I’m not crying, you’re crying…okay I’m bloody crying, there’s a torrential downpour of salty dampness falling from my peepers and I bloody love it, okay? Okay. I did this to myself, I have no one else to blame and I regret nothing.
This is exactly how I feel after watching Cool Runnings. Or Save The Last Dance. Or Dirty Dancing. Not because they’re sad, per se – sure it’s sad that I’m sitting here in a Friday night, sure it’s a bit sad how (spoiler alert) the fast running dude doesn’t get to go to the Summer Olympics and it’s definitely a kick in the guts when (spoiler alert) Julia Styles’ characters mum dies, and it’s definitely a complete tragedy when Baby’s sister embarrasses herself by singing – but it’s not ‘choke on your Kahlua and milk because you can’t breathe between tears’ level sad. But somehow that’s exactly what I manage. Every. Single. Time.
And yet I go back for more. Time and time again. My go to movies don’t fall into a specific genre; some are dramas, some are comedies and hey, there are even a few musicals in there (I’m looking at you Hairspray) but the one thing that they all have in common is clear. There’s always a character that is in some way inspiring (for example, Baby (Dirty Dancing) inspired me to always carry the Watermelon – if the opportunity presents itself) and without a doubt, the ability to make me feel like I could take on the world while simultaneously feeling like the most inadequate human in the world. Standard day for me though really.
Unfortunately Netflix doesn’t exactly have a genre called “Happy Sad Movies That Make Me Doubt What Exactly I’m Doing Here and Question Every Decision I’ve Made Up Until This Point”. So I decided, after a brief survey on Facebook, combined with my own experience, to compile a completely non-definitive list of movies like that – because I bloody loves me a good emotional cry sesh.
- Cool Runnings
Four dudes from Jamaica decide to start a bobsled team despite having never seen snow. They go on to compete in the Winter Olympics and despite numerous challenges and trash talk from the Swiss (those sassy Swiss). A good time is had by all, Sanka has a lucky egg that never breaks and even more miraculously never goes rotten which I am led to believe is a thing that eggs do.
4/5 on the inspiration scale – it makes me feel like surely even I could get into the Olympics – right?
2/5 for tear factor (it would be more if Sanka broke his lucky egg, but the happy tears come from the egg surviving)
Bonus points for being based on a true story
3.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity
- The Breakfast Club
Five crazy teens, varying in levels of delinquency spend a day in detention together. Kookiness ensues as their wacky supervising teacher mostly leaves them to their own devices. They have a shared experience that the kids today would refer to as ‘a spiritual awakening’ (kids these days are mostly idiots) and admit to personal failing that most of us only begin to comprehend in our late 20s – at the earliest.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – they don’t do much more than learn not to be assholes and they don’t even do much of a good job at that.
3/5 for tear factor – I’m now too old to experience something like this and that makes me sad
2.5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity
- The Pursuit of Happyness
Right in the feels – that’s where this Will Smith movie hits you – a sentence that has never been written about Wild Wild West. That was a shit movie.
It is basically the ultimate triumph over adversity. Feel like you’ve had challenges in your life? Nah, the true story of Chris Gardner will make even your biggest challenge feel like all you did was feed yourself and manage to only spill one mouthful on your jumper – you idiot. Bonus points for an adorable Jaden Smith – before he got weird and nonsensically philosophical.
4.9/5 on the inspiration scale – anything is achievable if you’re real good at Rubik’s Cubes
4.5 for tear factor – all the feels.
4.8555 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity
- The Beach
Leonardo DiCaprio, the boy of my teen dreams escapes the burden of his (I assume) privileged Western existence to explore the exotic wilds of Thailand. He buddies up with some babin Frenchies and they find an exotic island filled with weed, inhabited by crazy Tilda Swinton and some other hippie kooks. A dude dies because a shark bites him. It all gets too much for Leo. He returns to the ‘real world’ having had a wild experience. He is still a bit of a twat. But now he is worldly. All the characters are twats.
3/5 on the inspiration scale (the scenery makes me want to travel)
2/5 for tear factor (I shed a tear for all the misguided youth who took this film as gospel)
2.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity (.5 bonus points for the bloody killer song by All Saints in the sound track)
- Erin Brockovich
Julia Roberts won a shit tonne of awards for this film. Like heaps of them. Steven Soderbergh won none (but he got them for other stuff so yay him). Erin is an unemployed single mother who takes on “the man” (in this case, Pacific Gas & Electricity), because they have been real shitty. Like they make kids have cancer – indirectly of course.
Erin is a hero because she makes them pay out heaps of money. Kids still probably died.
4/5 on the inspiration scale – I wanna save the world after seeing this. Every. Damn. Time.
3/5 for tear factor (true story and all that jazz)
3.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity – I am realistic enough to know I will never be as motivated as Ms. Brockovich – and that does make me a little sad.
- Factory Girl
Sienna Miller is an absolute babe as Edie Sedgwick (let’s be honest, she’s a babe in everything she ever does) and Guy Pierce is probably the creepiest Andy Warhol that ever there was. Like ten times creepier than actual Warhol. The real tragedy of this film is that. Guy Pierce in real life is actually a bit of a babe. Anyways, there’s drugs, wasted life and a smidge of sexual abuse. Its trauma wrapped up in a bow and I bloody love it.
2.5/5 on the inspiration scale – I wanted hair like Edie for like two seconds
2.5/5 for tear factor – I morn for missed opportunities to see Guy Pierce be a hunny.
2.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity – enhanced with the addition of red wine. BYO childhood trauma.
- Little Miss Sunshine
Dysfunctional family. Adorable child. Someone dies. Heaps of adversity, heaps of overcoming of said adversity. A totally sick dance scene which I am not afraid to admit that I spent half a day learning when I was supposed to be studying for my year 12 exams.
4.9/5 on the inspiration scale – I want to throw caution to the wind and dance to Super Freak 24/7
4/5 for tear factor – the beautiful little sweet potato that is Abigail Breslin has more confidence than I ever will. Damnit.
5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. It bloody gets me every time.
- Almost Famous
15 year old William Miller, played by Patrick Fugit, lives a far more exciting life at this tender age than I ever will. I am strangely attracted to him. The actor and the character. Luckily I googled it and he was definitely of legal age at the time of filming. Phew.
The scene where they sing Tiny Dancer is completely contrived, incredibly unrealistic and makes my cry a waterfall of regret and inadequacy every time I see it.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – none of this is ever achievable
4/5 on the tear factor – guys, Kate Hudson is real blue. She tries to kill herself with Quaaludes.
4.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. I will never be ‘impersonate an air hostess’ level of cool
Okay so people in this movie literally turn the world from black and white into colour, just by banging. I haven’t been able to even make a child (thank god) and I’ve done heaps of banging, let alone change the world. This movie is nostalgia on crack and I bloody love it. It makes me sad that Betty Parker is so old that her son is almost an adult before she experiences an orgasm for the first time.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – motivates me to listen to the sound track, that’s about all
4/5 on the tear factor – the lack of orgasm sympathy is the main motivator here
3/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. It’s the nostalgia that does it.
Sooooo yeah. I’m gonna go drink. And cry. Go forth and make the most of your steaming service of choice.