Sunday, March 15, 2009

Getting Your Chain Yanked

by Caren Crane

Picture this. You settle in to read a fabulous new book. Before you know it, you are completely sucked into the story. The chapters fly by. Then...it happens. A loved one dies, a child is lost, the heroine's heart is ruthlessly broken or the hero's beloved childhood sweetheart is swept away by a tornado. Something happens and your protagonist's world is turned upside down. Tears well in your eyes and many tissues are sacrificed to your newfound grief. Your chain, my friend, has been officially yanked.

I have conflicting feelings about having my chain yanked. Sometimes I am, admittedly, in the mood for a tearjerker. I will pop something in the DVD player that is guaranteed to leave me sobbing (personal favorite: 'Untamed Heart' with Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei). I have fond memories of going to one movie when I was pregnant with my firstborn. I was the only person in the theater and I was watching 'The Color Purple'. I was crying so much I went to the lobby three times for more napkins. My mother has said of me, "Caren's so much fun at the movies. She just cries and has the best time." So, when I'm in the mood, there is nothing I love more than something that plucks every emotional string.


These days, though, it takes a mighty act of emotional manipulation to make me cry. It was easier when I was younger, probably because of hormones and exhaustion. *g* If something makes me cry unexpectedly now, it's a major event. I've also been writing long enough to recognize when an author is pulling out the stops and torquing up the angst in an attempt to make me cry. If I'm not in the mood for it, this overt chain yanking is most annoying. Sometimes I can ignore it and just move on. Sometimes I understand why the author did it and forgive it. Every once in a while, though, I see the strings, feel the puppet master pulling them and get so irritated it ruins the story for me. Not often, but every once in a great while.

Then again, I am a writer, so there are times when I am the puppet master pulling the strings. I want to elicit a big emotional reaction. This mostly happens in an organic way, though, and I am always surprised when I make myself cry when I'm writing. Sometimes I identify so closely with a character's pain I find myself experiencing what s/he is experiencing. In those cases, I certainly hope my readers are swept along on the same emotional journey.

That sort of emotion is genuine on an author's part, however, and feels different to me then the old chain yank. I can tell when I am reading something that simply evolved as the author immersed herself/himself in the story and is filled with true joy/sadness/pain. It is very different than when an author, say, brings a couple happily together in love, sets them up to share a future, and then randomly drowns the hero in a boating accident. During a storm. While saving the lives of strangers. Mm-hm. Chain yanking!

How do you feel about having your chain yanked? Can you forgive the blatant manipulation of your emotions by an author or screenwriter or evil marketing genius? Do you ever seek it out just to have an emotional catharsis? What is your favorite weepy movie or book?

96 comments:

Anna Campbell said...

Ha! He's mine all mine!

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, that took some slick work. I haven't read Caren's post yet. I didn't wait to post a long message! It's a long time since he's been to my place. I'm enjoying seeing all his fluffed-feather glory.

Kirsten said...

Ah - a Bandita - Rooster moment. Let's give them some space, shall we?

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, what a great post. Chain yanking! Yep, I know exactly what you mean. And yep, I found the ending of Message in a Bottle completely unsatisfying. There was NO reason for that guy to die apart from to make me upset. Consequently, it didn't make me upset, it just made me cranky. It's one of the hazards of being a writer, I think, that the mechanics of storytelling are usually so obvious. I'm awful to go to the movies with - I say two minutes in "They mentioned the cousin so the cousin will save the day at the end." People want to kill me in return. I can't see why! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, put away those binoculars. What a rooster and a woman over the age of consent get up to in the privacy of our own chicken coop is absolutely our business! And no, don't pick up the telescope instead!

Kirsten said...

I HATE having my chain yanked. Hate hate hate it. I can usually smell one of these movies a mile away (Marley and Me, anyone? I refused to see it. I didn't know what it was about, but it had chain-yanking written all over it.) and I won't get within a hundred mile radius. I don't like tear-jerkers. I cry at church, I cry at commercials, I try during country songs. Hell, I cry when my kid sings something cute after school.

I don't need tears wrapped up in a pretty package and handed to me in a movie/book.

Kirsten said...

Hey, it's been a long day and there's nothing good on TV!

Joan said...

And no, don't pick up the telescope instead!

You live in Australia....ever hear of SATELLITES?????

p226, could you turn the knob to sharpen the image...{squinting}

jo robertson said...

OMG, Caren, UNTAMED HEART is my favorite weepy movie -- "he gets her"! I've watched that one about two dozen times, probably have the dialogue memorized.

I hate my chain being yanked in books, which is why a very popular male author who shall not be named here just ticks me off. I always feel like he's going for the emotional jerk and I feel I'm being manipulated. In fact, he came to our town to do a book signing way back when (before he became famous) and I went to listen to him talk and get him to sign a book for my baby daughter because he's HER favorite. What a sacrifice I made LOL!

On the other hand, I don't mind my chain being yanked in movies, maybe something about the visual, or as you say, the need for catharsis.

