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Did I Ever Tell You You're My Hero?: Ranking the Tearjerkiest Tearjerker Deaths of All Time

By Courtney Enlow | Lists | June 21, 2012 |

By Courtney Enlow | Lists | June 21, 2012 |

This post is full of feelings. It really needed Gosling in a bathtub.

Who doesn’t love a good cry? Most of us do. We need it. In real life, we might stuff to the point of emotional catatonia, but a certain movie scene can completely do us in. And the simplest way to send people into fits of “this has nothing to do with that fight I had with my mother!” catharsis? A good death. A damn fine death even.

So, grab your Kleenex and embrace all the feelings you are about to have as you are potentially sent into fits of “My emotions!”

Needless to say, I spoil the shit out of these movies.

Hillary, Beaches

Beaches is one of those movies widely regarded as a “chick flick” which is a fair assessment I suppose, as the majority of its audience consists of women. That said, it is one of the worst representations of female friendship I’ve ever seen. They really hate each other. And while we’ve all, men and women alike, had friends we don’t really like all that much, usually those friendships fade away and die like a collagen-stuffed Barbara Hershey. We don’t typically raise their children. That said, color me chickly, I love it. Bette! Broadway! A song about bras! The most awkward casting of Spalding Gray this side of “The Nanny”! It has EVERYTHING.

Death Rating: 3 out of 5 tissues. Frankly, the death itself only warrants two, but little Victoria pushes it over the edge with the line “C.C.? Can I bring my cat?” OF COURSE YOU CAN BRING YOUR CAT. YOU CAN BRING ANY OLD THING YOU WANT, CRYING CHILD.

Satine, Moulin Rouge

Stupid consumption, going around consuming people like that.

Death Rating: 4 out of 5 tissues. I am not physically capable of handling a bereft Ewan McGregor.

Sam, Ghost

Look, this was sad anyway. But the loss of Patrick Swayze makes it WAY worse.

Death Rating: I guess this one is technically more of an ascension rating, but regardless, I give it a 4 out of 5 tissues. And I give the special effects in this movie a million out of a million awesome-pogs.

Billy Flynn, The Champ


It’s not embeddable. The extra step needed to view this scene is probably for the best. Because, dear god. Excuse me. I have all the things in my eye.

Death Rating: 5 out of 5 for tiny child tears. Do you know why they gave Ricky Schroeder all that cool shit on “Silver Spoons”? Because of this. Because of this. Oh, you want an awesome train? TAKE IT. TAKE THE AWESOME TRAIN.

Jenny, Love Story

I suppose this is sad, in theory. Cancer is evil, and the loss of a loved one devastating. But, Jesus, this chick was such a Harry Twatter this entire movie, her death was only met with a flat “good” as far as I was concerned.

Death Rating: 1.5 out of 5. Love means never having to say “sorry I’m not sorry she’s dead.”

Jack Dawson, Titanic

I have lots of thoughts on this movie, adjusted for inflation of adult feelings. But, as a pre-teen, I was despondent. And Kate’s performance really does sell it, helping to ensure you ignore the fact that this dude didn’t even attempt to survive even the tiniest bit. Also, you know, this.

Death Rating: 3 out of 5 adjusted for thirteen-year-old-Courtney emotions.

Yeller, Old Yeller

I’m watching this clip while hugging my dog with the grip of a thousand Lennie Smalls. Just so you know.

Death Rating: 5 out of 5. Kids and dogs, man. Kids and dogs.

Emma, Terms of Endearment

What is so devastating about this movie? Is it a mother losing her child? Is it a life of a mother being cut so short? Is it a lovelorn Lithgow? Yeah, but mostly it’s little Teddy. Shit.

Death Rating: 4 out of 5. Dammit, Flap, you should have been better to her.

Old Noah and Allie, The Notebook

Okay, while this movie is sad to most people, I think it’s pretty safe to say that anyone who has had a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia probably has a bit of a harder time with it. And, the year this movie came out, my grandma was at the end of a five-year degression into the disease. I literally had to be carried out of the theater. I had an asthma attack from crying so much. Then I watched it again in my dorm room when it came out on DVD and had pretty much the same reaction (in front of my snizzy hipster rooommate, no less, who had nothing but disdain for my mainstream tears). So, my response to this film may be but a skosh colored.

Death Rating: 4 out of 5. They had a long happy life together, is what I tell myself when I hurriedly change the channel the second I see James Garner and Gena Rowlands sit down to dinner together, in a desperate effort to avoid another complete meltdown, a plan that has worked as I have not seen the end of this movie since 2004.

Death Rating for the Relationship Betwixt McAdams and Baby Goose: Still a solid 5. Why couldn’t those crazy kids just make it work?

Shelby, Steel Magnolias

This movie is the polar opposite of Beaches. A celebration of female friendships, wholly absent of any and all cattiness, infighting and, except only on the periphery, men. That’s really rare and really special and I will not abide a “chick flick” brush-off. So take your babble and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Death Rating: 4 out of 5 tissues.

Rating for Sally Fields’s Reaction: Just finish the box already, gawld.

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