Mr. Bill George Presents

Clint Eastwood Ruined My Life

In Film on July 20, 2009 at 8:26 PM

America lost (yet another) icon recently in the form of Mr. Walter Cronkite, who passed away just a few days ago. The legendary anchorman of the CBS Evening News was considered the “most trusted man in America.” I grew up watching clips of his show and hearing about him through my parents and through references within popular culture. I very much admired and looked up to this man.

So when I saw a tribute special yesterday on CBS, I cried on at least three separate occasions. And sitting alone in my apartment wiping away my tears caused me to reflect. When did this start happening to me?

There was a time in my life when I had never cried at a movie or TV show or documentary or anything. No form of media had made me cry. And I prided myself on that fact. It made me feel more together and I actually bragged about it. “Nothing has ever made me cry,” I’d say. But I’ve changed dramatically since then. So I thought to myself: when did this happen? How?

Answer: Clint Eastwood‘s Academy Award Winning drama, Million Dollar Baby.

Yes, I can pinpoint the exact film that did it to me. Something happened to me in that theater back in 2004. A switch was flipped. And it’s one that can never be turned off.

I sat in that theater, literally sobbing, trying to hold the tears back as much as possible to save face in front of my sister and father. They may have been crying as well, I don’t know. I didn’t have the courage to turn and look for fear they’d see me in my horrific state.

For some reason it was that film alone that caused me to finally internalize trauma that I see on the screen and make it my own. And ever since then, frankly, I’ve been a mess.

Now, I bawl at almost anything. There are certain things that are guaranteed to do it though: 9/11. JFK assassination. Moments of heroism and self-sacrifice (especially during WWII). Underdogs overcoming unthinkable odds. Great speeches (especially listening to MLK). Anything tragic or unjust. If somebody else starts to break down while talking about something, I’ll break down with them.

[I still am unaffected in general by pure romance. A couple finally getting together at the end of a movie after all they’ve been through – nothing. I’m happy for them and all, but it doesn’t bring it out of me.]

What I’m wondering is if this has happened to anyone else. Shouldn’t emotional maturation be more gradual? I had an instant transformation that I can pinpoint with certainty. Is that weird? Am I alone? Share your experiences in the comments and please speak freely.

Million Dollar Baby Poster

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  1. Ha! Nothing more attractive than a blubbering male. I kid, I kid.

    I also used to brag about never crying at a movie, but after I saw the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” OMG. When Chief throws the water fountain through the window– niagra falls from there on out.

    The first book I cried at was “Love Story.” It was like, 5 a.m. and I was finishing it and openly weeping in my room and my dad walked in and was very, very confused.

  2. the first movie i remember being emotionally devastated over was the lion king. The stampede part – still heartbreaking

  3. You’ve finally arrived! And as you aptly pointed out, once you check-in there’s no going back!

    1st Movie: Old Yeller (7 yrs)
    Book: The Yearling – (14 – Freshman English)

    How about commercials! Yup some of those too.

    And WHOA…what about the Breast Cancer Dance last night on “So You Think You Can Dance”

    What’s the point of watching drama – real or acted if you don’t get emotionally invested in what you’re seeing?

  4. I’ve never cried while watching a movie. I feel heartless after reading your post, not feeling any emotion from most movies I watch, but I feel maybe i’ve not found that switch yet. Don’t get me wrong, I have watched movies that are very sad and felt bad and couldn’t imagine what it would be like, but most films today are too repetitive in their story telling.
    As for films that do make me sad I would have to say films like Magnolia, Requiem For A Dream,The Garden State. These are all great examples of people who are trying to cope with their problems, some drug related, most are emotional. I find that these kind of stories intrigue me the most.

    • – gladys, i LOVE you! and ALL of these! what wonedrful memories. that photo of us dancing together don’t think i’ve seen that one until now. it’s amazing! i cannot wait to see you again and to return to NY together sometime too. sitting under twinkle lights drinking beer philosophizing & dreaming and being so content and happy. you are one of my favorite people always & forever.

    • Hey, that’s powerful. Thanks for the news.

    • I am currently fininhisg up my BA in Child Development and Family Studies and thus far I have only work with children from 2 weeks to adolescent while helping support their families. The Physician that I would want to work under is an Obstetrics (OB) because they are in direct contact with pregnant women and their children during pregnancy. I would choose this particular specialty for a variety of reason such as having the opportunity to see individuals become parent for the first time, seeing how much love is surrounded in the process, being there to help the mothers while there in a vulnerable state. One of my main reasons is because I think that the whole birthing process is fascinating and to be able to be a part of family’s lives while going through this process, I imagine to be extremely rewarding.A of physician specialty that I would least want to work with would be a psychiatrist. Although I believe that psychiatrist do some spectacular work and help a lot of people through difficult situations I personally believe that this job would be to emotionally draining and overwhelming for me. This makes me question whether or not I would be able to handle it. When I set out to do a job my goal is to do the best that I can and I don’t feel that I could successfully do this job to the best of my ability.

  5. […] a highlight from a recent post, “Clint Eastwood Ruined My Life” : There was a time in my life when I had never cried at a movie or TV show or documentary or […]

  6. Haha its funny because earlier today I was thinking about TV and movies that have made me almost cry. The movie that got me the closest to crying (hmmm I think I may have actually shed a tear or 2 now that I think of it) was My Girl. I was 6 or 7 when that came out and it was also the same time Home Alone came out. Haha I remember thinking how sad it was to lose a best friend tragically and not only that, I actually thought that Macauley Culkin died from those stupid bees…after all, this was the kid who kicked ass in Home Alone and whom I thought was so cool at the time.

    What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams (when Patch finds out Corin dies), and Pursuit of Happyness have also made me come close to crying (whether it was sad or happy emotions). I noticed when it comes to these movies, there were big time comediens in the cast. Dan Ackroyd was in My Girl and Robin Williams was in Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come. Usually these guys can make me laugh but that wasn’t the case for these movies (except for Patch Adams which definitely had some laughs).

    The only book that made me cry was Where the Red Fern Grows. I read it around 3rd grade and when those poor dogs died that put a tear in my eye.

    There’s definitely a few movies that have made me laugh so hard I’ve cried but that’s another story.

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