Animated Movies That Make Us Cry | Fanboys Anonymous

Animated Movies That Make Us Cry

Posted by Jeff Penner Friday, August 23, 2013
As fanboys and girls, we all enjoy a good movie every now and again, about as much as we all enjoy a good cry every now and again. Sometimes, you can kill two birds with one stone and watch a movie that makes you cry. Many of the most enjoyable and most highly received films across multiple demographics are animated movies, so in this article, I'm going to focus on a few of those films that can make me well up viewing after viewing.

Monsters University
Try not to cry. Cry a lot.
We all dread "the scene" that you remember from before. The one that made you cry the first time around. And possibly the second. And likely the third…..sometimes I'm distracted the whole film because I'm preparing for my reaction to that moment. Can I hold it in? Will anyone notice? Am I a man or a bubbling little school girl? It depends on the movie, now, doesn't it?

Caution: this article requires SPOILERS for full effect

Consider yourself warned…

The Iron Giant (1999)
Director Brad Bird got a huge boost from this awesome animated film that Warner Bros. famously botched the marketing on. It is very much a "boy and his dog" story (and certainly not the only one on this list) that has a charming 50's twist: the dog is a giant alien robot. I personally saw this movie seven times in the theatre, I felt a very strong connection to it (and wanted to support it).
Brad Bird movie
Is it odd I'm taking a dump AT the dump?
The Scene: the movie ends with the town (and everyone in it) about to be destroyed by a nuclear missile accidentally fired by the film's antagonist, Kent Mansley (he works for the government). Right when the giant and the film's hero, Hogarth, have reached a true friendship, the robot chooses to sacrifice himself and fly up and allow the missile to destroy him instead of the town. Earlier in the film, Hogarth shows the giant some comic books and explaining that he is most like "Atomo", an evil, destructive, giant robot killing machine. But the giant is much more interested in the heroic antics of Superman. In the final moment before flying into the nuclear missile, the giant remembers Hogarth's wise words "You are who you choose to be"…to which the giant smiles and says "Superman" as he explodes in the summer sky, saving hundreds of lives.
Damned if that doesn't make me ball my eyes out every time. Just writing this story has my eyeballs wet. Damn you, Brad Bird!

Up (2009)
Though I find this to be one of Pixar's weaker films, the first quarter of the film sets up the love story of the main character and his now-deceased wife. We see their childhood together and see them bond over decades, going through relationship problems, including their inability to have children (much of this is done with pure visual sequences). The popular meme online cites these very few minutes of an animated film are "Still a better love story than Twilight" for a reason.
Still a better love story than twilight

Toy Story Trilogy (1995-2010)
Though the original film and it's sequel don't contain many tear-jerker moments, they all lead up the the stellar, heartstring murderer that is Toy Story 3. Parts one and two have amazing moments that I find exciting and inspiring (Buzz flying in part one, the airplane/runway sequence in part two) but it's part three where they take a Super Soaker filled with lemon juice to your face.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen
There's a snake in my boo-hoo-hoo!
The Scene: Part 3 has two incredibly horrible moments for people who hate crying in public (hi!). First, the gang get tossed into a dumpster that takes them to the dump, where everything that can be destroyed, will be destroyed. They avoid getting cut up into bits only to find themselves trapped in a giant pile of items, leading into a pit of molten "lava". They fight to their fullest but soon realize they're all out of fight. They all give each other accepting looks of surrender, join hands and wait to die after decades of adventures together. But then they're saved and all is well! Just when you think you'll need to re-hydrate after crying into your popcorn bucket, there is a final scene in the film that pretty much everybody you know can relate to. The film sets up the backstory that Andy stopped playing with Woody and the gang years ago and all they want (as toys) is to be played with and loved by him. Andy gives his toys away to a loving little girl, but before he goes away to college, he and the girl play with them all "one last time". The importance of the moment is lost on nobody and if that scene doesn't make you, at the very least, tear up then you are an inhuman monster who deserves nothing more than to be killed and forgotten.

Monsters, Inc (2001)
One of the funnest and most endearing films, in my opinion. The movie seamlessly sets up the monster world and somehow explains the concept of how the doors work without using a single word to describe it to the audience. Genius. However, it's the relationship between Sully and Boo that really brings the story home. Having two young girls myself now, these scenes are even more tear-enducing than ever.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman movie
I balled my eye out.
The Scene: After an exciting climax through the door warehouse (and around the world, really), we are forced to say goodbye to Boo. It's easy to understand the importance of destroying Boo's door, the only way Sully could ever see her and when the two say their goodbyes, you really feel you are part of it. So when Mike reveals he has painstakingly re-created her door after (we can assume) weeks or months of hard work, the anticipation is a 30-second emotional roller coaster. Though the impact of the moment is lost on many by the fact that we don't get to see Boo again, I think it was a stroke of genius to leave her off-camera. It leaves the amount of time it's been open to the viewer and also keeps the beauty of their reunion to your imagination.

These are clearly just a few movies that make us all blubber ourselves into a frenzy while our kids look at us funny. I'm sure there are several more you can think of, so please chime in below and let's discuss!


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