Monday, February 1, 2010

Emotional Frequency

Disclaimer: I took an acoustics class back in college. It was January, junior year (so... 2001). I don't remember anything. I don't even remember if we covered anything remotely related to what I'm about to talk about. So, please, bear in mind that this post contains very little science. What science you may find is likely inaccurate. Chances are, this entire blog entry is hogwash.

A quick bit of research (thank you, Google) shows that I haven't coined a new phrase. But I really don't care. I'm not trying to start a revolution or a movement or anything. This is just something that I've noticed about myself.

Sometimes, when I listen to music (or any sound, now that I think about it), a specific quality of sound will resonate with me in a way that makes it pleasing to me. It's more than just "hey, that sounds cool!" Certain sounds can be felt. And it's not always a pleasing sensation - when I have one of my headaches, I've noticed that there are sounds that make it hurt more. I figure this has something to do with acoustics and frequencies and all that. Like I said above, I remember squat from that class. But I know somewhere in my head that this makes sense.

I watched a movie last night (an animated movie that came out last year, 9, produced by Tim Burton) that elicited a very strong emotional response from me. It's a story about some robots in a post-apocalyptic world... I'm not going to get into it here, because that's not important (if you're interested, though, I do recommend it - it's worth seeing, even if the idea of the movie isn't altogether new). It may have had something to do with my mood at the time, but when I watched the movie, I just started crying. It wasn't particularly sad. I think it just hit the right emotional frequency for me.

You see, this isn't the first time this has happened. When I was a little girl, I watched the movie The Land Before Time and started crying about five minutes into it and didn't stop for about a day afterward. I was a wreck. I was a little puddle of tears on my living room floor. To this day, I can't watch that movie (even writing about it now is making me tear up a bit). It was the first movie I remember hitting me in this way, and it was the first of many. It's now at the top of the list of "Movies Becky Isn't Allowed to Watch" because it makes me cry that much.

Sometimes, of course, I need something to hit that emotional wavelength and trigger a flood of emotions. Times when I'm holding my feelings inside so that things don't seem so bad... if I don't let it out somehow, I turn into a pressure cooker of strong, bad feelings that releases in the form of a total nervous breakdown. Without the help of an "Emotional Frequency Movie," I'm hopeless.

It's not limited to movies, either. Episodes of TV shows (any episode of "Mercy," "The Body" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and "Jurassic Bark" from Futurama, to name a few), songs ("I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie), and books ("The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger) can have the same impact. Even some TV commercials can do the trick (there was an anti-smoking ad a while back that always got me... I'd post a link, but I can't find it in youtube).

Where was I going with this? I swear I had a point when I started. Oh well. There you have it. My theory on emotional frequencies. Sounds like hogwash, right? Think about it. Are there any movies (or shows or songs or whatever) that cause a surprising emotional reaction from you? Maybe I'm not full of it after all.

For the record, here are a few movies that hit my emotional frequency (otherwise known as the list of movies I'm not allowed to watch):
- The Land Before Time
- 9
- Nell
- The Notebook
- Wall-E
- Hook (Yes, the Robin Williams-Peter Pan movie)
- Big Fish
- Finding Nemo used to be on this list, but I've actually watched it enough times that it's not as bad anymore.

There are a number of other movies that still make me cry, but these are a few of the ones that make me a complete hysterical mess. It's sad, pathetic, and true.

In other news, I bought a belt over the weekend. It smells like fish.


  1. Re: The Land Before Time...I did the same thing with Hey There It's Yogi Bear. Starting bawling about 15 minutes into it and didn't stop.

    I've also cried in the first 5 minutes of the new Star Trek movie both times I've seen it, but I'm thinking that's because it's actually sad. Not because it hits my emotional frequency.

  2. Mr. Holland's Opus does that to me. I also had a similar response when I saw My Girl the first time at age 10 or 11.

    I wish the movies that hit my "emotional frequency" were of a little higher quality...

  3. Don't feel bad about those movies - "Hook" is on my list! As for Mr. Holland and My Girl, well, they both made me cry, but not to the extent of the others. Same with the new Star Trek. Lots of movies will have parts that make me cry (let's face it - if a movie doesn't make me cry, there's something wrong with it). These are the ones that make me bawl.

  4. Sport movies do that to me. "Hoosiers" and "Remember the Titans". "If Ever I Leave This World Alive" by Flogging Molly, much of Van Morrison... and I absolutely, CANNOT, WILL NOT, EVER, EVER, EVER watch the movie "E.T." ever again. Ever. It was the first movie I saw in the theater, and it emotionally traumatized me. Can't go near it. You are not alone. OH! And drum cadences. Like from marching bands. I know. I want to cry like a baby. No idea. -- Mandi W