Yay, Anna, a little trip across the water for the rooster. Uh, I like his "fluffed-feather glory."

jo robertson said...

Oh, and I didn't say, but YES, I love when I write those scenes that are so powerful I cry myself. I feel a little silly, but they're my favorites! And I hope some day my readers will think so too!

Joan said...

One word....

Sommersby.

I know we've talked about it before but in the same way Anna will never forgive the Message in a Bottle folks, neither will I the townsfolks in that movie who COULD HAVE STOPPED RICHARD GERE FROM DYING!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem..

I cry easily to. You should see me during Regis and Kelly's Mother's Day tribute. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

And favorite movie to cry by? Steel Magnolias.

PinkPeony said...

Tristan and Isolde. Ugh!

Steel Magnolias turns on the spigots every time.

I still haven't gotten over the ending in Sandra Brown's Another Dawn...where she kills off the hero from the prequel, Sunset Embrace...boy, that yanked my chain pretty hard.

Treethyme said...

12 posts! I was here two minutes ago! What they hey...

Helen said...

Well done Anna I am a little closer but I would still need a satellite LOL

Great post Caren and I am with you about having my chain yanked in books but I love tear jerker movies and yes Joanie Steel Magnolias always has me crying my eyes out as well as Beaches always need lots of tissues when I watch those movies and another two of my favourite tear jerkers from the
70's Love Story and The Way We Where.

There have been a few books that I have cried in sometimes tears of joy of laughter as well one of the reasons I love romance so much is that there is always HEA even after tears.

Have Fun
Helen

Treethyme said...

While I totally believe an author (or director) has the right to do whatever they want in a book or movie, I really hate it when I character I have become invested in gets killed off.

I've been hooked on Elizabeth George's books for years, but I just can't work up the interest to keep reading them after the major kill-off a few books back.

That said, I'm not against a little tear-jerking. Fiddler on the Roof, for instance: that movie gets me every time.

MJFredrick said...

Steel Magnolias, definitely best tear jerker.

I saw Message in a Bottle on TV. Stayed up till 2. Almost broke the damn TV when I threw the remote at the end.

Ahem.

Still makes me mad.

MJFredrick said...

Steel Magnolias, definitely best tear jerker.

I saw Message in a Bottle on TV. Stayed up till 2. Almost broke the damn TV when I threw the remote at the end.

Ahem.

Still makes me mad.

PinkPeony said...

Treethyme...when Sandra Brown killed off Ross Coleman in Another Dawn, my heart fell to my knees. Maybe it's because he was one of my favorite western heroes and I was heavily (pant, pant) invested. But I do agree, the author/director has a right to do whatever he/she wants.

Natalie Hatch said...

Anna Nicholas Sparks always kills off his characters, in nearly every book I've read of his you can bet that the person you get emotionally attached to will die. Bugger.
As for 'yanking my chain' I think in Australia it means something else, or at least up here in Queensland it does. Nearly choked when I read the headline.LOL

Tawny said...

As for 'yanking my chain' I think in Australia it means something else, or at least up here in Queensland it does. Nearly choked when I read the headline.LOL

heeheehee... now MY imagination is flying with possibilites LOL.

At the risk of promoting uncomfortable yanking images *g* I'll go with a big loud NO!!!

I hate movies that manipulate my emotions. If I know going in I'll be a mess, okay - I can deal with it. Marley and Me is a great example. I know the general story, understand the emotional trigger and am willing to cry all over the theater for the payoff.

But a book or movie that takes a sharp, unexpected turn and kills off someone I loved? Ooh no. No no no. It makes me feel manipulated. And that just pisses me off.

Tawny said...

Anna, forgot to wish you and the bird a lovely day :-)

*tugging the curtains closed*

There... privacy to indulge in fluffing his feathered glory *g*

Leslie said...

I'm ok with it as long as it makes sense in the movie, book etc.

One of my favorite movies that always makes me cry is ET. I always tear up when he gets so sick and Elliott is sick too. I watched it a few years ago with my now 8 year old and he got upset with me because the movie made him cry. lol

Anna-have fun with the GR :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Cold Mountain!

Need I say more?!?!?

Did Inman REALLY, REALLY have to freakin' die?

Sigh, I guess I'm just addicted to my HEAs!!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, my, the chook is back in Australia! Good going, Anna! Um...don't be too hard on him for being gone so long. I know sometimes you make him do penance for long absences. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Anna, isn't being a writer a pain sometimes? It has made me so aware of story structure and the mechanics of a good story. I'm afraid I've become quite obnoxious, too. *g* I will sometimes "pre-write" dialogue for shows or movies and my family is astonished when what follows is essentially the same thing. Of course, I wait for something other than what I think will come next and am pleasantly surprised when it does!

