you remember the taste of strawberries?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guaranteed to make me sob like a baby: The final scene in the first episode of The Decalogue; the final scene of Gallipoli; various scenes in The Elephant Man.
posted by scody at 3:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I find I share Ebert's take on movies: I don't usually cry at death or other "typically sad" moments, but when characters are noble and selfless. The selfless love and devotion of an dog gets me every time.

Yeah, though I think you'll find most moments already mentioned really fit both things. The ending of Jurassic Bark is affecting precisely because of Seymour's devotion. The beginning of Up wouldn't be so sad if it wasn't for Carl and Ellie's love.

Ebert talks about it a bit more in one of my favorite of his blog entries. Lots of good examples in the comments too.
posted by kmz at 3:50 PM on August 1, 2011


No mention of Nobody Knows? I saw it years ago on DVD and haven't been able to bring myself to watch it again, though, I keep telling myself I will since I can stream it on Netflix. I probably won't, though.
posted by Redfield at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2011


The selfless love and devotion of an dog gets me every time.

I lost it so fucking badly when Vincent came and lay down next to Jack. SO BADLY. Huge, snotty, gasping toddler sobs.
posted by elizardbits at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm sure it's because I lost my father when I was 12 and because my mother is disabled and wheelchair-bound, but makes me cry--every.period.single.period.time.period, is in Legends of the Fall when the father (Anthony Hopkins) writes "am happy" on the chalkboard around his neck when Tristan comes home.

Also: First 15 min of Up. Ending scene in Toy Story 3.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 3:54 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


the final scene of Gallipoli

Relatedly, I always tear up when I get to the end of Our Graves In Gallipoli, a relatively obscure E. M. Forster short piece.
posted by kmz at 3:54 PM on August 1, 2011


I love sad movies. I've seen way too many and love them too much to even begin to rank them, but some that aren't usually noticed are:

Pom Poko, especially the end (which makes me bawl)

The entirety of 5 Centimeters per Second

The last ten minutes of Mr. Nobody

The majority of Mysterious Skin, but especially the ending

This scene from The Land Before Time

This scene
from The Brave Little Toaster
posted by byanyothername at 3:54 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Something about Liz in Hellboy always makes me cry, especially near the middle.
Requiem For A Dream left me so drained the first time I saw it that I'll never see it again.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:55 PM on August 1, 2011


What? No love for Old Yeller here? If that's not as sad as it gets I don't know what is.

They also used the wrong scene from Pink Flamingos.

And with Bambi this and Bambi that, why do people still think Bambi is a girls's name?
posted by TedW at 3:56 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This scene from The Land Before Time

Related XKCD. (With bonus Jurassic Bark on mouseover.)
posted by kmz at 3:56 PM on August 1, 2011


Ditto to Whale Rider!

But I also lose it every time I see It's A Wonderful Life and young George is getting walloped by his incompetent pharmacist boss. The crying and the flinching and the blood coming out of his bad ear as he takes the abuse and tries to explain why he didn't deliver the "medicine"... oy.
posted by BeBoth at 3:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Saddest/most unwatchable twice? When I saw Radio Flyer, the projectionist started with the second reel, went back to the first reel, then to the third. Even Ebert, who presumably watched it in the intended sequence called it "a real squirmarama of unasked and unanswered questions."
posted by HLD at 3:57 PM on August 1, 2011


I don't remember crying at any movies prior to my daughter being born, but afterward, good grief.

It doesn't work in this scenario (requires prior knowledge of the character), but there is one scene in The Station Agent (previously), where one of the main characters, whose son died 2 years ago, watches Bobby Cannavale play soccer with kids in a parking lot.

She doesn't say a word, but her smile slowly turns and you can almost see the grief and loss fill her body as she remembers her son.

Hey, here it is. Yeah, once you have kids you get a little emotional at that stuff.

Also, E.T. has been mentioned, but Old Yeller is obligatory here. I look back at it and am a bit shocked I saw that at like age 5: "Oh, poor Old Yeller, oh, poor Travis, what's he gonna do oh god no."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This scene from The Brave Little Toaster

The entire movie becomes ever so much sadder when you realize that the great science fiction author Thomas Disch, who wrote the source material, took his own life.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:58 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fine. If no one else will post it, I will. Fine. FINE.
posted by Jofus at 4:00 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


"You died on a saturday morning..."

"I never thanked you for saving my life"

I actually lol'd when björk drops, but admittedly, i haven't seen the full movie.
posted by palbo at 4:01 PM on August 1, 2011


But I also lose it every time I see It's A Wonderful Life and young George is getting walloped by his incompetent pharmacist boss.

Interestingly, I also tear up when the pharmacist starts frantically trying to apologize to young George (out of guilt, shame, and panic over realizing his terrible mistake and how he lashed out at George), and George starts cringing and begging him not to hurt his bad ear. I always feel terrible for both of them.
posted by scody at 4:02 PM on August 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's easy to make me cry at the movies, but I not only didn't find that scene in Mystic River sad, I found it really, really annoying. OK, you're extremely distraught, and I certainly understand -- but the 'even ten cops can't hold me back' was just silly, OTT scenery-chewing, and ultimately kind of gross and ugly. Like using grief as a way of saying LOOK AT ME. Ugh, hate that scene.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:02 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I watched Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father without knowing a single thing about the subject matter except it was supposed to be powerful. Yes, like having your skull crushed by a Louisville Slugger.

I know everyone hated the Galactica ending, but the Baltar bit still gets me.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:03 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The saddest movie in the world for me will always be Mister Unhappy, directed by Roger Hargreaves. Just thinking of his grey, oblong head sitting there with a big frown on it gets me every time. Why so unhappy, Mr Unhappy? HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW!
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:03 PM on August 1, 2011


[The Brave Little Toaster] becomes ever so much sadder when you realize that the great science fiction author Thomas Disch, who wrote the source material, took his own life.

Oh, Jeebus Creebus, I just found out that Phil Hartman, who plays both the suicidal air conditioner and the hanging lamp, was of course killed in a murder suicide by his wife.

As for The Land Before Time, the little girl who played Ducky was killed in a murder suicide, by her own father.

That's...sad.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:03 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Given the context today, I'll go with this scene from Half Nelson
posted by crayz at 4:04 PM on August 1, 2011


Also, Band of Brothers, damn.
posted by palbo at 4:05 PM on August 1, 2011


The big reveal in Dead Man's Shoes.

Hie-bong Byeon's character's all-consuming rage near the end of The Host.

Even though it's not in the movie, knowing, sight unseen, that Takashi is killed in the original manga of Akira after seeing in the movie how terrified he is of the outside world.

Hie-bong Byeon's detective shuddering at the very end of Memories of Murder after talking to the child.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:12 PM on August 1, 2011



Hammerfight:
- The scene in Old Boy in the hallway
- The entirety of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em: The Movie


Climax of Streets of Fire
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The endings of The Bicycle Thief and Forbidden Games are both devastating. Kids in peril or pain.

Among documentaries, try watching Which Way Home, then tell me how you liked meeting Freddy and Olga. Real kids in peril and pain, and no one knows where they are. Ugh.
posted by argybarg at 4:23 PM on August 1, 2011


Did anyone here actually watch the saddest movie clip from The Champ? I can totally see how it works so well for the researchers' needs. Anyone can understand it without knowing a thing about it beforehand, it's paced slowly enough for the implications to really sink in, and the kid does a bang up job of making you feel for him. It's the kind of scene that is so emotionally manipulative that it pisses you off.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:24 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everything else I'd add is already upthread, but I remember (and, of course, my parents want to remind be about it all the time too) crying at Snoopy Come Home. The little girl was sick! Charlie Brown lost his dog! Snoopy couldn't go to the library! It's a movie full of crushing defeat.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:25 PM on August 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Why on earth did I watch the death of Littlefoot's mother at work?! I have to go...err...fix my contacts now.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2011


You stop that before I start thinking about Charlie Brown and that beleaguered little Christmas tr . . . oh damn it!
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The end of Big Fish. Oh man.
posted by Lou Stuells at 4:30 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


I was going to say Dear Zachary... the first time I saw that I cried so much that my throat seized up and I had to pause it. Jesus.

Pay It Forward - every time I see the vigil scene where the whole town gathers outside Helen Hunt's house - buckets, I tell you.

Requiem for a Dream is on Sundance Channel tonight, just seeing it on the PreviewGuide Channel made me start shaking a little bit...

Also, I just saw The Boy in the Striped Pajamas -- it wasn't necessarily sad all the way through, but by the end, thinking about the magnitude of the Holocaust... just, wow.
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:32 PM on August 1, 2011


Also not a film - but the finale/ending scene of Six Feet Under...! Even burly men cried at that one, I can't even.
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


I always thought the most disturbing part of Requiem for a Dream was what happened to the Ellen Burstyn character, and am continually surprised by how many people find the infamous 'A-to-A' scene more disturbing. Really, the whole Jared Leto/Jennifer Connelly story is pretty standard anti-drug movie fare. The Ellen Burstyn story is a whole different species of disturbing.

Depends on your personal neuroses. I really, really disliked the Jennifer Connelly character during the entire course of the film. But coercive and demeaning sexual stuff is extremely upsetting to me, so I still ended up shaking and crying in the bathroom. I mean, I really HATED that character. But it didn't matter-- because of my preexisting Issues, that scene was incredibly brutal for me.

On the other hand, my friend with psychosis in her family was just as disturbed as you seem to have been by the mother's story, while I didn't find myself especially disturbed by it. I must admit, I wonder whether anyone had such a violent reaction to either of the two male characters' endings as a lot of us seem to have had to the two female characters'. I can't imagine those endings as excessively disturbing, but, again, I didn't find the Ellen Burstyn character's ending to be so gut-wrenching either.

Mind, I only ever saw the movie once, and I am one of those who Never Will Again.
posted by Because at 4:37 PM on August 1, 2011


Hard to watch: kiri kiri kiri...
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to wake up now. Are you there? You can wake me up now.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think there's a difference between depressing and sad. The dead baby in Trainspotting? Requiem for a Dream? Depressing as hell, but I didn't cry.

Dead Poet's Society was one of the first movies I remember crying at, but it was Old Yeller that brought out the waterworks. It doesn't get much sadder than a dying dog.
posted by emd3737 at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2011


Giovanni Ribisi in Saving Private Ryan.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2011


I've seen it a million times, but I always cry when Betty Spaghetti gets the telegram in "A League of Their Own". That and the part with the girl who can't read.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anything with Alzheimer's. I can't even make it through the trailers for Alzheimer's movies.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The end of Big Fish. Oh man.

He's not lying. It was hard enough to watch that before my father died. Since? I haven't watched it. It's hands down one of my favorite movies, and I can't watch it. Tearing up just thinking about it.

The end of Pom Poko doesn't get me. It's the scene where the remaining tanuki gather on the hillside to try to dream back their valley, and we begin to see what it used to be like. Then one of the people in new apartment blocks looks out and sees her grandmother working in the fields, in the dream.

seriously, I'm not going to cry...

Or, if you've seen it, the final scene in 25th Hour, where Brian Cox tells his story.

posted by Ghidorah at 4:50 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


He obviously knew better, but told me that if my head hurt that badly I needed to go straight to bed as soon as we got home.

That, my friends, is a parent seizing a golden opportunity.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's ultimately happy, but the ending of Homeward Bound makes me cry every stinking time. That kid Peter was just so disappointed and forlorn... and then his dog Shadow comes limping up over the hill... I just weep.

Also the scene in The Sixth Sense when the kid finally admits to Bruce Willis that he sees dead people. He's just so scared and miserable from carrying that big scary secret all alone for so long. And the scene at the end where the wife falls asleep watching the wedding video, and Bruce Willis realizes the truth... holy crap.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, grave of the fireflies, by the end, becomes so sad that it's almost hilarious.
posted by empath at 4:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The end of Big Fish, most definitely.
posted by prototype_octavius at 4:53 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know I'm the only person who celebrates this movie, but Valerie's Story in V for Vendetta is so beautiful and tragic that it destroys me every time.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:56 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Michael Haneke's The Seventh Continent is so sad, it may sap your will to live.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:56 PM on August 1, 2011


Chiming in for emphasis. Dear Zachary is intensely sad: a devastating combination of terrible fucking things happening to genuinely good people and direction that knows exactly what it wants out of you. It exploits your emotions, but you will be absolutely fine with that.

The Last Truck also got me pretty choked up.

I'm one of those people that inexplicably cries at in-flight movies regardless of the topic. I teared up after watching about 30 seconds of the end of Hotel for Dogs. If United ever decided to show one of the documentaries above, I don't see how my mind would escape intact.
posted by pokermonk at 4:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh god, The Whelk, you asshole. I was doing okay until he said "thank you" at the end and now I'm a sobbing mess.
posted by katemonster at 4:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about Watership Down?

When they think that Bigwig has been killed by the snare trap and they're saying the prayer to Frith ("...for my friend has stopped running today...")? Or when Five scares off the General with his psychic contact with the dead? Or Bigwig heroically standing up to the General? What about those moments, huh?
posted by jasper411 at 4:59 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, man, the end of Gallipoli does everybody in.

