If real men don’t cry then what does it say about me if a tear comes to my eye every time I watch The Notebook? Okay, I’m not being completely honest with you. The truth is I begin sobbing like a blubbering idiot by the mere sight of the movie’s DVD cover. Having watched this chick flick a few more times than any man would care to admit, I always break down during the scene in the movie where elderly Allie embraces Noah after remembering her past and the love they shared. Their embrace is short lived as she loses her memory again, panics and has to be subdued by the physicians at the nursing home. Knowing me better than anyone else, Jenn giggles a few minutes before their embrace and says, “Hunny…it’s almost here. Close your eyes or leave the room please. Oh, and remember one thing. Read this to me and I’ll come back to you.”
It would be one thing if the tears only flowed during the Notebook. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is an expansive list of movies that make me blame the salt in the popcorn for my bloodshot eyes: P.S. I Love You, My Dog Skip, With Honors, Jerry Maguire, Pay It Forward, The Pursuit Of Happiness, A Walk To Remember, Titanic, Patch Adams, Forrest Gump, Old Yeller. I could go on, but to save any face I might still have, I’ll stop there.
The only consolation I gain from my tendency towards ugly crying during ‘questionable’ movies is it reassures me I am not completely dead inside. Yet, for as long as I can remember I have wrestled with understanding how men are suppose to deal with their emotions properly.
How does one reconcile wearing their emotions on their sleeves with the image they been fed all their life of a real man being one who is cool, calm and collected at all times? Guys must remain stone cold. They need to be a rock. The only emotion men can display is anger and even that is only allowed during certain moments. These times normally involve a throbbing thumb and a hammer or a running back from your fantasy football team fumbling on the one-yard line.
Macho men never cry at movies or at least that is what I have been told. I want to believe that even the hardest of hearts get a little teary eyed every once in awhile. A formula exists that if followed correctly creates a man approved movie which will have guys reaching for their hankies and leave their lower lip trembling. On a side note, other than my stepdad, do any guys under the age of 70 actually carry hankies in their pocket anymore? The movie must possess elements where guys are living out their passions, facing adversity and have a hint of redemption to it. Sprinkle in some brotherhood where a group of people come together though a shared experience. It never hurts to toss in some violence and bloody gore. Another angle commonly used is what I like to call “The Cats In The Cradle” effect where a son deals with their absent dad issues. If all else fails, my suggestion is to just make a sports movie. According to this formula, I’d like to unveil the 5 man tested movies where the most manliest of men can TEAR WITH NO FEAR:
Braveheart – The man movie to end all man movies. An instant classic. Hands down. Every man wants to be William Wallace. Go to any bar and begin quoting Wallace’s speech at the end of the movie. Instantly, at least 10 guys will stand up saying, “Aye, you may die, run, and you’ll live…at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…our freedom.”
Field of Dreams – The reason why every guy keeps their little league baseball glove in the closet. After watching Ray (Kevin Costner) reconcile with his dead father on the field he was inspired to build, men rush to the phone to call good old dad and ask if he has time to play catch.
Dead Poet’s Society – Oh Captain, My Captain. Carpe Diem. For all those in cubicle land, stand on your desk and seize the day my brotha.
Good Will Hunting – Remember, when Ben Affleck, not Matt Damon was suppose to become the breakout star of the two Boston buddies? Little did we know at the time that Affleck’s finest moment would be as Chuckie Sullivan and the speech he gives to his life long friend Will about wasting his gifts: “No, no, no, no. **** you, you don’t owe it to yourself, you owe it to me, cause tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be 50, and I’ll still be doin’ this ****. And that’s all right. That’s fine. I mean, you’re sittin’ on a winnin’ lottery ticket. You’re too much of a ***** to cash it in, and that’s ********. Cause I’d do ******* anything to have what you got. So would any of these ****** guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in 20 years. Hangin’ around here is a ****** waste of your time.”
Rudy – The world could be coming to an end, but if a man notices Rudy is playing on WGN or TBS their afternoon suddenly changes. You cannot pass up watching for the 34,125 time a tiny little hobbit overcoming the odds to play for the Fighting Irish and getting carried off the field.