Of course, I am still not the best at figuring out mysteries, so I enjoy them the most. My oldest sister can always figure them out as soon as she meets the prinicipals in a movie. She will guess and I'll say, "No way! It can't be him because..." She'll just smile and say, "Wait and see." She's always right. Such a drag! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Kirsten, you'll be happy to know that the tendency to weep at the drop of a hat does tend to wear off for many women as you age. I have always been the worst with commercials, movies, church services, etc. As I've segued past 40, though, and the hormones have shifted some (and life has been riddled with real drama), it's not as bad.

The worst for me was that Maxwell House commercial in the 80s where the boy comes home from college on Christmas Day and makes coffee that wakes up his ecstatic-to-see-him family. I cried every time!

Caren Crane said...

Joanie and Kirsten, leave the happily-reunited couple in peace! Goodness, they deserve a few moments of privacy. (Of course, if you get any really good satellite pics, please print and save for future use. Conference is coming up...)

Keira Soleore said...

Fo, you finally managed to slip and slide your way into The Lair to grab him. I hear the poor thing squawking away to glory. What in the world are you doing to him? Those aren't happy clucks that I hear.

Joan, way to go on training our spy satellites on Australia and Fo's house. I knew the GR would one day be at the bottom of an international "incident."

Caren wrote, "I was crying so much I went to the lobby three times for more napkins."

Oh, poor Caren. At least, the popcorn sellers will have a story to tell their grandchildren.

I blubber easier with movies than books. I avoid some authors because they manufacture those black moments (oops, we're at the three-quarter mark, time for a BM). Some authors I know will always get me (not the flowing Mississippi), but more bittersweet aching for the characters, but those are ones I'll follow to the ends of the earth (*cough*Fo*cough*).

It's the same with humor. Some writers try too hard and it's all lame and causes me to roll my eyes. Whereas others will cause unexpected outbursts of laughter, and I adore those books.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I realized the other day that my only copy of 'Untamed Heart' is on grainy VHS. I went to put it in my Netflix queue and guess what? You can watch it instantly on your computer! I did, naturally.

Unfortunately, my PC isn't optimal for the experience and neither is my computer chair. I've decided I need it on DVD.

Guess what, though? It STILL makes me cry! Every time he says, "I wasn't finished..." it makes me well up. Man, Marisa Tomei plays needy/wounded/vulnerable like no one else! She is completely underrated in Hollywood. I'm glad she nabbed that Best Supporting Actress award all those years ago for 'My Cousin Vinny' because she may never get another!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, don't you think those scenes that make us cry when we write them have extra power? Of course, I've had CPs tell me other scenes made them cry as well and those always surprise me. *g* I'm always so glad when they weep at my personal weepy parts!

Caren Crane said...

Joan, my outrage at 'Sommersby' knew no bounds. I felt like, in that case, there was an out. I think what we missed, though, was the incredible division that existed in the population after the Civil War, though. It's hard for me to understand how someone could give up someone who had become a neighbor and a friend like that. It was horrible and I cried, then got hopping mad. Chain yanking for sure!

Caren Crane said...

PinkPeony, I still haven't seen 'Tristan and Isolde', but I know what tragedy lurks there. *g* I think I need to force my daughters to watch that one. They're teenagers, so they'll cry and have a great time! They will probably be outraged, too, but at least I can explain WHY things go south. It's an ancient story, after all, and they never ended well.

I think Sandra played a dirty trick on us in 'Another Dawn', too. I never really got over wanting the first hero back!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, 'Beaches' is one I haven't seen in years and just bawled my eyes out over. I feel I need my Netflix queue again!

You know, I'm sure I wept when I first saw 'Steel Magnolias', at least a little bit. It has some of my very favorite actresses in it. But for the love of all that's holy, the ACCENTS were horrible! Even the few who really are Southern didn't sound genuine...except Dolly Parton, of course. Dolly could never sound anything besides East Tennessee!

Hey, my daughters haven't seen that one, either. I'm going to burn up the Netflix queue today!

Caren Crane said...

Treethyme, that residue of resentment lingers, doesn't it? Too bad about the Elizabeth George series. Great books gone wrong!

As to 'Fiddler', it's one I love in spite of the angst. Topel is doing the "farewell tour" of the Broadway fiddler right now. It will be in Durham soon. I want to go! Has anyone seen it on Broadway?

PJ said...

I'm a crier, always have been and probably always will be. It hasn't lessened as I've aged. If anything, it's probably more prevalent now than ever. I've read two books this weekend and cried during both. I also loved both. :)

I can't abide movies and books that purposely yank my chain. Many on my personal Grrr list have already been named - like SOMMERSBY and anything written by the male author who shall not be named. It drives me CRAZY when I'm set up for a happy ending only to have the rug yanked from under me at the very end! GRRRRRRRR

Keira Soleore said...

Caren, I would adorrrre seeing Topel in FOTR. I've only seen the movie version and I love it!!!

PJ said...

Helen, I sobbed during THE WAY WE WERE and embarrassed my poor boyfriend something fierce. I was still wiping away the tears as we were leaving the theater. lol

I was a college student when LOVE STORY was released and ripe for a good tearjerker. My girlfriends and I went to the movie supplied with plenty of tissues and ready to cry our eyes out. We adored Ryan O'Neal but our only tears came from laughing so hard at Ali MacGraw's atrocious acting. That was pretty much the reaction of everyone in the theater. I still can't watch that movie without cringing every time she opens her mouth.

