alternate list title: The Dictionary of Sadness
  1. Meryl Streep in Adaptation, crying while saying "I want to be a baby I want to be new again."
    This entire movie leads up to a chase scene which ends in her lover being mauled by a crocodile. She wanted things to end differently. I think of this line a lot, anytime I start something new and I get to that moment -- after making some small mistake -- when it's not a blank slate anymore. When the feeling of potential is gone.
  2. Jessica Lawrence in American Hustle, crying while saying "sometimes I think I'll die before I'll change."
    Delivered after she deliberately reveals the big scheme to the feds, blowing everything for the man she's dating. Even when we try otherwise, even when we want otherwise, sometimes we act in the same way we always have. And we destroy things.
  3. Jessa in Girls, crying while sitting on a swing and saying "you shouldn't have to parent your parents."
    I'd never heard the feeling - this disappointment - verbalized before, and I instantly burst into tears.
  4. Patricia Arquette in Boyhood, crying with her head on the kitchen table while saying "I just thought there would be more."
    Delivered after her son, the great project of her life, goes off to college. I think we all know our lives are insignificant, but that doesn't mean we don't think our stories will have some sort of narrative arch. That we'll get a moment of redemption, when it all makes sense, when we do something big and we'll feel so much. We think they'll be more time TO GET IT RIGHT.
  5. Michael Scott in The Office, crying while standing on a podium receiving a gold medal for nothing/being an adult
    Earlier in the episode Michael realizes he'll probably be dead before he pays off the condo he just bought. When he gets back to the office (where they've been staging an Olympics) they basically give him a medal to distract him from the fact they've been dicking around all day. But Michael is touched. We're rarely celebrated for doing the simple, terrifying things. For making-a-go of this life.
  6. Julia Stiles reading the poem in 10 Things I Hate About You
    Okay, so yeah, it's a teen movie, but when Kat reads that poem and ends it with this line, it still gets me: "But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all." It can be so hard to hate someone, even when you want to.
    Suggested by @lauramarie