Friday, January 28, 2011

Baa, Ram, Ewe.

I've never been what you would refer to as a "macho" kind of guy

Don’t get me wrong: I'm pretty active, I get into sports as much as the next guy (if I care about the team), I can swear, drink beer, and fulfill all other manly man stereotypes just as well as anyone else.  By most accounts, I’d say I’m pretty normal.  My personality is pretty even keel as well.  I don’t often get angry, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I’m not usually sad or emotional I’m a pretty uppity, positive person.

That being said, whenever I watch the 1995 box office sensation, Babe, all bets are off.  I cry.  And I cry.  And then just when you think it’s over, I cry again.  This is no misty-eyed, brave face, shed a tear and be done with it, type reaction.  We’re talking, “wipe the tears away to avoid tasting their salty sadness,” type tears.

1995 Movie Poster

I attribute this to a number of factors.  First and foremost, “overcoming tremendous obstacle” movies with animals will always have a near and dear place in my heart.  I both love and hate them.  Show me someone who wasn’t moved at the end of Homeward Bound when Shadow comes limping into the picture well after we all thought he was dead and gone down that big hole, and I’ll show you someone whose moral compass does not point north.

There’s something about animal movies that brings out the best, worst, and sappiest in all of us.  I still bear a grudge against my father for having made me watch Where the Red Fern Grows when I was six years old.  If you haven’t seen WtRFG, don’t.  You will want to throw yourself down on the ground and end it all right then and there.  It’s almost as bad as the ending of Old Yeller.  Worse, maybe.

The second factor that plays a part in my emotional upheaval is the innocent and trusting character of the pig, Babe.  Find me a truer, more valiant, and more decent character anywhere in the past 20 years of cinema.  I dare you.  You may think that statement a little far-reaching, but I assure you that I stand firm in this believe and will defend it.  Take this exchange for example.  After Babe had successfully herded the sheep without so much as a bark or a bite, his adopted mom, Fly, had to find out how he did it:

Fly: All right, how did you do it?
Babe: I asked them and they did it. I just asked them nicely.
Fly: We don't ask sheep, dear; we tell them what to do.
Babe: But I did, Mom. They were really friendly.

Gallantry indeed.

This is the classic story of the persistent, noble soul, despite the mockery, despite the tradition, and despite the obstacles, staying the course to ultimate triumph.  It’s what we all look for in an inspirational movie, as well as in our own lives.

(At this point you probably think I’m over-analyzing a children’s story, but I’m almost done.  Promise.)

The third aspect, and probably the most striking, is the relationship between Farmer Hoggett and Babe.  It’s true what the narrator says at the end of the film:

Narrator: And though every single human in the stands or in the commentary boxes was at a complete loss for words, the man who in his life had uttered fewer words than any of them knew exactly what to say.
Farmer Hoggett: That'll do, pig. That'll do.

The unspoken relationship that exists between Farmer Hoggett and Babe is truly a thing of beauty.  Obviously the two cannot directly talk to one another, yet the sentiments passed between them are significant.  When Babe is sick, for example, the farmer brings him inside the farmhouse, breaking tradition, and takes great pains to revive the pig’s body and spirit.  Using a song to speak the words he didn’t have, Farmer Hoggett sings and dances for of the little pig, passing along his love and care not only his words, but his actions as well.

“If I had words to make a day for you,
I’d sing you a morning golden and new.
I would make this day last for all time.
Give you a night deep in moonshine.”

It gets me every time.

I could go on, but for all our sakes, I think that’s enough for one night.  Hopefully you didn’t find this post too ridiculous.


  1. awwww! omg i love this post!!! :)
    <3 Coco

  2. Will you be my mother?

    BAH RAM EWWWEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! OMG, I know this wasn't that long ago, but I'd so be willing to watch this again soon with you!!!!!!!