8 Movies, Books, Songs and TV Shows That Make Me Cry Like Holly Hunter in 'Broadcast News'

Books, movies and music for doing sad all by yourself.

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:02am | Leave a comment

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My feelings about crying can pretty much be summed up by a line from Christopher Durang: I don't think people should unless something falls on them. I'd rather see somebody whip it out and wank it on the subway than cry, because at least then I'm not expected to walk up and ask if they need help.

I exaggerate, of course! Subway wanking = very bad. But, like wanking, crying is a great thing to do alone when you really need to. It can be cathartic and almost meditative, like Holly Hunter's yogic bawling in "Broadcast News."

It's been a stressful week, and so I've been dipping into my stash of mournography. If, like me, you're emotionally stunted but understand the importance of keeping your ducts flushed, here are a couple things you can keep in your spank bank of melancholy.

Movie: "Lady Jane."
Researchers at UC Berkley claim that the saddest movie in the world, scientifically, is the boxing picture "The Champ," but sports movies just don't inspire the kind of sads in me that a true story will, because it really happened and I can be sad for the real life people it happened to. Enter "Lady Jane." This is Cary Elwes at the apex of his as-you-wish-smoky-hotness and the incredible Helena Bonham-Carter as the nerdy nerd who he falls in love with after they arranged-marry. But like I said -- DOOOOOMED. I saw this in AP Modern Euro in highschool and I was bummed for days.

Quick Hit: The opening sequence of "Up." I mean, I know that some people like COUGH COUGH Emily say they don't like kids' movies at all, ever, but if you don't feel feelings at this, I cannot help you.

Book: "Anagrams," by Lorrie Moore.
Yes, Lorrie Moore is probably the funniest writer working today (minus that whole weird last novel), but the love story in this will absolutely destroy you. This is a book that I compulsively buy like Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory," because every time I give it to somebody they give it to somebody else. It is like the pay it forward of despair. But also great. Read it. Read it now.

Quick Hit: The short story "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," by Katherine Anne Porter. Oh man. OH MAN. This is still the saddest single piece of fiction I have ever read in my life. If you haven't read this, please find a copy immediately, because it's wonderful, but also don't have any place to be where you can't have a huge swollen red puffy face from bawling your freaking eyes out.

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TV: "The War"
MOTHER OF GOD. This is old people talking about World War II. This Ken Burns PBS series is on Netflix instant and it's fantastic.

Quick Hit: The episode of "The Wonder Years" where Winnie starts hanging out with the cool kids. Gets me. Every. Time. Don't believe me? Watch this clip.

Music: Jeff Buckley's "Grace"
When I got my nose pierced in high school by a drunk Cockney who I'm pretty sure was Steve Jones, my eyes started gushing water. Steve Jones was all, "Don't worry, luv, the nose nerves are concentrated and the eyes involuntarily water. 'ere, 'ave a lolly." Despite the fact that "Hallelujah" is the de facto soundtrack for every television "thinkin' bout death" scene ever, this album? The aural equivalent of having somebody shove a needle through your nose nerves.

Quick Hit: Roberta Flack's "Do What You Gotta Do." This is the unrequited love song to end all unrequited love songs. The end.

OK, that's my secret stash of despondency! Help me give credence to an Actual iTunes Playlist I maintain, "The Saddest iTunes Playlist in the World," and tell me what makes you blubber. Don't go wasting your emotion! Lay all your misery media on me.