I don’t care how hardcore you are, something has made you cry. Whether it was Aimee and Jaguar, a song like “Tears in Heaven,” or a Jodi Picoult novel, there’s always something that is guaranteed to tear your heart out, for just a moment in time.
Obviously, I need to know what that is. So?
Courtney Gillette: If this question was phrased to include television commercials, I’d have to fess up to a lot more blubbering in front of a screen (that Google Chrome ad about the It Get Better Project? Let’s just say my shirt sleeves were a mess.) But the last time a really good cultural contribution made me well up was when I read Barb Johnson‘s More Of This World Or Maybe Another. Not only is her talent stunning, her New Orleans pitch perfect, and her novel in stories beautifully original, but the sadness of the book still haunts me. I think I read all of her story “Killer Heart” with a hand over my mouth the whole time.
And then, what moved me to blurry eyed page turning, was the evolution of Delia and Maggie’s relationship. The chapter that shows how they each handle their anniversary, after decades of the good and the bad? The last few paragraphs? And I quote: “Love is not trouble. It is all we have to light our days, to bring music to the time we’ve been given.” Cue the trembling lip and the emotional nodding. I’ll take a slice of that kind of honored love any day.
Heather Hogan: I don’t think I have ever cried in my entire life more than I cried during Pixar’s Up. I started crying about 10 minutes in — like out-loud, choking sobs — and cried for practically the whole rest of eternity. People always talk about the 3D in that movie, but I didn’t see any 3D because I had to keep my glasses off so I could paw at my tears the whole time. It’s just that I get what it’s like to have an Ellie to my Carl Fredrickson — all the way back from when I was a little kid — and the thought of losing that is just — oh, Christ. Here come the waterworks again.
Yeah, Up is my answer. Pixar’s Up made me cry.
Mia Jones: Oh Heather, it’s OK. I cried so many tears during Up, I had to be treated for dehydration. We had a double date that night and if I know myself at all I know we had margaritas. About five minutes into the movie, I couldn’t get the knot out of my throat as I was trying to hold back the tears. When I went to say something, what came out of my mouth ended up sounding like recordings of whales speaking to each other. I’m talking strange, guttural, Claire Danes as Juliet ugly crying sounds. I hadn’t cried that hard since Legends of the Fall, Boys on the Side or Where the Red Fern Grows (which I had to read out loud in my seventh grade class at the saddest part — and ended up crying so hard I had to tell the teacher to skip me). It never stopped the entire night and my friends still laugh at me whenever Up is mentioned.
I guess underneath this tattooed exterior, I am a big slobbery crying mess. Hell, I even want to cry just seeing this little guy.
The Linster: A better question for me would be, “What didn’t make you cry?” I cry at everything. Sometimes I even cry after a movie or TV show I loved just because it’s over.
One of my best cries lately came at the end of Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. The book beautifully took me away from myself into the world of its characters. I loved the flow, the word choice, the tone, every feeling that it made me feel. And when I read the last line, I cried because it was so perfect.
People have told me that Prodigal Summer isn’t Kingsolver’s best book, but I suspect those who think that want something different from a novel than I do. I want stories that make me feel like I don’t ever need to read another word, but so hungry for the beauty of language that I have to.
Karman Kregloe: Sissy Spacek‘s performance in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), the biopic about Loretta Lynn, earned her an Oscar. No doubt this was because she sang her own songs and captured every nuance of the singer’s personality in the film which was equal parts funny, inspirational and moving. While CMD always makes me laugh and fills me with admiration for the country music pioneer, there’s one scene that always chokes me up. In it, waifish daddy’s girl Lorett-y has moved to Washington, far away from her destitute family in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. One day she has a vision of her devoted, protective father (played by Levon Helm) walking through the fields toward her house, wearing his coal mining gear and waving to her wordlessly. In the next scene, we see Loretta and her family in Kentucky mourning his death. Her palpable grief mixed with her guilt about leaving her family behind to pursue a better life gets me every time.
Trish Bendix: I don’t tend to cry over a lot of things, but I’m a sucker for tearing up if you’re killing an animal. Like I can’t even do it. When I watch The Never Ending Story, I have to fast forward the part where Atreyu loses his horse in the muck. Ugh, the agony.
I hated Googling this picture
If I know something is going to be sad — like this new movie Dolphin Tale looks to be my worst nightmare — I can’t bring myself to watch it. I’m sure it has a great, happy ending and is based on real life success of giving a dolphin a fake tail, but I can’t go through the heartbreak of him losing his in the first place. And you can’t make me!
Drummerdeeds: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech still makes me cry like a baby. Still one of my favorite books to this day — go (re)read it!
Dorothy Snarker: Where the Red Fern Grows. I read that book a dozen times, if not more, growing up. And each time it Old Dan dies and Little Ann refused to leave his side it was a river of tears down my face. I think they’re starting just thinking about it. Please, talk amongst yourselves. I need a minute.
Emily Hartl: Anytime I watch a movie where someone is being raped and abused, I can’t handle it. The first time I saw Boys Don’t Cry, I was beside myself, and the fact that it was based on a true story — well you get the picture. Emily “hot mess” Hartl was basically my street name for like, the next week after the viewing. Whatever, “super moving” Folgers commercial, it takes some hard reality to jar my tear ducts!
OK, guys: What makes you get a little emotional?