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Archive for the category “Movies That Make Me Cry”

What? I Like Romantic Movies Too!

Taiyou_no_Uta

Taiyo No Uta - A Song To The Sun

I have a love for the cinemas of Japan and Hong Kong. I don’t just mean fight movies, horror movies and films about the Yakuza/Triads. Believe it or not both countries do make dramas and suspense-filled thrillers. But they also make some really depressing shit too. I mean some really gut wrenching tragic love stories. No, I’m not talking about the love story in movies like Chocolate, besides that was a Thai movie and at the rate Thailand has been making insane fight movies both Hong Kong and Japan need to be wary.

“But James” I can hear that same person who always asks these questions say, “Surely you have an example of such gut wrenching drama don’t you?”

Why yes, yes I do. Say hello to A Song For The Sun (Taiyo No Uta), quite possibly the most depressing romantic movie I’ve watched in a long time. To think a movie that was made to promote a pop star’s music can end up being so moving was quite the fucking surprise, especially to cinema cynic such as myself. The movie was used as a means to get J-Rock wunderkind YUI more mainstream exposure and boy did it pay off for her in the long run. But I’m not here to bash YUI, actually it is quite the opposite as I think for someone so young, a mere 22 years old presently, she is one hell of a songwriter. The question of whether or not she can act is answered by her performance in A Song To The Sun.

A Song For The Sun
tells the tale of Kaoru (YUI), a girl that suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosa. Now Xeroderma Pigmentosa are pretty big words for yours truly to be tossing out on good ol’Brave Blog so do allow me to explain what it is. Basically it is a genetic anamoly that results in the body not being able to repair basic damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. What that means in basic layman’s terms is… The Sun Can Fucking Kill You! Anyway, this is what Kaoru suffers from, thus her ability to lead a normal life is right out the window. Her parents run a small cafe at a seaside town. Kaoru can’t go to school because of that whole school being held during the day thing. So she sleeps during the day and at night she goes out with her guitar and sings in the local square. It all changes one day in the wee hours of the morning when Kaoru sees a surfer boy waiting at a bus stop for his pals.

The boy in question is Koji, a high school kid who spends his time failing math class (I’m guessing) and the rest of the time surfing. Naturally Kaoru develops a crush on him. The next night she is playing at her usual spot when our boy Koji walks by. Given that Kaoru has no real social skills, she chases him down on the street like an ape running down Charlton Heston in a field of wheat. She clumsily introduces herself and Koji is, well he looks a little weirded out. Luckily, Kaoru’s cousin/best friend/bad influence Airi grabs her before any major damage is done. Airi, it turns out, attends the same school as Koji and thus begins gathering intel on our beloved surfer boy.

taiyou

The Young Lovers Meet... Albeit Awkwardly...

The next night/early morning Kaoru sits at the bus stop across the street from her house with her guitar in an attempt to ambsuh/creep out Koji. He arrives on his scooter and decides to humor his new found stalker. They strike up a conversation and somehow Koji, who has obviously never watched Fatal Attraction, agrees that he will see Kaoru again so he can hear her sing. When they do meet again the next night, Kaoru drags Koji to the square but her spot has been taken over by another street performer. Now Koji is a good egg, so he decides to take Kaoru to the city since she has never been. They do a little sight seeing and find an empty square and Kaoru plays her song which gathers a small crowd for the performance. The 2 return home and the date is about to end on a romantic note except for the fact that the sun is rising and Karu has to get indoors. She runs away from Koji, who is totally confused. Kaoru makes it inside her house but not before getting splashed with little bit of rising sunshine.

Koji eventually learns about Kaoru’s Xeroderma Pigmentosa and is completely stunned. Even worse is that Kaoru refuses to see him. Our man Koji is shrewd though and begins to make arrangements for her to actually record her songs. The two finally get to meet again due to Kaoru’s father inviting the boy over. He wss kinda concerned that this surfer punk was always around the house and wouldn’t leave them alone. It is then that Kaoru realizes that Koji really does care about her. Koji tells Kaoru that he has actually gotten her some studio time to record. The bad news is, Kaoru is sick from her exposure to the sun. Even worse is that she isn’t likely to get better.

