Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For Crying Out Loud!

Are you a crybaby? Do you cry at Hallmark commercials? Love songs? Rom-com movies?

I'm usually not a sap. I did cry easily as a child (and was teased by my sister "B-A, B-A, B-A-B-Y!"). I cry when I'm stressed. I cry when I'm proud of my children. But it takes a lot to make me cry in a book or movie.

As a writer (or director or songwriter), you want the reader to connect emotionally with the characters. You want them to empathize with them, you want them to feel what they are feeling.

Let's explore what moments do make a reader snivel: death, the emotional bond between parent and child, heartbreak over a lost love, an important accomplished goal, a disappointment. Do you have any more to add?
Now let's explore specific movies, books, or songs that made us reach for the Kleenex and/or curl up in the fetal position.

I'll go first.

It takes a lot to make me cry in a book. Here's a few that I can remember. I probably have cried a few more times than this, but this is all I can remember!

1. The very end of the first chapter of Hunger Games when a certain someone was selected.

2. When my favorite character died in Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows.

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein has gotten me emotional too thinking about the sacrifices a parent makes for each child. Okay, I'm sentimental sometimes!

I think I cry more easily in movies or TV than books because I'm a visual person. But even so, the book is always better than the movie.
My family teases my sister because she's cried at every Twilight movie. Every time we watch a movie with her, my kids ask her, "Are you crying, Denise?!"
Now that I'm making a list, I can't think of too many movies, probably because I usually watch comedies!

1. Despicable Me - yes, I teared up a little at the end.

2. The Blind Side - what a feel good movie mixed with a few tears

3. Marley and Me - I watched it about five months after my dog had died. :(

4. Saving Private Ryan - Just wow. How could you not feel something?

5. Steel Magnolias - And this was before I had my own daughter with kidney problems.


1. I just cried last week at the episode of How I Met Your Mother. I watch that show because it makes me laugh, but I definitely cried last Monday due to the unexpected death of a character.

2. I cried at an episode of Young and the Restless when a teenager that was a main character died in a car crash. I sobbed! It's every parent's worst nightmare.

3. When I was pregnant with each child, I'd watch A Baby Story on TLC. I bawled and bawled at the end of each show when the baby was born. Every time!

4. This probably doesn't count, but The Soup and Tosh.0 occasionally make me laugh so hard that I'm crying. Seriously!

Hardly any songs make me cry, but these do.

1. "Tears from Heaven" by Eric Clapton. I even cried as a teenager hearing this song and realizing what it was about.

2. "Daniel" by Elton John. My husband's uncle Danny died trying to save a coworker's life. This beautiful song was played at his funeral. I tear up whenever I hear it. My youngest son's middle name is named after Uncle Danny.

3. "Fiction" by Avenged Sevenfold. I don't cry when I hear this song, but I feel like I want to. It has a beautiful, haunting piano introduction, and it is the last album that the Avenged drummer, The Rev, contributed to before he died. In this song, he eerily sings, "I know you'll find your own way, when I'm not with you." Every time I hear this, a wave of sadness comes over me.

What books, movies, or songs make you weepy?


Meika said...

There is no movie that makes me cry more than My Girl. Seriously, that scene at the funeral...and when Vada reads the poem...gah!

As for songs...Keith Urban's Tonight I Wanna Cry...the way he sings it, the emotions of the whole thing, break my heart.

Grey's Anatomy has definitely made me cry a couple times (the Denny and George episodes) and I got teary watching that last episode of How I Met Your Mother, too.

Great post. Love your blog :)

DEZMOND said...

actually I watched some movie with Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston this Sunday and it almost made me cry a bit in the end :))

Laura Pauling said...

All the Pixar movies bring tears to my eyes. But you're right, it's harder with books - b/c there is no music. :) I end up tearing up when it's something I can relate to - like parenthood. Some children's books I could never make through when I read aloud to my kids. Or in Anne of Green Gables, I don't cry when Matthew dies, I cry at the beginning when we first meet him and when he does silly things like buy things for Anne - b/c I know what's coming.

Of course, Where the Red Fern Grows and Bridge to Terabithia I cry at the end. But you're right, not many books. It's hard.

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

I'm with you on the Giving Tree. Movies? The Champ. The English Patient. Song: The Cat's In the Cradle.

Books? Three Cups of Tea. It was so inspirational! Oh, and Marley and Me.

Christina Lee said...

I am such a cry baby! I boo hooed over Toy Story 3, HP deaths, Dexter show deaths, on and on and on. Oh, and Marley and Me--that's like asking someone to poke themselves repeatedly in the eye! :D

Kelly said...

Meika - I like My Girl because it' the first movie my now hubby and I ever saw together! (I don't think I cried in front of him though!)
Dezz - Was it a good movie too?
Laura - Ahhh. Bridge to Terabithia. Another tear jerker.
Sam - Cat's in the Cradle is a good one. My ex used to get emotional about that one.
Christina - My sister cried in Toy Story 3 too! And we made fun of her! ;)

Stephanie Blake said...

