Columns, Opinion

MAOUYO: Floodgates like the Pontchartrain

I’m not exactly what some might refer to as ‘a movie person.’ It probably started when I was a kid, when my parents were fairly strict with what my sisters and I were allowed to watch, and therefore, it was a rare occasion until early-ish in my double-digit-age years (don’t underplay the importance of that 10th birthday) that we watched a movie with cursing, gratuitous promiscuity, etc. By the time I was able to make my own choices as to what movies to rent/go to, pretty much everyone else had already seen all the classic movies one might deem necessary to a complete pop-culture education. I’ve been playing catch-up ever since, but really, not even half of my heart’s in the game. Honestly, if you went down a list of whatever 10 movies you thought everyone has seen, I doubt I’ve watched more than three, and definitely didn’t make an effort to see any of them. The week before Thanksgiving last year, I saw ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ for the first time only because I was hanging out in the room in which it was playing.

So it could go without saying that I rarely venture to theaters to see movies. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to love about the theater experience. Buttery popcorn, semi-sketchy chairs, waiting to go to the bathroom until a scene ends and ignoring the obnoxious people behind you all make going to the movies a unique, if not enjoyable, experience. It’s just that I think there are usually better (more social, more educational, more interesting) things to do than risk the $1,000 (or however much it is these days) on a one-and-a-half to three-hour show that after which, I’ll likely want some sort of refund.

However, this past summer, I had absolutely no qualms about seeing ‘Up.’ Because like any normal person with a heart and a soul, I hold a special place in my heart for Pixar movies. I’d be hard pressed to find the animation, story line, touching moments, and careful balance of innocent child humor and subtle adult comedy in many other movies (don’t worry, Simba, you’ll always be my #1). So off we went: myself, my current roommate and a girl who was my neighbor over the summer, who is now a good friend and who may be surprised to find out that at one point I was marginally interested in her.

At this point, it seems appropriate to mention that I’ve recently turned into a crier. Yeah. Mull that over for a second. I can’t pinpoint the exact time that it happened, or that it was even a precise moment, but I’m pretty sure it was sometime last spring. Perhaps it was the beauty with which Paul Potts sings ‘Nessun Dorma’ (during finals, I watch that YouTube clip more than I care to say), perhaps it was some child prodigy doing something amazing or perhaps it was the story of a friend’s romance (though I doubt sincerely doubt that) or breakup (more plausible) that did me in. Since, I’ve been known to well up watching or listening to pretty much anything with emotional substance or beauty (which may amount to close to the same thing in my head, but I’m not entirely sure).

Because hindsight is 20/20, I can now say that seeing ‘Up’ with someone I barely knew was not the greatest idea. Especially when I was warned that the movie wasn’t exactly emotionally static. (Side note: the term ’emotional rollercoaster’ doesn’t make sense. Rollercoasters are always fun). Of course, I pay as much attention to this warning as I did when my little sister alerted me to the scene of a baby crowning in ‘Knocked Up.’ If you didn’t see it, I promise that I didn’t ruin it for you. Generally, the only movie-advice I’ll heed is for horror/scary movies, which I’ll never see anyway. I have the terror-capacity of a three-year old. Is this a digression? Of course.

Luckily for myself, I did some warning of my own, and told/reminded (only half-joking) all my companions that I would soon be an emotional wreck. And it didn’t take long. My eyes began to shine in the opening scene, and tears were only prevented by a laugh and a ‘You alright, man?’ from my roommate on my right, and a furtive glance from myself to my new friend on my left. My thoughts: ‘Whew, she didn’t notice!’ Until, like an idiot, I cleared my throat and mumbled in response, ‘Yeah.’ Not that it wasn’t going to happen sooner or later. I couldn’t hold back any time afterward and cried a total of four times (two happy, two sad) by the end of the movie.

Now, crying as often as I do isn’t typically masculine. Discussing this with another friend a few weeks ago, I asked him when the last time he cried was. His response: ‘I don’t know, maybe five years? How about you?’ to which I had to be honest and say about a day and a half. You might feel tempted to call me a certain part of the female anatomy (which would require an entirely different conversation) or maybe you’re relieved to find that there are other criers out there. Everyone has and needs emotional outlets, be it the exertion of athletics, writing, immersion into music, drunken weekend-acts or something completely different. Ideally, it should be healthy, de-stressing and in some recognition of its own necessity. If my heart or mind floods, the levees happen to be my tear ducts. Sue me.

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