Yeah, I cried during Ferdinand — I’m not a robot

Memoirs of a dude with actual feelings

Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

I think Big Fish was the first time I cried during a movie — as an adult anyway. One of my most vivid childhood memories is bawling like a baby at the end of An American Tail, which is basically Don Bluth’s attempt to top Disney’s Bambi in the category of “Suicide Fuel for Kids Too Young to Know What Suicide Is.” Translation: it’s depressing as shit.

But as an adult, battle-hardened and rendered dead inside by the proverbial crawl toward the grave that is “having responsibilities,” I hadn’t yet been given the pleasure of getting reacquainted with my emotions. Then, I watched Will Bloom say goodbye to his dad, and I was flooded with questions. What was wrong with my eyes? Why was snot dripping from my nose? Why were my cousins gawking at me? Was this what it felt like to be alive?

It was weird, man. Then, it kept happening.

An abbreviated list of movies that have made me cry:

  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Iron Giant
  • Up
  • Toy Story 2
  • Gran Torino
  • Gladiator
  • Braveheart

And, now, we can add Ferdinand, a rather harmless animated movie about a bull who adopts a life of pacifism and sniffs flowers all day, to this list.

I can’t even explain why. Maybe it’s the fact that I really identify with the underlying message of making love and not war. Or perhaps it’s my revulsion at the idea that bullfighting is considered a sport when they do everything possible to stack the odds against the bull. More than likely, it’s how closely the girl Nina’s relationship with Ferdinand the bull mirrors that of an owner and her dog. I mean it’s basically the same deal — except you can’t turn a dog into a burger once it dies.

Oddly enough, the scenes where two of the bulls are sent to the abattoir — don’t worry, neither actually gets ground up — were the least emotionally impactful for me. It’s called the food chain, son. Beef is delicious.

Brace yourselves, it’s about to get real

But is there really a wrong time to cry? There’s this weird thing going on with masculinity in 2017 (hopefully I publish this in the next three hours) where it’s somehow wrong for a dude to cry during a movie but right for him to whine about feminism and march through the streets at night pining for a future where medical science can engineer some sort of Mecha-Hitler. Why? Because they saw it in a video game 20 years ago and, boo hoo, white people only run a majority of the country instead of every solitary bit of it. The horror.

Like, here’s this Art of Manliness page that lists the traditional “guy code” instances when it’s okay go cry:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Marriage proposal
  • Birth of a child

But then there’s like 100 exceptions to the core list. So, maybe, just maybe, human emotions are multi-faceted. And we should all just mind our own beeswax and let a man’s tear ducts do their thing when Jessie’s owner tosses her in a box and dumps her unceremoniously on the side of the road like she didn’t mean anything. And, really, how are you going to listen to Sarah McLachlan’s voice and keep those eyes dry?

Remember that dog commercial that uses that one song she sings? That action breaks my eyes. I’m a human being with actual emotions (sometimes). Leave me alone.

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