Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of extremely specific pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? Because the internet is STILL incredibly un-fun in 2021 and I enjoy blogging. It’s Friday and these will be fun! This week’s list…
Top 5 Scenes That Make Me Cry from Entertainment That Probably Shouldn’t
I’m a crier. Sometimes I wish I weren’t, but crying is just so goddamn cathartic I feel like non-criers are missing out. Having kids has made this worse. The intensity of my emotions on any given day are amplified by probably a good 50% compared to before I had kids, which if you know how intense I can be, should give you pause. But now I’m a complete sap and cannot even handle watching certain things like when kids are in trouble.
So I suppose it’s no surprise that I cry at movies and TV shows. People make fun of those of us who do this, and reader, I can tell you those people are dicks. Lose yourself in a story. Find the shared the humanity and empathize with the fictitious pretend people on the screen. And don’t be afraid to let it flow…
That is, unless you’re watching some of the entertainments below. Then, like me, maybe be alone if you’re going to cry because some of the things on this list are likely to make you go “da fuq?” Let’s dive in.
When Viktor Drago realizes Brigitte Nielsen has left during his fight in Creed II
Possibly controversial opinion right up top here: Creed II is the best Rocky movie. I have seen them all a billion times, I love them all for different reasons (yes, even Rocky V which is objectively fucking terrible), and they all bow before Creed II. Why? This shit is better professional wrestling than professional wrestling.
The movie starts with Creed fighting dickhead rival “Stuntman” Danny Wheeler, knocking his ass out quickly, and winning his Mustang back from the first movie. We quickly meet Ivan Drago’s (who was defeated by Rocky in Rocky IV, thus ending The Cold War forever) son, Viktor Drago, who appears to be made by handing the DNA of Brock Lesnar to an architect who specializes in brutalism. They fight, Creed wins via DQ despite getting dominated, has a crisis of confidence, has to deal with his deaf newborn baby, starts training in an absurd desert hellscape with Rocky and the son of Duke (who trained Apollo and is played by Julius from Remember the Titans), and has an absolutely bitchin’ climactic war to finish the thing. I could write for a month of Sundays about this movie because I haven’t even touched on how great Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad are in it, nor the incomparable scene of Rocky and Drago meeting for the first time in decades in Rocky’s restaurant.
But in the interest of space, let’s focus on Viktor Drago for a second. He does backbreaking manual labor when he’s not discombobulating jamokes in seedy Russian boxing clubs. His mother deserted him after his father lost the big fight in Rocky IV. He’s angry, he’s relentless, and he’s FUCKING HEARTBROKEN after not growing up with a mother and being forced to fill that void with nothing but violence. So when she sits ringside for the climactic fight, yeah she’s an awful, gold digging, opportunistic fucker, but it’s still his mom, and he’s clearly striving for her approval. Who, on some level, can’t relate to that?
So when Creed starts to get the better of him in the final rounds, she just up and leaves. He notices, and you can see the anguish of knowing that he’ll never win her approval sears him worse than any of the punishing body blows he’s taken from the excruciating fight with Creed. That’s when I lose it. They cut to the empty chairs, they cut to Viktor whose heart you can see breaking like Ralph Wiggum’s when Lisa Simpson rejects him, then they cut to me and I’m crying alone on my couch at 10:30 in the morning while answering emails watching FX.
I’m not going to belabor this point by describing the remainder of the plot, but it bears mention that I pretty much weep from this moment until the end credits roll. In many ways, this is eight films worth of storylines paid off, all of them satisfying. I don’t want them to make another one. They cannot top Creed II. It’s perfect.
The whole stupid boat chase during the climax of Cocoon
I can’t believe I’m writing about Cocoon again, but here we are. Here’s me as a guest on a podcast 11 years ago talking to one of the writers of the movie, who, it bears mention, didn’t even understand his own fucking work properly. Why I initially latched onto this movie, I’ll never know, but it’s locked in as one of my all-time favorites now. And god help me if I’m hungover watching this stupid thing, because I’ll cry all goddamn day.
The climax of this stupid movie revolves around a bunch of old and infirm people going out to sea to board an alien spaceship to achieve eternal life. At the center of this is Wilford Brimley, who you may remember from DIABEETUS, and who in this movie is mostly a gruff old prick. But he has a shockingly real and tender relationship with his grandson, David. When word gets out the old people have escaped the unwatchful eye of Clint Howard who is tasked with guarding the old folks’ home, the chase is on.
And it’s here that I can’t fucking take it. Watching David realize where they are and SPRINT down the shoreline to them, to his poor single mother shrieking, “David where are you going? Mommy can’t live without you!” to the idea that these people are willing to roll the dice and live in outer space forever is just too much. The whole thing is contrived goofiness, and I just sit there and weep at the gravity of it all.
I’ve spent way more time thinking about this movie than any reasonable person should, and I’m very much with their fussy old friend Bernie. I wouldn’t board the spaceship. This is my home. This is where I belong. And the idea of saying goodbye to it forever fills me with so much sadness and anxiety, I’m thinking about having a good cry over it right now. God damn this movie.
When that little girl’s asshole dad gets rid of Paulie in Paulie
This is a kids’ movie about a talking parrot. And I don’t mean that in the RAAAH! Polly want a cracker! way, I mean that he’s voiced by Jay Mohr doing a Buddy Hackett impression (which is weird considering Buddy Hackett is actually in the fucking movie) and communicates in full sentences with the human characters, including Hallie Eisenberg from those Pepsi commercials, Jay Mohr himself, Tony Shalhoub doing a decent but weird Soviet bloc accent, Cheech Marin, and that guy who plays the jagoff anti-mutant senator in that first X-Men movie. Why would anyone bother getting worked up over this thin slice of mediocrity?
