11 Nerdy Moments Guaranteed to Make You Cry

By Chris Cummins in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Friday, November 12, 2010 at 8:07 am
There's nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feelings. A good crying jag can help relieve stress and help clear your mind. Don't worry, Topless Robot isn't going all Oprah on you. Instead, today we will be looking at nerd-centric moments from pop culture that evoke a strong emotional response -- namely uncontrollable weeping. So if you haven't taken your meds today, you may want to take a pass on this Daily List as it is full of examples of death, despair and sadness that are specially designed to make you crawl up in a fetal position and scream for your mommy. Let's put the cliché about misery loving company to the test and check out 11 moments of glorious nerdiness that are guaranteed to make you go all dewy eyed and sniffly.

Disclaimer: Topless Robot is not responsible for any extreme fits of prolonged sadness or general malaise that may result from the entries on this list. Also, these entries are based on my personal experience so your mileage may vary. Now that that's said, let's get ready to crumble!

11) Starman Returns Home

After the relentless nihilism of The Thing almost killed his career, John Carpenter lightened things up a bit with a completely different kind of alien story -- 1984's Starman. What it lacked in mutant E.T./Wilford Brimley hybrids it more than made up for with romance and life-affirming drama. At the end of the flick, the star-crossed lovers (played by Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen) are forced to go their separate ways, resulting in the touching goodbye you see above. It's almost sweet enough to make you forget about the fact that Allen's character probably spent the rest of her life in a maximum security prison for obstruction of justice. Still, it's a nice moment, don't you think?

10) The Doctor's Farewell to Rose

When Doctor Who relaunched in 2005, a conscious decision was made to give the series more of an emotional weight than it had previously. Thus the first season was rich with pathos-strewn moments, from the "everybody lives" ebullience of "The Doctor Dances" to the moodiness of "Father's Day." But the most touching moment came in the appropriately titled "The Parting of the Ways." Viewers already reeling from the Doc's holographic goodbye to Rose earlier in the episode had their hearts and minds further fucked with when it was revealed that the Timelord didn't survive his injuries as it initially appeared. Unlike David Tennant's self-indulgently emo farewell, Eccleston went out in a graceful manner that fit his version of the character perfectly and set the stage for all of the emotionally draining Nu-Who moments that followed.

9) The Death of Cornelius and Zira

The best thing about the various Planet of the Apes movies is the demented game of one-upmanship that is each successive film's ending. The original Planet of the Apes merely reveals that humanity wiped itself out via nuclear holocaust. But that's just peanuts compared to what was to come. Beneath the Planet of Apes wraps things up with the following cheery voiceover: "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead." Whee! By the time the credits roll on Escape from the Planet of the Apes, beloved chimpanzees Zira and Cornelius are ruthlessly murdered, along with the only human who ever truly cared for them and some poor bastard baby chimp who had the misfortune to get caught up in their time-traveling monkey business. The conclusions of the final two entries in the film saga were hardly picnics either, but at least those movies didn't start off as light-hearted romps about talking animals becoming media darlings and getting loaded on cheap wine.

8) E.T. Looks Like Shit
Albino ET.jpg
E.T. is masterpiece of emotional manipulation that was carefully calculated by Steven Spielberg and a team of scientists to maximize its ability to make you cry and scare the piss out of you. (Regular readers to this site should be well aware by now of just how terrifying E.T. is, and not just when he's screwing folks in Victorian England). Critics will have you believe that the saddest part of the film is when the space botanist severs his link with Elliott and apparently dies. Nonsense. The most tear-inducing moment comes a few minutes earlier when a pale, nearly lifeless E.T. is found lying near a creek. As a kid, this moment made me burst into tears instantly because it was so upsetting. Oh yeah, it also gave me nightmares for months. The scene is nothing less than a perfect storm of childhood traumas -- death, fear of abandonment, getting eaten by animals, inability to tan, etc. -- that myself and the rest of my generation will likely never get over.

7) Optimus Prime Buys the Farm

One shall stand, one shall fall indeed. Once kids stopped crying from Optimus' big screen death, they realized that Rodimus was a huge pussy who had no business leading the Autobots. Ratings dwindled and Optimus made an eventual return to the Transformers series in the awesomely batshit season that followed the film. You know the They Might Be Giants quote "you can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding?" Feel free to apply that sentiment to Hasbro's handling of the Rodimus debacle.

6) Every Lost Death Ever

Hearing the opening twinkle of Michael Giacchino's "Life and Death" during an episode of Lost meant that a character was about to die -- and you were moments away from crying. The understated melody inspires a Pavlovian reaction in viewers that evokes deep feelings of sorrow. Pair that with the emotion of seeing yet another Lostie going to the big church shindig in the sky and you'll be sobbing on the couch quicker than you can say "the magical cave of light was bullshit."
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