26 July, 2010

CInecult: The Greatest Trick the Movie Ever Played

It's a rare treat to cry at a movie. Movies can strike you in a lot of ways, but it's a rare occasion that something-- anything, really-- makes me cry.

Intense emotion, for me, is a way for a simply decent movie to be propelled into the realm of great cinema. It's a trick, really. Because the movies themselves aren't great, but somehow, it manages to hit me in such a way, at such a time to make me forget who I am and where I am and who I'm with and cry.

The following is a list of movies that have made me cry in one way or another. All of the movies below, I feel the need to say, I am sincere about, as writing this ironically would a completely pointless endeavor.

Seabiscuit-- I had to hold in my tears when I watched Seabiscuit because I was sitting next to my mom at the time. The story of Seabiscit itself is enough to make me cry, but the movie really got to me. Everyone of the heroes in the movie has every reason to be a failure and to be cast away by everyone, but what keeps them going is this inborn urge to keep on moving on. They get hurt because of this, over and over and over again. All of these set backs and all of this suffering ends with one final race, with Seabiscuit and Red racing towards a finish line. As they're coarsing towards the finish line they'll never get to, I couldn't help but think, "I love horses," which is a thought that I still don't fully understand. What I do understand is the feeling of being cut free from everything that is holding you down and just running free as far and as fast as you can. The movie doesn't give us the closure that most movies do, but I don't need to see it, I already know the ending.

Terminator 2-- I've said before that Terminator 2 is my favorite film, but I'm not listing this because it's my favorite film, rather it's my favorite film because it belongs on this list. There's a lot of great things about that movie, the action most obviously. What gets me is that T2 is a story about a crazy woman, a robot, and jevenile delinquint and it manages to make a family out of this. Even though he's an emotionless, killing machine, we still like the Terminator and when he dies, for me, it isn't that he's dying, but that he finally becomes aware of what it means to be a human and to lose things, but to also know that being human is something that will always be foreign to him. He becomes something more than a killing machine and, because of that, he knows that he has to die, regardless of how any of us feel.

Toy Story 3-- Someone said that Toy Story might very well be the best trilogy of all time and I'm hard pressed to come up with a proper counter-argument. There's a few moments in the movie that got to me, one being the scene with the claw. There's a horrific kind of beauty in that scene, where it boils down the essence of the film and says, more or less, here is what we were concerned about the whole time. As much as Andy features into the story, that scene focuses on the toys' stake in all of this. They realize that, even at the gates of hell, they're still going to be together, forever and that's all that really matters. The second scene, the one that really got me, is with Bonny and Andy. I think some people missed the point on that, but I guess it doesn't really matter. What got me is that moving on is apart of all of our lives. There's no stopping what's coming and, in that scene, Andy finally realizes this. Life has to move on, for better or for worse, because that's what life is. But what doesn't have to change is the memories we take with us. People around us might move away or die or anything else, but that doesn't change the effect they had on our life. It isn't just about toys or childhood, it's about the relationships we have in our lifetime. We have to move on, but, in all of that, we still can carry with us the changes they made in our lives. That can't ever be thrown away.

The Return of the King-- In the midst of the rest of this list, this movie doesn't quite seem to hold a candle to the rest of the movies. That doesn't mean that it didn't earn its way on here, though. There's lots of denouments in the third installment of The Lord of the Rings movies. The moment that got me was wne

Saving Private Ryan-- I first saw Saving Private Ryan in the theaters when I was ten and as much of an experience as that was, most of it obviously went over my head. It took me years to realize this. For a long time it was one of my favorite movies. Since then, my critical eye has sussed out that it isn't nearly as perfect as ten-year-old-me thought it was. Though, the older I get, the harder the end of that movie hits me. It might be a typical Spielbergian moment where the music wells up and he goes for the soft spot, but that end still gets me. All of those men put so much into this operation and at the end, this broken, old man, surrounded by his family, still doesn't know whether or not it was worth it. Of course, we all know the answer.

Murderball-- Muderball is a documentary film about full-contact rugby played by quadropeligiacs in wheelchairs. It's a beautiful movie that doesn't once condescend to the people in it. It doesn't coddle or stroke these delicate little flowers, it just shows them as men who have had one or two bad things happen to them as they live their lives as well as they can. There isn't a single moment of sorrow for these men. The main narrative in the film revolves around the Para-Olympic championship between the American team and the Canadian team, which is coached by the US' former coach. I wont' give away the ending, but there's a scene where one of the more obviously disabled Murderball players, weeping, is embraced by his father, who tells him that he couldn't be more proud of his son. It's a moment everyone waits for and even if the guy could walk, it would still hit me like a ton of bricks, because it isn't that he's disabled, it's that he worked as hard as he possibly could with as much as God gave him. The second part that got me was these new Murderball players, some who are veterans from Iraq, who aren't used to being confined to a chair. They've given their all and they've been rewarded with this, but as we see these guys struggle to play the game, in a way, we know that life is going to go on, no matter what it happens to throw at us.

Ikiru-- Without spoiling too much, Ikiru is about a man dying. It isn't over following with laughs, but Kurosawa is a great humanist in that he doesn't get too sentimental and he doesn't have too much of an agenda. He just loves people and he loves the main character, who is slowly passing away as he realizes that he's wasted his entire life. It's a heartbreaking movie in a lot of ways, but what gets you is that life isn't just about some day dying, it's about how beautiful life can be in between the cracks. It's about how the gaps between the pain are what make the pain worthwhile, I guess.

Special Jury Prize:
Band of Brothers-- The biggest part of Band of Brothers is that you get to know most of these guys for three years before the war ends. They're our dear friends. And it wasn't the actual show that got to me, but these old veterans talking about Currahee and Bastonge and the Eagle's Nest that got to me. The whole time, for ten week, these guys talked about the war, about how ugly it was, about how beautiful it was, and then, at the end, after all is said and done, a tiny little caption tells us who these men were. All of the sudden these old, venerable, respectable men, turn into these characters we've suffered with and felt for for all of this time. All of the sudden they're real people and we know, in however minuscule in a way, what they went through. And we know that, yeah, they are a band of brothers and, yeah, we do considered ourselves accursed for not having been there.

Fuck me. Who needs a drink?