I've always loved Deborah Kerr, a class act. In her honor, this week's list. The picture, above, from An Affair to Remember, set me in motion. After all, who fails to sob at the end of that movie? ...Oh probably some cold-hearted guy who laughs aloud... to cover his tears?
1. An Affair to Remember --- "Don't cry darling. If I can write one of these Thursday 13 lists every week, you can remember to put down the seat on the toilet." [okay, add Sleepless in Seattle here, and maybe even The Dirty Dozen, for good measure]
2. Phenomenon - best sob line..... "No, I'll love you for the rest of my life." But you gotta watch the movie to understand.
3. Steel Magnolias -- So, you're sobbing along and then Olympia Dukakis pushes Shirley MacLaine in front of Sally Field and yelps, "Take a whack at Ouiza" (sp). Are you still crying or do you start laughing? Or both? See.... that's a great moment in good writing.
4. Price of Tides -- Obviously, the book far surpasses the movie, but for a good cry... "Lowenstein, Lowenstein." And I did whisper that as I drove over that bridge in Charleston. For my money, no better writer lives than Pat Conroy -- what he can do with a sentence...oooh, baby, baby.
5. Forest Gump --- Yeah, laugh if you want, but cry when Tom Hanks sees his son for the first time, asks Jenny if he's normal.... oooh, I'm gettin' goosepimples.
6. Saving Private Ryan -- I started crying at the opening. All those markers in that cemetery in France -- all those lives cut short by war. Supreme sacrifice always affects me -- I cry at just about every monument in Washington, D.C.
7. Schindler's List -- I let out an audible gasp in the dark of a theatre at the point in this movie when I realized they were all going to be saved. Not that I didn't know that going in, but somehow I got caught in the story and forgot the history. Amazing arc model in Schindler's character.
8. Love, Actually -- "Let's get the shit kicked out of us for love." Okay, pass out the hankies. Who doesn't cry when that little boy races through the airport and comes back waving one finger? Ahhhhhhhh!
9. Brian's Song -- My stouthearted (some call him just a jock) older (well, older of the brothers but not older than moi) brother used to say that everyone should watch this movie once a year to keep themselves humble. The screenplay used to be in the literature book I had to use to teach English. Soooo...once a year I had to watch this six times a day. Still, I cried the first round every semester. Opening line: "Every true story ends in death. This is a true story."
10. Old Yeller -- I've never been able to watch this again since I saw it the first time as a kid.
11. Field of Dreams -- I start crying from the time Doc steps over that line and can't go back. When Kevin Costner realizes the catcher is his dad and begins to talk about never having seen his dad at that age, I begin to sob. Have you ever thought of your parents as children or even teenagers with dreams and desires and hopes that you never even glimpsed? This movie led me to consider other dimensions to my mother, with whom I have always had a very tumultuous relationship. I worked at imagining her as a little girl -- fresh and ready to face the world, with all the dreams of a little girl and none of the burdens that being a mother to six children placed on her shoulders later. And I imagined my father, a youthful, vigorous twenty year old, facing the world with a clean slate and all possibilities. "Wanna have a catch, Dad?"
12. Charlotte's Web -- Again, probably the book more than the movie, since E.B. White is a MASTER . If you haven't read the book in a long time, you really should. His way with a sentence -- WOW! And reading the book as an adult will open your eyes to how adult the book really is. You'll be amazed. SOME PIG, indeed. RADIANT. TERRIFIC.
13. It's a Wonderful Life -- Having reached the iconic saturation point, I suppose nobody would dare to put this movie on any list, but I have a sneaky suspicion that many still whip it out while decorating the tree or cooking a turkey dinner or wrapping presents. Background noise. I can remember the first time I saw it, years and years ago. Sob, sob, sob. I have a book that includes the screenplay and pictures from the movie. The book also includes the original short story and a bit about how the author published -- first as a Christmas card for all his friends. No one wanted to publish the little story by author Philip Van Doren Stern, but he never lost faith. A lesson to all writers. Take heart.
Thanks for the memories, Deborah. Here are a few of her films for your future viewing:
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
The King and I
From Here to Eternity
Tea and Sympathy