DVD: This Super Bowl Sunday, Treat Yourself to a Good Cry

While the appeal of televised sports has generally eluded me, I do understand how events like the Super Bowl provide much-needed emotional release for football fans. Whether you're cheering your team to victory, yelling at that stupid ref, or keening over a botched play, it's a way to release tension and bottled-up feelings in a socially acceptable way. I get the same purgative experience with a good tearjerker, so if you're not into football, watch those commercials later on Hulu and curl up with a good three-hanky DVD instead.

Two movies that always turn me into a blubbering wreck have just made their Blu-ray debuts, so it's the perfect time for that satisfying rush you can only get weeping over other people's problems and triumphs.

People accuse Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple (Warner Home Video) of being manipulative, to which I can only respond, "Yeah. And?" Ninety-nine percent of all filmmakers set out to manipulate us with editing and music and any number of other tools at their disposal, but few of these cinematic puppeteers have pulled the strings with the grace and gloriousness that Spielberg brings to the project. Yes, he soft-pedaled the lesbian stuff (although, as the DVD's liner notes point out, many other filmmakers in the mid-1980s would and could have left it out entirely) and there are any number of other accusations one can make about what this movie does or doesn't do. But frankly, I don't care -- if loving The Color Purple is wrong, I don't wanna be right. And it's a movie I continue to get swept up by, even if it did help inflict Oprah Winfrey on the planet. Additionally, the gorgeous new Blu-ray release features three terrific documentaries, as well as a look into the recent Broadway musical version.

A more old-school weepie is the classic Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr star-crossed romance An Affair to Remember (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) which, like The Color Purple, comes packaged in a shelf-friendly hardback booklet. You may recall this as the movie that Meg Ryan is obsessed with in Sleepless in Seattle, where Grant and Kerr meet on a cruise ship and fall in love, despite the fact that they're engaged to other people. When they arrive in New York, they plan to meet in six months atop the Empire State Building if they've managed to extricate themselves from their other relationships. And then... well, cue the violins and have the Kleenex handy.

This disc also comes fully loaded with featurettes about Grant and Kerr, as well as on director Leo McCarey (who was remaking his earlier film Love Affair -- not to be confused with Warren Beatty's later dreadful retread of this material). Whether you're cheering or bawling this weekend, don't be afraid to let it all hang out. It's one of those rare Sundays where everybody's allowed to make some noise.



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