Monday, October 29, 2007

A little secret

So, here's something you may not know about me, dear reader.

I am a weeper.

Let me clarify. Movies, whether art films or mass schlock, make me cry. All the time.

I first noticed this my freshman year in college, when I played football and a group of my teammates and I would spend the late morning/early afternoon every Sunday after a game (and the subsequent evening's bachhanalian excesses) by watching a Sylvester Stallone movie marathon. Every odd weekend was the Rambo trilogy, every even weekend the Rocky series (or maybe it was vice versa). The afternoons were often capped off with an extra extra-large pepperoni pizza, slathered in grease, from a pizzaria near campus that was awesome. I can't remember what it was called, something generically Italian, but no clue what.

Anyway, every weekend, there was a certain moment in Rocky III that would reduce me to tears. Every time. By the end of the season, Jimbo, my offensive lineman buddy, would know it was coming and be there with a manly half-hug or, more famously, a quick rendition of our group's favorite dance move, "The Lumberjack," to console me.

Most people, when they hear this story, automatically assume it was the scene when the Russian kills Apollo Creed in the ring, but they are wrong. I'm not that ridiculous. It is actually the scene when, after Apollo dies and Rocky has decided to go fight the Russian on the Russkie's home turf. The scene when he passes Adrian on the fancy staircase in their mansion and she tells him not to go, that he shouldn't go because he would lose ("You can't beat him, Rock!") and that they would lose everything they had. After playing dumb ("Lose what, Adrian?"), Stallone strikes the best slack-jawed, emotionally destroyed expression ever captured on film, muttering something to the effect that he never expected Adrian to doubt him, not Adrian. Anybody else, but not Adrian.

Reduces. Me. To. Tears. Every. Time.

There is also a scene in one of the Rambo movies, specifically the one at the end of Rambo: First Blood, Part Two, when Col. Trautman asks a diffident Stallone what it is, exactly, that he wants. His response, vintage: "What do I want? I want what every guy who spilled his guts over there [Vietnam, duh] wants ... For our country to love us as much as we love it."

Waterworks. Gasping, snotty tears.

Moments like this make me vow never to watch these films in front of any woman with whom there is an imaginable chance of future procreation.

Problem is, these moments come all the time. Scenes of romantic distress? Tears. Examples of the sacrifices inherent in true friendship? Crying. Scenes of familial bonding bridging chasms of dysfunction? Bawling. Little kids doing cute things? More tears. Training montages and dramatic victories? More crying.

It really is sickening.

In the last couple of days, I've gotten choked up at the following points: when Keanu Reeves lets Patrick Swayze "escape" into the sure-death of the killer 20-year wave in Point Break, when one of Jude Law's daughters whispers "berry kiss" in response to the name of Cameron Diaz's lipstick in The Holiday, when the fat guy from the old Nickelodeon shows manages to land the plane in Snakes on the Plane, when the little boy spots his father (played by Tyrese) walking down the beach at the end of Waist Deep and shouts "Padre," again in The Holiday when Jack Black tells the other chick he only used the good notes when composing a song that sounded like her. The part in Singles when Campbell Scott tells his girlfriend that she lost the baby as a result of the car accident and, again, when she gets back from her ecological superhero boat trip and that old spark isn't quite there and she moves back in with her lame ex.

Don't even get me started on Love Actually. Or the very end of Before Sunset, when Julie Delpy is dancing to Nina Simone and jazzily sings to Ethan Hawke that he ... is going to ... miss ... that ... plane ... and he just smiles and says, "I know" and the screen goes black. Dear good. You'd think it was Old Yeller or something.

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