I reliably cry, EVERY SINGLE TIME, and I must have seen the movie 20 times by now, during Apollo 13 when the son away at military school looks at the clock and realizes it's been 4 minutes of radio blackout and the heat shield must not have held ... it's been too long! WHAT IF THEY'RE DEAD? It's like nobody ever told me it's a true story or something.

Speaking of in-flight movies, I don't fly that often, and I seriously ALWAYS get movies where airplanes crash -- Alive, Armageddon, Air Force One, etc. How are those even legal to show on an airplane?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:01 PM on August 1, 2011


Damn. Now I'm realizing just how many movies out there really, really get to me. Field of Dreams (Hey dad, wanna have a catch?), Contact (not the point mentioned above, the scene where she meets the alien), even, dear god, the ending of Sweet November (which requires actually seeing the film for context, but is one of the best romantic comedy subversions I've ever seen).

Wall-E. Up. Even the "I can't lose you again, I'm not strong enough." from The Incredibles. And yes, Soo-per-maan. So much for a bright summer day. I think I'm going to draw the curtains and bawl my eyes out all day. Thanks a lot.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:02 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about those moments, huh?

The sequence in the beginning where the farmer gasses the warren is forever burned into my brain as a synonym for SCARY DEATH.

Watership Down : not a movie for children.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:03 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


playing this clip is how I weed out replicants from my social circle yt (WARNING MUPPPETS)

Well, now I know I'm not a replicant. Guess I have one up on Harrison Ford there.
posted by endless_forms at 5:03 PM on August 1, 2011


The final scene from Midnight Cowboy, especially beginning around 7:41 in the clip . . . Joe has reported Ratso's death, the bus continues on into Miami with Joe clutching Ratso, and the theme kicks in. That whole film is drenched in pathos.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The "Su-Per-Man" ending of Iron Giant makes every geek I know blubber, but it requires a lot of context.

The Iron Giant did not do well in theatres, so you can only imagine how it did in Quebec, in the few theatres where it was playing in English.

And then you can imagine how well it was doing in a just-out-of-Montreal suburb, one week after release, where it was playing in one of those Cinema Guzzo 22-theatre megaplexes.

And then you can imagine how well it was doing at a 2 p.m. showing when everyone I drove 90 minutes from Sherbrooke with wanted to see Dick but I just wasn't in the mood and wanted to check out the giant robot movie.

And then you can imagine a man in his late 20s sitting alone in the theatre and crying so hard that the projectionist actually came down out of the booth to ask if I was okay.
posted by Shepherd at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2011 [70 favorites]


argybarg: The endings of The Bicycle Thief and Forbidden Games are both devastating. Kids in peril or pain.

I totally agree re: Bicycle Thief. I've never seen the movie in its entirety, but a few years ago a tiny little snippet (less than 10 seconds, I'm sure) was used in an Oscars montage -- right at the end where the boy slips his hand into his father's hand as the father begins to cry -- and that alone was enough to get me and my mother crying. Works well for this scenario, as absolutely no extra context was necessary -- just the expressions and the body language. Devastating indeed.
posted by katemonster at 5:10 PM on August 1, 2011


I know I'm the only person who celebrates this movie, but Valerie's Story in V for Vendetta is so beautiful and tragic that it destroys me every time.

Long before the film was made, this section of the graphic novel always caused me to weep.

My full-sleeve tattoo design is of a set of chains snaking round each arm, each link intended to be marked with a name. The first name on the right arm is "Valerie". When people ask who she is, I never say.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:10 PM on August 1, 2011


Iron Giant, Schindler's List and Armageddon (seriously), are the movies that have gotten the biggest cries from me, although I tear up during movies and tv shows a lot.

Suffering in a movie by itself makes me more annoyed than sad in most cases -- Dancer in the Dark was a prime example of a supposedly sad movie that just made me infuriated at the director.

It's probably my Catholic upbringing showing through, but what reliably gets me going is self-sacrifice for the love of others, and courage in the face of certain death.
posted by empath at 5:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I must've been tired when I saw Requiem for a Dream the first time, because I don't remember it having this totally repulsive effect on me. So now I guess I'll need to see it again.

As for films too horrifying to watch a second time, I did recently watch one a second time with many intervening years, the Eccleston/Winslet version of Jude the Obscure, the Hardy novel so damn grim it makes all other Hardy novels put together look like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The overall movie is really well made, but that one scene is just indescribable.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


a film that I love but is so hard to watch in parts is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When she is being erased from his memory just kills me - losing the person I love is just about my worst nightmare.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


But I also lose it every time I see It's A Wonderful Life and young George is getting walloped by his incompetent pharmacist boss.

Interestingly, I also tear up when the pharmacist starts frantically trying to apologize to young George (out of guilt, shame, and panic over realizing his terrible mistake and how he lashed out at George), and George starts cringing and begging him not to hurt his bad ear. I always feel terrible for both of them.


Wha? That's when you cry? I cry when I see the alternate Mr. Gower being humiliated in the bar (6:43 onward), and then the actual Mr. Gower shows up smiling and sober to add money to the hat at the end (5:00). That story is the most poignant of all the stories in Its a Wonderful Life.
posted by bearwife at 5:15 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh no, I cry at various points throughout the movie over Mr. Gower. There's something about his character (and/or about the actor) that totally gets me.
posted by scody at 5:16 PM on August 1, 2011


I agree with some others - Dear Zachary was excruciatingly sad.
posted by Fiorentina97 at 5:16 PM on August 1, 2011


I just remembered how hard I cried when Mozart's body is dumped into the mass grave at the end of Amadeus even though I knew I was the only one crying in the theater. It's good to know that you are weird.

Also one of the only two times I saw my dad cry was at the end of E.T., which made my husband fall down laughing when I told him about it.
posted by theredpen at 5:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And then you can imagine a man in his late 20s sitting alone in the theatre and crying so hard that the projectionist actually came down out of the booth to ask if I was okay.

You get a bro-hug from me, because I'd have been crying right there with you if I saw it in the theater. I sobbed like a child watching it at home, and I was also in my 20s.
posted by empath at 5:17 PM on August 1, 2011


What, no Ordinary People? Epic performances from everyone, especially young Timothy Hutton. I do NOT cry at movies as a rule but I bawled like an idiot through about 2/3 of that movie.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Emaciated Emma Thompson curled in an agonized ball, literally unable to do anything more than whimper as her mentor cradles her and recites from The Runaway Bunny. Wit pretty much tore me a new cryhole.

And the complete crushing of Lilya's confidence, trust and hope in Lilya 4-ever, and the abandoned-dog fate Volodya suffers.

Jude the Obscure, yes. "too menny" is like a kick in the chest.
posted by notquitemaryann at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Brian's Song (at least when you're 10).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


James Bond spoiler alert!


The destruction of the Aston Martin in "Casino Royale" made a friend of my cry. Or so he said.
posted by datawrangler at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh, the scene in Tennenbaums when Ben Stiller breaks down and says, "I've had a hard year, dad." I'm crying just remembering it.
posted by neuromodulator at 5:23 PM on August 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Oh God yes, Whale Rider. I watch it every couple of months (it's my favorite movie), and cry every damn time.

And John Q. I refuse to watch that movie again. It absolutely destroyed me. (As did Bridge to Terabithia, which we're not going to talk about.)
posted by kethonna at 5:23 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The most recent example that choked me up was the ending to The Wrestler. It was the mix of emotions that really stayed with me - (SPOILER) - the characters willingess to sacrifice his life for something as stupid, yet so personally important as wrestling made it really resonate. Self-sacrifice for a noble cause is easy to get behind, but self-sacrifice for a personal passion (that the majority of people, both in the film and in the audience, don't necessarily understand) is much more complex.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:26 PM on August 1, 2011


There are movies I know not to attempt (anything with graphic scenes of violence against women) but two movies otherwise absolutely destroyed me with a combination of sorrow and hopelessness: Frances and The Hours. Both great, but never again.

Up is sure to bruise the heart of anyone who is married to someone they truly love. It's a great movie for kids but only because they (ideally) cannot yet understand this type of loss.

I had a friend who was helpless against tears while watching Poltergeist: "It's her. I felt her. It's her. It is. It's...it is...it's my baby. It's my baby. She went through my soul."
posted by Morrigan at 5:28 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


tore me a new cryhole.

That is beautiful.
posted by empath at 5:31 PM on August 1, 2011


A.I. could have had a noteworthy sad ending if it had stopped with Joel Haley Osment's android boy stuck underwater with the statues. Instead, Spielberg had to stick those fucking aliens in the coda and wreck the whole thing. Yeah, there were people around me crying at the coda, but I was just too pissed off at wasting the last three hours of my life on a cheap emotional cop-out. Thanks a lot, Steve.
posted by spoobnooble at 5:31 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't care how much of a TOTAL CRITERION CLASSIC it is and how much of a film buff I am, I can say with total confidence that I will never, ever watch Au Hasard Balthasar. The synopsis practically gives me nightmares.

I really really hate animal cruelty as a cheap plot device. Example: the minute the German shepherd came onscreen in I Am Legend, I was like, "Oh, you BASTARDS."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Most annoying: Leia saying, "I guess I've always known." Not a person in that theatre where I sat, in anticipation of a great movie, didn't groan out loud and with true fan-geek misery.
posted by datawrangler at 5:33 PM on August 1, 2011


Harry and Tonto.

Spoiler alert, I guess?

When you're ten minutes from the end of the movie and you think, "*THANK GOD* this isn't one of those movies where the cat dies at the end." Then...
posted by Cyrano at 5:34 PM on August 1, 2011


A.I. could have had a noteworthy sad ending if it had stopped with Joel Haley Osment's android boy stuck underwater with the statues. Instead, Spielberg had to stick those fucking aliens in the coda and wreck the whole thing. Yeah, there were people around me crying at the coda, but I was just too pissed off at wasting the last three hours of my life on a cheap emotional cop-out. Thanks a lot, Steve.

technically, they're hyper-evolved robots

your point still stands
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:36 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The Trip to Bountiful" is the only movie to make me utterly dehydrated while watching the opening credits. So you can imagine how things went for the next hour and a half or so.
posted by datawrangler at 5:36 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The final scene of Jesus of Montreal, when the two women start singing this song in the subway. Turns me into a convulsing blob every time.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think A.I. was pretty clearly Speilberg trying and failing to give us Kubrick. The first, underwater, stay here forever ending is Kubrick. Happy aliens that make everything better? Speilberg.

Still, the movie resonates with me for Jude Law's line as he's taken away: "Remember me. I am. I was."
posted by Ghidorah at 5:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Johnny Got His Gun wracks me with existential angst even thinking about it
Da, which is not a great movie, always kills me
The bleakness of Once Were Warriors, similar to the horrific Nil By Mouth mentioned in the AV Club article.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:37 PM on August 1, 2011


I really really hate animal cruelty as a cheap plot device.

i take it cruelty to humans is just fine and dandy
posted by LogicalDash at 5:39 PM on August 1, 2011


I became totally unhinged during King Kong - yes, the new one. I took my little brother to see it and he just patted my hand awkwardly. *sniffle*
posted by ChuraChura at 5:39 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Merry: I knew you'd find me. Are you going to leave me?
Pippin: No, Merry. I'm going to look after you.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:39 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


You get a bro-hug from me, because I'd have been crying right there with you if I saw it in the theater. I sobbed like a child watching it at home, and I was also in my 20s.

I also cried watching Hal die in 2001, so perhaps I have some misplaced allegiances to our robotic overlords.
posted by benzenedream at 5:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


A.I. could have had a noteworthy sad ending if it had stopped with Joel Haley Osment's android boy stuck underwater with the statues. Instead, Spielberg had to stick those fucking aliens in the coda and wreck the whole thing. Yeah, there were people around me crying at the coda, but I was just too pissed off at wasting the last three hours of my life on a cheap emotional cop-out. Thanks a lot, Steve.

Nope. Still Super-sad. He will *never* be locked out of his programing, he's the last relic of humankind, whom the robots worship and are desperately trying to understand, and he still can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy, he chooses a completely fake, bastardized version of his past. He will never grow up. He will never understand. His romantic fantasy at the end is the saddest thing ever.
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on August 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


"You were made to be so young" is tragic, not uplifting.
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really really hate animal cruelty as a cheap plot device.

How about as the entire plot?

Hard to watch:

The Plague Dogs

Impossible to watch:

Felidae



playing this clip is how I weed out replicants from my social circle (WARNING MUPPPETS)

Query: why are my optical sensors leaking?

OH BECAUSE THE WHELK IS A JERK. *snif*
posted by louche mustachio at 5:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I definitely inherited my father's Irish sentimentality, but since my heart surgery a few years ago, I am just Weeping Fucking Willy about practically anything. Even CVS commercials make me cry, ferchrissake. Just reading this thread has me on the verge, and I haven't even watched the clips.
posted by briank at 5:43 PM on August 1, 2011


The death of a certain greasy haired wizard had me in serious tears recently.
posted by Biblio at 5:44 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


I get the idea that it's supposed to be sad, that the mom will die after the one day, and they won't be able to bring her back, and he'll wander around until they get tired of him asking where she is, but how is that ending better than trapped underwater, looking at an old broken statue, believing that it's a real fairy, and that if you just wish hard enough, everything will be better?

