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Inspiring Movies

I got to thinking the other night about movies that inspired me. I eliminated fantasy from consideration: obviously any great movie, like a LOTR or something can inspire you, but I doubt you’re returning anything to Mordor soon. I stuck more to real-life movies, or at least real people. Characters that made you want to be like them, whether specifically, or just to follow their example in your own life. This list would be quite different for everyone, so unlike most of my lists, there are no “right” answers, but this is mine.


Brother’s Honorable Mention: JERRY MAGUIRE – This one really isn’t mine, but I witnessed it, so I thought I’d share. I saw JERRY MAGUIRE with my brother Achmed. Afterwards, he couldn’t leave the theatre, overcome with emotion. (I love it, only it didn’t hit me quite that way.) What the movie inspired him to do was tell someone (a girl, natch) how he felt. To come clean, express emotion, to stand up and be a man. Very deck.

#4 HIGH FIDELITY – I’m not sure what made me think of this one. I guess I like how somehow John Cusack’s character Rob Gordon was able to pull his life together and do what he wanted. Not just the girl, but starting the record company (Top 5 Records, if I recall). I like how was able to get over his emotional crippleness and move on.

#3 FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL – This one might seem strange, but bear with me. What inspired me was the great friends Charles had. How they were there for each other, to laugh, to share, to just be there. I’ve never been a guy who had a lot of fiends, or even several close friends, but FOUR WEDDINGS made me want to try.

#2 STAND AND DELIVER – Jaime Escalante (James Edward Olmos) teaches a class in the projects of East L.A. He gets students who’ve known their whole lives they are trash to believe in themselves. Working harder than they ever have before—mornings and summer—Escalante takes them through Algebra, Geometry, Trig and even Calculus, all the way to the AP test. This film is a MUST-SEE for any family, with a fantastic cast, great message, and wonderful ending. I remember that every time I saw it I always got stoked about math, and outside of DONALD IN MATHEMATIC LAND, what film can say that?

#1 GOOD WILL HUNTING – This movie might not inspire others, but it sure did for me. Maybe I just related: a genius, but a crippled genius, unable to scale the walls of his own prison. Though I’ve never been abused, spoken with a Boston accent or (thankfully) been friends with Ben Affleck, I still felt like the film spoke to me. It made me want to rise out of the ashes, get back up, and try again. It made me realize that just because I haven’t accomplished anything yet doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t. Or, maybe I’m deluded, but that’s not the point, is it? A great movie makes you “think you can.”