Say what you will about kids movies, but a few still have the power to get a guy all choked up.

The goal of this series is to show that being “manly” and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. While the approach to these articles is one of comedy and satire, the emotional core of these movies is very valid. Manly movies often times have the potential to make guys cry, for example:

“Live-Action Kids Movies”

Even the burliest of lumberjacks started out as a wee little ax chopper. Being a manly movie doesn’t necessarily have to be directed at adults, in fact establishing social norms early on is probably the best time to access your target demographic. While films directed at children can be nothing more than toy-shilling nonsense and noise, sometimes a generation will recognize certain kid-centric films as more than the sum of their parts. I present to you a list of live action films that were marketed towards children, but that still make guys cry as adults.
1. The NeverEnding Story

Kid is bullied, so he curls up with a good book. The person who pitched this was probably laughed out of the room until he threw in the “Oh, and the book is an LSD trip mixed with the Dark Crystal.” Rock Monsters, luck dragons, a freaky canyon that kills you if you’re scared THUS COMPLETELY ENSURING THAT YOU DIE! Don’t forget the Nothing, a villain that is literally an absence of anything. This film was and is the balls, and despite all of that there’s one part that still makes me want to fast forward.

Atreyu, the protagonist of the book world is riding his trusty horse Artax through the swamp of sadness, which should have been our warning sign right there. The horse starts becoming sad (as horses do?) and begins to sink into the swamp. This is an incredibly slow death as Atreyu, through tears, tries to save his friend through words, and then through failing to pull the horse out. Then the horse drowns. Enjoy your childhood.

2. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

The great Rick Moranis builds a shrinking ray, and accidentally shrinks his and Max Headroom’s kids. Thrown out with the trash, these tiny teens have to trek through what for them are miles of jungle. It’s pretty sweet, especially with huge cookies, Legos and bugs to deal with. It’s aged well due to props instead of CG, but that makes this next part all the more heart-murdering.

Anty. Remember him? The worker ant that the kids first tame and then befriend? Yea, the ant that saved them from a freaking scorpion who wanted to eat humans for the first time in any scorpion’s life. Anty gets stung and killed, but not before letting out shrill “Help me!” ant noises, because the filmmakers hated life. My wife hates all kinds of bugs, but because of Anty in this film, ants get a free ride. Now that’s powerful.

3. Jumanji

Magic board games actually have two movies to their name, with Zathura being the other. Since both were made by the same people and have roughly the same message, I’ll go with the better one.

There are so many spots in this film that get just a little more than touching. Is it when Robin Williams’ character as a kid gets sucked into the jungle, and has to live his life as a fugitive being chased by a hunter who suspiciously looks identical to his father? Is it when Robin Williams’ character as an adult learns that his parents are dead, and he basically missed out on any semblance of a normal life? Is it when the girl playing the game gets stung by a poisonous barb from a plant, and lies there dying, wishing her dead parents were there? HOLY CRAP!

4. The Santa Clause

Full disclosure: I’m Jewish. But I did watch this film every year. It’s just funny, well made, and Tim Allen is at his best. However, there’s one part near the beginning that makes me a little uneasy, especially given that I grew up with divorced parents.

Tim takes his kid for Christmas from his ex who clearly hates him. He tries his very best to cook way more food than 1 and a half people can eat, and fails miserably all of it. Jump forward, he’s taken his kid to Denny’s where most of the food is already sold out, and the restaurant is only populated by other divorced dads and their weekend kids. He surveys the room as other dads waive with their similarly injured hands, showing that when dads get divorced they become sad, incompetent losers who go to Denny’s on Christmas Eve. Times like that, I’m glad I don’t celebrate Christmas, because I feel my dad would have been there too.
Oh, and Judge Reinhold plays mom’s new guy. He’s got a stick so far up his butt that he stopped believing in Santa at age 1. That’s sad in a whole different way.

5. Hocus Pocus

This is a pretty lighthearted film, and Sarah Jessica Parker was still attractive so there’s always that. But with every sunbeam there must also be a raincloud (is that a saying?) so here’s the depressing part that this film all but glosses over in favor of more Bette Midler.

The film starts out back in time, during the Salem witch era. Luck would be that three sisters are legit witches, and they kidnap a little girl. They drain her life force in front of her brother who tried to stop them, and then turn him into an immortal black cat. LET ME REPEAT: This children’s film doesn’t go five minutes without killing an 8-year-old girl. Then her older, now cat brother tries to reconnect with his father, only to be kicked aside and not recognized. The brother knows he failed to save his sister, can’t connect with his family, and can’t put himself out of his misery. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a harmless kid’s film to me.

Like what you see? Secure enough in your masculinity for more? Check out more Guy Cry Cinema or watch Dan on No Right Answer, the weekly debate show that knows what’s really important: Pointlessly arguing about geek culture.


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