What are the most likely movies to make a real “Man’s Man” cry?
Actually – that’s a trick-question. The answer to what movies that would make a real man cry is simple…NONE. Real men don’t cry over movies. Or at least that is the story that I am sticking to. However, that does not mean that we don’t feel the crying impulse, or the tear ducts starting to come alive during certain moments of certain films. To make this fair, “crying” doesn’t mean you have to be balling, tears flowing down your face and gasping for air; in fact most times simply getting goose-bumps and an elevated heart rate will qualify! The Movie Mind is not endorsing guys turning into every guest ever to appear on Outside The Lines with Bob Ley, but he is providing a road-map of films where it is permissible to get a little emotional. If you feel that you are losing control of your emotions while watching these, try to reign them back in, and listen to Dr. Evil mocking Number 2 “Are you gonna cry … gonna squirt a few?” That should help get you back on track.
Below are the Bronze Medal Award Winners, accompanied by the Pewter Mug Awards (aka the Honorable Mentions). Check back tomorrow on this same post for the Silver Award Winners. The cream-of-the-crop Gold Medal Winners will be announced first thing on Monday morning.
So make sure nobody is watching you when you are viewing these movies, and get those tear ducts working. If anyone catches you though, don’t forget…you’re not crying, you’ve just got something in your eye.
Bronze Medal: While not necessarily “world class”, these movies are certainly still notable for their ability to invoke emotions in the male viewing audience. They may either be great films that were slightly emotional, or so-so films that were very emotional. Either way, they are missing one or two components that keep them off the top two tiers of the podium.
- The Guardian
~ Alright, Costner is waaaay too prominent in this list, but he knows his target audience: Baseball and hero stuff. I’m no fan whatsoever of Ashton Kutcher, but Costner again plays the old wily vet that is hard to root against. It’s got the standard recipe for dude-emotions to shine through and again makes us appreciate the real-life heroes who are sick enough in the head to actually do this stuff.
- Good Will Hunting
~ This film explores the mentor-student relationship and the struggle of one good guy’s attempt (Robin Williams) to make a difference in a troubled, brilliant youth (Damon). It’s hard not to feel a wave of emotions when Williams uses his Jedi-mind tricks on Damon telling him, “It’s not your fault Will. It’s not your fault”, finally getting Damon to completely let down his guard. We get another dose of it when Affleck shows up to pick up Damon, only to realize he has granted his wishes and just left. If Ben stopped making movies here, he would have gone down as one of the best actors of our generation. Unfortunately, he decided to drop numerous other ‘gems’ on us completely discrediting what he did in Good Will Hunting (Reindeer Games, Changing Lanes, Gigli, Daredevil, Paycheck, etcetera etcetera…).
- The Natural
~ Redford grabs a hold of us as the aged ball-player with superhuman abilities. When he rounds the bases with the lights exploding into a fireworks show after his notorious homerun, it had to be stolen directly from the dreams of millions of little kids.
- The Perfect Storm
~ Fishing, drinking, camaraderie, egos, and pride all converge to give us a stirring in-depth look to life of a fisherman and what they face every time they set sail for their next paycheck. Their wills are tested when the storm of a century comes their way, providing us with a man vs. nature emotional story where we have grown attached to the characters.
- Hamburger Hill
~ The most realistic and stirring look at the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War. After not being allowed to see Deer Hunter as a young child due to the gruesome violence, I have been emotionally scarred ever since watching this movie as the “consolation prize”.
- We Are Marshall
~ While a horrible real-life story, the movie doesn’t convey this as much as you would think. The focus is more on the football team’s part in helping a grieving community, while McConaughey’s portrayal of the new coach is too cartoonish for us to truly identify with him. Nonetheless, it still provides a touching ending with goose bumps accompanying it when they win an unlikely game and allow the townsfolk to begin to move on with their lives.
- Pride of the Yankees
~ A nice picture telling the story of Lou Gehrig and the disease that now bears his name. There is a good focus on his marriage which makes it much more than just a sports movie. When Gary Cooper, playing Gehrig, makes the infamous farewell speech, I can only imagine how emotional it was to the fans that were actually there the day Gehrig spoke those words.
~ There are many heroes and anti-heroes in this film, and one of the reasons it is such a classic is because it excelled at blurring the lines between those two. I still get chills during any number of moments in this one, and Hoosiers was released at a time before there were already too many clichéd sports ‘underdog’ films. Gene Hackman is perfect for the brash and abrasive coach who gives just a slight enough glimpse into his heart to feel for the guy.
Pewter Mug Awards: These “just-missed” movies are missing a few too many components to be standing on that podium. Still, they are noteworthy enough and provide us guys a few more “outlets” where it is ok to show a little bit of emotions. While it is not permissible to cry or get overly emotional during watching them, they still may get us to be a little whimsical…or at least make it alright to use the word “whimsical”.
- Jerry Maguire
~ It takes a special film for us to ever sympathize with Tom Cruise, but this one comes close. Against the odds, it tells a difficult message with unlikely heroes of making us sympathize with a slimy agent and spoiled athlete in the end. Nonetheless it still moves us and Cuba Gooding has never been able to walk the streets without hearing “Show me the money” ever again.
- The Lion King
~ If anyone asks I will claim my computer was hijacked at this point and an evil-doer looking to make me look like a pansy put this entry in. Regardless of who you think this may be, how can you not include it? Sure it’s a cartoon, but only a heartless, bitter, angry man could not be moved during this movie and feel for Simba and the tragedy of Mufasa. Critics be-damned!
- Old Yeller
~ I am more of a cat person than a dog person, but I still have soft-spot for animals of any kind. If this weren’t one of the cheesiest movies ever created, it would have had a chance for a more prestigious medal. It came out in such a different time (1957) when just the soundtrack could make a lesser man cry.
- The Last Castle
~ It is a shame that the movie is so poorly cast with Tony Soprano’s accent sounding as if he had just finished his “Hooked on Phonics” books. How come is it easier for foreigners like Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, and Nicole Kidman to sound like a normal American than it is for James Gandolfini? Robert Redford makes it emotional instead of laughable, but not enough to make the podium.
- Scent of a Woman
~ It’s a rare occasion that we can feel “sorry” for Al Pacino, but he does a great job in this film in getting our sympathy. Or maybe it’s empathy, either way we feel something for him. He turns from a shell of a man that has seen too much in his storied military career, back to the strong leader he once was when he basically tells the school panel to go F-themselves. Man we all wish we could have been there to witness that.