Thursday, June 27, 2013

I laughed, I cried....

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Okay...last night I was performing some mindless task in my office and - as I often do - I popped a DVD into the player. Just to have some background noises.

All was going well until - Lady Sybil died. Now..this was not a surprise. I saw Lady Sybil die last January. And truth be told a few times since then.

How in the world can I still cry when I hear her husband wailing  "please don't leave me, luv"? Stopped me cold. Get the tissues.

I still cry at the end of West Side Story. ("How many bullets, Chino?") And the funeral scene in Out of Africa ("He was not mine...")


Bang The Drum Slowly?  Get the tissues.

It's not hormonal. Just to balance things out I should add that I laugh every time I watch Bang the Drum Slowly, too.

And Forget Paris.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles ("Polka, polka, polka!")
and Kingpin.
(Some of the best lines in that one require visuals, watch the film and listen for the line "you leave Rebecca out of this!")

So how did the writers - and actors - successfully elicit these responses. Even after many years and multiple viewings. I guess they made me care about the characters. And gave the characters memorable, believable dialogue.

I'm about to make my last pass on my soon-to-be self-published novel (at least I hope it's the last pass.Without an external deadline it's so easy to think "Oh, just one more look!)

This time I'll be reading with an even closer eye - not just to the language, plot, rhythm and all the other things I usually look at - but to the emotional pull of my words.

Hopefully they'll elicit more laughs than tears!

So...which movies still make you laugh and which still make you cry??



  1. I think the key is in the “caring about the characters” and once that is in place then it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I see these films, I still manage to get caught up in them . . . “Sleepless in Seattle” . . . To Kill a Mockingbird . . . Schindler’s List . . . E. T. The Extraterrestrial . . . It’s a Wonderful Life . . . . .

  2. Dr. Zhivago. I could watch that a million times. Bridges of Madison County. Major weepfest.

  3. "Imitation of Life". Haven't seen it in a while but it always made me cry. "Brian's Song", "Schindler's List" many that I can't think of right now.

    I laugh out loud at "Young Frankenstein", "Princess Bride", "Airplane" (the sound of propellers as they show the jet is a riot.)

    I'm sure as the day goes on I'll think of more.

  4. Oh, yes..Brian's Song is a weeper. Dee

  5. OMG - "I love Brian Piccolo...and tonight when you say your prayers..."

    I'm blubbering now...

    Imitation of takes me back..was that the one with Sandra Dee and Lana Turner?

  6. Brian's know...I can be in an elevator and just hear a few notes of that SONG and the emotion comes back

    BTW if some of you haven't seen Bang the Drum Slowly - young Robert DeNiro as a dying baseball player. You'll never hear Streets of Laredo again without a little sob.

  7. My weepy movie is Lady Jane, starring two actors who are usually good for a laugh, Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes. Every time I see it, I sob. Hide in the closet and stuff a pillow in my mouth sob (well, okay, that was when I was 21 and living with an aunt and uncle). I don't watch it often, but when I need a good cry, that's my go-to movie.

  8. The first time I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" I cried. At the time I was in second grade. It still makes me cry. When I saw "Les Miserables" earlier this year I cried, and cried, and cried, and had to sit in theater for about fifteen minutes after the movie ended before I could see clearly enough through my tears to be able to walk to the car.

    "Heaven Can Wait" made me laugh so much that I just HAD to see it again. In the next two weeks I went back to see it two more times. "Analyze This" had me laughing so hard that I missed some of the lines. I went back to see it just so I could try to pick up whatever I didn't hear the first time around.

    This is just a short list...!

  9. I still cry when I see Titanic. Sounds so cheesy, but it gets me every time.

    And another one is Beaches. There is a World Premiere musical version opening this season at the Signature Theater in Virgina and I just don't know if I can sit in a room of strangers and see that. I'll be soaked in tears.

    Oh, who am I kidding, I'll be there at least once!

  10. Deb Romano, I'm so relieved to hear you say that about Les Mis. I thought it was just me! I have seen the live show 3 times and it really wasn't one of my favorites... then when they did "Do You Hear the People Sing" for one of the awards shows, just that little bit, totally out of context, I absolutely lost it. Have tried to watch the movie and just go to pieces. No idea what my problem is unless it is really good orchestration that does me in...

    Otherwise, "The Glass Bottom Boat" still cracks me up, as does "Noises Off."

  11. Going way back, anyone remember Old Yeller?

    Ghost? Remember the penny?

    I read somewhere that if you want to make the audience cry, bring the character just to the brink of tears, not actually crying.

  12. OLD YELLER is, so far, the only movie or TV drama to make me cry. BRIAN'S SONG produced some misty-eyed blinks, but I'm pretty sure it takes a dog. I have an old pickup I don't drive much, but every time I do, I almost cry. The night I had to have him put down, my chocolate Lab Murphy left some of himself on the passenger seat. And I've never been able to clean it properly.

    What is it about dogs?