Treethyme said...

I don't think Ryan O'Neal was fond of that part either. Shortly after that, he starred in one of my all-time favorite comedies EVER: What's Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand.

There's a line in that where Barbra says (batting her eyelashes big time): "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Ryan O'Neal turns to her and says (I'm paraphrasing here, it's been awhile since I've seen the movie): "That's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard."

My husband and I laughed when we heard the line in "Love Story" (yes, we were married at the time, all those years ago). We agreed it should have said, "Love means ALWAYS having to say you're sorry!" To avoid getting beaned on the head with a frying pan, if nothing else.

Caren, I'm sad that I'm going to miss your visit to OVRWA in June, but at least it's for a good reason -- my son's graduation! I just found out the date yesterday. At least I'll get to meet Trish next month.

Anna, I feel bad that I forgot to congratulate you for snaring the GR today. I hope he is keeping his distance from the barbie! (Or is that too Crocodile Dundee-ish?)

As to Marisa Tomei, she's another favorite of mine. "My Cousin Vinny" takes the prize, of course, but when she gets together with Robert Downey, Jr. in "Only You," I just sigh. And, as a bonus, the amazing Bonnie Hunt is in that movie, too!

Louisa Cornell said...

AHA!! La Campbell strikes at last!! Good on you! Have a lovely time. Now, who in the Lair has got that camera with the REALLY long telephoto lens??


Steel Magnolias every time! And The Color Purple. Showing my age, anyone remember Old Yeller? There are many movies that I KNOW will turn on my waterworks so I just wait until they come out on DVD so I can weep in the comfort of my own home with lots of concerned dogs to comfort me.

One thing I do hate is when I watch a movie and there is a dog in it and I just KNOW the dog is going to die at some point. It always ticks me off and it always makes me cry. Have you seen Australia??? The dog almost made it to the end. Sheesh!

The first time I wrote a scene that made me cry it kind of freaked me out a bit, but after that I realized it might just be a good thing.

And as for that male author who shall remain nameless, after I read his most famous book I thought "This guy's good. I'll read some more." The very next book he lured me in and then yanked my chain clean off. Won't touch him now. Jerk!

My favorite sniffle-worthy scenes are :

Flowers from the Storm when he comes to the meeting where she is supposed to renounce her marriage. His plea for their marriage makes me cry every time. And then when she comes out of the church and says "I am only fit to be your duchess." and his reaction just makes me boo hoo every time.

Lord of Scoundrels when Dain puts his son, whom he has just retrieved from that horrible inn, up on his horse and his heart just opens up when he realizes this child's life is going to be so different from his own. Just breaks your heart.

PJ said...

Now, who in the Lair has got that camera with the REALLY long telephoto lens??

That would be me, Louisa and don't worry. I'm on the job! Let me just say I've been getting some very interesting photos.

PJ said...

Becke, I had totally forgotten about that line in What's Up Doc! It's a classic! lol

Louisa, I can't even think about Old Yeller without tearing up. I hate when the dog dies in any story. It just rips me to shreds.

Flowers from the Storm is one of my all-time favorites and those two scenes you mentioned always get me - every single time.

p226 said...

Haha, last night I was watching "The Day After Tomorrow." I was resisting laughter through the whole movie. It wasn't at the massive catastrophe scenes, it was at the mushy "chain yanking" scenes.

I was laughing at the "omg the killer cold/ice is chasing them but they'll make it SOMEWHERE safe in the nick of time" scenes too. Like, how the ice seemed sentient and only froze the places that weren't between them and "safety."

If I'm aware its an intentional device by the author, the book's ruined. Suspension of disbelief is out the window. Game over.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Caren, my only copy of UNTAMED HEART is VHS also. I really need to replace it.

Yes, those emotional scenes we write are like method acting. We identify so closely with the hero or heroine that their actions and feelings touch us in nearly the same way.

Great discussion today!

Miranda said...

Terms of Endearment! I wept through Debra Winger dying of cancer and despised myself every moment for being manipulated. I never saw the movie again but I still resent it, at least 20 years later. Well I guess it made an impression.
Anna - are you enjoying a little coq au vin?

PJ said...

Anna - are you enjoying a little coq au vin?

Oh my! So that's why all those feathers were flying!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Oh no...it's a no no to yank an Irish girl's chain! If you do...you best be ready to run...flames shoot out of me eyes!

;-)
Hawk

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

Caren, I'm way past 40, and my tear ducts are as active as ever. Books, movies, songs, videos, photographs, commercials, things I see on the street--any of these can move me to tears. I still cry when Bambi's mother dies and weep over An Affair to Remember even after countless viewings. Dr. Zhivago, Sophie's Choice, The Green Mile are all weepy views for me too. In the face of real tragedy, however, the tears tend to freeze.

