Perhaps you are not as familiar with the epic classic movie Elmo in Grouchland as I am. There is a point when things seem very sad and discouraging for Elmo and Bert stops the movie. He says something to the effect that he cannot continue to watch the movie; it is too sad. Ernie suggests that it will be all right — no one would want to watch a sad movie and Bert replies, “Titanic.”
“What?” Ernie responds.
“Titanic. Titanic is a sad movie.”
Then Bert goes on to list a variety of sad movies — Doctor Zhivago and I can’t remember what all.
You see, I’m with Bert. Sixth Sense sent me to bed for three days. Was I afraid of ghosts? No. Was I afraid I was talking to dead people? No. I was intensely sad that Haley Joel Osmet had not found the friend and adult mentor he needed but was, indeed, seeing a dead person in Bruce Willis. I was shocked and betrayed.
I watched Titanic about three months after Colin was born. Remember the scene where we see the dead mother holding the frozen baby? No? I do. In fact I sat in the rocker next to Colin’s crib and cried and cried and cried for this actress in white makeup floating — very much alive — in a tank in Hollywood or wherever it was filmed.
I am better at reading sadness than watching it movie style. Although I will have to admit, when I was getting my English degree I did have one professor who required a journal reflecting our response to the depressing readings in modern lit he assigned. This professor caught up to me on campus one day because he was a little concerned over the tenor of my writing after reading these tomes of married women who took apartments to escape their lives and just sat in the dark in them. I mean really. How is one supposed to respond to this literature?
My friends and loved ones know of my trouble with sad movies and often offer screening advice. Sylvia, my friend the actress who lives in Hollywood, has been especially helpful.
“You cannot watch (insert name of movie here). Deep sadness.”
This is a friend indeed.