Admit it, dude. It’s happened to the best of us. You accidentally find yourself in a movie theater full of weeping women, desperately wishing you could bolt for the nearest window. But it’s OK, you think: You aren’t there by choice. But there’s a more stealthy group of tearjerkers created specifically with you in mind. In an effort to help you maintain your manly cool, read on for a breakdown of movies specifically designed to get guys choked up or teary-eyed. Avoid watching these in public.
You’ve watched the unlikely hero struggle against all odds to make the team. But that’s not enough. Boys don’t just want to be professional athletes; they want to be carried off the field. In these movies, the achievement all men dream of is possible. Hell, that underdog seeking redemption could be you!
Best Example: Rudy
Who can resist Rudy (Sean Astin)? He’s just like 99 percent of the male population: Too short, too small, too slow. Two scenes come to mind for stealth waterworks: First, Notre Dame’s stars walk into Coach Devine’s office and tell him that if Rudy doesn’t dress, they don’t play. Second, the final scene when the crowd chanting “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy” forces the reluctant coach to send the pint-sized bench-warmer out on the field. Brutal!
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Category 2: The Warrior Dies for the Greater Good
In the real world, hardcore heroism is
terrifying. Sure, you have what it takes, but that doesn’t mean you’re in a rush to prove it. So consider Braveheart‘s
penultimate scene: William Wallace (Mel Gibson) responds with a
shout of “Freedom” when his torturers tell him to beg for mercy. Or the noble effort of Jed (Patrick Swayze) to carry his wounded brother (Charlie Sheen) to safety after a battle with the invading Soviets
in Red Dawn. Take your teary pick.
Best Example: Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s epic packs three solid hours of emotional peaks and
valleys. Frankly, it’s exhausting. If it doesn’t get you with its
brutal opening scene, where soldier after soldier is gunned down at
Normandy, then it will hit you some other time in the trenches. Most likely the killing blow will be when an elderly Ryan visits
Miller’s grave and breaks down, telling Miller “I’ve tried to live my
life the best I could. I hope that at least in your eyes, I’ve
earned what all of you have done for me.” Unlikely, but still…
Category 3: Estranged Fathers and Sons Reconcile
If you’ve ever laughed at those old Folgers commercials where important
father/son moments happen over a cup of instant coffee on a log cabin porch, you’ve probably realized that men aren’t conditioned to be
particularly emotive. Thankfully, filmmakers can construct scenes of reconciliation, built around death or distance.
Best Example: Field of Dreams
Any list of movies for guys to cry over would be incomplete without a good Kevin Costner pic. Everything about these movies is manufactured to tug at male
heart-strings. In Field of Dreams, the yearning for a
simpler era combines with a surrogate father/son relationship between Ray (Costner)
and baseball author Terrence (James Earl Jones). But taking in a game at
Fenway Park, traveling through time to meet an icon, and
finally seeing players come to the field Ray built are nothing when compared to the final scene in which the ghost of Ray’s father comes back so he and Ray can play a game of catch.
Category 4: Brian’s Song
Brian’s Song gets its own category since it’s the standard answer
to the question, “What movie could make you cry?” Like Rudy from Category 1, this one has an underdog athlete
struggling first to make the team, then a
deadly cancer (which takes a page right out of Category 2). When Gale
Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) accepts an award and dedicates it to his
dying friend, Brian Piccolo (James Caan), with the immortal worlds “I
love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him too,” just
about any man with a heart will lose it. Actually, make that any man,
Which movies make you cry? Vote now.