The first ending will always be better than the second, to me.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fackin' A, dogs. Vincent comforting Jack in the last scene of the Lost finale pulled the floor out from under me.

Most disturbing goes to, oh, any part of Audition. Needle in the tongue, most especially.

Totally disgusted with myself to admit this, but I cried like a baby at parts of The Notebook. Stupid brain...
posted by wowbobwow at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2011


kirkaracha: "Giovanni Ribisi in Saving Private Ryan. "

It was the last scene at Arlington that destroyed me. When Ryan asks his wife if he's been a good man and her reaction tells that he's never told her anything about what happened in the war and that he's carried that burden by himself for half a century.
posted by octothorpe at 5:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreed with the Whelk. The boy chooses to destroy any chance of his mother being brought back later, for a hug and a bedtime story. Brutal.

Also, regarding non-robotic tearjerkers, the final scene of Last Night is sad as hell (spoilers, obviously).
posted by benzenedream at 5:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


, believing that it's a real fairy, and that if you just wish hard enough, everything will be better?

But that's the same thing that happens with the robots at the end, he HASN'T CHANGED. He can not change or grow. He was made to love one person above everything and then that person abandoned him. Considering the robots at the end talk about humanity in the same way people talk about God is ....telling.
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


AI's ending with the robots was in the outline even back when Kubrick was on the project. It's not a happy ending, either. The robots are basically euthanizing him with a fairy tale.

Plague Dogs is too sad even to be tear-jerking.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I recall when I saw Nil by Mouth in the theater, I said, out loud, that it was very good and I never wanted to see it again. I had a similar reaction to Bent, which is also relentlessly bleak and sad.


I can't even look at the titles of some of these movies without crying.

Grave of the Fireflies
When the Wind Blows
Forbidden Games
Lilya 4-Ever
Once Were Warriors


I can't even type anymore. Shit.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ricky Schroeder has, sadly, attracted some disturbed admirers. I remember an interview where he mentioned that he keeps several guns at his ranch. I can understand why.
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh Whale Rider, geez. That does quite a number on me as well.

And ditto to Legends of the Fall. Susanna is such a tragic character.

I pretty much cry for an enormous portion of In America, but the last scene when the father is saying good-bye to Frankie just wrecks me for days. The first time I saw the movie I went through an entire box of tissue. The next morning while brushing my teeth, I was sobbing again. That's the only film where sobbing happened while just thinking of the movie.
posted by Hop123 at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw Big Fish in the theater with my family - was it Thanksgiving? It was supposed to be a movie to take our minds off of something, I don't remember what. But man, that ending. I was a big grown man bawling helplessly like a baby and everyone in the theater stared at me as they filed out. All the unresolved issues of my father's death in one unexpected flood. No doubt my crying brought up difficult things for my mother too, who had a talk with me in the car afterward. I haven't cried before or since at a movie. I don't know whether to love or hate it now.

And I seem to remember one of the movie theater employees coming up to me looking sympathetic, and giving me a lollipop as I left. Strange company policy.
posted by naju at 5:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


octothorpe, actually, that's the moment when I stopped liking Speilberg. It seems to me (especially looking at this thread) that there are a number of stimuli that cause crying. Push the button, the audience cries. The thing is, there are different ways to push said button. A light, feathery touch, for example. A gentle, loving carress. Or, Speilberg's almighty sledgehammer of emotion. That scene felt manipulative to me, and took me out of an otherwise fine film. Of course it got to me, I cried too. But I was angry about crying, because it just felt so blunt.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:52 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agree with others who suggest Dear Zachary - absolutely devestating, but still highly recommended. I can't imagine anyone making it through this with dry eyes.

I haven't seen Young @ Heart mentioned here. While the movie overall could be said to be uplifting, there are a few scenes towards the end which are extremely poignant and moving.

I think Platoon is probably the first movie that had me openly crying in a movie theater. The use of Barber's Adagio at key moments is just brilliant.

For those of you who were moved by Marley and Me, I humbly suggest Hachi: A Dog's Tale. It's based on a true story (though the original events happened in Japan). It's not high art, but it's quite effective... especially for dog lovers.
posted by bonmot at 5:52 PM on August 1, 2011


I know it's a TV show, but when Linus wraps a blanket protectively around the little tree and says reassuring things...

Why is rain on my face all of a sudden?
posted by datawrangler at 5:53 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh, another oldie but sobby goodie: I once saw Chaplin's City Lights in the theater with my ex-husband. During the final scene (OH HOLY GOD, THE FINAL SCENE), I was distracted by an inexplicable squeaking (accompanied by a slight shaking) to my left. I turned to see my ex sobbing helplessly, his hands clasped over his mouth to keep him from bawling outloud.
posted by scody at 5:54 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Plague Dogs is too sad even to be tear-jerking.

It is constructed entirely out of sad. I know people who saw it when they were children because hey, it's a cartoon, right? Yeah. Um.

Reading the book as a teen was enough.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:56 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


The end of Being John Malkovich. "Look away, look away, look away...."
posted by Sys Rq at 5:58 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anything with Alzheimer's. I can't even make it through the trailers for Alzheimer's movies.

Iris is just devastating.
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


There have been some really emotionally powerful Korean movies in recent years - Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was totally draining and the ending of Mother really made me tear up.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me: I really really hate animal cruelty as a cheap plot device.

i take it cruelty to humans is just fine and dandy
posted by LogicalDash at 8:39 PM on August 1 [+] [!]


You take it wrong, pal, and I'm not sure why you'd assume that's the only cheap plot device I dislike. But since you know me so well, why don't you tell me some more about what does and doesn't matter to me?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I finally signed up for MetaFilter (after years of lurking & appreciating) because I loved this thread SO MUCH.

I cry at the drop of a pin, but that part in Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) says "we just lost the moon"? If you'll just excuse me, I need to go get a kleenex...

Also: I cannot hear "Breathe Me" by Sia without bursting into tears because of the Six Feet Under finale. Just hearing those opening piano/keyboard notes? Tears streaming down my face! BRUTAL.
posted by sc114 at 6:16 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Lonely Cat scene in "Allegro non-Troppo"
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 6:18 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The ending of Code 46 is brutal. I cry every time.
posted by JLovebomb at 6:29 PM on August 1, 2011


Whatever teenage age I was, I cried near the end of Field of Dreams because it made me think hard for the first time about how much I love my Dad.

Frequency, the whole movie.
posted by NiteMayr at 6:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scene at the end of You Can Count on Me, where Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney are talking on the park bench.
posted by chinston at 6:32 PM on August 1, 2011


The "Trouble" sequence in Harold and Maude, particularly the shot where Harold rolls down the window and rests his head on the door of the hearse.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Elia Kazan's A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

Full of heart breaking moments. The yt clip above when Peggy Ann Garner's eyes fill with tears as her mother speaks lovingly of her husband who has just died is one that really gets to me.
posted by marsha56 at 6:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The end of Big Fish. Oh man.

Unless Billy Crudup's grilling fish, isn't that a happy ending? "And the strange thing is there's not a sad face to be found, everyone is just so glad to see you and send you off right." He makes peace with his dad and comforts him in his final moments. That's a pretty good deal. (My dad died in 1993 and it probably took me until nearly 2002 when Big Fish came out to be able to see anything that dealt with a father dying.)
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 PM on August 1, 2011


The "Trouble" sequence in Harold and Maude, particularly the shot where Harold rolls down the window and rests his head on the door of the hearse.

I initially misread this sentence as being about the "marrying the bag of pot" scene from Harold and Kumar.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:36 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, looking over the old examples from the study, it seems like they were trying to go for almost pure emotions, but all of the moments which can make me teary are far more than just "sad." Sometimes they aren't even that, but:

Valerie's Letter (which I mentioned above) is gorgeous impressionistic film-making, and the story itself full of tender details, but there's also the context that this is a big budget action movie which finds its heart in the lesbian love story of two people not really ever seen (aside from a split second or two) outside of that story, and otherwise unconnected to the story aside from that they exemplify what is worth fighting for and dying for. And it is done entirely non-salaciously, and without having a thought that the audience wouldn't be in favor of their love. Moreover, Evey and V (as far as we can presume) are not gay, but they don't need to be, for this to show how everyone is in this together. I can't think of another action movie which is so straight-up liberal ad proud of it.

L.A. Story: when Harris changes the weather, I don't know. Such desperate intensity, plus a really good use of Enya.

Manhattan: The end when he understands the value of "Tracy's face," and runs to find her, and she, for all her innocence and lack of guile, has such better perspective than he does.

The Two Towers: The Stories that Really Mattered. Samwise is a tear-factory throughout the series, but this was the crowning moment of that.

And Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, arguably my favorite movie of all time. The house crashing down. "What if you stayed this time?" In the end, it's not about his dedication to hide Clementine away, but about Joel's cowardice two years beforehand, and his inability to change the past. That was a movie that demanded even that ambiguously happy ending just to keep ushers from having to clean up bodies in the theatre.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I must be pretty cold-hearted 'cause while I was watching that little kid crying, all I could think about was how weird and fake and bad-actory his dying dad was. And then, I'll be honest, the kid kind of got annoying. Where was his mother? Why did they allow him to traumatize himself next to the body, carrying on like that?

I did just watch all of When Harry met Sally on Youtube because of this thread, though. It was worth the hour and half of my life gone.
posted by Nixy at 6:39 PM on August 1, 2011


Titanic, but not a scene about Jack & Rose. The scene with the old couple (Isador and Ida Straus) lying in bed as the water rushes in. Even finding a still of it when confirming their names put a little lump in my throat just now.
posted by superna at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


I want to wake up now. Are you there? You can wake me up now.

This one isn't sad, but definitely one of the most haunting, sobering endings in a film, ever. I first saw The Element of Crime at 3 in the morning during a bout of insomnia. I'm not sure I slept that night, but I wasn't dragging myself around in the morning; I'd had enough dreaming.

The end of Pom Poko doesn't get me. It's the scene where the remaining tanuki gather on the hillside to try to dream back their valley, and we begin to see what it used to be like. Then one of the people in new apartment blocks looks out and sees her grandmother working in the fields, in the dream.

seriously, I'm not going to cry...


I can't even describe this scene to someone else in person without crying.

I love this thread. I had no idea The Brave Little Toaster was based on a Thomas Ditsch novel.
posted by byanyothername at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really dislike Requiem for a Dream, also. I had the same reaction as Because, but it's just such an unpleasant movie; unpleasant without any tangible point.
posted by byanyothername at 6:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm late in here, but Nth on Charlie Brown Xmas, and big Nth on the concentration camp episode in Band of Brothers.
World According to Garp was the first movie to make me cry.
Good Will Hunting when Matt Damon finally melts down with Robin Williams got me pretty good on flight to London w/ my Mom.
And, good ol' Monsters Inc (starts around 8:50). "Kitty has to go" does it everytime :)
And the gold medal goes to Playing By Heart in which Jay Mohr dies w/ his mom lying next to him in the hospital bed as she recites Goodnight Moon. Couldn't find video on that one...
posted by Lukenlogs at 6:43 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll second Hachi. Also, the end of Life is Beautiful.
posted by Jacob G at 6:46 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh, and because several people have mentioned Charlie Brown. I'd be crying right now if I weren't being distracted by a million things; weep for me, MeFites! I need your tears!

Your delicious tears.
posted by byanyothername at 6:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn it, there's too much sad in this thread. It needs a tiny orange kitten and a cheetah licking another cheetah.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:48 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cleo's suicide by cop in Set It Off.

Seriously. Queen Latifah is so great in that movie. They're trapped, the cops have closed in, you see realization dawn in Cleo's eyes and she knows that all she can do is buy them some time, so she ever so deliberately lights that cigarette and slams a clip into her AK and meets death like a warrior.

Makes me blubber ever single time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:49 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bang the Drum Slowly and play the fife lowly...
posted by leonard horner at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scene in Terms of Endearment where Emma is saying goodbye to her kids destroys me. That and the scene from 'Jude' mentioned above where Kate Winslet screams with pain do bad things to my heart.
posted by h00py at 6:53 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aaah, jeez...Big Fish. That came out just before my dad died, when he was very ill and caught me completely unaware when I saw it in the theater. I was crying like a baby. Even watching the clip linked above - I've seen it so many times and I know how it ends and I still end up weeping.

Also, I'm glad that mrgrimm mentioned The Fox and the Hound, which broke my little heart as a child. Bambi has nothing on Tod and Copper.

Also, this:

Oh, the scene in Tennenbaums when Ben Stiller breaks down and says, "I've had a hard year, dad." I'm crying just remembering it.