  13. Jack, I HATED Old Yeller. HATED it. One of the traumas of my childhood.

    I'm a real weeper--Kodak ads used to make me cry. Even a few bars from Les Mis. The English Patient--oh, my God. City of Angels, which my hubby loves. Boo hoo hoo. Out of Africa, which I love. The list goes on...

    The first thing that pops into my mind on the giggle front is Deuce Bigelow, Male Gigolo. My guilty pleasure. I can't even think about the scene where Oded Fehr says, "Fishy, fishy, fishy," without getting a fit of the snickers.

  14. Kristopher...Yes! Wind Beneath My Wings? Get out your hankies..

  15. Oh Ro--I am a notorious weeper. I choose to watch Les Miserables on the plane to UK and sat in my seat with tears running down my face.

    So many of the same ones you mentioned--Out of Africa. I was a mess leaving the theater. But I've been known to cry at coffee commercials (when he comes home for Christmas)

  16. Hallie beat me to "Old Yeller." It traumatized me as a kid too, Deb. To this day, I avoid movies in which animals die. (Like "I Am Legend")

    "Steel Magnolias" always gets to me, and so does "Terms of Endearment."

    Oh, man, there are some great stupid-crass-funny movies these days. They are so baad, but I laugh soo hard. "Bridesmaids," anyone?

  17. Lisa -

    Oh yes, that cemetery scene in Steel Magnolias. SO GOOD.

    I haven't watch the remake yet, but I do have it on the DVR.

  18. There is a remake of "Steel Magnolias"?

    Tears for "Terms of Endearment."

  19. Kristopher,

    Remake. What remake? News to me! Just looked it up. I'd watch it -- I like Queen Latifah.

    Cheers, Lisa

  20. Silly movies--A Fish Called Wanda is way up on the list. We watched it again not too long ago. Michael Palin and the little dogs...

    I Love You to Death with Kevin Kline, and William Hurt and Keanu Reeves as the stoners. Priceless.

  21. Les Mis! Never, ever have sobbed at a movie before. As for laughs, nothing beats Some Like it Hot and parts of Singin' in the Rain.

  22. Yes, the Steel Magnolias remake was a made for Lifetime version with an all African-American cast. And WHAT a cast. Lead by Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard.

    It received very strong reviews, but I hold the original so close to my heart that I am afraid I will not judge it fairly. But I will watch eventually.

  23. Caddyshack was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theaters, and I still laugh out loud at that movie. That and "The Blues Brothers", which I saw the next weekend.

    As for the tearjerkers, "Terms of Endearment" and "Forrest Gump" make me laugh and cry.

  24. "Walk this Way." is my favorite line ever - Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, City Slickers, Ghost, It's a Wonderful Life, - all movies which create strong emotions in me. And personally, even though there are movies which always make me cry, I would much rather see the ones which make me laugh out loud.

  25. Well, since I cry at the drop of a hat in most movies (and even some commercials) there's far too many crying movies to list for me. But, I really think the funniest laugh out loud movie I've seen is The Philadelphia Story with Kate Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. That was an "I laughed until I cried" movie. What a cast!

  26. Rosemary, yes, Imitation of Life starring Lana Turner and Sandra Dee.

    How could I forget Les Miz? I went to the movie by myself and I bawled at the end. I wasn't the only one weeping in the theater.

  27. I cried when House and Wilson rode their motorcycles toward the horizon in the final episode of "House." "War Horse," which I saw both on stage and on screen. I teared up in the theater during the sequel to the original Karate Kid. Not sure what hit me, but I do remember a kid turning around and giving me the agog stink eye. :) Steve Nicks singing "Landslide" sets me off, too.

  28. Annette - He was my BOYFRIEND!

    Let me whip this out!

    Caddyshack (Cinderella story....) reminded me of Back to School (Dean Martin?) and Old School (streaking thru the quad!!) Not what anyone would call highbrow but so fun..
    Funny - one of my captcha words is Survived. I guess these screenplays have survived.

    Must rent Deuce Bigelow...although my husband will think I've lost my mind.

  29. ""Splendor in the Grass" always makes me teary-eyed.

  30. The ending of Running on Empty. Gets me every time.

    And it's not a death. Just, well, the family has to break up.

  31. Remember, before there was Old Yeller, there was Bambi's mother....

  32. My husband says he was taken from the theatre screaming the first time he saw Bambi..

  33. So many for both crying and laughing, but two standouts that I have to mention. Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant and a leopard. I dare you to sit through it without roaring with laughter. And Love, Actually, which gets me both ways. The scenes with Bill Nighy as the foulmounthed, washed-up rock star are priceless, and Hugh Grant as the prime minister boogying through No. 10 Downing Street = great fun. But oh, when Emma Thompson discovers Alan Rickman's infidelity on Christmas Eve and goes to the bedroom so the kids can't hear her sob to Joni Mitchell, I break up every time. That woman can put more emotion into a silent attempt to control herself than anyone I've ever seen.

  34. David Lean's "Brief Encounter", with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson gets me every time. Most Mike Leigh movies make me cry at some point. Then there's "Galaxy Quest".