A lot of really sad movies don’t make this list because in most cases, MEN DON’T CRY. In a lot of sad movies the guy kind of likes it when Leonardo DiCaprio gets killed off in “Titanic”. If a guy can sit through this epic chick flick, he sort of lauds the freezing and drowning of Leonardo DiCaprio. We only wish we could have dunked him a few times before he went down for the last time.
When William Shatner is playing the role of Captain Kirk and finally died Trekkies cheered. (Because Shatner was such an awful actor that true Trek Fans endured).
But some movies, very few, reach into the gut of the male and puts the guy into an embarrassing situation where he says to his girl friend: “I got an eyelash in my eye” and she says: “Both of them”? It sucks but here are my five movies that I would just as soon go to the kitchen and grab a Peanut butter sandwich than let my tears roll off of my cheeks. Theses aren’t in any real order except for # 1. I hate/love that movie.
5. The Glenn Miller Story. Ah what a great time to be an American. Glenn Miller had a dream. He worked hard and never gave up his Idea for that new sound. June Allison (Mrs. Apple pie/All-American female) plays the girl of Glenn’s eye. He marries her and the rest is history until December 15th 1944. (Five months before the end of the war) Glenn is lost over the English Channel. His wife is at home in the states and she gets to hear her favorite song “Little Brown Jug” (Which Glenn hated) recorded live from Paris. I think it was such a sad demise for a guy that chased his dream, attained it, then had French bombs dropped on him by mistake. (That’s one of many mysteries). The look in June Allison’s eyes can’t help but make you feel for Glenn. We don’t see true love stories like this any more. (Exception: La Bamba and The Buddy Holly Story)
4. Pride of the Yankees- Lou Gehrig was one of Baseball’s greatest homerun hitters and players of all-time. He held the record for the longest “starting” streak. They use to call the Yankee first baseman “The Iron Horse”. His record 2,130 starts stood for 56 years until it was broken by Cal Ripken. Gehrig is probably known more for the disease that was named after him ALS or Athero-lateral-sclerosis. Why does this make men cry? Gehrig was 37 when he died. He loved the game and didn’t know what was wrong with him. They didn’t have the scanners we take for granted today back in 1927. Again, another poor German immigrant that loved the sport, gave it all he had and had the rug pulled out from underneath him. Personally, if I were offered a Lou Gehrig Jersey or a Babe Ruth Jersey, I’d grab the Gehrig memorabilia and run. I don’t know if it was true in real life but in the movie, Gehrig had the love and support of not only his charming wife, but his immigrant parents who hated the Idea of their son playing Baseball for a living……at first. I don’t cry when I hear the speech about him being the luckiest man on the face of the earth, I cry when he can’t bend over to field a hard grounder. He tells him self he needs to run more laps and exercise harder. (Not knowing he has a terminal disease).
3. Terms of Endearment The third one on the list is a chick flick. But it has Jack Nicholson in it and two cute adorable boys. They have to go through the BS of a cheating dad and a mom who goes through the stages of cancer. Yeah it’s sad that she declines, but when you see the tears from the youngest kid’s eyes and the older kid acting out you begin to understand how death effects others. The youngest son should have gotten an academy award for his performance. You (rhetorical you) want to cry along with the son losing his mom.
2. The Rookie – This movie is not as sad as Terms. I have to turn off Terms of endearment because it hits too close to home for me. On the other hand; The rookie is a true story that rips the guts out of the man that has to make the choice between being responsible at the cost of sacrificing his dream, or putting his wife and family through uncertainty as he makes 300 dollars a month in the minor leagues. At the age of 35, after being a High School science teacher Jim Morris gets a 2nd chance at his dream. All his life he knew he was destined to be a major league baseball pitcher. After being drafted 4th overall in the 1983 by the Brewers, the first round draft pick would suffer several arm injuries. He was released after several operations. The Chicago White Sox gave him a minor league contract but he could not rise above “A” ball. So he found his dreams crushed. He married had 2 kids and became a science teacher in Big Lake Texas for 10 years. To relieve the stress of life, he would take a bucket of baseballs out to an old abandoned baseball diamond in the oil fields. It felt good just to pitch. Little did he know that one of his Tommy John surgeries made his arm stronger. Upon discovering this, his High School team he coached made a deal with him that if they won the championship, he had to try out for the Majors. He thought he would just go, throw and say: “OK I did it”. Little did he know, his fastball was being clocked at over 100mph and he gets an offer from the Tampa Bay D-Rays. A few months later he makes it to the Major leagues and is called in to strike out Royce Clayton of the Texas Rangers. Of course all of his students showed up for the game and at the end he gives his dad the game ball. The point where I start to tear up is when he’s frustrated and his young black team-mate berates him for talking too long on the pay phone to his “girlfriend”. Morris (Played by Dennis Quaid) replies: “My son needed help with his home work”. Every man who isn’t satisfied with their current arrangement wishes they could have a 2nd chance. Morris at the age of 35 was competing with athletes half his age and made it.
1. Field of Dreams – Another baseball flick, but in this brilliant movie, Baseball is just the medium. The movie is not about baseball. It’s about Freud’s comment that we all go through life with an unsettled conflict with one parent. Unlike The rookie which was a true story, Field of dreams is sort of a science fiction. It’s about the son of a “has been” baseball player. The father was a catcher for the Yankees. He didn’t have much of a career so he tried to live vicariously through his son. Kevin Costner who plays Ray Kinsella says that playing catch was like taking out the garbage or washing the dishes. He kept a rebellious attitude toward his dad and Baseball. Kinsella who marries a girl he met in Berkeley while going to U.C. ends up buying a corn farm in Iowa. Then one night he hears a voice telling him to build a baseball stadium where his corn crop is. The voice says: “If you build it he will come”. So like three of the other four movies above, it’s the common conflict of dreams vs. Life. So he plows his corn field and puts up lights and turf and builds a beautiful baseball field at the cost of half his corn crop. The movie makes you consider what is truly important in your life.
We meet a character named “Moonlight Graham” that played for the Red Sox. He got called up at the end of a season but never got to bat. Kinsella thought the field was for him. They find Graham only to find he went into Medicine and that was the purpose of his life. At the risk of going bankrupt and losing everything, Ray refuses to sign a deal that would allow him to sell the farm for a tidy profit. During this time, ghosts from Baseball’s past have been appearing to Ray and his family and have been playing games on the field Ray built. Shoeless Joe Jackson being amongst the originals. The ghosts wonder if “This is heaven”?
After deciding to go for broke, the ghost players are walking off of the field in the final scene. They go back to where they exist. (In the uncut cornfield). Ray looks at the ghost of “Shoeless Joe Jackson” who was the voice telling Ray what to do and he says: “It was you”. Shoeless Joe responds: “No Ray it was you. If you build it; He will come”. (a phrase Ray hears at the beginning of the movie while working in his corn field). When Shoeless Joe says it, he looks over at the backstop and it’s a young version of Ray Kinsella’s dad. His dad’s ghost is younger than Ray and he’s wearing an old Yankee uniform. Ray says to his wife: “Oh my god it’s my dad. I only remember him after he had been beaten down by life”. Ray sort of introduces his family to “John Kinsella” and says: “You catch a good game”. Then more small talk and Ray’s dad says thanks for building the field and starts to walk off. Ray cries out in a broken voice: “Hey Dad? You wanna have a catch”? His father says: “Yeah I’d like that”.
PS. I cried while writing half of this article