Really good call.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:55 PM on August 1, 2011


If crying's what you want, look no further than Umberto D, dir. by Vittorio De Sica. Outstanding, heartbreaking film that had me in tears for a good portion of the movie. Making the little dog beg to save the protagonist a small amount of humiliation? Oh God, the waterworks are on.
posted by but no cigar at 7:00 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, the scene in Tennenbaums when Ben Stiller breaks down and says, "I've had a hard year, dad." I'm crying just remembering it.

That whole shot, tracking through everyone, and Royal getting the kids the dalmatian... damn.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:03 PM on August 1, 2011


That scene... at the end of Waterland... with the witch doctor woman.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:03 PM on August 1, 2011


My husband and I spent last week visiting my parents and one night my mom picked out a movie to watch. She picked My Sister's Keeper, a movie about a teenage girl dying of leukemia. The three of us spent the evening weeping on the couch and vowing mom was never allowed to pick out a movie again.

Next time, we're going with Caddyshack.
posted by platinum at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can't believe I forgot An Affair to Remember. It's a classic for a reason.
posted by Iridic at 7:08 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


When Ryan asks his wife if he's been a good man and her reaction tells that he's never told her anything about what happened in the war and that he's carried that burden by himself for half a century.

My goodness, I hate the treacly, spell-it-all-out, Speilbergian sapfest that's the wrap story in Saving Private Ryan. Like Ghidorah said, "Speilberg's almighty sledgehammer of emotion." Plus, he cheats. At the beginning the camera goes into the old guy's eyes as we transition into 1944, we see the whole movie, including most of it before we meet Ryan, then we come back to the old guy's eyes. That should be Miller, not Ryan.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Dog Who Stopped the War (La Guerre des Tuques) still haunts me. It's about kids in a Lord of the Fly-esque situation and you can guess how it gets resolved. But even knowing that, it doesn't help.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The last three minutes of Silent Running. That poor little robot.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Wallace scene from The Wire wrecks me like nothing I'd seen before and nothing I've seen since. I got to the part where Bodie and Poot follow Wallace upstairs in the clip above before I had to shut it down.

It's such an intense and incredibly well done scene. It's also the point where my wife stopped watching The Wire.

Oh, and Requiem for a Dream? I used that as a date movie once. Not good.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


One of the reasons I liked A.I so much was so much of it seemed like a crtique of Speilberg's "Hammer Of Sentiment". The love programmed given to David is both completely true for him and a mean cartoon of what love is. All that soft focus gauze are just cheap symbols but David will never, ever get beyond them, he wants the cartoon, the fake reality he was programed with, the fake, simple, cartoonish reality that looks an awful lot like a Speilberg weepie.
posted by The Whelk at 7:16 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very late to this discussion. Yeah, Requiem For A Dream probably #1 for me too.

I just remembered I repressed watching When the Wind Blows.

Another one for me: Schindler's List. If I watched it tonight, I might realize it is not a very good movie. But I saw it at the theater and it delivered what it promised, I didn't feel like I'd wasted my time or money. Then I took the videotape home from the library a year or so later, watched the first five minutes of it, and thought "Why am I going to put myself through this again?" Shut it off.

Oh yeah, and that B&W Italian movie about the old guy who is going to kill himself once he finds a home for his pet dog. I can't be arsed to look up the title now. I just saw some clips from it a documentary by Scorsese and I don't even want to think about that movie, let alone try and watch it.
posted by marxchivist at 7:18 PM on August 1, 2011


Lady Jane always makes me cry. The part where she's trying to find the place to lay her head down to be chopped off and she's awkwardly groping for it? OH MY GODDDDD.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Royal Tenenbaums scene
posted by triggerfinger at 7:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The ending of Fresh, when the kid finally gets to be a kid and it all comes out..
posted by hypersloth at 7:21 PM on August 1, 2011


It's not new. But the scene in Truly Madly Deeply where the lead character lets her grief rip in front of her therapist reduces me to sobs every time.
posted by Miko at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm going to be strong and brave and put it out there - Love Story. Sorry.
posted by unliteral at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2011


But I also lose it every time I see It's A Wonderful Life and young George is getting walloped by his incompetent pharmacist boss.

Wha? That's when you cry? I cry when I see the alternate Mr. Gower being humiliated in the bar yt (6:43 onward), and then the actual Mr. Gower shows up smiling and sober to add money to the hat at the end yt (5:00).


Its a Wonderful Life makes me cry the most times during a single movie. "It's poison I tell ya its poison", the intense "I don't want ground floors and I don't want plastics" conversation with Donna Reed, "Zuzu's Petals! Zuzu's Petals!"; I watch that movie every year and every year I bawl. "Don't hurt my sore ear again" makes my throat close up just to type.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I cannot even deal with that whole Band of Brothers episode, palbo. When Liebgott just puts his head in his hands and sobs because he has to tell the released concentration camp prisoners they can't have anything to eat yet...Band of Brothers makes me cry a lot in general, but I cannot ever rewatch "Why We Fight," it's too damned upsetting.

Also, if we're bringing in TV shows, Iroh's Tale from the "Tales of Ba Sing Se" episode of Avatar the Last Airbender. First time I watched that, I cried for like ten minutes afterwards, feeling faintly ridiculous for crying so much. That little short packs a serious punch.

Other than that, movie depictions of grief almost always reduce me to inconsolable tears. Fanny Brawn's reaction to Keats' death in Bright Star was especially heartbreaking. Something about the way she called for her mother and her shattered, grief-stricken "I can't breathe," just punched me in the gut.
posted by yasaman at 7:28 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


This thread is awesome - I'm starting a list because I am a masochist.

Has anyone seen The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? Absolutely gutted me. Also, similar (French) The Father of My Children.

Both have a sort of "triumph of the spirit" vibe, but damn... the things people go through, you know?
posted by polly_dactyl at 7:33 PM on August 1, 2011


My dad told me a (maybe apocryphal?) story about THE CHAMP, how the director bought the kid a dog at the beginning of shooting and made sure he got attached to it and then after a few takes of the crying scene, he took the dog into the alleyway, shot off a gun and came back in, telling the that he had shot his dog and then forced him to do the scene. My dad would laugh and say, "Brilliant! Brilliant!" He thought it would make me want to be a director when I grew up.

So that movie just made me think film makers are sadistic, evil bastards -- valuable life lesson.

Of the AV's "unrewatchable" AV films that I've seen, most I've seen more than once. Who can only watch [SAFE] once?

Saddest movies for me: SQUID AND THE WHALE, the strip club scene in AWAY WE GO and, embarrassingly enough, FREE WILLY.
posted by Gucky at 7:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]



Wendy and Lucy
posted by Windigo at 7:35 PM on August 1, 2011


The book was bad enough, but Where The Red Fern Grows should definitely be on the list of "films that ought to have warning labels regarding the inclusion of dog-related tragedy". As my partner put it, "...and the moral of the story is, what? Don't ask for a puppy?"

Parts of Magnolia also totally jerk tears from my eyeballs. Like the part where Philip Seymour Hoffman starts going "....and this is the part of the movie where...". And oh good grief, Stanley. I could not even watch the bit where they wouldn't let him use the bathroom on the quiz show. Just so dehumanizing. Poor kid. Gah.

...but the absolute saddest thing I have ever seen on screen in my entire life (as in, it messed me up so badly I couldn't even finish it) is the anime miniseries(?) Now and Then, Here and There. Starts off looking like one type of show (cute, earnest kid gets zapped into another world while trying to talk to a mysterious girl) but quickly detours into Absolute And Utter World Of Pain. And it *doesn't let up*. Everything goes wrong. And then right when you think something *might* be changing for the better, wham, back into painville. I don't think I've ever before watched anything that (temporarily) rendered me unable to enjoy playing violent video games, but gah.

(I haven't seen Grave of the Fireflies, mind you, and I don't plan to. There's only so much "watch people suffer when they're down, then suffer some more!" I can take in the name of artistic expression).
posted by aecorwin at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2011


Grave of the Fireflies

This, so much
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2011


Totally disgusted with myself to admit this, but I cried like a baby at parts of The Notebook. Stupid brain...

I can beat that.

I never used to cry at movies, never. I wasn't a stoic or anything; I wished I could cry. I would try to make myself cry so that I wouldn't be the only dry-eyed one in the theater while my friends were sobbing away.

Then I saw a film that wrung my heart out and sent it bobbing away on a river, a movie that so completely smashed the ice dam around my heart that my tears came rushing out in a cataclysmic flood for hours after the movie ended, making a Scablands of my psyche so completely that to this day, I cry at nearly anything. Steve Martin movies, the closing ceremonies to the Olympics, a McDonald's commercial in Spanish, it doesn't fucking matter. Even the most schlocky, brutal, ham-fisted attempts at pathos have me weeping like a schoolgirl, fourteen years after seeing it.

And that film was James Cameron's Titanic.
posted by KathrynT at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


...and that B&W Italian movie about the old guy who is going to kill himself...

but no cigar called that before I did upthread: Umberto D. I hate you all for even making me think about that movie.
posted by marxchivist at 7:40 PM on August 1, 2011


polly_dactyl: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly kills me, both the book and the film. So sad, so hopeful, SO MANY TEARS!
posted by sc114 at 7:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm finally okay with the end of Toy Story 3, and we watch it a lot around here, but my kids prefer Toy Story 2. Every time the Sarah MacLachlan "when somebody loved me..." starts up, during Jessie's flashback? I'm done. When the young woman rediscovers Jessie and takes her for a ride in the car, and the sheer bliss on Jessie's face as she closes her eyes in the sunlight, only to realize she's been dumped off in a box on the side of the road... oh man. I'm crying right now just thinking about it.
posted by candyland at 7:41 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh and I do have to admit that the first film that ever managed to wrench a strong emotional response from me as a young kid was....Return of the Jedi. Specifically the end bit, what with the "Luke...help me take...this mask off." That's pretty deep stuff when you're a 9-year-old nerd....
posted by aecorwin at 7:42 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Forgive me, Fan! Forgive me!" Oh dear god. I must have watched this movie over a dozen times and it never fails.
posted by jokeefe at 7:44 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh lord we shouldn't bring TV into this. There is just too much.

LOST managed it at least three times for me. First, with Locke pounding on his steering wheel after getting fucked over by his father, cutting to him pounding on the hatch until the light turns on. Secondly, Charlie's death in "Greatest Hits," or rather everything surrounding it. And finally, "The Constant." If you can get through "The Constant" without tears I'm not sure you and I can ever hang out.

BSG with the success of the Blackbird, and christening it "Laura." Really anything scored with the excellent "Wander my Friends," which basically ceased all usage somewhere around season 3, when nothing was hopeful anymore.

Doctor Who, with "Parting of the Ways," and the whole sequence of events with Rose back in the east end, trying to eat chips and pretend that she can have a normal life, until she and her mother and Mickey break open the TARDIS in the most mundane-yet-heroic way possible, using a tow-truck. The Doctor, with all his power, completely at a loss as to how to face down the armada of Daleks, and these three lower-middle-class Londoners trying to help him, against his wishes, in the only way they can conceive how.

And, of course, any number of points during "The Wire," but I've only seen through Season 3. This is because the tragic moments built around Prez hit me harder than any other, and starting up Season 4 it was clear that it was going to be about middle schoolers and Prez, and I know that show too well to expect anything less than traumatizing there.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:44 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aecorwin I hate you for reminding me that Now and Then, Here and There exists. I don't remember the ending of the show exactly (though I think one of the characters at least stays behind because there is no way they could return to anything resembling the real world after their ordeal) , but that show messed me up. It was the sexual violence against a child that really, really turned that show into something else. There's pulling the carpet underneath an audience's feet, and then there's that...
posted by slimepuppy at 7:45 PM on August 1, 2011


Once Were Warriors


Oh, man.
posted by mobunited at 7:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I forgot about My Life. Specifically the scene where Michael Keaton is getting a shave from his father... Boy was that the worst first date movie ever...
posted by Jacob G at 7:49 PM on August 1, 2011


Oh and I do have to admit that the first film that ever managed to wrench a strong emotional response from me as a young kid was....Return of the Jedi. Specifically the end bit, what with the "Luke...help me take...this mask off." That's pretty deep stuff when you're a 9-year-old nerd....

Or if you're an adult woman. That's more weeping than I have managed in my entire life, and much of it's for R2D2.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:49 PM on August 1, 2011


I don't cry much in movies. So often when the sad moment it comes, I know it's coming and I'm prepared; I've steeled my heart.

But...

Edgar Allen Poe said there was nothing sadder than the death of a beautiful woman. It's the man who's left behind, grieving and loving her still, that makes it so poignant.

So, yes, Up, the wordless vignette at the beginning, still scenes set to music that offer us just glimpses of a lifelong love. That made me cry.

And because selfless sacrifice just twists the knife in my heart, Snape, in the final Harry Potter movie, had me sobbing, even though I read the books, even though I knew what was coming. Because his love never died--even when Lily did. And he made himself go on, and do the right things through the pain, because he was a better man for having loved her.

Tearing up just typing.
posted by misha at 7:51 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hospital scene from Terms of Endearment, as said upthread.