Look I could finish telling you what happens in this film but then you wouldn’t bother trying to watch it. It is a great romantic story but also a romantic movie that YOU should watch yourself. The performances are all solid and believable. YUI comes across as genuinely likable and genuine in her portrayal of Karou and Takashi Tsukamaoto (Koji) is also very good. The movie starts sweet and innocent and then slowly turns the sad corner but it is so well done that none of it feels forced or unbelievable. We also get my favorite song by YUI, “Goodbye Days” as the single recorded during the movie. It is a song that fits the movie perfectly and damn if I actually didn’t dab my eyes by the time the credits on this thing rolled.

I must stress that I did not cry at the end of the movie. I was moved but I did not cry. I just had to dab my eyes due to the humidity in the room. That is my story and I’m sticking to it. In all seriousness though, if you’re a guy and you want your girl to cry on your shoulder and snuggle close, then this is the perfect movie to watch. Seriously, as sad as this movie is at the end, the rest of it is perfect date movie material. Shit son, you may even find yourself dabbing your eyes. The thing is, A Song Of The Sun, is about Koji becoming a man through the loss of his first love. While the movie focuses on YUI’s portrayal of Kaoru for the first act of the film, the second is all about Koji doing what he can to show Kaoru he cares. It is the third act where we, as the viewer, get a figurative punch in the gut as we watch this young love grow yet know it is doomed. The catch is, even though you know it is doomed you watch anyway. In fact it is damn near impossible not to watch how it all plays out. You get to see Kaoru get to have one of the few normal experiences of her life and Koji mature into something more than just a hopeless surfer kid.

First love, growing up… this is the type of movie that used to get made in the west all the time back in the 80s. Now Hollywood seems to run out of ideas as they remake movies that don’t really need it or just flat-out remake movies from overseas. I really hope Hollywood stays the fuck away from this film simply because it is perfect romance on celluloid and Hollywood would just fuck it up. I mean look at what they did to Ringu and Ju-On. Can you imagine how bad it would be if they started remaking Japanese drama?

In summary, A Song Of The Sun is a movie you should watch. It is sweet, sad and at times melodic. It is what young love should be, pure, innocent and full of hope. Track it down and watch for yourself, just make sure that you have something to dab your eyes with. I’m not saying you’re gonna cry, just got to be careful right?

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3 Movies That Have Made Me Cry: #1

One Of The Greatest Movies Ever!

One Of The Greatest Movies Ever!

I have expounded on what Star Trek means to me in the past. This entry in the Star Trek movie franchise has one of those moments that I’m convinced every person gets a little misty at because if they don’t, they simply have no soul. When I first saw this in 1982 I was 10 years old. I adored Star Trek and was one ofthe few people I know that liked the first movie. I had watched the original TV series episode “Space Seed” plenty of times, so when I saw the ads that Kahn was back I hadto see this movie. For 1 hour and 56 minutes I was in awe. It quite possibly one of the greatest action films ever made. I think the only pure action film that tops it is Raiders Of The Lost Ark, simply because that is the best action movie EVER!

Still, Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Kahn was more than just a movie that mase me cry, it was the FIRST movie to make me cry. Not even Old Yeller, which I actually had watched on TV a few days before, did that. Even my father, a man who in the past I have reffered to as a Vulcan for his aility to stifle emotion, cried. We walked out of the theater and my dad was teary eyed. I am unashamed to say that I was fullout bawling. How could anyone watch the pivotal scene in that film and not shed a tear?

If you’re asking me at this moment “James what scene are you talking about?”then please forward me your address so I can hunt you down and slap you!