I cry over commercials. If someone is crying, I'm crying. I can't take it. It was very hard when I was drawing blood on critical patients. If a family member was in the room, I'd bawl.

C.R. Evers said...

I'm not much of a crier. I can cry though, which is why I tend to avoid movies and books that I KNOW will make me cry. Some that have caught me off guard are the movie UP and the book "The Sweetheart of Prosper County" There was also a part in Mockingjay that made me hold back tears too.

Melissa Gill said...

What an awesome question. I think of myself as pretty hard, I don't cry easily, but occasionally movies and books will make me bawl.

My most recent example is the book Plain Kate (best book I've read in a while) Keep in mind that I peeked ahead at the end because I couldn't stand the tension of not knowing what happened to a certain character, and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still bawled- I mean all out, nose running bawling, toward the end.

In movies, I ususally cry at the emotional death scenes. (I couldn't even go see Marley and Me because I can't even deal with an animal dying). Or the big emotional feel good moments like the end of "Rudy".

Great question though.

Denise Maple said...

OK, yeah. I cry a lot. Yes, to all your questions - at Hallmark commercials, books (rarely, but it happens), movies, songs. I have a high suspension of disbelief with movies. It allows me to enjoy and feel the movie more. Correction to your blog: I did NOT cry in the last Twilight movie - only the first two.

Denise Maple said...

I just remembered a book and movie that made me cry - a lot (i.e. more than usual). Bridges of Madison County.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I can tear up pretty easily, but flat out crying is another thing. Lemme think...definitely the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows scene and Eric Clapton's song too, Rue from the Hunger Games, and I guess pretty much any scene where a child dies.

Candyland said...

I cry. A lot! Books, it takes me a little more to picture in my head how *sad* a scene really is. Even though I didn't care for If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, I did cry.

Movies...usually all of Lilli's Pixar/Disney movies!


Songs..too many to say. The Used On My Own gets me every time.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh my gosh, I bawl at everything. This post, just thinking about Despicable Me. Yeah, I'm a completely cry baby.

I even misted up at a Katy Perry song yesterday. I have issues. I'm working on it.

Indigo said...

This is going to sound so sappy...I cry trying to read my own words out loud to someone else. If I ever get published that's going to go over swell when I have a book signing, or need to read from my book. (Hugs)Indigo

My husband teases me endlessly about this too.

Jennifer Shirk said...

The Giving Tree made me cry so hard I had wads of snot running down my face. Kills me every time.

I cried at Kristan Higgin's book "Catch of the Day" when a certain pet died--even though I knew it was coming.

I cried at a recent George Strait song "The Breath You Take" with lyrics like ...
But life's not the breath you take, the breathing in and out
That gets you through the day, ain't what it's all about
You just might miss the point trying to win the race
Life's not the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away
Just like it took my breath when she was born
Just like it took my breath away when dad took his last that morn

Goodness! I was balling like a baby driving my car listening to that.

Kelly said...

Steph- You would be proud of my daughter. She had to have blood taken several times a year for many years since she was little. She never cries!
Christy - Yes, some emotional parts in Mockingjay for sure.
Denise - I'm just glad you didn't cry over this blog post. ;) XO
Carolyn - Yes, a child dying gets me. Every mom's worst fear.
Candace - Haven't heard that Used tune. Will check it out and see if I can make it through!
Elana - A Katy Perry song?!
Indigo - Uh oh! You will need lots of practice! :)

Lola Sharp said...

Dude, you have no idea how easily I cry.
That SPCA commercial (where Sarah Mc (Sp?) sings)? Sob.
The first 10 minutes of UP! Hysterical SNOT BUBBLE SOBBING. (I can't believe no one above mentioned Up)

TONS of books make me cry...nearly every week (I read 5+ books/week) at last one book makes me cry. Recently: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly made me sob...in a public Dr.s office lobby! SO good.

I think the book that killed me the most, as in lost my body weight in tears, was probably Watership Down. But the Giving Tree and the Little Prince and Charlotte's Web all slay me too.

The list of songs and books and movies that make me cry would be endless. Thus, I shall shut up and go away now.


Sherri said...

Hi Everyone, great question. I am a huge cry baby. Anything that has to do with animals and I am hysterical. If anyone is on FB, just click into Rescue Ink, they rescue dogs. If it is a great story or a sad story I am crying my eyes out in my office. (I try to keep my hysterics to during the day when my husband is not around. ha ha)
As for music, the song In My Daughters Eyes by Martina McBride...OMG, my daughter and I used that song at her wedding for the mother daughter dance. We had to make a pact not to cry because we paid so much money to have our hair and make up done and there was nobody there to do touch ups. Also for music almost any country song can do me in. The stories they tell are amazing. (Yes, I am a total country music lover.)
Books make me cry, but not as easy as movies. Just saw the movie Country Strong and the tears welled up.
P.S. For those who know Critter, he cries when I cry, just like my daughter does and she is 29.

