by Doug Schultz
Sure, I'm noticing more profanity and violence and misbehaving kids that might have an influence on my precious little angel during her formative years. But I've also become acutely aware of the size of my own Adam's apple (and how it swells to gigantic proportions as soon as I watch something "touching"). Seriously, when did THIS start, and how can I get it to stop?
1. Finding Nemo (2003)
2. Toy Story 3 (2010)
You know, I should probably just include a catch-all category for Disney/Pixar movies (or, at least, the Toy Story series), because they're ALL filled with sentimental, tear-jerking storylines that can (will) cause a father to choke up. But this movie takes the cake. It's emotional on a ton of different levels. Before child, the penultimate scene in the garbage incinerator caused me to ALMOST lose my cool (JAY-KAY I CRIED). And now that I'm a dad, it's every other scene. It's about growing up too fast. It's about the unremitting passage of time. It's about mortality. And it's fucking sad. Yes, the final scene in which Andy (John Morris) gives his toys to adorable little Bonnie (Emily Hahn) is bittersweet. But what about that scene in which Andy's Mom (Laurie Metcalf) scans Andy's empty room right before he leaves for college? WHAT ABOUT THAT SCENE? All right ... no more cartoons.
3. About Time (2013)
my Top 10 list for 2013 (you can't go back -- them's the rules!). But I saw it several months into 2014. By myself. Late at night. In the dark. Feeling pretty blue (for reasons not related to the film). And -- without spoiling too much -- there's one specific scene between Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a young father, and his ... daughter ... that made me WEEP. Like, full-on heaving sobs. And it's weird that I'm recommending this movie, because that one scene CHANGED me. It's sad (and a little bit sci-fi), but also awesome. It speaks to so many other points, both in the movie's world (and it's unique, time-traveling logic) and in LIFE. Oh, also, all the dad stuff. THE STUFF WITH DAD (Bill Nighy). Yeah.
4. Frequency (2000)
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
RIP Mrs. Gump. And Bubba. And Jenny. Your fake deaths (SPOILERS?) are all very sad. But none of them more emotional than when Forrest (Tom Hanks) a.) finds out he has a son, and b.) finds out he's smart. At the end of the film, as Forrest gives his Oscar-winning monologue to Jenny's grave, he beams with pride describing his relationship with his son -- he prepares his meals, combs his hair, plays games with him, fishes with him -- then begins to cry because his heart swells too much. Sure, he misses Forrest Junior's mom, but he's comforted by the love he has for this wonderful little creation -- his perfectly normal son.
6. The Champ (1979)
saddest movie in the world. Billy Flynn (Jon Voight) is a former boxing champion raising his son T.J. (Ricky Schroder[!]) -- who worships him -- after wife/mother Annie (Faye Dunaway) takes off. In order to give T.J. a better future (and get past all the custody drama), dad starts boxing again. During the film's climax in the ring, "The Champ" goes down [HARD], right in front of his son. Apparently, this final scene has become a must-see in psych labs around the world when scientists want to make people sad. So that's why it's on this list! "Wake up, Champ! Don't sleep now!"
7. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
This is my favorite film of all time. It's the best (like my daughter), and every time I watch it, I appreciate something new. FOR EXAMPLE: before I became a father, I found the sequence in which George Bailey (James Stewart) has a nervous breakdown in front of his family stunning and striking, but for technical, procedural reasons. Stewart's performance is perfect (raw and unsettling), the way it's shot is foreboding and the foreshadowing is ominous. But after I had a kid, all I could see were my feelings! Watching George's kids' reactions -- the fear and uncertainty in their eyes -- as he tore through the house is tragic. And the moment he picks up Tommy (Jimmy Hawkins) is heartbreaking. He clutches the boy out of love; out of desperation. His thousand-yard stare is interrupted by tears, kisses, then more anger. It's unbearable to watch. And it had me blubbering last Christmas. This is a dark film -- showcased through moments like these -- and its uplifting conclusion is EARNED.
So happy second birthday, sweetheart! I love you! And I hope this column makes up for the fact that I forgot to buy you a present!
Also, you can't read!