We know what our number one job is here at Renegade Cinema; to inspire. You see, when RC was created we were told that we’d give the nerd culture something to strive for. That you people would race behind us. That you would stumble. That you would fall. But that one day, you would join us in the sun. Now, dammit, I feel like getting off on a jag about how terrible Man of Steel was. But I won’t. However, that whole monologue from the trailer was fantastic.
This week’s picks are inspirational films. Not necessarily our favorite films that are always dubbed as inspirational, but the films that inspire us.
As an overweight, nerdy, socially awkward 6th grader I didn’t really have a lot going for me. I didn’t have a lot of friends, I was constantly picked on for my size and the people who made fun of me never ran out of ways to make fun of me (they made a song to the tune of We Will Rock You called We Will Diet). I felt as if I was the lowest piece of dirt on the planet. Then one day my younger brother introduced me to Rocky. I sat and watched this film 3 times in a day. I saw Rocky and made connections with me and him. People made fun of him and they didn’t think he was capable of much at all. Seeing how triumphant he was when everything was against him only made me feel more for him. So I actually started working out and modeling myself after The Italian Stallion. I worked out so much I had lost a good 55 lbs in a summer. Rocky had taught me to always keep my head up and keep moving forward. And even though the most recent film Rocky Balboa was disliked by some, I still hold a special place in my heart for Mr. Stallone’s iconic character and I admittedly wept at the end of the film. He’s one of my biggest inspirations and has had the biggest impact on my life. Whenever I feel down or wonder if what I’m doing is worth it, I listen to his words from the film Rocky Balboa (insert clip from the “Keep moving forward” speech here).
Aidan Myles Green
For all the reasons Brandon listed. It’s one of the most elegantly simplistic cinematic metaphors ever – an underdog, incessantly beaten down by life, REFUSING to quit. He doesn’t want fame or fortune. He doesn’t even need to win – he just wants to stand his ground and go the distance, not let the world keep him down. And he does it. The ending of the film – the final shot of him holding Adrian, the two mutually exclaiming “I love you!” – is the most inspiring frame of movie history, in this cinephile’s opinion. The concludes on the crest of an emotional wave, so inspirational and fulfilling. It doesn’t matter what comes after – what matters is that Rocky has made it.
There are quite a few motivational movies out there, but the one that sticks out to me is “Courageous.” As a Christian man, the speech at the end of the film inspires me daily. It still makes me feel like I can do anything.
This is a very difficult category for me to choose, because I’m a sucker for inspirational films. I could choose a different one every day depending on my mood, but today I’ll say “Good Will Hunting.” I always felt a sort of strange kinship with the character of Will Hunting. He’s a very intelligent man whose potential is barred by his own complex emotional issues and troubled upbringing. He is so brilliant that he could quite literally do anything in the world, but he is ruled by fear. It’s only thanks to the love encouragement from his friends, his new love interest, and his therapist that he ultimately decides to pursue his own dreams. He may not be changing the world at the end of the movie, but he’s following his heart, and that’s what matters most. Wonderful story, and it’s Robin William’s greatest performance by far. This is one of those movies that everyone should see.
Shawn S. Lealos
I look back at two classics when I think of this in To Kill a Mockingbird and It’s a Wonderful Life, but I’m not choosing either of those. I am going to go with The Shawshank Redemption. In this Stephen King adaptation, you have a man convicted of killing his wife, a murder he never committed. He keeps his hope, but just when it looks like he has finally found a way to clear his name, his final chance for release is destroyed. However, he never gives up and attempts a daring prison escape. The minute he gets out of the prison and sits, with the water pouring onto his face, it is one of the most inspirational moments in all of film. This is a story of a man who never gives up hope and finds paradise in the end. It is still one of the best movies of all time.
I regard this as one of the best science fiction films of all time, and when I saw it in all its black and white glory as a teenager, Klaatu’s message shook me by the shoulders as it does most viewers at all times, urging one to wake up. That message and the movie as whole still inspire me today, to try and live my life a little better, treat people with a bit more compassion, understanding and inquisitiveness rather than immediate judgment. However, as I get older The Day the Earth Stood Still becomes more and more an exercise in melancholy as well, because it seems that Klaatu’s message will never be taken seriously. How soon until Gort shows up, and what visage will he assume?
Derick ‘d-rock’ Dotson
When it comes to inspiration, a number of films inspire me personally, but if we’re talking films that are designed to uplift the audience then I have to go with WARRIOR. The finale is powerful on a level that I haven’t felt in a long time. All these emotions swarm at you in the final round between both brothers. All of a sudden you get hit by a hurricane of sadness, tension, excitement, and relief as the movie concludes. I get chills just thinking back on it.
OK, so I went cheap and chose two films. I had to. As it was, both of these films came out in the same year, and both had the same message. At the time I was in 9th grade, and floundering. I didn’t feel challenged in school whatsoever, and that the teachers didn’t care at all, so why should I? I was following trends, and doing what was expected of me. When Office Space came out, it literally changed my life. It said to me that you need to do what you want, when you want. Of course, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, or cause them an inconvenience. It said that being happy is key. Fight Club said the same thing. It told me that while everyone lives & dies for money & material possessions, I need to strive for more. I need to try and make myself the most kick-ass version of myself that I can be. So, with these films as my muse, I dropped out of high school, got my Good Enough Diploma, a degree in Audio Engineering, taught myself how to play several instruments, started a career in writing, and became an amateur bodybuilder. I strive to use every ounce of talent I can in hopes of helping as many people as possible, and inspire them to live their life on their terms, as opposed to everyone elses. Also, Brad Pitt looked damn good without his shirt on.