Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.
That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)
Cheap trick, John Grogan and your column-turned-book-turned-movie.
Cheap trick making us fall in love with your dog only to have him die. You killed a dog. Of course I’m going to cry.
Okay, it’s not like the dog was killed – it’s not like whatever childhood-scarring movie that was that Phoebe never saw the last scene of where the dog gets shot because it has rabies. Owen Wilson with his crooked-nose-and-Southern-charm and Jennifer Aniston with her hair so perfect I wish every day it was mine do wonderfully as a married couple struggling their way through owning the worst dog in the world, Marley.
It probably doesn’t help that my current dog’s name is Marley.
Or that my childhood dog died when I was a kid.
Or that my mom had to take that dog away to the vet after I saw him get run over only to put him down much like Owen Wilson has to take the dog to the vet after he let his kids say their goodbyes because its stomach flipped.
But still – cheap trick! I try to hold it together because I often watch this movie with other people.
“A cute movie about a happy puppy!” they say. “It’s adorable!” they say.
And yet people always choose to forget about those last few scenes. They always forget. But I don’t. I smile and try to suggest another movie.
“How about You’ve Got Mail?” I say. “Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and books, guys!”
“How about Ghostbusters, you guys? ‘Don’t cross the streams!’ Am I right?”
But no, they choose Marley and Me, and I have to try and control the weeping.
I play it cool at first, placing the Kleenex box between us as a “joke.”
“It could get emotional, maybe, I don’t know…”
And then halfway through the movie Jen miscarries and Owen helplessly tries to make her feel better, but the only thing that works is hugging Marley, that god-awful dog who eats answering machines and breaks down doors and chews through drywall, just like my dog chewed through the baseboard as a puppy.
I subtly reach for a tissue and dab the rivers that are running down my chin and onto my neck, making my hair stick to my skin.
And then the end nears. And Marley runs away and their oldest son says that his friend said dogs run away to die in private. And Owen has to take the dog to the vet again. And he says goodbye to this wonderful dog who loves them no matter what because that’s what dogs do – they’re loyal in a way that no person can be and then he comes home to his wife making hot cocoa for their kids and …
Excuse me. There’s something in my eye.
Also, I have to go hug my dog.