Linda Howard's Cry No More is the romance novel that made me cry the hardest. I've never been able to bring myself to reread it. On a different note, Mary Jo Putney's One Perfect Rose always makes me cry. And one reason I'm a huge Anne Gracie fan is that her books always move me to both tears and laughter.

Caren Crane said...

MJ, I think we'll have to start a 'Steel Magnolias' support group. *g* Too funny about throwing the remote at the TV at the end of MIAB. I know I watched this movie on video at home and when he drowned, I was so angry I probably began fuming incomprehensibly. I know I rolled my eyes and said a few choice words. Even my husband thought it was a totally cheap shot. I can't believe people enjoy that, but obviously lots of folks do!

Nancy said...

Anna--at last you prevail! *g*

Caren, interesting post. I don't much like having my chain yanked, either by books or by movies. I rarely cry, and never when I feel I've been set up for it. Feeling set up just ticks me off.

I don't go to animal movies and couldn't watch Disney True-Life Adventures as a child. I won't see I Am Legend because I've been told the dog dies. Nuh-uh. No, thanks. No doin' that.

And forget Marley and Me! (Hi, Kirsten) I already know that dog dies. And seeing as how we have an aging yellow lab, I just really don't need that.

The last book that made me cry was Trish's A Firefighter in the Family, which didn't use any of the manipulative devices you cite but got me via the plain, honest emotional pain of the characters.

I don't exactly cry, but I do tear up, every time I read LOTR and get to the part where the forces of Mordor have breached the walls of Minas Tirith and Gandalf and Pippin are waiting for the end, and then they hear horns echoing off the mountain's sides (Tolkien put it way better than this, in grand and stirring language, which contributes to the overall effect) and the city's defenders know "Rohan had come at last."

Moments like that, where characters are struggling against certain annihilation, making a brave and outnumbered last stand, get to me way more than the romantic agony bit (but not more than the loss of pets, which is why I veto all animal movies. Except The Black Stallion, which was way cool, but once was enough).

I call these "Battlle of Britain" moments, reminiscent of the battered, outnumbered, largely untrained RAF going without sleep, having no reserves and not enough replacements for pilots or planes, but flinging themselves into the air time and again to face the mighty Luftwaffe and stave off invasion.

My chain clearly has unusual links in it. :-)

Caren Crane said...

PP and Treethyme, do you feel the author or screenwriters "vision" for the story gives them license to betray the reader's/viewer's trust and expectations, though?

Like I said, if it's an organic part of the story, I will accept the betrayal no matter how bittersweet. Case in point: 'Shakespeare In Love'. Now THAT was a poignant and sad ending, BUT: a) Viola was essentially her father's property and was bound to do what she was told by her father and the Queen: and, b) Will was married. So, there really could never be a happy ending for them.

Even Joanie's bemoaned 'Sommersby' made sense. Tensions were incredibly high, there was no love lost for "the enemy" after the war and so many men had been killed in action that traitors were not suffered lightly. In that light, it is believable that someone who seems to be a nice enough guy would be made to pay for his transgressions. Not popular with us (or Jodie Foster) but believable.

But drowning Kevin Costner at the end of 'Message In a Bottle'? Completely gratuitous.

Caren Crane said...

Natalie, Natalie. When will we get your mind out of the gutter? *g* But hey, it got you to read the blog post! Ha!

Caren Crane said...

Tawny, that's exactly what I don't enjoy: being manipulated. If it's a natural culmination or a story so steeped in tradition it cannot be changed (like 'Tristan and Isolde') then I'm with you. Let's go and cry and have a good time. I don't enjoy the bait-and-switch, though.

In my beloved 'Untamed Heart', we know from minute 1 of the film that poor Christian Slater has a bad heart. It's what he does with his life that makes such a wonderful, heart-wrenching story. Although you ache for Marisa Tomei, how wonderful that she had him at all! *sigh*

Caren Crane said...

Leslie, isn't it great sharing your tender, weepy moments with your child? I can't wait to watch 'Steel Magnolias' and some of the other movies people have mentioned today with my daughters. We'll have boxes of tissues handy, believe me! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Suzanne, I am with you, sister. There was NO reason for Inman to die. Not in the book nor in the movie. Of course, it was kind of a man's book and a woman's movie, but my husband thoroughly enjoyed the book. It didn't bother him much that Inman died. Then again, he thought Ada was spoiled and useless (she was).

In the book, the only character I liked was Ruby. At least she got a somewhat happy ending. Go, Ruby!

Caren Crane said...

Keira, I love those bittersweet longings really great stories invoke (like Fo's). I ached like that for Bentley in Liz Carlyle's 'The Devil You Know'. I was so happy he found Frederica, who persisted until she found out what his devils were and how to help him heal. *sigh* That was a great story...

Caren Crane said...

PJ, I live in fear that as I approach menopause all my armor will be stripped off and I'll be more weepy than ever. Yikes!

