You promised yourself you wouldn't do this.
You're not a crier—you've never been a crier. The last time you shed a tear was on a silent ride home from the veterinarian, and that was wholly justified. You were 10 years old, and Toby was a good boy—a very good boy.
But now, well, this is something entirely different. Now, you're watching a group of inner city ballplayers struggle against the odds. You don't even know these people, or if they're even real in the first place. Regardless, you feel some strange fluid welling in the bottom of your eye sockets.
While some might say "There's no crying in sports movies," I'm here to tell you "Balderdash! Hogwash! Colloquial interjection!"
There is crying in sports movies, and the following are the films during which letting the tears flow is completely natural. Grab a box of tissues, and we'll get through this together.
Forget the fraud, forget that he wasn't alone on the tackle. None of that matters—not in the final scene of Rudy.
After watching this young man's body and soul being split and used as kindling for 90 minutes, the final moments of this classic moisten the eyes like a mule hoof to the perineum.
These are the happy brand of tears. You feel as though you and Rudy were in this thing together. And now, having both conquered your life goals, you will move into a quiet home in the Shire to live out your remaining days smoking pipes and eating second breakfasts.
Million Dollar Baby is one of those rare movies that raises the question "Are these hate-tears I'm crying?"
They probably are, considering how intensely visceral things become as you watch Maggie Fitzgerald work her way into the realm of professional female boxing.
This movie sinks its hooks deep, and before you know it, you're overwhelmed by a desire to force your fist through the face of Maggie's ham-fed, baby-snatching mother. And just when you're really getting into it, Maggie breaks her neck and Clint Eastwood ends her suffering.
By the end of this movie you will: a) Swear loudly; b) Throw a shoe at the screen; and c.) Run into the shower to scald-cry the pain away.
Cry-O-Meter: You're hungry for Chick Fil A. It's Sunday.
"See what you do, Hollywood? You make real (expletive) pop a tear."
That's a YouTube comment on this video of G-Baby's demise in Hardball, a film that taught us all about the endemic violence of urban housing projects, as well as the awesomeness of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa."
To this day, I cannot watch G-Baby sit there in Kofi's arms without whimpering.
Cry-O-Meter: Wallace gettin' got in The Wire. I can't even handle it.
Warning: Video contains NSFW language and content.
This one is incredible. It really makes no sense.
Despite knowing exactly how it's going to end, Miracle somehow still manages to work our heartstrings over like a puppeteer. The movie feeds us doubt, cocoons us in nationalism and brings you to the edge of failure before giving the audience the hot, wonderful release of Soviet destruction for which we so patiently waited.
Well played, Hollywood. These aren't tears. It's freedom water.
Cry-o-Meter: "Taste the happy, Michael."
"Jarring"—that's the first word that came to mind when I watched Booby Miles cry in Friday Night Lights. That, and "heartbreaking."
Watching a tough guy break down into tears shocks the system. You never see it coming, and it's one of the most contagious sadnesses ever. Guys like Booby who spend years building walls around their emotions aren't supposed to crumble under any circumstance, but when they do, you break down with them.
God, this is getting so sad.
Cry-O-Meter: The most heartrending feeling known to man.
Mickey Rourke is brilliant in The Wrestler—a moving film about the life of the downfall and redemption of a former wrestling icon.
It's an experience that transcends theater—as in, The Wrestler feels less like a movie, and more like being waterboarded with every emotion available to the human brain for 90 minutes.
Cry-O-Meter: Mr. T tears.
Having difficulties deciding if one of your friends is a vampire and/or shapeshifter?
Pop in Rocky (preferably on VHS) and watch it with them all the way through. If it gets to the end and said party is not bawling as Sylvester Stallone struggles to deliver his winded, heartfelt speech—boom, that person has an overrated HBO series based on their lifestyle.
I'm aware I could've saved you two hours by telling you to feel their wrist, but then you would've missed out on watching Rocky, which is a bad thing.
Cry-O-Meter: The Chiefs continued postseason woes.
Left side! STRONG SIDE!
Man, what a great chant and friendship that Bertier and Campbell have. It's probably the best part of the movie.
Watching these two young men bond throughout Remember the Titans is a deeply rewarding cinematic experience, and it's this closeness that makes watching Bertier become a paraplegic in the aftermath of a devastating automobile accident feel like a close-fisted tipper to the emotions.
Have you ever wept into a longneck bottle in the company of your bros?
If so, that probably means you've probably been goaded into watching Brian's Song, a deeply affecting made-for-TV movie based on the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers.
In short, Piccolo and Sayers are young football stars on the Chicago Bears who form an unlikely friendship that defies the racial tensions of the '60s. The men become very close, but Piccolo is soon diagnosed with cancer and is forced to leave football for treatment because cancer sucks and doesn't give a damn how young or good at sports you are.
Sayers fights to keep his bro alive, but despite his efforts and amazing speeches, Piccolo succumbs to the disease and God, it's all so moving. Like Jim Valvano-speech moving.
Cry-O-Meter: The grand puba of tear-jerking moments.
A pair of puppy dog eyes have never put my tender heart in a blender quite like Nick Nolte's soppy orbs in this mixed martial arts masterpiece.
If you want to see a surprisingly gripping film about MMA fighting and turn over the engine on those dusty tear ducts of yours, Warrior is your girl—or guy.
Well, it's a film, technically.
Who doesn't enjoy a sports movie that ends with a young boy pleading with the corpse of his father in a rathole boxing ring in Tijuana?
While abjectly sorrowful, the final scene of The Champ does provide us all with an important lesson—kids will still look up to you, even if you're a no-good booze hound and a gambler.
Which is to say, don't take advantage of that fact. Be a good dad and don't die a washed-up goon in Mexico.
Cry-O-Meter: Sadness threatening on implosion.
Now that I've run out of tears for forever, join me on Twitter for a return to cynicism.