Friday, 3 April 2015

Watch Them And Weep

My two lads and I were forced by Mrs PM to watch a terrible movie at the cinema. It was payback for us dragging her to see a full on action film the previous month.

The film was Marley and Me, a movie about the relationship between a man and his dog. While funny in places, the basic purpose of the film was to take a hold of your heartstrings and wrench them as hard as possible, opening the tear ducts and allowing them to dispose of their contents in a flood down your face.

I sometimes hate those kind of films because although they are primarily targetted at women, they have an effect on men too.

Not all tear-jerkers are bad films. I can see the merits of some of them. For example, The Elephant Man, made me blub like a baby but it was an excellent film.

I challenge anyone not to shed a tear over this scene from the film:

My problem is that I do not like to watch sad films as a rule. I prefer to feel uplifted and happy when the closing credits start. After Marley and Me, I felt wretched, cheated and pissed off.

Needless to say, Mrs PM loved the film. As we left the cinema, my two lads were moaning that there were much better films on the other screens. Mrs PM simply wiped tears from her eyes and told us why we were all wrong. The film had everything she wanted; romance, comedy and sadness.

While I like comedy, the bias in Marley and Me was clearly towards those who wanted to blub into their popcorn.

Like many men, I am confused by this need for the fairer sex to crave misery in movies. I simply don’t understand why feeling sadness and grief during and after a film is a good thing. The kind of films I watch have lots of death and destruction but the emotions are stifled in favour of the good guys being triumphant over the bad guys.

My kind of film

The long drawn out death of a Labrador, while its owner talks to it as if it were a human being is just not something I want to have to endure as the climax to a movie that is at best a poor romantic comedy.

However, an article in last week's Sunday Times has gone some way to explaining why such movie scenes are more appealing to women than they are to men.

Evidently, tear-jerkers allow women to bond with their friends. The theory is that watching a movie filled with abject misery is a way for a woman to share a more positive emotional experience with her female friends, resulting in a positive bonding experience.

I suppose it goes a long way to explaining things to a man like me who has no idea why a long drawn out weepy would make you feel positive in any way whatsoever.

I guess, in a similar way, a typical bloke movie like, for example, The Fast and The Furious franchise cause men to bond. While the plots and action scenes may require a massive suspension of disbelief, the amazing stunts will produce as much testosterone in men as the tears produced in women by a half-decent weepy.

Perhaps this also explains why men do not want to show their emotions in public when watching a weepy. When I watched The Elephant Man for the first time, I was on my own in the house and I cried continually. Had I seen it in a cinema, or even with Mrs PM, I would almost certainly have suppressed my tears.

Does this mean that I am an emotional Neanderthal?

Not at all.

Maybe it’s just a personal thing but I think most men do not like to show their emotions and anything that tries to force the issue is not a good thing. That’s not to say I won’t ever watch another weepy again; I will just watch it on my own or, grudgingly, with Mrs PM and a handkerchief to cover any tears under the pretence of having a sniffle.

That said, Mrs PM has seen me blub at a film. I remember one Christmas Eve, when we had been out for lunch and a couple of beers. I was slightly merry from the alcohol and we opted to relax in the Christmas spirit with the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. I think, because I had had a couple of beers, my defences were down and the two of us sat on the sofa and cried our eyes out.

It's not a bad film and not the kind I would normally watch,  but at least it was uplifting and totally got me in the mood for Christmas despite the blubbing. Had I been with a bunch of mates, we would probably have watched an explosive action movie with gallons of beer and testosterone, cheering every explosion and punching the air as the hero punched the villain.

Dear female reader, if you think I am an emotionless buffoon, you are wrong. I have deep emotions but the idea of having them brought out by a weepy movie in front of mates is an abhorrent concept to me. I consider that to be a trait for most if not all men – so I am not alone.

To be honest,  a good piece of music stirs my deep emotions probably more than a tired, contrived tear-jerker aimed to stir female emotions.

But that’s a tale for another post.

So what about you, dear reader?

Guys, am I wrong when I describe what men think of tear-jerkers?

Ladies, do you think I’m an emotionless idiot?

Hopefully, this will go some way to help me on my quest to understand the fairer sex.

Nevertheless, I still have a long way to go.


joeh said...

I don't like the action movies so much anymore, and I avoided Marley and Me as I had to put down a Lab and did not want to go through that again.

I don't mind an occasional tear jerker, but I do try and stifle and not show emotions. Try as I may, Mrs. Cranky always notices the tears.

On the plus, side when she catches me sniffling, I usually get lucky.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Joeh,


I don't know whether Mrs PM notices my sniffles. I try to avoid tear-jerkers these days but one or two do catch me out.




JahTeh said...

I remember that the Elephant Man and Flying High were on at the same time, same cinema complex. I saw Flying High, my sister went for the other and it was interesting watching that theatre emptying with mournful people all teared up and my mob still laughing long after the credits finished.
I never watch anything with animals and there are a few films that I only have to watch the last five minutes of to burst into tears. I like a good Sci-fi better than a Rom-com and action films depend on the chemistry of the cast. e.g. I loved Die Hard 4.0 and loathed the next one.

River said...

I don't think you're an emotionless idiot; in fact I'm much the same as you are. I prefer seeing movies that have me smiling, laughing and feeling good when I walk out of the cinema.
I've never seen Marley and Me and probably never will.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JT,

The first four Die Hard films were grate. The fifth one was terrible. Totally agree.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Don't bother with Marley and Me. The best actors are the dogs who play Marley.




Anji said...

You forgot to remind your audience that you are a lover of cats.

I loved Marley and Me, but I don't remember crying. I liked the family - the dog was a pain in the neck most of the time. It was a true story too.

The Elephant Man made me feel uneasy for quite a while afterwards.

Rob and I get out 'Love Actually' if we want to watch a film that both of us consider good.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

Yes indeed - I love dogs too which is another reason I found Marley and Me deplorable.

Oh dear - I'm sorry to say that I think "Love,Actually" is one of the worst films ever. I was dragged kicking and screaming to the cinema to see that too and I felt most queasy most of the way through it - particularly the Andrew Lincoln carol singing scene.




Mrs PM said...

Love this post xxx

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi dearest,

That's because it's true?


PM xxx