This morning at church, first I found out a man who had been through the class I run there had died. Major battle with the tears. Then, the POPS puppet team, which is made up of mentally and physically handicapped young adults (18 - 21) performed two songs. They were so wonderful and their love for God and each other was so tangible and evident, there came the tears again.

THEN, to cap it all off, a beautiful little girl was baptized and her parents joined our church. The dad is the custodian at our church and the mom is on the custodial staff at the Baptist church across the street. They are Hispanic, so we had a bilingual baptism and a gorgeous song in Spanish and English by our adult minister (who has a voice like an angel!). The baby was so gorgeous and had the most beautiful white satin gown ever (with hood!). That made me cry all the more.

All in all, quite a teary morning. Just when I thought I was getting past all that!

Caren Crane said...

Keira, I think I may angel for FOTR tickets for my birthday. I need to do research and leave detailed information lying around for my husband so he can believe it was his idea. *g*

Janga said...

I'm another who cannot get beyond that death in the Elizabeth George book. Did she have a right to kill the character off? Absolutely! Do I have a right to stop reading her subsequent books? You bet I do.

As for movie manipulation, what about My Girl? I hated, hated, hated that movie.

Caren Crane said...

PJ, I think 'The Way We Were' needs to go in my Netflix queue, too. I haven't seen it since I was really young, but I remember it was fabulous (and I like Babs). As to 'Love Story', I saw it as a child (on TV) and remember crying my eyes out. I would have been way too young to be critical of the performances. Was Ali really that bad? *g*

Caren Crane said...

Treethyme, I saw your message this morning that I won't see you when I visit OVRWA in June. Poo on that! It is a most excellent reason to miss a meeting though. I'm sure you will be having a particularly good day watching your son's graduation. What a wonderful occasion!

I laughed about love meaning you ALWAYS have to say you're sorry. My husband and I feel exactly the same way!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, and 'Only You' needs to also go in the Netflix queue. I think I'm just going to leave that tab open and pop back and forth as needed. *g*

Treethyme said...

It's one of those things where I support the author/director's right to do it, but that doesn't mean I like it. Sommersby was a good example. I loved the movie, right up until the end. Then I hated it. I don't care if it doesn't make sense, I want the darn happy ending.

Caren, I posted the message here, too, because it occurred to me you might not know me by my alter ego.

I LOVE Only You -- let me know what you think of it.

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, that would be PJ with the really great camera and telephoto lens. I'm sure she's up to the job! *g*

I haven't seen 'Australia', but I'm glad to know about the dog. I'll be prepared! A heart wrencher for me (on many levels) was 'Hidalgo'. Anyone who hasn't seen it should do so forthwith! From the Native Americans to Hidalgo himself, there is angst aplenty in that one. Definitely hanky worthy! And don't worry, Hidalgo doesn't die.

As to He Who Shall Not Be Named, in his first big book, you KNEW how it would turn out. She had Alzheimer's, so it's not like there would be a miraculous cure, you know? Perfectly reasonable and very well done. The second? Pfffft!

Caren Crane said...

P226, I hadn't seen 'The Day After Tomorrow', but even from the previews I see what you mean. Then again, I'm much less critical of the chain yanking in action movies than in "relationship" movies. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because in action movies all relationships seem to simply be dramatic foreground for the disaster/tragedy or something.

I can already tell my husband will find some urgent something to do on his computer halfway through this one, but I'm putting it in the Netflix queue anyway. *g* He didn't enjoy 'Independence Day' nearly as much as I did for this reason. I knew as soon as we learned Vivica Fox was a single mom/stripper of an adorable tyke that she was nothing but emotional bait. I took it, ran, and loved the whole thing!

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, I have determined I need to read "Lord Of Scoundrels" yet again. I love that book! Of course, I have a computer printout of Sabrina Jeffries' latest (it's Charlotte and Cousin Michael's book) to read first. She has asked me several times if I've started it yet, so that one is the next Must Read since I finished Kate's fabulous 'Homicide In Hardcover'. Too many good books!

Caren Crane said...

Oooh, Jo, I had never thought of it that way, but you are right. Deep, emotional writing IS like Method acting. You have to crawl inside your character's skin and feel what s/he feels to get the authentic emotion on the page. I love that!

Caren Crane said...

Miranda, adding 'Terms Of Endearment' to the Netflix queue. That's another one I only have on grainy VHS! Yes, it was terrible that Debra had to die in that one, but it did force them to resolve their relationship, which may not have happened otherwise. *sigh* I love that movie.

Helen said...

I was 14 when I saw Love Story and had read the book before seeing the movie with a couple of girlfriends and we said we wouldn't cry because we had cried so much when we read the book needless to say at the movie theatre we were really crying and had 1 tissue to share between the 3 of us but I do agree about Ali's acting it was bad and I too love Whats Up Doc.
Another movie that I really cry in is Life As A House I can't remember who is in it but this movie really is emotional I love it.

Have Fun
Helen

Caren Crane said...

