Bustin’ Out the Kleenex, and Other Embarrassing Movie Watching Moments

by | Jun 29th, 2010 | 4:30PM | Filed under: In My Humble Opinion

Last week, Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman wrote an interesting piece about his weepy reaction to Toy Story 3. He encouraged other men not to be ashamed if they, too, had shed a tear at the trilogy’s moving finale, and urged them to share their own stories of cinematic sorrow-letting. As a result, the comments section of that post turned into something of a Criers Anonymous group therapy session.

Today, the Telegraph‘s Tom Leonard tried to figure out exactly what it was about the Pixar film that made grown men start to sniffle.  Now, I could perhaps say something here about how unfortunate it is that dudes still need to feel somewhat embarrassed — or otherwise try to make excuses — for the rare occasions on which a film might move them to tears. Clearly it’s still just not that accepted for guys to start bawling their eyes out in public, or else two high-profile journalists wouldn’t have dedicated articles to it.  But I don’t want to cover that same territory.  Instead, I want to ask all of you whether or not you even think twice about crying, laughing loudly, jumping out of your seat, cowering low in fear, or having any other sort of visible/audible reactions to something that’s on the big screen.

So yes, I’m talking only about when you’re out at the cineplex — not lounging on your couch in your pajamas and slippers with a big bowl of ice cream, sobbing like a big baby when Frodo cries out “Noooooo!!!!!” in slow motion after Gandalf is swept down into the depths of Mordor with the Balrog. Not that I would know anything about getting weepy at that part.

I’m curious for your thoughts on public reactions you’ve either had or witnessed others having that made you feel a bit sheepish… or made you extremely annoyed with someone by you.  This is a topic close to my heart, because there aren’t a ton of other female critics at Chicago press screenings, and I’m always extremely self-conscious of blasting out a huge honk of laughter at something no one else found funny, or starting to whimper uncontrollably at a particularly intense drama, or kicking the poor fellow in front of me if I am forced to watch a scary thriller I might not have seen if I didn’t have this job (guy who I nailed in the head during Nightmare on Elm Street: I apologize!).

I have much more patience for those around me than I do for myself, however. I can deal with people crying or freaking out or even the rare (and I do mean rare) kinda loud whisper in order to explain/understand something that might be going on in an exceptionally twisty storyline.  But what I just can’t stand is That Guy or Gal who laughs at everything.  Obnoxiously.  Ridiculously loudly. As if they’re just trying to get people to shush them.  There was a chick like that behind Locke and I at Toy Story 3, as it were, and I was about to throw something at her.  But perhaps I should thank her, because I was so distracted by all of her noise-making that I probably didn’t cry as much as I would’ve if I’d been totally absorbed in the show. That saved me from having to ask Locke if I could use his shirt sleeve as a hankie.  So he definitely needs to be grateful for Loud-Laugh Chick, huh?

10 Responses to “Bustin’ Out the Kleenex, and Other Embarrassing Movie Watching Moments”

  1. Mary
    Posted on June 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I totally cry at movies (I try to play it off like I have something in my eye, though) and laugh at parts that no one else thinks is funny (boo hoo on everyone else) and jump in my seat during scary or suspenseful parts of movies (my boyfriend always smirks at me when I do that). I don’t mind it if other people do it, either. It’s an experience to go see a movie. Though I agree with the “person who laughs at everything”. When I went to see the new Karate Kid there was a guy behind me who was sniggering at *everything* and I really wanted to throw something at him or “accidentally” drop a full beverage on him.

  2. matphoto
    Posted on June 29, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    The only time I can remember completely bawling is at the end of ‘The Cove.’ I got through the whole slaughter scene but the part when he walks into the conference with the tv and then the final aerial shot were just too much for me. I wish I had that same resolve and ability to stand up for issues I feel strongly about. I wasn’t at the theater, but as I’m welling up a little just in recounting that scene I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have reacted much differently had I been there. That is, UNLESS somebody near me was disrupting the whole experience like you mentioned, in which case I could see myself getting really pissed off at them instead.

    To answer your question more directly, It definitely takes more when I’m in public at the theater, or at least I try to hide it a lot more, even looking away if necessary. The bottom line however is that if a movie gets to me it gets to me. I can’t turn my emotions off, and if there’s no buildup to something, like scary scenes in some horror movies, then I just can’t help it (‘Signs’ got me pretty bad, yea…).

  3. moviegoer123
    Posted on June 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I cried at Toy Story 3, to be honest. I had little tears forming in my eyes at the beginning. Throughout the film, my eyes kept on making bigger and bigger tears. By the end of the film, I was sobbing throughout the credits until the people who came with me to the film made humor and then, I was fine.

  4. Fiirvoen
    Posted on June 30, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Saw Karate Kid last night and I almost lost it a couple of times. However, I always break down during the beginning of Return to Me when the husband gets home after his wife dies…

  5. Ashley
    Posted on June 30, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Generally speaking I don’t really hold back while I’m in a theater. It helps a bit that it takes a lot for a movie to make me cry (the last one I remember was “Up,” and then everybody else was a mess, too, so it was okay). I will occasionally strategize — go to a movie by myself if I know I’m going to be annoying, try to get a seat off on my own, or wait until the crowds have thinned out a bit. (Case in point: I’m originally from the Black Hills and I had a bunch of friends as extras in “National Treasure 2.” I went alone because I was going to be watching for familiar people and places and would have annoyed the crap out of any of my friends if they had come along.)

    As long as people are reacting to the movie, other people’s reactions don’t get to me (and really, I probably won’t notice at all). It’s when it transitions to something else (“Seriously, why is that guy still giggling?”) that I get annoyed.

  6. Matt in Dallas
    Posted on June 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Cried at TS3. Took my little guy for the first time, to a movie in the theater (he’s 2 and half). He had no idea why, but he definitely saw me shedding tears.

  7. Will
    Posted on June 30, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Yep…tears formed for me watching TS3 as well…tried holding it back, I mean it’s just a cartoon right, but I found it remarkable that these are characters that have been with us for 15 years.

  8. WTFC
    Posted on January 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

    haha…I cry at absolutely everything…

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Posted on July 12, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I cried during TS3. I don’t know anyone who didn’t. But, I heard rumors of a TS4 By Tom Hanks on the internet.

  9. Angie
    Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

    The end of Lord of the Rings, Return of the KIng made me cry quietly, I didn’t want the story to end.