I think it works out of context. Tell me you don't cry around 1:02.
posted by sweetkid at 7:52 PM on August 1, 2011


I cried for 3 days straight after seeing The Sixth Sense for the first time - I think mostly because I kept imagining my dead loved ones following me around, not knowing that they were dead.

I'm also pretty sure that This is My Father should be illegal for the sadness.

My opinion may be worthless though, because I cry during commercials where people really like their jobs.
posted by elvissa at 7:53 PM on August 1, 2011


Womp. Bad link. Here be the right one.

Hospital scene from Terms of Endearment, as said upthread.

I think it works out of context. Tell me you don't cry around 1:02.
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sophie's Choice and Tess... now there were two uncomfortable first date movies!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:55 PM on August 1, 2011


Just to be contrary, I cry at happy endings. I find it very poignant when the two boys in Beautiful Thing dance together at the end of the movie while Mama Cass sings. Like many of the examples above, I think the music soundtrack has a big part to play as music seems to cut straight to the emotions.
posted by binturong at 8:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, The Constant from Lost totally did me in.

Oh, and the Donnie Darko, "How does it feel to have a wacko for a son?" scene.

I also remember as a kid watching Dances with Wolves and the, "I am Wind in his Hair! Can you see that I am your friend?" scene and my throat closing up until I felt like I couldn't swallow. In a similar vein, I think I was devastated by Goose's death in Top Gun, which is pretty hilarious.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:09 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Silly movie overall, but the "robot smashy" scene from Short Circuit 2 is still nearly unwatchable to my grownup self. Oh and the aftermath of that, when Johnny 5 is wandering around leaking battery fluid and has to write "dying...u fix" on the wall. *sob*
posted by aecorwin at 8:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the winter of 1997, my girlfriend at the time, took me to see Titanic. Somewhere around the 4 hour mark, when Jack is struggling to stay afloat, someone in the audience decided to take off their shoes or stuff a hobos corpse with rotten eggs. So I start to sniff the air trying to find the source of the stench. After sniffing both of my own armpits to see if I was the offender, I look up to meet her two red watery eyes. She patted my shoulder and nodded knowingly.
posted by zinc saucier at 8:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was a kid who never quite fit into the world, and as a consequence, I knew that sensation of the incoming flood far too well, when you knew it was coming, the rush and roar and heat of it, when all you can do is surrender, because the dam's already burst, and it's just a matter of time before you're swept away.

"Mr. Wall," said Mrs. Marcellus, a particularly cruel and thoughtless first grade teacher in my school, "Am I to take it that we're going to be blessed with another of your fine performances?"

I was standing there, humiliated, having been dressed down for slipping ahead in my reader in front of the whole class, and the jeering, giggling, lurching masses of those ugly, awful grins of twenty kids who also failed to understand a thing about how I worked, and who I was meant to be in this world, were hot enough to feel like the late afternoon sun in a Maryland summer.

I stood, and burned in the glare.

"No, I am not," I said, jutting my jaw out defiantly, and proved myself wrong almost immediately, dissolving into the choking gales of desperate tears.

"Well here we go," said my horrid teacher. "Bring on those big fat crocodile tears, Joseph, and show the whole class what a baby you are."

And even then, even lost in a moment where I felt like I was the only one of me there'd ever be, and the only one who'd ever know, I knew she was wrong.

In my household, my father cried. My father cried, and cried over things as simple and overt as the lilting, tragic melodies of Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé suite, and he was a strong, limitless man who shared those tears easily, and shared why we cry, too.

"Son, if you listen right here," he said, counting out the measures as we sat in front of a pair of tweed Advent speakers, "this part is about the romance of a man who never existed, but if you listen to the way the composer wrote the music, he carries us along, so we feel what we're meant to feel."

"If it's a romance, why does it sound sad?"

"It's Russian. Russian music always sounds a little sad."

"But if he's in love, why is it sad?"

"There's sadness in everything, Joe-B. Sometimes you can be happier than you've ever been and still feel a little sad. Sometimes, you can feel sad because something is so beautiful it's just too much to bear."

"Things can be like that?" I asked. It was all a mystery to me.

"You know better when you've seen more of the world."

He was right, of course. I have seen so much more, and it's easier to make me cry than ever. These days, though, when I reflect on the running commentary of a foolish, mean-spirited teacher, I feel sad, too, but for her.

"How long shall we expect to enjoy these great big gales of tears, Mr. Wall? The entire class is waiting for your interruption to end, so that we can continue on the assigned lesson in our readers."

"You big baby," whispered the nearest, meanest kid, with a snicker, and even then, I knew that I was anything but. I'd seen my father cry in his headphones, silently conducting his Kijé , and there was no one stronger in the world, no one smarter, no one better. Even then, even when I was just a kid, I knew who I was, even if I couldn't explain how I got that way.

When my niece was coming up, my sister once commented, finding that she was crying, how like me she was. "She's just...tuned in, like you always were," she said, and I nodded.

"An eleven, yep."

It's my own little code for that sort of hair trigger heart, being the kind of person who's always turned up past the ten on the easy feeling scale.

Of course, I didn't always want it. When it was a movie day, on those special days, I always sort of wanted them to run Pete's Dragon for the hundredth time, rather than spool up my favorite film, The Red Balloon, a film I loved so much I never wanted to see it again, because it was just so playful, and magical, and terribly, terribly hard when it took the turns that were most familiar to me.

The film would chatter along in the projector and I recognize the familiar streets of a Parisian neighborhood that no longer exists, and barely did even then, and I'd feel that electric static of familiar twinges up my spine, because I loved that film, loved that boy, loved those streets, loved that balloon, and I knew what would happen, because it always happened.

I'd see myself as a quiet French boy, see myself finding the balloon, find myself in the kind of chaste love with the balloon, and the chase, the charging, terrifying chase, and the moment when the bad kids stoned the balloon, finishing it off with a stamping foot, and all the air would leave the room. I'd sob very, very quietly, a skill you learn when you cry easily, and try to look away, but then...well, then, all the balloons in Paris would come flying, and it was too much to bear, too beautiful and sad and wonderful and everything, and I'd desperately wave to the teacher to ask to be excused to use the lavatory, because if I opened my mouth—

If all the balloons in Paris came to me, why would that be sad?

You just don't understand such things until you've seen the world. Sometimes the things that make you cry the hardest, even when you've seen them again and again, are the ones that most remind you that life is a kind of glorious agony, where nothing is either good or bad, but some impossible mixture of things. I cry when the dogs die, when love's not enough, when I see myself up there, living out some parallel of my own life, even though it's all just a story, told for the purpose of entertainment and enlightenment.

It's all just a story, so why am I crying?

It was just so confusing. Sitting in a movie theater in the city, with my parents flanking me, I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, annoyed by the damned mimes in ape costumes, enraptured by the futuristic space station and the moon and the giant space ship, so lovingly rendered, and when Dave Bowman pulled the little glass blocks out of Hal's brain, accompanied by that steadily slowing monologue, I caught myself at it again. Distracted by the baffling remainder of the film, I wiped my tears and sat through it, until the lights came up in the theater.

"Dad? Did Hal die?"

"I think so, though it's hard to know what happened in that movie."

"That was sad, but I don't know why I was sad because Hal was mean."

"It's sad when any thinking being dies, Joe," my father said, and he was right.

"Why was the computer mean?"

"I can't say."

Still, when I sing "Daisy," I tend to slow down at the end.

I took a decade off, though, after my father died, because I'd cried enough, and I watched movies that didn't take me to those places. I can say with some certainty that I have probably seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion more frequently than the film's editors. Sometimes you just don't want to be sad anymore, and there's a world out there dedicated to dampening those lonesome feelings so you won't have to hurt. There's always Ernest Goes To Camp, Ernest Goes To Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid, and hell, didn't I watch enough depressing subtitled French films in the nineties? Can't I just escape it all for a moment?

Until you fall in love with someone who's lost someone, and who wears it on their sleeve as raw and open as a wound, and then it all comes flooding back, the rush and roar and heat of it, and you find that you've finally grown up enough that it's not unbearable, the other side of that boundary between life and death, love and loss, and kindness and cruelty. You sit in a packed theater with the guy who opened the floodgates, even as you know, deep down, that it's almost over, both in the film and there, in the world, watching Ennis and Jack and thinking, "why the fuck did I have to see this movie with him, of all the fucking people in the world?"

"Jack, I swear," Ennis says, smoothing out the shirt that's wrapped around Jack's shirt in the closet in his trailer, and you sob, audibly, and go completely salt-blind as the tears come, knowing that the guy next to you is crying over someone else, someone who came before you and who you'll never be, and that's how things are, being grown up in a complex, impossible world.

Here comes eleven, you think, and it's not so bad now that your a grown, middle-aged man. Here comes eleven. How lucky am I to know this feeling?

In the mercury lamp glare of the parking lot to the movie theater, you don't say a word, but even though you know it's all just a fantasy, you half expect to see all the balloons in Paris coming your way, to carry you away from it all, and let out a laugh that's not entirely a laugh.

"What?"

"Nothing. Thought I saw all the balloons in Paris for a second."

He rolls his eyes. You find the car, and your taillights disappear in the night, where the credits ought to be, if life were really like that.

If only.
posted by sonascope at 8:20 PM on August 1, 2011 [58 favorites]


Having watched The Whelk's link now, I'd like to nominate the Sesame Street scene where Big Bird finds out Mr. Hopper died. We don't even have to watch it, we can all just think about it and start crying. I had to pull over when NPR did a 25th anniversary story on it.

(Also I love how many people in this thread like movies I thought I was the only one who'd ever seen!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


*Hooper, dyac.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:22 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The movies that made me cry as a kid: I howled at "Snoopy Come Home" and the ending of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

It explains a lot.
posted by not_on_display at 8:23 PM on August 1, 2011


Candyland, I was holding my shit together throughout, but that Toy Story STORY (I haven't even seen the damn movie) just about broke my heart.
posted by verbyournouns at 8:25 PM on August 1, 2011


I'm a masochist. Went looking for clips of Marley and me to try to show why this movie tore me up and found this video by someone who apparently feels just the same. Now crying. Again.

This thread is a tear jerker all the way.
posted by bearwife at 8:29 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


A serendipitous thread - I watched Grave of the Fireflies last night and I don't think it'll leave me anytime soon. No movies done that to me since Bambi when I was eight years old.
posted by beseku at 8:39 PM on August 1, 2011


After my previous comment, I realized that the scene from this classic Garfield cartoon moved me quite a bit. I think it was because up until that point, the relationship between Garfield and Odie in the comic strip was defined by animosity, at least on Garfield's part.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:41 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


After my previous comment, I realized that the scene from this classic Garfield cartoon moved me quite a bit.

Gah, I watched that and now I am saaddssss. sads.
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 PM on August 1, 2011


I have Gates of Heaven here in a box, unopened. I know it's a great film, and it's not really about pets dying--but the back story of the customers, even if it's never explicitly explored, will get to me, just thinking about it, I know it will. I'll work up to it.

A local talk show host had a segment (it must have been 12 or more years ago now, 9/11 turned him into a rabid right-wing douchebag but he was a pleasant guy to listen talk about throw-away subjects before that), anyway, he had a segment on "guys who cry during movies." What was interesting to me was of the dozen or so women who called in, every single one found men crying while watching a movie unattractive--and I heard the word "pathetic" more than once.

I cry easily at the movies. Might explain why I was single for so long...
posted by maxwelton at 8:54 PM on August 1, 2011


I keep coming back to this thread; heartbreakingly beautiful movies are one of my favorite things in the world. Now that I have time to flesh out my thoughts a little more...

A lot of Charlie Kaufman's movies make me emotional, but Synecdoche, New York is the one that can completely wreck me. I can't help but both laugh and cry at the same time during the funeral for Caden's father; his mother's comments--"They had to put him in a shoebox because there was so little left. It's mostly stuffed with cotton."--are both hilariously absurd and utterly soul destroying. There's such a powerful sense of regret throughout that whole film; the last half hour and the gradual resolution of the Caden/Ellen thread is one of the most emotionally exhausting things I've ever seen in a film; the phone call to Hazel, the morning after her death; "I breathe your name in every exhalation."; "I really wanted that picnic with my daughter."; Millicent's monologue during the beautiful, devastating climax. I love that movie so much.

Me and You and Everyone We Know is another wonderfully sad movie, full of delicately heartbreaking vignettes. The poop joke makes me cry.

Last Life in the Universe
is one of my favorite movies. You don't ordinarily see this kind of sadness in films; there aren't really any big emotional climaxes. Just a calm, warm atmosphere soaked with sorrow and mystery. I'm still a little bit in love with Kenji.