Because I had a parakeet named Vito growing up that looked remarkably like Paulie, and like this little girl’s asshole dad, when I was about 10 we had an asshole doctor who told us we should get rid of my bird because of my mom’s allergies. I sat in that cocksucker’s office as he talked with his thick, Eastern European accent and said, “Trade dees burd for some feeesh.” Listen Ceausescu, I don’t want any fucking fish. Go fuck yourself. I didn’t think any of that at the time considering I was a little kid and had no knowledge of Romanian dictators, instead I just cried and cried because I couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of Vito.
My mom, being the right thinking adult she is, went and got a second opinion from a respected allergist, and that guy basically said the first guy was full of shit and that the tests he ran were not only interpreted incorrectly, but administered poorly, too. In essence, the first doctor was a quack. He told us there was absolutely no reason for us to get rid of Vito, which is literally the happiest I ever remember feeling up to that point in my life.
So when I watch Paulie trapped in that cage in the back of some stranger’s car while Hallie Eisenberg runs after it screaming, “Paulie, fly back to me!” I’m 10 years old all over again and everything is a little too real. I’ll openly weep every goddamn time.
(Sidenote: When this movie came out, there was a toy tie-in at Subway. I found out about this, went to Subway, didn’t order any food and just asked the guy if I could buy all four toys. He charged me whatever – $8, I think – and I took them home. I was 16 years old.)
The whole fucking typhoon scene in Karate Kid II
This scene is a mess. You’ve got Daniel and Kumiko doing that tea ceremony that is weirdly both chaste and erotic. You’ve got Miyagi apparently getting ready to fight Sato to the death. And then a typhoon hits the village. As they all scramble to the storm shelter, I can feel the waterworks coming. Why? I have no fucking idea. But here are a few contributing factors:
- Miyagi’s code of honor is unwavering. So even though his former best friend still wants to literally murder him, instead of letting him rot under a collapsed building (which I don’t think anyone would have blamed him for), Miyagi goes and saves him. Sato calls him a coward for approximately the 400th time in this film in that gravel-voiced roar of his. Miyagi chops a fucking load bearing beam in half, and they save him. As he picks him up, Miyagi without an ounce of resentment about the whole ordeal of this movie says to him, “I’ve got you, old friend.” That’s so beautiful, I literally started crying as I typed it. I aspire to be as forgiving and full of love as Miyagi.
- Daniel has to climb up a ladder and rescue a little girl who rings the bell alerting everyone to the typhoon. I don’t know what it is, but that little girl’s acting hits me right in the softest spot of my entire being. She seems legitimately terrified, and as a parent of two little girls, I hate seeing that so much. I’m genuinely relieved when Daniel rescues her.
- Sato, having now been saved, makes an abrupt face turn and goes and helps Daniel and the little girl to the storm shelter after they fall down in the mud, and I’M JUST SO HAPPY THEY’RE ON THE SAME PAGE NOW, YOU GUYS. “Miyagi! Let ME go….” Dammit, Sato. Thank you for letting go of all that hate in your heart.
- This poor, impoverished, downtrodden but indefatigable village has been through so much in this film, and now they’re getting bludgeoned by the weather too.
I’m a mark for the Karate Kid franchise, full stop. The first one is a masterpiece, the second one makes me cry because I’m a lunatic, the third one is so-bad-it’s-good, the fourth one I pretend doesn’t exist, and then Cobra Kai is a reboot/relaunch/story extension done as well as anyone could ever do one of these things.
Jim and Pam’s wedding in The Office
Let’s end on a happy note. “Niagara” is a two-part episode of the sixth season of The Office. It’s the fourth and fifth episodes of that season, and it debuted on Thursday, October 8, 2009.
I got married on Saturday, October 10, 2009.
And how did I spend that evening? Writing an installment of “Happy Friday” for my old website Cru Jones Society, of course! I came in from (I think) picking up my tux to find Kristin (or “Lady E” as I referred to her back in those days) watching this episode sitting crisscross on our bed, and I said to her, “I have to write Happy Friday.” She said, “Haha! Good luck, dumbass!” My future wife, ladies and gentlemen!
But she was right. Concentrating was going to be nigh impossible, but CJS dominated my thinking back then, and I had made a commitment to it. Before I started clacking away and slinging cheap jokes about internet ephemera, I watched this episode. It’s funny in the same way all episodes of The Office are funny from that era. Yet I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the coincidence of getting married two days after Jim and Pam. I was introduced to both this show and my future wife right around the same time. I fell in love with both, and here was the universe giving us fun serendipity.
When I re-watch that episode now, I remember the night of October 8 probably just as strongly as I remember the next two days. Entertainment we love has a way of teleporting us right back into moments in our lives. I can still picture Lady E sitting on that bed and not being able to believe that I was going to marry her two days later.
And when I watch these dorky characters re-enacting that hokey viral video with that awful Chris Brown song intercut with Jim and Pam being one step ahead of them at Niagara Falls – all I can think about is how lucky I am to know that for the rest of my life it will be two against the world. I have my partner. I have my person. Even if we’re out of step with the rest of the world or bristling at the well-intended but annoying actions of those around us, we will always be on the same page looking at each other, and knowing each other in a way that doesn’t exist outside of the two of us.
Today is her birthday, and it’s a day I’m thrilled I get to celebrate her. More than 16 years and counting together, and I still get butterflies when I think about her. That alone is enough to get the waterworks flowing. Happily, of course.