I’m not gong to sit here and write a synopsis of this movie. This is one of those movies that everyone should have already seen and if they haven’t should go out and see right now. Let’s just alk about ‘The Scene’. With the mighty starship Enterprise unable to warp out of the Mutara Nebula after a dogfight with USS Reliant, our antagonist Kahn Noonien Singh activates the Genesis Device as his last act in order to kill his hated enemy Admiral James T. Kirk. Realizing that the Genesis Wave will destroythe Enterprise andeveryone aboard her, Spock leaves the bridge for the engine room to check on the status of the anti-matter chamber. With the Genesis Wave in coundown mode and uable to be stopped, the Enterprise seems doomed. Despite the protests of Dr. McCoy Spock enters the Warp Drive Core and frepairs the damage, enabling the Eneterprise to escape and for James Kirk once again cheat death. As Kirk is blissfully unaware of Spock’s absence as he looks on at the newly formed Genesis planet and calls down to Scotty in the engine room to thank him for another job well done. It is when McCoy answers the intercom that Kirk realizes that Spock isn’t on the bridge. Rushing down to the engine room, Kirk arrives to see Spock in his last moments before death. Earlier in the film the two men engaged in a philosophical discussion about how Kirk had given up Starship command for a desk job and how no one, least of all Kirk, benefitted from it. In his dying moments, Spock rminds Kirk of that conversation, proving his point of ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one’. His final gesture to Kirk, the one person he has ever truly called friend is to tell him just that in the simplest possible way “I have and always shall be your friend. Live Long & Prosper!”.

Spock & Kirk = BFFs!

Spock & Kirk = BFFs!

While the rest of the movie deals with the aftermath of Spock’s death and how it affects Kirk, the themes tht the movie was getting across were summed up i nthat scene. Kirk had stated his frustrations to both McCoy and Spock how his current job at Starfleet mae him feel old and worn out. The fact that Kirk is celebrating his 49th birthday at the beginning of the movie only compounds these feelings. Spock and McCoy both rebutt Kirk by telling him what he should be doing (McCoy a little less subtly than Spock, but that is the beauty of DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy, he is both in touch with his emotions yet utterly blunt). Kirk’s true happiness in life comes from commanding a starship and adventures as Captain of the Enterprise. He, as an admiral, has the power to make it happen but refuses becuse he is already strting his mid-life crisis. The threat of Kahn is almost blessing to him, as it gives him that chance for adventure he so desperately craves. The problem is that Kahn’s only goal is vengeance on Kirk. Kirk pays the price for his ennui at the beginning of the film by having Kahn take away something that means more to him than even the Enterprise, his best friend.

Yet Spock’s death allows Kirk to reconnect with the man he is on several levels. He rediscovers a relationship with his estranged son David and it is David that points out that Spock’s sacrifice demonstrated a very important point that Kirk had been trying to make to Lt. Saavik earlier i nhe movie that “how we face death is at least as important as how we face life”. Spock looked death in the eye and refused to flinch. He did it because the argument of “The needs of th many outweigh the needs fo the few or the one” is always true. Realizing that David is right allows Kirk to experience a rebirth of self. When asked how he feels at the end of the movie Kirk smiles with tears in his eyes with “I feel young”.

Ok so I did some synopsis, so sue me. When one is a ten year old boy, the only thing that matters when watching this movie is that Spock dies. When one enters their late teens and 20s, they can take a new perspective on the film and begin to understand the philosophy and and underlying themes that are being discussed. I imagine by the time I reach my iddle age (I’m almost there) this movie will strike an even deeper chord with me as I’ll identify with what Kirk is going through in regards to aging. Perhaps when I tirn 45 or 50 I’ll invite my friends over for my birthday so we can enjoy a snifter of brandy or two as we watch Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Kahn and appreciate life together. We may even cry a little. Well, they might not but I know that somewhere around the 1 hour and 45 minute mark I’ll be fighting back, with all my might, the urge to cry.

For now though, I I ca nwatch this masterpiece and still remember when I was 10 and when that pivotal scene comes, I’d better be rady with some Kleenex…

Next Brave Blog: Fiction On Fiction!