Haibane Renmei
is a profoundly sad anime series by one of the creators of Serial Experiments Lain. It's one of the most literary films I know of; it unfolds like a wonderful, beloved children's novel (think The Little Prince) that becomes remarkably sad only when you revisit it as an adult and realize what all of the symbolism means. Once you start to understand the reality behind Rakka's dream and the nature of Old Home, so many innocuous moments become heartbreaking in retrospect. There's a thin silver lining running through everything, though, and Haibane Renmei is commendable for addressing incredibly dark and distressing topics with an uncharacteristic gentleness. A part of me will always hope there really is a secret special place where every broken heart is slowly mended.
posted by byanyothername at 8:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't care who links it or what the link is but from here on out I WILL NOT BE WATCHING ANY MORE SAD ANIMAL STORIES. Cartoon or otherwise! Not even if it's The Last Unicorn!
posted by triggerfinger at 9:02 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am done being sad. I would like to laugh heartily now.

The diaper chase from Raising Arizona

Lorenzo St. Dubois auditions for Boomerang Baby Springtime for Hitler, from The Producers

Peggy Gravel has a nervous breakdown in Desperate Living

Unfortunately, that last clip cuts off before she answers the phone. This has the whole thing

I can't think of more of my funniest scenes, but I'll rack my brain.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't believe anyone has mentioned these:

Jean de Florette, first when the rabbits, the last chance at making their farm a success, are poisoned, and you can see the light die in Gerard Depardieu's eyes. Then, the end, when his young daughter realizes what the villain, who is laughing it up, has done to her family and screams.

Also, The Color of Paradise, when the ungrateful father realizes his unwanted blind son has been carried away by the river. Beautiful movie, but I cannot watch it again.
posted by nikitabot at 9:10 PM on August 1, 2011


There's always Ernest Goes To Camp, Ernest Goes To Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid, and

The Importance of Being Ernest.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:12 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The one I feel silliest about: Inception. The first time I saw it, I was all "ooh, awesome concepts, suspenseful action scenes, etc, this is great!"

The second time I watched it was a completely different experience. I already knew the full backstory of the main character's relationship and journey, and so every scene just took on this incredibly poignant quality -- this guy and his wife had gotten so lost in their own minds, and he was journeying through literally lifetimes worth of experiences to make things somehow as right as he could . . . I bawled walking out the theater, had to sit down on the sidewalk and sob while my friend -- who was in the "omg, that was so cool!" mindset -- did his best to awkwardly console me.
posted by treepour at 9:12 PM on August 1, 2011


I used to be able to sit dry-eyed through such classic chick weepies as Steel Magnolias (in fact, I used to root for Shelby to just Die Already). Then I was home one day on maternity leave after having had my daughter, I was trapped on the couch under a tiny bundle who refused to sleep anywhere but in my arms, and some lower-tier movie channel was showing that flick.

By the time Sally Field said, "I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life, and I was there when she drifted out," I was sobbing so hard, my daughter's downy hair was soaked. (She slept on.)

Now I know a hidden side effect to parenthood: it ruined my ability to sit through Steel Magnolias solely for the pleasure of snickering at Olympia Dukakis's valiant attempt to convince us she could have sprung from anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.
posted by sobell at 9:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The funeral scene from Man on the Moon gets me every time.
posted by rebel_rebel at 9:13 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You wanna cry? Angel At My Table, that'll do it. But you'll laugh, too, you'll be moved in just about every direction by this powerful flick, it's so well done, it's long and worth every minute.

I'm not going to put in the spoilers here, I'm just not, I'm not going to do that in this popular a thread. But see this flick. It's a huge story told hugely, it sweeps over a families life ... No, it doesn't sweep over it, it opens it up to us, you get right into the heart of it.

Rent the dvd that's got the extra package telling about the making of the movie, too -- great stuff.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:17 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't remember why because I've never watched it again, but Finding Neverland made me cry.

Jack the Bear did to.
posted by Sailormom at 9:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The end of A Bridge Too Far where all the wounded soldiers, all those broken men, are singing a hymn gets me. The pointless. waste. of. lifes. brings me to tears without fail. Somewhat tangentially, this mashup of Charlie Chaplin's speech in the The Great Dictator and the sound track from 28 Days Later was doing the round lately, and caught me quite by surprise. It is kind of embarrassing to cry at work for no outwardly apparent reason.
posted by adamt at 9:21 PM on August 1, 2011


Funny?

Withnail and I -- "cake and fine wines"

Shaun of the Dead -- "Don't Stop Me Now"

Royal Tenenbaums -- "Takin' it out and choppin' it up
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2011


In Shadowlands, Debra Winger does two death scenes. Two.
Completely not fair. I don't know if they stand alone or not, but the whole movie is worth watching just for the catharsis.
Also, Anthony Hopkins is marvelous.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:45 PM on August 1, 2011


Debra Winger, I shake my fist at you, you death scene goddess! I shake my fist at you!!!
posted by sweetkid at 9:50 PM on August 1, 2011


OH YES WITHNAIL AND I.

I like this scene too. although it's cut off before it gets funny. And every other scene, because it is my favorite movie. Bonus - you really, really should click on the CC in the corner and select "Transcribe Audio." It is my new favorite source of surreal humor. (Pro tip - Mel Blanc absolutely breaks Transcribe Audio. It is the best thing.)
posted by louche mustachio at 9:58 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shadowlands, with Anthony Hopkins as C S Lewis. You'll believe a man can cry.
posted by Sparx at 10:07 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


"What was interesting to me was of the dozen or so women who called in, every single one found men crying while watching a movie unattractive--and I heard the word 'pathetic' more than once."

Maybe this just says more about the women who call in to the show (it's the Dori Monson show you're talking about, yes?) than about women in general.

Or maybe I'm just weird. Because I cry easily at movies and if I am with a guy who doesn't, I'd probably wonder what was wrong with him. Certainly I wouldn't find it at all unattractive if he cried at scenes like the ones people have mentioned in this thread. My soon-to-be-ex-husband generally did not show any emotion at movies, and I must admit I thought that was weird.
posted by litlnemo at 10:07 PM on August 1, 2011


Yeah, litlnemo, that's the dude. I always wonder what exactly happened to him--he used to be very pleasant to listen to, but he had a reputation as a "bubblegum" host. Did he consciously seize on the events of 9/11 to move into a more lucrative, harder-edged image, did he genuinely have a cognitive break, or did his hidden douchebagginess emerge? I dont listen to much radio any more but I can't listen to him for more than a minute when he's on.
posted by maxwelton at 10:22 PM on August 1, 2011


I have to agree with Pater Aletheias, since my daughter was born I've turned in to a sniveling mess. The Disney Rapunzel movie Tangled had me sobbing when the parents thought they had lost their daughter. The start of Up is going to get anyone, but when they found out they couldn't have kids it was unbearable.
posted by markr at 10:31 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


In super-recent movies, Another Earth is really, really sad. Though I'm not sure you could pick out a single scene (maybe the one where the main character goes to visit a work colleague who gave her advice for dealing her own existential problems in the hospital).
posted by subdee at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll be the first to admit I'm kind of terrible to watch movies with - I giggle frequently at dramatic moments and find most 'serious' scenes overblown and over-acty (see: Mystic River) and my movie choices are seriously questionable - but I remember the first time I saw Mr. Holland's Opus and ended up with just tears rolling down my cheeks. It's not a perfect movie by any means, but that last scene where all his students come to play his symphony and the way his fingers tremble when he holds his hands up to begin conducting the notes he wrote - gets me every time.

and then there was the time my dad, in his infinite wisdom, took me to see Alive when I was a wee one and I started sobbing about how I couldn't eat mom and dad if the plane crashed no I didn't want to, and I didn't want to go to Disneyland any more because I didn't want to die on a plane. yeah yeah yeah.
posted by zennish at 10:41 PM on August 1, 2011


The intro to "Up", sure, but what kills me in that one, even more, is: "I crawled under the porch because I LOVE you."

Also, sonascope, I'm relieved to know someone else besides me gets levelled by what I've always thought of as intensity. I thought I was nuts. When I was in like second or third grade, we were shown a film called "Ignoramia", about a kingdom of people who couldn't read, and I could feel my face wanting crying to happen, but I knew I couldn't do it there (I was already the boy who cried), so I wound up crying about it when I got home. 

Now, some things make me cry that aren't even sad, but just... Too much? I like to read out loud  to myself, especially stuff I've read a few times before, and of all things, hope and badassery make me tear up. There are a good half-dozen bits in (e.g.) "The Dark Knight Returns" that make my heart soar with awesomeness so much that I cry. 

Also also, seconding the "I'm not strong enough" part in "The Incredibles", but I also get a tear-shudder from "I'll crush her. It'll be easy," because Mr. Incredible believes his family is gone, and he has nothing left to lose, but you can still see (hear, really) how much making that threat costs him, inside, hurts him to say (because heroes don't say things like that, and what kind of hero is he now, if this is how far he's fallen), even though you know it's an empty threat. And it's all in his tone of voice, and then in the way he just slumps when his bluff is called, that he knows he's beaten.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:46 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Netflix recommended Mary and Max to me, and it's beautiful and tragic and funny and I bawled like a baby. Great claymation, loved the art direction. Two very different, lonely, suffering people on the opposite sides of the worlds become pen pals.
posted by smirkette at 10:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Synecdoche, New York is the one that can completely wreck me.

Oh god, yeah.
posted by naju at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2011


this is just a little short on vimeo, so does it count? i'm not a dog guy, but holy shit....
posted by rainperimeter at 10:58 PM on August 1, 2011


No tears for the funeral scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral? It devastated me before I got married. Now? It's unbearable.
posted by deborah at 11:01 PM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


There have been some really emotionally powerful Korean movies in recent years - Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was totally draining and the ending of Mother really made me tear up.

You wanna start watching the kdramas. Damn things have me weeping like a girl on a weekly basis.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:05 PM on August 1, 2011


See also: lil' brudder
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:06 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


My pick for saddest:

Near the end of Brokeback Mountain, when Ennis visits Jack's room.
posted by aesacus at 11:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


A dying dog has always done me in. Marley & Me, Hachi: A Dog's Story... I don't mind people dying but when a dog goes I *always* break down.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Mouse and His Child
posted by ainsley at 11:45 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not a movie, but I tear up when this guy talks about his mother dying when he was 14. Freaking tears my heart out.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:58 PM on August 1, 2011


Oops, tear-jerking commences at about 7:25.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:59 PM on August 1, 2011


I know Speilberg gets scoffed at in some quarters for being emotionally manipulative, but the scene where Celie and Nettie are separated at the beginning of The Color Purple is appropriately heart-wrenching.

Two that probably aren't on most people's lists but that wrecked me personally, both come courtesy of Spike Lee.
Ossie Davis reading the Eulogy at the end of Malcolm X always gets me, but the most overt display of emotion I think I've ever displayed in a movie theater was the scene near the end where the police kill Radio Raheem. I was 18 and saw the movie with my mother. I started to tear up a little bit, and then my mother reached over and hugged me really hard, and I just lost it. I had to go see the movie again the next day, because I completely missed the end I was crying so hard.

Regarding the mentions of The Wire. While the death ow Wallace in Season one was a heartbreaker, it's nothing compared to season 4. That whole season is one big dagger being slowly pushed into your heart. Also, the last season, when Bubbles finally gets to sit at the dinner table. So many tears.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most recent saddest-movie: Never Let Me Go. Gut punchingly moving.
posted by wowbobwow at 12:19 AM on August 2, 2011


I invented the "cry track". It's like a laugh track, except it's sounds of people sobbing. You can play it during Three Stooges movies and the audience will weep uncontrollably. It never caught on.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:20 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit that is genuinely sad? Probaly parts of Brother's Keeper. Shit that makes me tear up every time? Random Parts of Field of Dreams, and of course, the end of Brokeback Mountain.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:37 AM on August 2, 2011


I invented the "cry track". It's like a laugh track, except it's sounds of people sobbing. You can play it during Three Stooges movies and the audience will weep uncontrollably. It never caught on.

If I ever get that self-indulgent movie made about my life (think emo Scott Pilgrim), I'll add that. Just to make it even more insufferable.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:50 AM on August 2, 2011


The end of Gods and Monsters.
posted by brujita at 12:59 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've already mentioned it once today, but the last scene of Jurassic Bark. I know it's not a movie, but I don't care. I cried at the beginning of Up too, but I cried more at Jurassic Bark.
posted by kmz at 5:14 PM on August 1


My best friend in the world is a nearly twelve-year-old Welsh Corgi. My then-wife and I picked him out together in January, 2000.

I named him Frye, after Fry from Futurama.

"Jurassic Bark" aired in 2004, when I was two years removed from divorcing the ex, living alone in a depressing apartment, with my loving, loyal dog the only good and steady thing I had going in my life.

That episode messed me the fuck up. Still have a hard time watching it.

Cut to late 2010. I've found a career, something I'm good at, and have a unique opportunity to relocate permanently to Australia to realise my ambitions. Only thing is, I knew I'd be on the road 50-90% of the time, and between that and quarantine, that's no life for my pal.

I gave him up. He's living with my friends and their two little Westies who run around the back yard and bark at the planes flying overhead. I haven't seen him since November.

That being said, I saw Toy Story 3 sometime in February. Holy shit, the last ten minutes or so had me convulsing with choked up sadness. The simple idea of giving up the things that represented the best part of who you were so you could move on to who you've grown into being?

