Crying at Movies is at once a love-letter to an art form and a humorous appreciation of the distinctions between movie scenes and life’s realities.
When Hitchcock’s The Birds, began showing in the summer of 1963 at the Dolton Theater, the starlings of Riverside, Illinois launched their attacks. They were “black, freckled, oily-looking things” with “tiny black buttons for eyes.” They carried off Skippy Whalen’s baseball cap, pooped on Father Rowley’s finger, and attacked a feisty little dog named Tuffy who fought them off. “I blamed Alfred Hitchcock” says the author, a Catholic grammar school student at the time.
In this memoir, John Manderino shows how the pivotal points of his life have been enmeshed with movie moments. Crying at Movies presents thirty-eight succinct chapters, each bearing the title of a film.
Brief Encounter, the last chapter, finds our movie-seeking Everyman hiding in his girlfriend’s bathroom so she won’t see him crying over the final scene.