If you're looking for any reasons that my childhood left me with a perpetual state of melancholy, I'll be candid: I've had no real tragedies. I had a painful adolescence, as all adolescences frankly should be painful (how else do you grow?) but generally speaking, nothing profoundly bad ever happened to me. However, I have many little deaths that exist in the films that pretty much raised me, and through that there exists as trauma that lives within me, and every millennial. That's right, I'm talking about movies from the '90s that still make you bawl.
Now, don't act tough. Just like there are Pixar films that will make you dissolve into heaving sobs, there's a lot of films — usually children's films — from the era that'll still hit you in the feels. In fact, some of these I still couldn't bear to watch today, but, if I did, I would likely lose it. I don't need that kind of anxiety, honestly. If I want to cry, I'll put on a Lana Del Rey video. Any Lana Del Rey video.
But, hey, if you're feeling it, let's embrace that masochistic side. Here are seven movies from the 1990s that'll still send you into hysterics.
1. The Lion King
Loud "DUH" to this. Jungle Hamlet definitely has one of the most heart-wrenching Disney deaths of all time, and, when Simba tries to crawl under Mufasa's paw, a part of my soul dies. Honestly, I want to throw myself off a ledge just looking at that gif, so let's move on.
2. Life Is Beautiful
First of all, it's a movie about the holocaust. Second of all, it's a movie about a father caring for his son so much he goes out of his way to make the holocaust fun. OK, that's really bad wording on my part, he makes the holocaust far less scary, is the point. It's a movie that's lots of unexpected laughs and all heart, and, no, I've never been able to watch the end without fully fetal positioning it.
3. Forrest Gump
Sometimes Forrest doesn't get a full handle on all the bad things happening around him. But we do. Life isn't like a box of chocolates, because no box of chocolates contains the Vietnam War and AIDS virus.
4. My Girl
My Girl is the upper echelons of cry-flicks, and you know why? Imagine wrestling with the fact that you kind-of sort-of are the reason you best friend slash first crush died. Now, pair that with the visual of Vada freaking out that Thomas J. needs his glasses at his funeral. That's why. That's why we will never be OK with this.
Titanic does not make me cry.
... actually, that's a lie. I think I have a really hard time watching the "I'll never let go" scene in earnest, because, well, she totally lets go. However, the scene where they slow pan on her photos and show that she ended up having a rich, exciting life, that gets me a little verklempt.
6. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
"Why were you watching What's Eating Gilbert Grape as a child, Mary Grace?" MY DAD WAS A FILM TEACHER, NOT EVERYTHING WAS DISNEY FILMS AND MY GIRL. Sorry. So anyway, What's Eating Gilbert Grape is sad, sad, sad because of all the sublimated feelings of loathing (self or otherwise) that the titular character feels as he tries to take care of his mentally disabled brother and morbidly obese mother. He feels trapped with a capital T. It's rough.
7. Schindler's List
Definitely not the feel-good film of the '90s, and probably not something you're going to pop in for a casual night in with the goals. You pretty much watch it to appreciate the artistry of film making while emotionally subjecting ourselves to the horrors of the Holocaust (AGAIN, because Life Is Beautiful wasn't enough, although that is a light-hearted romp comparatively). Pretty much devastating unless you're Jerry Seinfeld.
8. Good Will Hunting
Take struggling 20-something sadness of What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and apply it to someone who's broke but brilliant and surrounded by the privileged world of Harvard's elite. But that's not what makes Good Will Hunting tear-jerking at times. What strikes is Will's interactions with Sean, how he reaches out so Will can confront his demons. Also, whenever Sean talks about his late wife, even in regards to farting in her sleep, it totally gets to me. Oscars for everyone!
9. Homeward Bound
Just further proof that if you want to see my dissolve into hysterics all you need to do is have a dog die in a movie.
10. The Crow
"The Crow? Really, The Crow?" YOU KNOW WHAT, not-goth audience members of the audience? Once you get through all the Hot Topic hokey-ness of the film, you very quickly realize how brutal it is. Eric Draven is only able to come back to exact revenge because him and his fiancée undergo such brutal violence and hardcore tragedy. But beyond that, there's a deeper emotional impact when you know that Brandon Lee was shot during filming, leaving behind a fiancée of his own. So now you feel like a jerk, and now you feel sad, and you should. Is my eyeliner running?
I pretty much should just umbrella "every Robin Williams movie from the '90s or otherwise" under this, but this is probably the only non-Mrs.-Doubtfire film you caught as a child. Nobody really dies, but the gloomy shadow of death lingers over this 10-year-old in a 40-year-old's body, and, every once in a while, that reality drags your heart through the dirt. And, as I predicted, I now need a Kleenex and a Taylor Swift song to put a smile back on my face after thinking of all these sad movies.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (11)