Monday, June 9, 2008

From a trickle to an all out Waterfall

Back in April, I read Peter Sagal's blog about what makes a manly man like him tear up. I thought for a little while about what my list would be, casually thought about ripping off his idea and making my own list of "How to Make Kate Cry" then realized it would be an unbelievably short list, especially for a girl. Do I need to advertise my lack of emotion on the internet? Clearly, I do.

I'm not a big crier. Movies, music, good books, it takes a lot to get me worked up enough to really let loose. Once, in high school, I was hanging out with a friend who was introducing me to some new music. He decided to play a song called "Kentucky Rose" but before hitting play, he introduced it with "I never cry, but this song makes everyone I know cry. If it doesn't, there's clearly something wrong with you." I cannot tell you how hard I tried to cry during that song - but it just didn't do it for me. Joel was not impressed.

We're all affected in different ways and differently as time moves on. Movies that seemed so amazing and touching to me in college have much less effect on me now, but now I cry watching TV shows, something I never imagined I would do 5 years ago. My first year in DC, after my dad was diagnosed with Cancer, I lost it every week during "Grey's Anatomy" when the 'Meredith's Mother is Dying' story line was dragging out. And yet, I would re-watch the episodes, bawling right along with Mere in the supply closet, much to the exasperation of my ex ('if you KNOW you're going to be upset, why do you keep watching it???' "I don't know, I just DO!!!"). Watching "Rent" during that same year, I had to pause the movie to compose myself as Collins was singing goodbye to his love, Angel ("with a thousand sweet kisses, I'll cover you; when your heart has expired, oh lover, I'll cover you"). Seriously, snot, gushing tears, total mess until that song is over, and yet, I keep watching it and I c a n n o t f a s t f o r w a r d through the funeral scene.

Dad is on the mend now and everyone is healthy and happy, so thankfully my crying has definitely decreased to a more acceptable level. Kate the Emotional Rock is back. Even watching the "Sex and the City" movie this weekend, I teared up a couple times, but no Niagra effect on me, even while staring down all my worst fears and nightmares about single living/marriage/motherhood/etc.

Right when I'm thinking I'm back to being myself, TBS and all it's 'let's play a movie 4 times in a row and run it into the ground' glory happened this weekend with the killer of all tear duct movies - "The Family Stone."

"The Family Stone" is not a great movie by any stretch, but is solidly in the 'better than average' category. It has decent writing, a great cast, and an interesting (but overdone) plot. There was more political content thrown in than I expected, and good amount of eye candy, and then there's the last 30 minutes of the movie. Quick rundown of the plot: oldest darling child in well off New England family wants family diamond to give to girlfriend no one likes. Girlfriend pisses off every family member with her socially awkward/uncomfortable ways, mother of darling boy not only hates her but (surprise!) is dying and this is her last Christmas, which is only known by her husband until the very end of the movie. Let's just evaluate all the issues Kate identifies with here to understand her unnatural obsession with this movie: awkward girl faced with being alone forever, death of family member by cancer, perfect Christmas with SNOW, sister being constantly measured up (and found wanting) to her more adorable/well rounded/poised sister, being the outcast by trying to be helpful, and generally over reacting to everything/reading into everything/constantly playing worst case scenario/ etc. I could go on and on and on about why I identify with this movie, as painful as it is, but I think you get the idea. This is exactly the type of movie I should never watch. Certainly I should never re-watch it. And yet, I cannot turn away.

I saw on the On Demand menu the movie only had 30 minutes left before it was restarting. I remembered what happens in the last 30 minutes, and still turned to TBS to watch the end. Maybe I was testing myself a little to see if I could handle it now, or maybe I am just a glutton for punishment. As it turns out, I still can't handle it. As the final scene was starting when the family minus one was gathering around the tree, there I was, unleashing a torrent of tears onto my sofa, promptly turned from a strongly confident, emotionally grounded, independent woman into a blubbering mess of sobs and hiccups. Thank you, Sarah Jessica Parker, for opening up those flood gates.

Maybe I don't show enough range of emotion on a daily basis, but turn on a dying Diane Keaton and show me one scene of Coach and Rachel McAdams tearing up, and I'll produce enough tears for a year's worth of emotion. But now, it's time to go back to happy movies only. HAPPY. No death, certainly no CANCER. Time to rent Mary Poppins and The Incredibles and Fight Club to cheer me up. Yes, Fight Club. Nothing puts a smile on my face like Brad Pitt and Edward Norton with six packs beating the crap out of random guys and yelling "His Name Is Robert Paulson! His Name Is Robert Paulson!" Oooh yes. Happy, happy thoughts.

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