Janga, you and PJ are dashing my hopes that the water works may slow down someday. Actually, I cry much less than I used to at movies and books. In actual life, little makes me cry except beautiful art (theater, dance, music, etc.). Not "people" stuff as much. This morning at church being the exception that proves the rule, or whatever.

When I was a teenager, they ran 'Doctor Zhivago' at a theater near us and my BFF and I went to see it (the one I recently visited in Chicago). It was great except the very end of the movie was burnt up (it was the film projector days). She wanted to know what happened and I couldn't remember! Tragic to live in the days before the Internet. *g*

Interestingly, I watched DZ in the past few years and simply couldn't get past the fact that he was married. I hated him for cheating on his wife and I hated Lara for being such an idiot about him. I found it funny that my reactions at different times of life were so very different.

I haven't seen 'Sophie's Choice' since shortly after it first came out. Another one for the queue!

Caren Crane said...

So HAWK, what DOES yank your Irish girl chain? Surely something has sent the flames shooting from your eyes. *eg*

Gannon Carr said...

Hate being manipulated and purposely having someone yank my chain. GRRR!

I am a big weeper as far as movies go (or books, commercials, etc.). STEEL MAGNOLIAS, THE COLOR PURPLE, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, MY LIFE.....and absolutely anything with animals, i.e. MARLEY AND ME, EIGHT BELOW. Oh, let's face it, I'm a big crybaby! LOL

Anna, take care of the chook!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Nancy, that scene in 'Return Of the King' gets me every time! As does the major chain yank when Faramir and his ragtag troop leave Gondor to try to regain Osgiliath once more. You know they are riding to certain death and that his crazy daddy, Denethor, isn't going to rescind his insane order. That gets me every time!

Caren Crane said...

Janga, 'My Girl' was out when my son was very young (about 6, I think). We went to see it and both boo-hooed. My girls and I watched it 3 or 4 years ago and boo-hooed. It is horrible! Why did he have to die? It was the most random thing ever! It was cool, though, that her mood ring turned blue. Not enough to justify his death, but still...

I think we were supposed to feel like that very personal death was the only way she would ever get over her obsessive fear of death. I'm still not convinced!

Lara Lee said...

When I was young, the neighborhood women and girls, went to see Terms of Endearment. We were all passing out the tissues at the end. I took my dd to see Titanic, and I won't be seeing that one again! Steel Magnolias, The Color Purple, The Way We Were, are all movies that make me cry (although it doesn't take much, I'm a sap!).

I usually ask people if a movie has a happy ending before I go to see it. That's why I read romance! If the book or movie does, and the tear jerking has a purpose to move along the plot or characterization, it's cool with me, as long as I get my HEA!

Good post!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I have put 'Life As a House' in my queue. It's currently #4, so I should see it soon. Not only does it look like exactly my kind of movie, but I heard a Guster song playing on the preview! It sounded like music borrowed from 'Two Points For Honesty', though it didn't appear on the soundtrack. Hm...

Caren Crane said...

Gannon, when you feel the yank coming, do you stop watching or keep going? I confess, I'll keep watching just to make sure. Even though I KNOW what's going to happen. I am such a pawn!

Caren Crane said...

Lara, I think you're really smart to vett the movies before you watch. Like Nancy does with the animal flicks. I have to say, I hate it when animals die in movies, but I will usually watch them anyway. I had a bad feeling about 'Hidalgo' but the mustang pulled through. Whew! Of course, other animals don't make it, but we're not as invested in them.

Sometimes I want the tear-jerker experience. Catharsis can be quite therapeutic in Caren World. I am quite in the mood for another tear jerker tonight. I may have to pop over to Netflix and watch one of those that's available for instant play. Like, oh, 'Ordinary People'!

Anna Campbell said...

Close your ears, my darling! As if I'd put you in the cook pot! Since your feathers were fluffed, I find you strangely attttttttrrrractive...

OK, this is getting strange.

This is a fun discussion, Caren. I agree with you about Doctor Zhivago. When I watched it as a teenager, I was overwhelmed by it and thought it was terrifically romantic. I've watched it a few times since and haven't been carried away at all. Much as I hate the ending, though, I can see it makes sense. It wasn't just gratuitous. The book is much more depressing. Has anyone else read it? Grim, grim, grim!

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, those ARE happy clucks! He's having a clucking good time down here. I promise!

Hey, thanks, Keira and Caren, for those nice comments about the books. I do think there's a bittersweet quality to my books - they get a happy ending but they've been through such storms, they're not going to wander into the sunset with nary a care and no lasting effects from what they've been through. That's real life to me!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I never slogged through the tome of 'Doctor Zhivago'. I gave up on Russian novels since every one I ever read was super dark. At least in the movie version we had that one lovely season of summer in Siberia (or wherever it was). Lovely flowers and 'Lara's Theme'. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I think the 'real life' quality is what makes those bittersweet books so endearing. We have all suffered and lost and most real-life romances are riddled with hard times. Forged and tempered by the flames, is how I like to think of it. I know that my husband and I love each other so much more deeply and differently than we did when we were young and love was new. I wouldn't trade our now love for any amount of then love, no matter how smokin' hot is was!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, great choice of crying books. I'd add, like Janga, Cry No More. I reviewed this and started it saying that book should be called Cry Lots and Lots! It's amazingly powerful though.