New Content: 3 Movies That Have Made Me Cry #3

Saraba Uchuu Senkan Yamato Ai no Senshitachi

Saraba Uchuu Senkan Yamato Ai no Senshitachi

Now I’m not some simpering Emo Kid but there a fwe movies I have shed a few tears at the conclusion of. Of course the grand total of “Movies James Has Cried At” is 3.  Saraba Uchuu Senkan Yamato Ai no Senshitachi (Farewell Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers Of Love) was, historically speaking, the second. Now understand these tears were not shed over a complex love tale (there is none) or over any one particuliar character dying. It is the overall impact of the film and its themes that lead to me crying to this very day.

Hell I just rewatched this back on January 20th 2009 and you know what?

I cried again.

I mean honestly, the movie packs a punch. I mentiond that it is the themes of the movie are what strike me and move me to tears. Well the biggest theme is sacrifice. Dying for something you believe in is a powerful thing that everyone should be able to identify with. Themes of  loss and sacrifice are present in almost every form of media but this movie just really gets me, no matter how many times I watch it. It is not that any one specific character dies, it is that all of the main protagonists sacrifice themselves so the planet earth will not be subjugated by the White Comet Empire.

” But James,” you say, ” It is just a cartoon. It can’t measure up to truly great pieces of film”.

My response is, stop being such fucking snob. Seriously, a good movie is a good movie and Saraba Uchuu Senkan Yamato Ai no Senshitachi is a GREAT movie. not a great movie for anime, not a great movie ‘for a japanese movie’ but simply a GREAT movie. I mean let us examine the story, shall we? 

 A year after the crew of the Space Battleship Yamato saved the earth from Gamilas Star Empire in the original Uchuu Senkan Yamato movie, a new threat comes in the form of a white comet streaking past planet after planet, destroying them. The crew of Yamato are made aware of the problem by the mysterious Tereza of Telezart but the EDF (Earth Defense Force) doesn’t heed their warning. With no other options they steal the Yamato from her underground lair in order to stop the comet, which is revealed to atually be a terrafomred asteroid that harbors the evil White Comet Empire led by their nefarious leader Prince Zordar. Along te way Yamato and her crew rescue Captain Ryu Hijikata and a troop of Space Marines led by Sergeant Hajime Saito. But Zordar recruits the Yamato’s old foe Dessler of Gamilas to help him.

 

 

Evil Douchebag

Zordar: Evil Douchebag

So all the players in place now. Yamato faces off with some of the White Comet/Gamilas  joint fleet, scrapes by and come face to face with the giant comet itself. Both Captain Hijikata and Yuki Mori become casualties during the skirmishes.Realizing that in order to stop the planetoid they have to destroying its main propulsion system, a band of Yamato’s crew led by Susumu Kodai, Saito and science officer Sakezou Sado venture into the engine room of the asteroid to destroy the engines. Sado and Saito givetheir lives to set the charges to destroy the engines, forcing Kodai to go back to Yamato.

 

Once there the now crippled White Comet Empire is shelled by Yamato, destroyin the cpaital floating on the asteroid. But Zordar reveals his trump card. The asteroid was just a disguise for his immense flagship and its deadly wave motion gun, capable of destroying a small moon. Finally at his wits end, Kodai beseeches the spirit of Yamato’s original Captian, Juzo Okita, for advice. Okita tells him that though the Yamato is crippled there is one weapon that Kodai has not used yet and now has no choice but to use to win. Realizing that Okita right, Kodai orders all hands to abandon ship. Tereza appears before him and says that she will use her power to aid Kodai and the spirits of those who have died serving on Yamato (including Kodai own beloved Yuki Mori) appear to him as he plots his suicide course for Zordar’s ship. The last scene of the movie is the Yamato exploding in a flash of light as Kodai makes the ultimate sacrifice.    

Seriously, how can you not be moved by that story?

Hell everything about the movie is near perfect. The characters, the story, the setting, even the music all come together to make one of the greatest space operas you are ever going to watch. It still moves me to tears. You should count yourself lucky that this thing got released on R1 DVD.

NEXT BRAVE BLOG: Another Movie That Made Me Cry!

 

 

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