As a fan of the ’80s, there are a few movie scenes that have worked their teary-eyed magic on me as a kid and continue to make me melt as an adult. As a kid watching Superman II, I remember crying when he first decides to remove his powers and quit being Superman. And then if that wasn’t enough, I had to endure watching Clark Kent get beaten down by that trucker-type guy at the diner.
Another emotional roller coaster I experienced as a kid was The Neverending Story. From the heights of flying with Falcor to the lows of losing Atreyu’s horse Artax in the muddy Swamp of Sadness, it was amazing I was able to function at all after watching that emitional roller coaster of a movie as an 8-year-old.
Then there was that day in 1986 we all experienced… ”the day the cartoons died.” Watching Optimus Prime die in Transformers: The Movie is probably the Old Yeller moment for children of the ’80s. Thankfully Optimus came back in the animated series, but his death that gripped us as kids and is still difficult to watch today.
Another movie that I recently found that has the same effect is E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. I recently watched it for the first time in years with my kids, which was their first viewing. I didn’t seem to remember the emotional ties I had to the movie, but E.T.’s death, the flying bike scene over the police cars, the departure home…they all had me tearing up.
But there is one other movie that makes the tears roll more than any other…Field of Dreams.
Field of Dreams has the firmest grip on my tear ducts. I loved playing baseball as a kid. Whether it was wiffleball with the neighborhood kids, organized little league, or just playing catch with my dad, I felt like I grew up with a glove permanently attached to my left hand until I was about 13. I connected with the movie at first, mainly as a fan of baseball. I appreciated the story for what it was but didn’t truly connect with its emotions. But now, after having becoming a father myself and playing baseball with my two boys, the ending of the movie gets me every time. Watching Ray’s blind faith to build the field and then embarking on a journey with no end in sight just magnifies the climax of the film. Ray’s re-connection with his dad by just playing catch is so simple and yet, so pure. The scene that begins with the introduction of Ray’s daughter to his dad and then the simple question “Dad? You wanna have a catch?” is an awesome emotional experience. It’s one of child-like joy and parental pride all wrapped into one. I feel fortunate that I’ve got to personally experience both sides.
And if you watch Field of Dreams…he (me) will cry.