As the Big Lebowski said, “Strong men also cry.” The following is a list of scenes that are guaranteed to make me weep like a small child whenever they happen to be on TV.
In my experience there are two sorts of crying that emerge from me. Obviously the first is when something sad occurs. I’m a bit of a wuss. The second kind is something when something incredibly awesome occurs that just makes you want to punch the air or stomp your feet or something. I don’t know if this is always accompanied by crying but it’s an intense emotional reaction to something badass.
10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – The Big NO
This is the 2nd form of weeping I mentioned. Something about That Moment with Caesar and Draco Malfoy just kicks my brain in the ass. The big orchestra sting, the silence that follows The Moment, the look on Caesar’s face as he looks down at the cattle prod like he’s finally crossed the Rubicon. If I was making a list of my favorite single scenes in movie history this would be in my top 3.
9. Return of the King – The Charge of the Rohirrim
Violins just fucking have it out for me. It’s the charging horses, the music, the sweeping epicness of this moment in the movie that might just be my favorite part of the entire trilogy. Both of these movies, Apes and RotK, I saw in the theater. My attachment to them now I know is in part connected to the emotion I felt seeing them with a crowd that reacted in turn. There’s an argument for going to the theater right there.
8. Paranorman – Norman vs. Agatha
Boy for a kid’s movie, Agatha is a goddamn adult character. Everything about this character is a tearjerker. From the moment when Norman realizes the truth that the famous Blithe Hollow witch was just a little kid and then when he finally lays her spirit to rest every interaction they have is just horrible to comprehend. This is worth a cry.
7. Interstellar – 23 years in 3 Hours
This one will devastate any parents in the audience. After they get a flat tire on a planet where time flows more slowly relative to Earth, McConaughey get back to his spaceship and is forced to watch how his children have aged 20 years in a few hours. His father dies, his grandson is born, his grandson dies, and finally his daughter says she’s hated him for decades. Watching his face during this is just painful to watch and I mean that in the best possible way.
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – The Prince’s Tale
Fucking Snape, dude. Like Agatha or Caesar what causes me to breakdown here is the moment of realization for the characters and the audience of the terrible implications of their actions. This one is just as sad in the book but on film Alan Rickman sells this goddamn scene so much you wish you could see a movie about the life and times of Severus Snape. His tragic tale easily makes him my favorite character in the series.
5. Wall-E – Define: Dancing
This movie is a beautiful work of art and nowhere is that more evident in the scene where Wall-E and Eva whirl around in space. I don’t know what it is but something about this scene just punches me in the tear ducts. This one gets to me.
4. Kickass – Hit-Girl Adagio #9
Again the second form of crying where emotion meets awesomeness. Hit-Girl cuts her way through a bunch of mobsters to save her recently set on fire father. Something about this music that you’ve seen in trailers and prominently in the movie Sunshine as Kaneda sacrifices himself gets to me. I love this scene. Further tears of awesome are shed in an earlier scene where Big Daddy shoots up a warehouse to the song from the end of 28 Days Later.
3. Thor – Loki & Odin
These top 3 are all roughly equal in my opinion. First, Thor. This is my favorite of the Marvel movies and this scene is part of the reason why. Loki confronts Odin about his true nature and learns that he is a Frost Giant rather than Asgardian by birth. That moment where Tom Hiddleston yells at Odin, I don’t think there’s been a better moment of acting with more pain in the entire MCU.
2. Doctor Who – Vincent & The Doctor
There are plenty of bad episodes that make Doctor Who a very inconsistent tv show. This episode though is not one of them. The music and emotion at the end of this episode is just unfairly sad. Vincent Van Gough lived his entire life in obscurity. But what if a time traveling alien brought him to the present and showed him how much people appreciate his work today? How does someone not cry at the end of this episode.
Honorable Mention – Rings of Akhaten makes me cry too.
1. The Iron Giant – Superman
This one starts from the moment the Giant loses his shit when Mansley shouts out “It’s still alive!” to the last frame of this movie. This movie ends perfectly. Honestly I don’t know what to say. If you haven’t seen the Iron Giant, watch it. Your life is diminished until this task is complete.