Entertainment Advent Calendar 2022: Top TV Tearjerkers

A living room rap session made us talk about some of the movie and TV moments that made us cry this past year. Here’s some of our favorites.

Andor – Something you’ll hear a lot with Andor is that it’s unlike any other Star Wars show or movie but I don’t want to get into that today. What Andor does well is establishing the characters, over time, through action and dialog, in a lived in world. So when things happen to them, later in the series, there is a weight to what is happening. Maarva’s funeral march, the culmination of many arcs in the season, is a great example of this.

The Bear – The Bear is one of the best written shows of the year and all of the actions come from the characters and serve the greater themes of grief, loss, and interpersonal trauma. Episode 7 has been praised for its tense 18 minute long kitchen nightmare where all hell breaks loose and bonds are broken. But the next episode opens with a stunning 7 minute monologue from the main character Carmy finally talking about his brother’s death.

From Ritchie on the phone in the car with Sidney in the seat next to him to Tina expecting a snide comment from Sidney but getting a compliment instead to Carmy talking to Marcus in the alley to the flashback scene with Mikey in the kitchen to so many others The Bear is a beautiful show with memorable characters and deeply human moments.

But that monologue. Damn.

Reservation Dogs – One of the best show on TV. Period. Full stop. S2 sees an expansion and deeper exploration of the world of Reservation Dogs. The gang isn’t spending as much time together. As they find their adult places in the world, what does that mean? They’ll spend the season figuring it out.

Reservation Dogs has an absolute stacked cast of Native veteran actors and newer, younger Native actors. The stand out for me is Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack. Willie Jack goes to visit Daniel’s mother in prison. While waiting, she meets my absolute favorite character in anything all year, the wise old, heroic dose of acid taking hippie Tupelo who offers support and advice. The visit ends with Willie Jack and Daniel’s mother praying to the spirits, who have all gathered at this place at this time. All the background noises and distractions fall away as the ancestors gather behind Willie Jack. When they touch Willie Jack she exclaims “Oh shit” and starts sobbing. And the viewer is right there with her.

Our Boys

Our Boys is a lightly fictionalized limited series about the murder of the Palestinian boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir by three Jewish men. I spent many of the episodes with a tightness in my chest. Jony Arbid plays Hussein Abu Khdeir, the boys father. Due to the heavily politicized nature of the crime he is constantly buffeted around by larger systemic forces who have their own interests in mind. As he walks this path alone trying to find justice for his son’s death and some measure of relief his grief will break your heart over and over again.

Here’s Sandra’s picks

My five most choked-up moments on film in 2022. It’s hard narrowing them down, because there were moments in many things that got me in the feels. Moments from RRR, Athena, Reservation Dogs, and Never Let Me Go almost made the list, but I stand by my five picks. 

The Midnight Club

I mean, when didn’t we cry during this show? I cried when Ilonka read Tim the poem, I cried when (spoiler) died, and I cried when Amesh took a turn for the worst. Hell, I cried when Spencer unloaded on his mom. I think Mike Flanagan drinks the tears of his viewers, and he got a boatload from me. 

Hear the poem via this link:

The Bear

It isn’t any one moment that breaks your heart. It’s the weight of grief that’s carried through these 8 episodes. Carmy’s trying to unlearn some toxic behaviors while trying to fix a restaurant because he couldn’t fix his brother, and it’s a task that almost destroys him. Ultimately, will everyone learn there’s a magic to celebrate in everyone’s flaws, that letting things change doesn’t mean you dishonor someone’s memory? This show is perfection. The trailers don’t prepare you for what spellbinding magic this is. If you haven’t watched it, you won’t get why this short video breaks me up … but if you have, then you know.


There are a lot of heart wrenching moments in Andor, but for me, three words were my undoing. To see someone get so close to freedom, and discover an ocean separates them from the shore …

Night Sky

Look, J.K. Simmons in anything. Sissy Spacek in anything. The two of them together is pure magic. And can I say how refreshing it was to see a show focusing on an older couple in their twilight years, struggling to come to terms with loss, grief, and discovery, and try to come to terms with their past? So very, very good.

Our Boys

There’s no reprieve when you watch Our Boys – the pain is raw and pervasive. This is based on true events, and the discrimination, the wrongs on both sides, the presumptions, it all feeds into this story. I’m really glad we watched it, and I know many people couldn’t handle this story, but it’s one worth telling. It’s important.

Station Eleven

There are some moments in this miniseries that deliver all the feels and make this well worth watching. In a weird way, I think the power of Kirsten and Jeevan’s reunion underscores this hope we’d all want to have in a post-apocalyptic world. That we’d still find a way to reconnect with those we care about. Now, at the end of 2022, with the bird app embracing it’s right-wing hatred, we need that hope. 


How about you? What scenes made you cry this year?

One comment

  1. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there were a few scenes from Breaking Bad (I borrowed the DVD set from a relative and watched it for the first time, recently.)


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