Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Moving pictures

My wife and I watched "The Wizard of Oz" the other night.

No, we didn't have the grandchildren with us.  We watched it because WE wanted to.  And we enjoyed it. And I got all choked up near the end, just as I had since I was a kid.

We've both always liked that particular movie and when the Blu-Ray disk came out we decided to get it when the price wasn't quite so outrageous.  So we waited, we bought it and we enjoyed it.

But that started me to thinking about other movies that evoke a discernible emotional response, whether through manipulation or genuinely created emotion.  For example....

One of my very favorite movies is "Field of Dreams," and if you're one of the small number who don't know what it is or don't remember, Kevin Costner plays a reluctant Iowa corn farmer who hears a voice that tells him to plow under most of his crop in order to build a baseball field.  Why?  So that Shoeless Joe Jackson, a disgraced former major league baseball player, can return from the dead to play once more.  There's a lot more to that movie than that, and I won't spoil it for you if you've not seen it, but if you're a person with feelings, I defy you not to be affected by the final fifteen minutes of that movie.

I always am, so I have to be selective about when to watch it.

Same goes for another baseball movie, Robert Redford's "The Natural."  Climactic ending ALWAYS brings me to tears.  Can't watch that one very often, either.

The original "Rocky" does that to me.  At the end, Rocky and Adrian say "I love you" to one another, and it absolutely destroys me.  Every single time.

Ironically, Sylvester Stallone's noble effort to close the series the right was, the recent "Rocky Balboa," has a similar effect near the end.

Enough sports movies.  The all-time breakdown movie for me has to be "Schindler's List," Steven Spielberg's study of displaced Jews during World War II and the Czech industrialist who saved over a thousand of them by buying their freedom.  The last scene where we see Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler....well, I'm a little emotional just typing this and thinking about it.  Another movie I don't watch often, simply because of the powerful emotions.  That came out when our son was in high school, and while my wife didn't care to see it, our son did, so he and I went one evening to see it.  That was in 1993, I think.  What I remember afterwards is that a couple of days after seeing it my wife commented to me that I had been very quiet since that movie, and she was right.  It was a lot to think about.

Close second on the emotion scale is the third of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  Powerful stuff near the end of "The Return of the King," and I won't elaborate for fear of spoilers here, either.  Suffice it to say that if you had spend nearly ten hours watching these movies, even over three years, you'd have a lot of emotion stored up that would have to emerge sooner or later.

As I write this I find it odd that I can remember movies that bring me to tears more readily than those that made me laugh uncontrollably.  There are plenty, but I suppose the laughter comes from not knowing what will happen, and being taken by surprise.  In the DVD world, there are fewer surprises, I suppose.

So, if you need a good cry, let me know, and I'll recommend a movie or two.  Always works for me.

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