Everybody Hurts: Performances It's Acceptable to Cry During

I'm a reasonably sensitive guy. I get the occasional tear welling up during a good "daddy song" on country radio. Movies make me cry outright (every now and then), and I've even been known to be brought to tears (or at least the beginning of tears) by a personal expression of affection. I cry (sometimes) when I get hurt (if it's bad enough), and Jack Daniels, Otis Redding and myself have shared a few wet handkerchiefs over bad breakups. But even I, a man in fully in touch with his emotions, realize there is a time and place for everything.

Apparently, not everybody gets this. There are just some performances that are definitely not worth your tears. So, I thought I'd take on the task of outlining the crying do's and don'ts for all my readers.

Always Acceptable Crying Times or "AACT" as I like to call them (ie. AACT on that emotion you're feeling).

1. When Old Yeller Dies the first time you see the film. -- Your friends did it, your father did it once upon a time, and trust me that gnarly biker dude you're always trying to avoid staring at in traffic did it too. So let the tears flow.

2. At any point during "The Passion of the Christ". -- If you've seen the film, you're probably wondering why this didn't make number one on the list. I suppose it's just because not everyone believes Jesus Christ was God. But regardless this one's got to tear you up a little. In fact, this one may fall into the "feel free to wail and gnash your teeth performances".

3. The Led Zeppelin Reunion Tour -- This one is mostly in here, because it's never going to happen. Not all of them are alive, and the ones that are generally aren't in very good shape. But, if it ever came to pass, I'd be front row, boohooing while Robert wailed "When the Levee Breaks".

4. During the inevitable 24 hour marathon of Beatles coverage the day Paul McCartney dies -- I can't imagine that Ringo will outlive him, which would make his death the final death of the greatest band ever assembled. When VH1 runs "Anthology" in it's entirety and we reach Paul's performance of "Yesterday" I think it's safe to say there won't be many dry eyes around.

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5. The Climax of "Armageddon" -- Sure, it's a big dumb movie about some cowboys blowing up a space rock, but when Ben Affleck bangs on that window and screams "I love you, Harry!" it gets me every time....What? You thought I was gonna say the part when Liv Tyler's crying? Pish-posh! Affleck's twice the actor Liv is.

Sometimes Acceptable Crying Times or "SACT" as I refer to them (ie. You can cry, but you might get SACT by your buddies for being a wuss).

1. Otis Redding's "Monterrey Pop" performance of "Dreams to Remember" -- Generally, you are just supposed to nod your head and say things like, "Man, that guy knew how to wail." But, if you've recently been heartbroken, here is the appropriate time to let it all out. (Incidentally this is the only time when one of the SACT's becomes an AACT, so do not attack the cryer!)

2. When somebody ruins the end of "The Sixth Sense" for you -- No, I'm not going to do it here. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this has happened to people. It's a wonderful movie, and someone robbing you of the cathartic experience at the end is definitely worth crying over, but only after you've beaten the crap out of them.

3. The end of "The Notebook" -- This one is only for the most manly of male criers. Sure it's a chick flick turned up to about 11, but this story of love and loss got to me, and I'm willing to bet it got to you too.

Never Acceptable Crying Times or "NACT" (ie. the sound a cat makes when it's throwing up a hairball. This is a perfect acronym, because if you're crying during these, you disgust me).

1. During any Eddie Murphy movie -- Yes, even "Dreamgirls." The film may be emotional, but Eddie no longer qualifies as an actor that is allowed to be in movies that make you cry. You can, however, cry when you think about his career as a whole, and how one of the most promising stand-up comics of the latter half of this century is now making "Norbit" and "Nutty Professor 15: Fat Jokes and Fat Suits!" Yep, feel free to cry over that.

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2. During any episode of "Dora the Explorer" -- I know you love watching this show with your kids or your nephews and nieces. I also know that Swiper the fox is a rascally bad guy, but I promise he's not going to really beat Dora and find what she's looking for. I promise. Just be strong.

3. At the end of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" -- I know, you're thinking to yourself, "Which ending?" Any one of them. It's not okay to cry when the ring (and Gollum) finally burns up in Mt. Doom. It's not okay to cry when the eagles save the hobbits. It's DEFINITELY not okay to cry when Samwise and Frodo share their moment back in Rivendell. And, no, it's not okay to cry when Frodo goes to the undying lands. There, that's done. Now let it go.

4. When George Lucas inevitably releases the Super Special Editions of the "Star Wars" Trilogy, further raping your childhood -- See, I'm an equal opportunity geek offender. I know that you love "Star Wars" 'cause you grew up with it. I did too. I know that you hate "the flanneled one" for changing your beloved films. I also know that it doesn't matter whether he makes Han Solo a ballerina dancer and changes the force to advanced techniques in ventriloquism, you'd still buy ever collection he puts out. I know this, because I would too. So quit crying about it. It is completely alright to cry about Jar Jar though.

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5. During a Sanjaya performance on "American Idol"...or anywhere else for that matter -- I know it was a little girl, and she was probably just super emotional to be on television, watching a performance of her favorite show (she actually cried during Melinda's performance too), but someone should be teaching this girl some restraint. When the Beatles performed in Shea Stadium, women cried, screamed and tore their own hair out. When Elvis shook it up, women fainted from over-excitement, and now when Sanjaya warbles his way through "You Really Got Me" this little girl blubbered for three solid minutes! These are not equivalent. The only people who should have been crying last night were the band members of families of "The Kinks" 'cause Sanjaya just destroyed their song.

Now that we've got all that straight, suck it up...or let it all hang out, whichever is appropriate.