Have a great day!
Sherri & Critter

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I cry far more easily than I used to for some reason. I bawled and bawled and bawled when I read Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas - possibly the saddest book ever written. Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl" gets me every time. :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think about the only thing that might get me is a movie. (Once my wife told me how Marley and Me ends, I refused to see it!)
And I was told my book makes some people cry. Sorry about that!

Kimberly Franklin said...

I so cried last week on How I Met Your Mother too! And I felt so completely silly, but it was so sad.

Kelly H-Y said...

Definitely 'The Blind Side' ... and the book 'The Shack' ... I could barely take that one ... a parent's worst nightmare.

Debbie Diesen said...

I tear up pretty regularly. Most recently, watching The Sound of Music for the billionth time, I teared up during the dance scene, yet again. So romantic!

MotherReader said...

I can think of three books that have made me cry or at least tear up. All are picture books. On the Day You Were Born, Show Way, and Someday. All books about daughters.

I don't think regular adult, YA, or kidlit books make me cry because... I just don't read them. (I don't like to cry.)

Movies are more likely to get me, but I can't think of one off hand. I did cry like a child just hearing the song from Toy Story II - When Somebody Loves You.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Do you know the song "Live Like You Were Dieing?" I cry every time I hear it. I had a student the year it came out that's Dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She didn't know. I went up a grade the next year for several reasons, but I had several kiddos with big situations in their lives and I was able to give my parents the option to keep me as their child's teacher. Out of 28 students...26 of them stayed with me. (heart melted) Her Dad made it through fourth grade with me...but in fifth grade he didn't make it. They played that song at his funeral.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Do you know the song "Live Like You Were Dieing?" I cry every time I hear it. I had a student the year it came out that's Dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She didn't know. I went up a grade the next year for several reasons, but I had several kiddos with big situations in their lives and I was able to give my parents the option to keep me as their child's teacher. Out of 28 students...26 of them stayed with me. (heart melted) Her Dad made it through fourth grade with me...but in fifth grade he didn't make it. They played that song at his funeral.

Susan R. Mills said...

I cry at Steel Magnolias every time I see it. I also cry at Terms Of Endearment every time. I don't cry easily, so that's saying something.

Kim Kasch said...

I don't cry easily. Just a fact ingrained in me growing up in a family with 9 kids. Weakness could never be shown, I would have become a target...or wait, I already was.

But, when I see my kids do something for one another...I can't help it, I tear up.

Anonymous said...

Can't think of anything although if I did cry I wouldn't worry about it. I am touched on the inside a lot though. We love Discpicable Me. Since I have daughters I love the ending. It gets me right there, you know.

Theresa Milstein said...

It takes a lot to get me to cry with music. Books, Charlottes Web gets me every time. I had a few teary moments during the HP series. The end of The Giver got me. Plenty of TV shows and movies get me teary.

I'm a big baby, I guess.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Oh, my eyes well up pretty easily. The ASPCA commercials kill me. The expressions in the eyes of those animals always sends me for the tissues. Steel Magnolias will also bring on the tears. And an old movie that I still love always kills me--Brian's Song.

J.Tuttle said...

Great question! I have to agree with Laura Pauling, all the Pixar movies made me tear up. I saw UP in a theatre and cried twice!

Anita said...

I cried a couple times reading ROOM. And I sometimes cry reading blogs!

Lydia K said...

I'm such a crier too! It's only gotten worse after my kids were born. I think I cried the hardest in the second Lord of the Rings movie when the King of Rohan weeps over his dead son.
"No parent should have to bury their child."

Tina Laurel Lee said...

This makes me think of your humor lessons. Now you are taking apart crying for us! I love how you do this. The Olympics always make me cry. And, like Elana, I cried at a Katy Perry video (Firework) the other day (and then a girl at school sang it during a drama performance and I cried again). But I believe this deserves more attention! Thanks for making me think about it.

Girl Friday said...

I'm so with you on The Blind Side :) The first book I remember crying over was War and Peace, when a main character dies, but usually, whether in books or films, it's happy endings that set me off, not sad things. The worst is An Affair To Remember, which makes me HOWL.

Chris Phillips said...

books don't make me teary, but movies can, especially when parental figures die off.

Jim Randolph said...

I cry at certain books I read aloud to my students. Pink & Say, the end of The Great Gilly Hopkins, etc. Movies for sure. The end of Toy Story 3 and the beginning of UP. Sheesh.

This morning I blubbered my way through the NYTimes coverage of that girl from Tuscon's funeral...

Lee Wind said...

It's funny how it's actually MORE emotional when reading when the character doesn't let themselves cry - when they fight it, and you know they're about to burst, but they don't, and YOU do. An interesting twist on the whole catharsis thing.
I like your lists of what triggers your tears - that's a brave thing to share, and I applaud you!

Deborah from Annie and Aunt said...

I remember only one time when my mother cried when she read to me (end of Charlotte's Web). I feel like I cried over books on a regular basis during my daughters' childhood: they'd get this "uh-oh she's tearing-up" look on their faces. Characters who are brave or loving do it to me: Mirette on the High Wire, or Dogger.

Anonymous said...

Nice gnashers

Anonymous said...

Old Yeller.