Fuck, I miss my pal terribly. This is Frye from about a month ago, "enjoying his retirement" in Tennessee. I know I did the right thing, but goddammit...
posted by GamblingBlues at 1:02 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Well shit, GamblingBlues, our situations couldn't be much more similar. I am currently visiting my 11 year old Welsh Corgi who I had to give up to let him live with my folks, as my current home doesn't allow dogs. Basil has had a good "retirement," although he's now succumbing to degenerative myelopathy (paralyzed from his Corgi-waist down) and it won't be long until I have to make some even harder decisions. All I can say is that I think I know exactly what you're going through, and can certainly sympathize.

As far as "guaranteed tear-jerker fuel," my vote is for the end of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. More of a "bittersweet triumph" than genuinely "sad" moment, but definitely cues up the waterworks for me.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:36 AM on August 2, 2011


Not sure "The Green Mile" has been mentioned yet. Multiple scenes, obviously John Coffey's execution but also especially when Paul goes to see a grey-haired Mr Jingles towards the end...
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 2:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something I just saw tonight.

Redditor grants her dog one last request.

This had me crying a couple of seconds in.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:47 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


My beloved cocker spaniel died this morning. I woke up to a text message from my dad.

Why did this thread have to happen today? For some ungodly reason, I clicked every single link, even as my brain screamed "NO NO NO NO NONONO WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOOOOINNGGG STOP IT!!" But I couldn't stop myself, and here we are at the bottom. Man, that was a bad idea.

My adolescent puggle / muse / watermelon disposal unit is curled up on a pillow right next to me, snoring. Dude is practically radiating happiness. Must inch closer and bask / nuzzle.
posted by jake at 3:00 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Please, please, make me into a real, live boy.
Please.
Blue Fairy?
Please.
Please. . .
Blue Fairy, please.
Please. . .
. . .make me real.
Blue Fairy, please.
Please make me real.
Please make me a real boy"
posted by Cogentesque at 3:10 AM on August 2, 2011


Having another dog in the on-deck circle definitely makes losing a best-friend-dog a little bit easier.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:11 AM on August 2, 2011


Talking about Futurama nad the beautiful scene in Jurassic Bark (by the way, the music made that scene "If it takes forever...." - protip: go back and watch it but listen to the music - spine tingling orchestra swell), in a similar vein, in the episode where Leela finds out where she came from - "Baby love child" (or something) and her parents secretly help her throughout her orphaned life, giving her birthday presents and cookies when she was so alone and had no friends - always so warm and moving for me
posted by Cogentesque at 3:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been known to cry at the end of The Great Escape. The original King Kong too.
posted by marxchivist at 3:26 AM on August 2, 2011


Absolutely the montage scene from Up (and just about every other one, especially the Adventure Book, the "boring stuff" talk, and the ending).

I think scenes like this are really effective when you least expect them. Apart from "Jurassic Bark," one of my favorite Futurama episodes was the one where Leela discovers the identity of her parents -- not aliens, as she thought, but shunned sewer mutants who were so ashamed of themselves that they left her at an orphanage rather than raise her in squalor. The montage of her childhood at the end is just fantastic.

Another great one was "Luck of the Fryrish," which shows Fry on a quest to find his old lucky seven-leaf clover, interspersed with flashbacks showing what a total jerkass thief his older brother Yancey was to him growing up. He eventually discovers a monument dedicated to a long-dead astronaut/rock star/millionaire that looks just like Yancey... except it's dedicated to "Philip J. Fry" (Fry's actual name) -- and there's a clover on his lapel! Pissed off at the theft of his name, clover, and dreams, Fry finds Yancey's tombstone -- and makes a shocking discovery explained via one last flashback.

Similarly, the old Simpsons episode about how Maggie was born. Homer had quit the nuclear plant and landed a low-paying dream job at the bowling alley after he determined he'd earned exactly enough money to support the family indefinitely. But when Maggie is conceived unexpectedly, he has to go crawling back to Burns. Homer's crushed, and Burns rubs it in with a blunt poster, but then... well, watch (in Spanish, but the dialogue's not essential).

Also: the "cease fire" scene from Children of Men (which, for reference, posits a world where no child has been born for decades and society is rapidly unraveling as people lose hope for the future).
posted by Rhaomi at 3:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh... my daughter was a toddler when I saw Sophie's Choice and it just wrecked me for weeks. Absolutely devastating when she has to choose.

Another one that stayed with me for weeks afterwards was Sommersby. When the "coward" Horace willingly allows himself to be executed in a case of mistaken identity rather than let his daughter grow up as an outcast and bastard, while Jodie Foster fights tooth and nail to save him... man. Cue the tears and snot.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:13 AM on August 2, 2011


I was going to post how I cry at everything but as usual, Sonascope has explained it with such beauty.

Here's to all the 11s out there, crying at this thread.
posted by fullerine at 4:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



The saddest movie in the world is Ponette.

Yes, yes it is. That little girl beautiful little face. Tearing up just thinking about it.

When my son was about five, I took him to the movies and they showed a trailer for Eight Below during the previews. He turned to me, tears streaming down his face, and said, "We can't see that movie." I had to choke back my own tears to tell him I completely agreed.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:24 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


After my previous comment, I realized that the scene from this classic Garfield cartoon yt moved me quite a bit. I think it was because up until that point, the relationship between Garfield and Odie in the comic strip was defined by animosity, at least on Garfield's part.

You forget Garfield's most primal need. As the music swelled, and Garfield reached out to stroke Odie's back, I thought for sure Garfield was going to unhinge his jaws and swallow Odie whole.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:11 AM on August 2, 2011


All super great choices Rhaomi, the cease fire scene is super cool - More Wowing that sad I think. But really really great all the same - great movie in general that one I think. And the simpsons one is also really sweet :)
posted by Cogentesque at 5:59 AM on August 2, 2011


This is better if you are reading the thread backwards and read "Garfield" as meaning Andrew Garfield.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:07 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


DON'T CRY BABY
KNEW THIS WAS A ONE WAY TICKET
BUT YOU KNOW I HAD TO COME
LOVE YOU WIFE
posted by heatvision at 6:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Damnit heatvision, now I hope James Cameron remakes every single movie in this thread.
posted by Gable Oak at 6:52 AM on August 2, 2011


By some weird coincidence, I watched the last episode of Six Feet Under while my dad was on hospice, dying from congestive heart failure and diabetes. I didn't realize how awful the episode would be, and I'll never forget my dad, lying in bed, telling me everything would be okay while I cried my eyes out. He kept asking me what was wrong. Damn I miss him.

The linked scene from Band of Brothers had me crying when I first saw it, too. Same goes for Oscar Schindler breaking down in SL:
This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. (removing a Nazi pen from lapel) This pen. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. He would have given me one. One more. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. I could have gotten one more person…and I didn’t! And I…I didn’t!
posted by menschlich at 7:05 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The absolute saddest movie I ever saw was Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl. It just made me ache all through, for weeks.

But in terms of actual hard-core sobbing, the thing I got hit hardest by was the damn Bridges of Madison County movie, where her hand's on the car door handle. I hate myself for it moving me the way it did, especially since I only watched it as a goof. But oh, damn. I sobbed out loud and didn't stop till halfway through the credits. The only upside was that I told my writing partner about it and having him tease me mercilessly about it - only to have him come in a week later and say "Watched it. Sobbed like a little Girl."

In terms of a movie scene that gets me every time, there's a little scene in The Last Unicorn where Molly Grue sees the unicorn for the first time that just never fails to run through me. So much heartbreak in one line - in a cartoon no less. I'm actually weeping now from watching it when I grabbed the link. Dammit.
posted by Mchelly at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


KNEW THIS WAS A ONE WAY TICKET
BUT YOU KNOW I HAD TO COME
LOVE YOU WIFE


*sniff* WAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

So cloying, so manipulative, so effective.
posted by biscotti at 7:26 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Second xiu xiu. Dear god.
posted by xarnop at 7:49 AM on August 2, 2011


I watched Brokeback for the first time, when I was living between Toronto and Alberta, torn between two places. I watched it on the day of a flight, coming to TO. I was racked loudly with sobs in the theater, just refusing to hide any emotion i had about the place i loved and the men i loved and the violent history of their irreconcilability. As I was weeping, people filed out of the theater, aloof and almost mocking me for how i was feeling.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:03 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


yasaman: Also, if we're bringing in TV shows, Iroh's Tale from the "Tales of Ba Sing Se" episode of Avatar the Last Airbender. First time I watched that, I cried for like ten minutes afterwards, feeling faintly ridiculous for crying so much. That little short packs a serious punch.
Oh god, this. Video here. Such a wonderful character in so many ways, and the final "In honor of Mako" was the perfect touch. (Mako was Iroh's voice actor, who had died a few months before the episode aired.)

I'm crying at work now, thanks MeFi~
posted by ashirys at 8:04 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The trailers for the recent film adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia were terribly misleading: it looked like a CGI-packed Disneyfied Narnia knockoff, not a sweet and meditative tribute to imagination, innocence, and loss. I went to see it because I'd read the novel in school and loved it. I knew about the sudden, tragic twist towards the end, and I'd braced myself for it. (Insufficiently, as it turned out: I ended up crying so hard I gave myself a headache.)

But I have to assume that the rest of the audience, mostly parents and their prepubescent children, only knew as much as they'd seen in the trailers, and had no idea what they were really getting into. I assume so because, when the credits rolled and the lights came up and everyone started filing out, they filed out in complete silence. No murmuring, no chattering, no "oh-that-was-nice-what-did-you-think". Complete and utter silence. If I hadn't been fumbling for a Kleenex and an Advil, in that order, I'd have laughed.
posted by Zozo at 8:26 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"A Star Is Born" with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson used to be my go-to tearjerker.


(did i just admit to that?)
posted by futz at 8:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, those things that reliably prod me into pretending there's something in my eye:

"I love you, June: you're life and I'm leaving you."

"He was shot!"

"Me and Ed, we can be good too."
posted by Grangousier at 8:46 AM on August 2, 2011


Fuck, I miss my pal terribly. This is Frye from about a month ago, "enjoying his retirement" in Tennessee. I know I did the right thing, but goddammit...

:( We have a Corgi named Ein (after the Cowboy Bebop Ein, of course) and he's getting older now and I don't even want to think about what that's eventually going to mean.

Doctor Who, with "Parting of the Ways," and the whole sequence of events with Rose back in the east end, trying to eat chips and pretend that she can have a normal life, until she and her mother and Mickey break open the TARDIS in the most mundane-yet-heroic way possible, using a tow-truck. The Doctor, with all his power, completely at a loss as to how to face down the armada of Daleks, and these three lower-middle-class Londoners trying to help him, against his wishes, in the only way they can conceive how.

I think the later beatification of Rose by RTD has diminished all her episodes for me, which is really unfair of me and a shame because her first couple of series were awesome. But the part in Doctor Who that gets me the most nowadays is when the Doctor has to mindwipe Donna. Just... ugh. I remember everybody had doubts about Catherine Tate as a companion but goddamn she knocked it out of the park.
The Doctor: I just want you to know that there are worlds out there, safe in the sky, because of her. That there are people, living in the light, singing songs of Donna Noble. A thousand million lightyears away. They will never forget her...while she can never remember. And for one moment, one shining moment, she was the most important woman in the whole wide universe.
Donna's Mother: She still is. She's my daughter.
Also, if we're bringing in TV shows, Iroh's Tale from the "Tales of Ba Sing Se" episode of Avatar the Last Airbender. First time I watched that, I cried for like ten minutes afterwards, feeling faintly ridiculous for crying so much. That little short packs a serious punch.

Oh god yes. Momo's story in that ep got to me as well. And don't get me started on "Appa's Lost Days". :( Or the indescribably beautiful but also tragic battle between Zuko and Azula in the series finale.

BTW, one of the characters in the new series is going to be named Mako, in a tribute to Iroh's voice actor.

I mentioned "The Body" above, but of course Buffy had plenty of other tearjerker moments. And the spinoff Angel was no slouch either. "Is that it? Am I done?" "Oh, and you're welcome." "Please. Wesley. Why can't I stay?" "Would you like me to lie to you now?" "Yes. Thank you, yes."

Damn you Joss, I love you.

Which reminds me... just about everything in Firefly depicting Simon and River's devotion to each other makes me weepy, but the moment that exemplified that the most was from the movie: "You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me. My turn." *cue waterworks*

Damnit, why am I writing more in this thread, and reading it for that matter? This should thread should be marked NSFW, unless you like your coworkers asking you why you're sobbing.

And, just to be an asshole, I'm going to leave this here: TVTropes: Tear Jerker.
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Big Fish" could have been about my late grandfather and I saw it in the theater a few months after he died. The fact that Albert Finney in that movie looked like my grandfather made it all so much more painful. I'm not sure if it would have hit me so hard if it hadn't hit uncomfortably close to home. Ditto "The Squid and The Whale."