Long lenses? Satellites? Limecello and Fedora don't get this level of surveillance! What gives?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Caren,

Yes, Ada was spoiled and useless, even she knew it. But with Ruby's help and her determination to survive until Inaman came home, she grew and changed to be the kind of woman he would've been able to make a life with once he got home. GRRRR!! Because of that she deserved a HEA as much as Ruby did. And GOD I loved Renee in that roll. Reminded me of one of my aunts!

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, that's what I say to people who deride the happy endings in romances. I say I never think of it as never a cloud in the sky again. I think these people have weathered a massive storm and their love and their strength of character will help them to weather future storms. That seems to me a happy ending! As you say, forged and tempered by the flames of life!

Claudia Dain said...

Caren, I feel the same way. Sometimes it works for me (Marley and Me) and sometimes I just get annoyed. I don't think it's my mood so much as the skill of the yanker. Or maybe whether I have a general sense of the yank directional, and can go with it.

The problem for me is when it's A) clumsily done or B) I didn't see it coming because it didn't fit the rhythm of the story.

I loved Marley and Me because the ending made sense. I loved Old Yeller for the same reason. As long as I'm on an animal movie jag, Seabiscuit was another winner for me. All yanked my chain and I was happy to be yanked.

Caren Crane said...

Anna and Janga, I haven't read 'Cry No More' but I adore Linda Howard and need to throw it on the TBR mountain!

Caren Crane said...

Claudia, the skill really is an issue, isn't it? Sometimes I realize it's happening but am happy to be swept along. Other times, it feels clumsy and forced. Like that unnamed male author who sometimes tacks a death on the end. Doh!

I really need to see 'Marley And Me'. Don't hate me for this, y'all, but the dog dying won't rip me up. My dad was a veterinarian and all of us kids knew from a VERY young age that most every animal will die before its owners do. You love them, but they're gonna die no matter what. We saw so very many animals die that it became a matter of course. I still mourn them, but it's expected so not as tragic, somehow.

Virginia said...

Congrats Anna on nabbing that rooster, I am so proud of you! Have fun with him!

Sometimes I get in the mood to have my chain yanked. We all need a good cry every now and again. Its easier with a movie because with the book you can't see to read anymore. Most of my tear jerking movies have been mentioned already. Even GWTW had its chain yanking moments if you think about it.

Joan said...

Ok. All day long I've been singing in my head

Where do I begin? To tell the story of how strong a love can beeeee? A great love story that is older than the sea....

Thanks alot!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Virginia, WHY did little Bonnie have to die? And poor Melanie! Yes, GWTW was all about yanking the chain. I haven't forced my girls to watch that one, either, and I have it on DVD. Must pop it in soon!

Caren Crane said...

Joanie, it is NOT our fault that you have an Andy Williams obsession. *g*

She fills my heart, she fills my hea-a-art with all the...

Nancy said...

Caren, in Independence Day, Viveca Fox, her kid, and their dog all survive, you know. But the First Lady didn't. I didn't feel as invested in her character, I have to admit.

It was the first time I liked Jeff Goldblum in a movie.

And I think they shoulda given Bill Pullman a way better speech at the end, but that's a whole different blog.

I had forgotten that bit with Faramir, which is played up more in the movie than in the book. It was pretty sad.

I feel heavily invested in Sharon and Helo on BSG. If things don't come out well for them, that has the potential to yank my chain. The scene when she convinced him to shoot her so she could die and download on the Cylon resurrection ship to rescue their daughter, who was in Cylon hands, did make me tear up. They were both weeping and didn't know whether she would succeed or they would ever see each other again. He hated the idea of killing her but knew it was the only way.

Very dark and emotional.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, even though Viveca and her posse survived, it was pretty evident they were there for emotional pull, don't you think? I agree about Bill Pullman's speech, too. He deserved to be much more presidential. *g*

Oh and speaking of Bill, he is fabulous in 'While You Were Sleeping', which is a three-hanky movie. Poor Sandra Bullock! I felt terrible for her and her poor, lonely life. I was so happy for her happy ending!

I also was reading about the coming end of BSG today in Entertainment Weekly. It sounds like they plan to tie things up pretty soundly. You never know with them, though. Anything could happen there at the end!

Pat Cochran said...

Congrats, Anna!!

For me, it's Knock On Any Door, or
Love With A Proper Stranger, or
Somewhere In Time! Tears every time!

Pat Cochran

Caren Crane said...

Pat, great suggestions! I've seen 'Somewhere In Time' (weepy for sure!) but not the other two. Thank you for adding to my Netflix backlog! *g*

Thanks for sharing, everyone. I'm off to bed or I'll never make it to work tomorrow morning. Have fun!!