crying at the movies

10 Jan

When I was a little kid, I never cried at movies.

Seriously, I had the cold iron heart of a robot.  The Little Mermaid got yelled at by her dad?  TOO BAD FOR THE LITTLE MERMAID.  The old dog in the Fox And The Hound got killed by a bear?  TOO BAD FOR YOU, OLD DOG.  I could watch the saddest films on the market without so much as a sniffle.

Except, of course, The Lion King.  I sobbed at The Lion King, because I am not a monster.

I was honestly a little proud of myself, that I could go sit in a movie theater and remain dry-eyed while the people around me convulsed with their collective sobbing.  I was obviously mature.  Cool and disinterested.  A young hipster in my sundresses and hiking boots, and happy to be so.  I had confidence that I would be this way forever.

It was Lilo & Stitch that ruined everything.  I was fifteen at the time.  I was growing more comfortable in high school.  Drawing more often.  Writing quite a bit.  I had started to phase out the baggy sweaters and raver jeans that I wore all throughout middle school in favor of graphic tees and the occasional khaki skirt.  In short, I was blossoming from the awkward, eccentric child that I was into the awkward, eccentric adult that I would become.

I had never really abandoned liking Disney movies, so when Lilo & Stitch came out, combining my affection for animation and science fiction, I was on it like fur on a debutante.  And I liked the movie!  I really did!  Until sometime around the middle.

I was watching Stitch wander out into the forest with Lilo’s copy of The Ugly Duckling.  I saw him sit on the ground, read the page carefully, and cry out, “I’m lost!” just like the ugly duckling in the book did, and wait patiently for his swans to come.

I suddenly felt a funny tickling in my throat, and sniffled.

Crying?  What?  Was I crying? I couldn’t be crying.  I don’t cry at movies.  I wiped my nose with my sleeve and kept watching, but my eyes were quickly blurred by tears.  It occurred to me that maybe I was injured somehow but I just wasn’t aware of the pain.  Had I been shot?  No.  Apparently not.  Not so much as a papercut, but here I was with a heavy lump in my throat, trying to choke back wracking sobs.

“Aw, shit,” I thought.  “I just hit puberty.”

To this day I blame the hormones.  It wasn’t even a gradual process.  It’s not like I watched Lilo & Stitch and then had a normal several months until I got misty-eyed at a Lifetime Original.  No, from that day forward, it was tears tears tears, all the time, at every movie.  I was crying at M&M’s commercials, at radio interviews, at action flicks where hardened marines crack wise as the blood erupted from their foreign foes.  Something had snapped, and I found myself completely incapable of participating in the world of media without needing at least four Kleenex.

As I watched Toy Story 3 in the theater, weeping openly at the age of twenty three, I realized that I had always considered my sudden problem with crying at the movies as a temporary issue.

But I’m pretty sure that it is a. hereditary and b. never ever going away.  I’m stuck in a life where I cry while playing Super Smash Brothers, because poor Pikachu…sniff…all he wanted was to get Donkey Kong back with one good kick and…sniff snarfle sniff…now he is DEAD.

How about you, loyal readerfriends?  Do you cry at movies?  Books?  Every little thing?


Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


9 responses to “crying at the movies

  1. Amelia

    January 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I’ve never commented before but I have to ask: Are you me? Until I got to the part about Lilo and Stitch I thought I wrote this. I used to mock my mother as a kid for crying at movies. I once watched Bambi and Old Yeller in one night and was so proud of myself for not crying. The movie that changed it all was Tarzan. I think I was 14 or 15 when it came out. Now I cry at songs, commercials, movies, even books! What’s worse is that I actively seek out stuff that makes me cry. Like the Buffy prom episode.

    • Jessica

      January 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Hi, Amelia! Hearing from commenters I’ve never heard from before is one of my favorite things.

      I seek out occasional things that make me cry, but it has to be exactly the right timing. I don’t want to cry with a bunch of other people in the room, or right before bed, or if I have something else to do that day, or if I don’t have ice cream in the freezer. Conditions have to be juuuuust right, and then there’s nothing better than watching Up.

  2. MK

    January 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Both. Books, movies… the freaking Olympics wrecks me. I mean, those people are achieving dreams there, DREAMS. I sobbed at the last Stephen King novel, even though I know he’s a demented man who will kill tons of people in a book because he can.

    In college, once a year my friend and I would sneak into the one classroom that had a projector, pop in my VHS tape of Dead Poet’s Society, and sob for an hour and a half. Hmmm. It’s been a few years, and my VCR still works…

  3. Katie

    January 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I cry at everything! Songs, commercials, books, even music from movies or shows that I really love. I remember going to see Titanic and, while most people cry when everyone starts dying, I started crying before the boat even left! Those people were going to die and they looked so happy in their not-knowing-about-the-imminent-death!

    And I’m totally with MK on the Olympics! It was even worse that it took place in Canada – as a proud Canadian, I was useless for the whole of the games.

  4. lisa

    January 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Haha I can relate to the commenters who cried over the Canadian Olympics. The hockey game brought me thisclose to tears. As for crying over Lilo & Stitch, the scene that always gets me is when Lilo is about to be taken away and her sister sings to her in the hammock. Instant tears.

    • Jessica

      January 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Oh my LORD, that gets me too. Partially just because Lilo doesn’t know what’s happening!

  5. PlantingOaks

    January 11, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Thankfully, my ridiculous hormonal crying is cyclical, not constant.

    In some ways, it’s a convenient warning. If I find myself chocking up at how poignant the hand soap commercials are, I know I will need to be very careful to double check anything I want to accuse M of, to be sure it’s not equally crazy.

  6. Angela

    January 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    You are super awesome for even bringing up Smash Bros.
    I started to cry just reading your description of the Lilo and Stitch scene, oy.
    I remember crying at a McDonalds commercial wherein a girl was moving into her college dorm and trying to shake off her dad’s checklists prior to his departure – “did you remember this? Did you remember that?” She hurried away from forlorn old Pop and after a moment passed, ran back to him, saying, “I forgot one thing, Dad! …I love you.” (then they hug, and ARG TEARS)
    I have a hard time watching movies with people because I’m always very self-aware of the point at which my face becomes all waterfalls. Especially if we’ve been creating our own snide rifftrax up until the point of Fount Angela. Good grief.

  7. Karina

    January 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    You have to be dead not to cry at Toy Story 3.

    As for crying…movie trailers are the WORST. I know that they’re made to include all possible range of human emotions but come on. I go from happy, to psychotically depressed in the span of not even two minutes.


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