I don't think films have to be very good to mess with your head. "In America" had me still blubbering like a fool outside the theater while I tried to explain to my father (also blubbering like a fool) why I thought it wasn't a very good movie. But then again, I'm a sap, coming from a long line of saps. I've cried at operas and symphonies and the moon and the mountains and the sea at sunrise. I'm pretty sure I've cried at damn architecture, for christsake. Getting me weepy sometimes requires little more than a sigh and a string section.

That said, Ben Kingsley in House of Sand and Fog just about killed me. The whole movie is devastating, but the last quarter is positively brutal.
posted by thivaia at 9:07 AM on August 2, 2011


All Dogs Go to Heaven just about killed my little brother with sadness when we were small.
posted by jrichards at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like the cat/Valse Triste scene in Allegro non Troppo linked above, pretty much any film adaptation of H.C. Andersen's The Little Match Girl will have me blubbering.

(Followed by ranting about what an incredibly fucked-up story it is to tell to a child.)
posted by Westringia F. at 9:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always found the interview segments of the "Band of Brothers" series to be terribly affecting, because they were all so plainspoken, and many were so obviously difficult to say out loud.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:25 AM on August 2, 2011


H.C. Andersen's The Little Match Girl

That story was in a beautiful volume of Christmas stories and carols at my house, that had beautiful illustrated etchings and only came out once a year with the rest of the Christmas trappings.



..Screaming nightmares for WEEKS.
posted by heyforfour at 9:28 AM on August 2, 2011


It was "The Fir Tree" that did it for me. Christ almighty, Hans.
posted by Iridic at 9:34 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mom still talks about how terrified and upset I was by the Little Match Girl. Can anyone tell me what we were supposed to learn from that? Poor abused children die of exposure when forced to sell matches? Or was there no lesson?
posted by sweetkid at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2011


While we're linking, a little now-forgotten cultural oddity that always knocked the wind out of me in my wayward youth was Bless The Beasts & Children, a film with a sad and shocking ending, at least to 1977 me, but the seventies were filled with such things. It's also the source of "Nadia's Theme," a puffy wad of saccharine to choke the world, though I was always sure it was more appropriate in its original context.

Of course, I was criminally obsessed with Billy Mumy back then, which helped, largely because I was convinced that life owed me a sarcastic robot and an air-pinching fussbudgety conniving old queen to follow me around. You go with what you know.

The film has not aged well, but watching the ending just now, there's still a shadow of that old desolate feeling left in me, and of how it was the first time I watched it on snowy UHF on some lonesome Saturday afternoon. These things hang with us.

When I found that the old Sesame Street bumper that haunted me, the tale of the lonely lowercase n, I figured that would be gone, too, but nope, I remember. Makes me sad that childrens' music is now beset by the iron-handed rule that minor keys and minor chords are verboten, lest the little kiddies suffer the tragedy of being blue.

Sometimes, being blue is the most beautiful color to be.
posted by sonascope at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The series finale of Buffy, where Willow "activates" all the latent Slayers? Still gives me chills. The montage of girls waking up to their power-- amazing.

I might also have been a bit verklempt about Spike, too. "I love you." "No you don't, but thanks for saying it."
posted by jokeefe at 9:45 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Little Match Girl was wonderfully subverted in Hogfather, which is just another reason I love that book.
posted by kmz at 9:52 AM on August 2, 2011


Speaking of comedies, the end of Withnail and I, with Withnail delivering Hamlet's soliloquy to a wolf in the rain destroys me. (Warning: youtube link to final scene!)

And before I had a child I never realized how sad the end of Raising Arizona is. Thinking of Holly Hunter saying: "Can I just look at him for a while?" is breaking me up.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2011


Of course there is also Artex drowning in the Swamps of Sadness in the Never Ending Story (don't think it's been mentioned yet.)

And I was going to say the last part of House of Sand and Fog but thalia beat me to it. So many times in that movie things gets so close to being worked out, before one decision or mistake just turns everything into a horrible tragedy.

The film Color of Paradise has been mentioned, and I'll recommend Turtles Can Fly (similar aesthetic in some way) a beautiful film full of sadness and humour.
posted by troubles at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2011


The end of Imitation of Life
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threads is the most frightening movie I've ever seen, simply because at the time I saw it, it was just so very plausible.

I'd like to submit "soul-crushingly heartbreaking" as an addition to that description. I saw it when it was new and I was a kid, and while the adults dying off like flies did make me sad, I don't think I've ever recovered from the pets on fire.
posted by heatvision at 10:23 AM on August 2, 2011


Oddly enough, I recall melting milk bottles most of all.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2011


Threads is the most frightening movie I've ever seen, simply because at the time I saw it, it was just so very plausible.

I'd like to submit "soul-crushingly heartbreaking" as an addition to that description


It was a huge and rather terrible epiphany to me when I realized that Threads, which had been for me a benchmark of grief and terror when I was in my twenties, is not really fiction. What happens in Threads has already happened all over the world, and happens every day. The bombardment of Baghdad; the social collapse of the Congo; the lingering effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Threads was so horrifying to me as a child of the West because it was a horrific threat of war and madness; but that same war and madness already exists, has existed, and will likely continue to. Considering it as a fable is a privilege of our relatively comfortable societies; elsewhere it is documentary. (I kind of feel that way about the whole Dystopia genre at the moment, as well. Titillation for the comfortable.)
posted by jokeefe at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2011


Just so you know, Rosie says "It's alright to cry".
posted by miaou at 11:35 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I believe this is the saddest short film ever made.

OH MY GOD. I had to stop watching it. I knew what was coming and couldn't stand to watch any further.

The thing about the scene from Up is, even though it is very sad it's also very watchable. It's like being massaged with sadness. That short film is like having sadness rip your toenails off.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:52 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember being a small child and seeing "The Rescuers" with my parents at the theater. I felt so sad for poor little Penny who was in the clutches of the evil Madame Medusa, but didn't cry until this song.

To this day, I can't hear the song, or even the title of it, without sobbing like a toddler who has lost his favorite teddy bear.
posted by BrianJ at 1:17 PM on August 2, 2011


Awakenings, with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Specifically, the montage near the end where Robert De Niro's character starts to return to his catatonic state, and the L-Dopa isn't working, and the piano music is playing in the background, and then they show him, looking all sad and stiff in the bed, and they push his head back against the pillow...

I tried to link to it, but I couldn't find it. That was a very sad movie moment for me.
posted by KillaSeal at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah ha ha, Awakenings!

I remember taking a girl I liked to see this, and feeling myself tearing up at one point. I thought 'mustn't cry in front of date' and somehow managed to squeeze the tears out of one eye only (the one she couldn't see of course). I was so pleased with myself. It's the only time I've ever done that.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:17 PM on August 2, 2011


Back when we were still in college, one of my dearest guy friends and I would watch movies together so that neither one of us would be embarrassed by our crying. We are still fast friends 20 years later. The exes who made fun of us for crying at movies, the reasons that we became movie pals, have long since drifted away. One of those movies was Awakenings. Others I can remember were Birdy and The Fisher King. Perhaps I should call him up and invite him over for popcorn, Big Fish, and a box of kleenex.
posted by lilywing13 at 3:56 PM on August 2, 2011


The scene at the end of Life is Beautiful, where the main character is trying to convince his distraught son that it's just a game when the Nazis take him off to be executed, right before the Allied Forces arrive... damn. That gets me choked up.
posted by hootenatty at 7:43 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've seen pretty much every old episode of Futurama (and some of the new ones) but even with it showing 4 times a week here I still haven't seen Jurassic Bark. I'm afraid I WON'T cry, and it'll turn out I'm a robot.

The Luck of the Fryish gets me though. And every time Fry does something for Leela and it gets retconned.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:00 PM on August 2, 2011


I still haven't seen Jurassic Bark

Ahh, you must.
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 PM on August 2, 2011


I blame my ex-husband for making me cry at certain Woody Allen movies, "Radio Days" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" in particular. I used to gently needle him when he would tear up and now I do it, too. And if you were with me when "Somewhere in Time" was being shown on TV, I would probably have to excuse myself for having an allergic reaction at least a half-dozen times. Stupid allergies.

No links because of my iPadupudity.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:39 PM on August 2, 2011


I weep at sad scenes in movies, but as a person with Paralyzing Animal Sensitivity, I can't watch anything that shows animals lonely, scared, confused, hungry....in any distress whatsoever. (Can't even think about it...that askmefi about preparing a soft landing for mom's cat when she passes and the stories of pets surviving (or, you know, NOT) after their owners die was torture.)

So movies....especially those scenes that capitalize on nobler traits on the animal: the loyalty and trust of dogs and horses, for example.

By extension, I can't watch similar scenes portrayed by any being with limited cognition, to wit: large loyal robots, small cleaning robots, sentient balloons, cartoon cats, talking flowers, happy trees.....no can do. Humans with limited cognition affect me similarly...the very young, the mentally disabled, the elderly with diminished capacity....

The first movie that left me clamping my hand over my mouth in the theatre, spasming with not quite silent sobs was Dances with Wolves, when Costner's little wolf friend died/was killed (I don't know anymore.....ah, benevolent repression!) I sat through the rest of the movie numb, not caring at all what happened to the rest of the cast. Just thinking about the trailer to Hachi:A Dog's Tale turns me into a keening, sobbing puddle.

No links because I'm exhausted from weeping while typing this.
posted by Jezebella at 8:49 PM on August 2, 2011


maxwelton, I don't know that every woman finds men crying pathetic.

My ex cried at things, like the ending of Six Feet Under--and when the episode was over (I hadn't been watching) and he disappeared outside I went to go ask how it was, and he kept looking away from me, not showing me his face.

"What?" I asked him, and poked him in the side. "Are you crying?"

"No, no, of course not!" he said, looking away from me still.

"That's okay," I said, trying not to smile. "You can be crying."

"Men don't cry," he said.

"So? Who says?" I grabbed him into a hug and cuddled him.

"I'm not crying," he said, and I felt my shirt grow damp.

"Of course not."

"And stop stroking my back. You're not helping!"

He cried at lots of things, and most especially when we first got together if I did something he found touching. I knew I was on the right track with what I was doing if it got me that damp-eyed look. I was curiously disappointed as the years went on and he got used to me doing things for him and that stopped happening!

When I finally watched that last episode of Six Feet Under myself some time later, I cried, too.
posted by owlrigh at 9:03 PM on August 2, 2011


I love my husband just a wee bit more whenever I catch him quietly sniffling at movie scenes involving children having a hard time or good people dying.

Also sorta amazed I forgot to mention The Whole Wide World, a fine movie with some extraordinary actors, at which I weep buckets, particularly at the end. And also the ending of the wonderful My Dog Skip.
posted by bearwife at 10:11 PM on August 2, 2011


A dying dog has always done me in. Marley & Me, Hachi: A Dog's Story... I don't mind people dying but when a dog goes I *always* break down.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:40 PM on August 1

Fourth-ing Hachi. This movie is SAD. And it ambushes you with sadness, too, because it's got Richard Gere as a music professor married to a museum curator, and it's set in a small town where everyone is really nice, and it's rated G, so you're tricked into thinking that nothing very bad is going to happen.

Also, if you do the math on the real Hachi, you learn that he spent two years living happily with his master, and NINE years waiting at the train station for his dead master to return. ;_;
posted by subdee at 10:30 PM on August 2, 2011


Also, the ending of My Girl always makes me cry, and also makes the whole movie retroactively sad.
posted by subdee at 10:40 PM on August 2, 2011


I agree with very many of these but skimming through I can't believe no one has mentioned:

"WIIIIILSOOOOOOOOOOOON!! I'm sorry, WILSON! WIIILLLSSOOOOOOON!!"

Stupid freaking volleyball. *sob*
posted by like_neon at 2:28 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pikadon, an animated short about the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, is pretty sad. The tinkling piano certainly doesn't help.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2011


The one that came up for me was, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), a french film.
posted by queentut at 6:30 PM on August 6, 2011


I'm late to this thread, but I'm another 11. Several of the posts above made me tear up. I think I have more favorites in this single thread than any other on Mefi. And, yes, I'm another person whose first cinema crying jag was at the end of Return of the Jedi, which I saw during its theatrical rerelease. I never understood before that how movies could make a person cry but after that, the waterworks were open for business, boy howdy.

I recently rewatched a bunch of older Disney movies. And, dang, older Disney movies are pretty raw. I hadn't seen some of them since I was small. The one that made me cry the hardest was probably Cinderella, honestly. Cinderella is just so good - every human she knows has been cruel to her for as long as she can remember and she just takes it with grace and patience, and when those awful sisters ripped up her dress that her little animal friends made for her I just lost it completely. I must have watched Cinderella a hundred times when I was a little girl and while I always hated those stepsisters I think the injustice and cruelty just didn't wound me in the same way it does now that I'm an adult. And the fact that their mom encourages it! God, it just made me yearn for Child Protective Services for poor tiny Cinderella. Brutal.

I will admit that I actually turned off Lady and the Tramp because I didn't want to watch the sad dogs in the pound song. That bothered me even when I was a heartless, callow youngster and I just didn't need to see it now that I have dogs of my own.
posted by troublesome at 8:56 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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