So, Charlie and the Palinode have been pretty hardcore since we started this tandem of awesome. We’ve had movie badasses, gunfights, fistfights, and insults – which in the dude world is the highest term of endearment. For example, when your best friend calls, I answer, “whatda you want, dickweed? your mom miss me?” See? Nothing says “I love you,” like telling your best friend you’re having sexual relations with his mom. It’s all part of the patriarchy. But sometimes the patriarchy allows men to dismantle their armored heteronormative shell and let a pint or two of tears dribble out for certain pre-approved movies. That’s why we are pleased to bring you:
Top 10 Movies that Make Dudes Cry (Spoilers)
Charlie’s Take (#10-6)
10. House of Flying Daggers
It’s a tale as old as time. Boy (who is essentially an undercover cop posing as some high-rolling whore-mongering drunkard) meets girl (who is playing the role of a blind kung-fu whore) (are you as tired of the blind kung-fu whore genre as I am?). Boy falls in love with girl and secrets are revealed (“hey, I’m a cop.” “hey, I’m not blind and I’m in league with the very organization (The House of Flying Daggers) you’re looking for. Not only am I in league with them, but, my mama is the head honcho.” “cool. wanna do it?” “Sure!” “Yay!” [Guitar solo]. Boy’s boss is also in love with girl. Girl spurns boy’s boss’ advances. Everybody dies heartbroken. Seriously. Ain’t that always the way it goes? It’s a cruel and beautiful world out there, brothers and sisters.
Note: the guy in the odd-looking hat is the bad guy. the guy with the sweet rockstar pony tail thing-y is the good guy love interest. the girl with the dagger in her chest is the catalyst. Not that any of that really matters. They all die.
There are a whole shit-ton of things that a real, true blue cowboy won’t do. Let’s see, they’d never throw down on an unarmed man. They’d never go lookin’ for trouble (thank Hollywood that trouble has a great road map). They always tip their hat to the ladies and say yes’m and no’m. You know, stuff like that. Cowboy chivalry if you will. On the top of the Things Cowboys Will and Won’t Do list, written in bold Sans Serif letters is: You never die in front of the awesome homesteaders that you’ve so gallantly protected. Never. Especially the young boy that thinks you’re the fucking Balls. What you do do (hehe, do-do) is mount up and ride off all quiet and hard-like. Cause you’re a cowboy, damnit. Adios, Shane. Long may you ride.
8. A River Runs Through It
I don’t like The Pitt. There. I said it. Sure, he’s dreamy and all, but there’s just something about him that… shit… I dunno… maybe it’s me. I’m kind of an asshole. But watching him self destruct, and finally meeting his end at the hands of forces that he can full well see coming – as a man with a younger brother… that shit’s hard to watch. It’s hard when the ones you love, the ones that need the most help, refuse it. But, as Maclean so beautifully puts it, “we don’t have to understand people to love them.” Or, something like that. Tru fax, Norm.
7. Life is Beautiful
The strength of a father. The trust of a son. The weird floppy limbs of Roberto Benigni. What is wrong with that guy?
6. Old Yeller
Goddamn you, Travis. Put that fucking rifle down! Yeller’ll be alright. He just needs some sleep. Or something. Fuck you, Travis! Yeller saved you and your whole weak-ass crew from those wolves and I won’t even get into the time you went boar hunting and almost lost your ass. Travis: you suck. I don’t car that there are Yeller puppies. That ain’t Yeller. That’s just some cuddly-wuddly ball of fluff that isn’t even worth a pile of Yeller’s shit.
I kinda have an Old Yeller scar. I hope you get syphilis, Travis.
Palinode’s Take (#5-1)
5. Marley and Me
Charlie took the ultimate dog film. The one that rides the artery highway to your heart and then gets busy with the stabbing. Fortunately for me and all the other guys out there, the modern age has given us Marley and Me. If Yeller was all about a young boy’s painful initiation into maturity, Marley is an introduction to mortality for the whole family. He starts the movie as a puppy, and the whole family grows with him. But as he grows older and more infirm, you can’t help but see the truckload of sorrow coming at you. And then the truck pulls up and dumps its sorrow all over you. And sorrow hurts. Stupid dog.
4. Midnight Cowboy
The buddy flick has a fine history in film and literature, but I love the seedy New York treatment that John Schlesinger gave the genre with Midnight Cowboy, the story of country beefcake Joe Buck (Jon Voight) who comes to New York to be a gigolo to rich ladies – only to discover that it’s not rich ladies who like to pay cowboys for sex. When he meets Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a hunchbacked conman playing the mean streets, a twisted friendship begins. It’s the end that really kills, when Buck loads a dying Rizzo on a bus bound for Florida. That’s where all their dreams are gonna come true, man. It’s alright, Rizzo. We’re here. It’s just like you said it would be.
Most movies reserve their tear-jerking moments for the end of the film. Not so with Up, which basically says: “Hey everyone, how’d you like to shoot water from your eyes fifteen minutes into the movie? You get through this bit and I promise there’ll be a pudgy kid and a crazy bird and a talking dog to laugh at later!” I don’t know what else to say. If you’ve seen this movie and the opening montage didn’t tear your heart open and leave you a blubbering wreck, then you’re a robot sent from the future to kill us all. Why are you watching cartoons? Lazy-ass robots.
2. The Iron Giant
I know. Two cartoons in a row? Shaddup. But The Iron Giant deserves a spot high up on the list because it’s really a sci-fi retelling of Old Yeller with a hopeful twist. Boy meets robot, boy takes care of robot, robot gets put down. Only in this case, the robot comes to terms with his violent nature, understands the nature of souls (“Souls… don’t… die”) and saves the town from disaster at the cost of his mechanical life. But that’s not what makes you cry. It’s the end, when a tiny piece of the robot comes alive and lights out for the territories, seeking out his missing pieces. Because that damn giant robot is the soul embodied in iron. And that, my friends, is the secret dream of boys and men alike.
1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Never mind all those ’80s movies of ‘roid rage-aholics stomping around the Latin American jungles. Cuckoo’s Nest is the ultimate macho man’s tragedy. It basically dramatizes the entire crisis of masculinity in the postwar world. Nicholson’s McMurphy is an archetype, a lusty brawling longshoreman of the soul, who ends up under the sway of Nurse Ratched. Ratched is a hideous fusion of everything terrible the world had to offer a manly man: an austere authoritarianism embodied in a cyborg-like female. There’s a misogynistic pulse that moves the blood of Cuckoo’s Nest (McMurphy’s offense? Gee golly, just some statutory rape), but all of that ceases to matter when McMurphy is wheeled out of surgery, the spirit sliced out of his brain by a lobotomy. When Chief smothers McMurphy with a pillow and escapes by flinging a sink through the window, it’s as if he’s taking that spirit with him, guarding it until the world is ready once more. I have a feeling that this movie hasn’t aged very well, but that final image of Chief running away from the camera into the countryside – ah, that gets me.
So? What movies push your tear buttons? Let us know in the comments.