Hollywood likes to think it does a relatively good job imitating life, but even with the “based on true story” films, it can still miss the mark. But as far as evoking emotion and sparking imagination, Hollywood shines in that department. Hollywood knows how tell a story, captivate an audience and make us believe in happy endings and fairy tales. More importantly, Hollywood knows how to makes us believe again in the dreams we held as a child as we watch fictional characters become their better selves. And although the characters on the big screen are fictional from time to time, we do share their hopes and determination, if during the running time.
1. The Pursuit of Happyness – Talk about heartache and suffering. Chris and his son were homeless, had no money, were living in a shelter, in a motel, spent the night in a public bathroom, while trying to sell medical machines that most doctors didn’t want, let alone need. And every time you thought he might be getting a break, it got worst (got arrested, got hit by a car, had a bone density machine stolen, the IRS garnished his bank account). Yet, through an unimaginable situation that would left most of us desolate, he comes out on top. How? Never does he gives up. Ever. It doesn’t matter what he’s running or racing to. Through the worst of his worst, he fights on.
2. Home By Christmas – You probably won’t find this movie on TV until around the holiday season and it’ll probably only be on Lifetime (yes, I said Lifetime, let’s not read too much into that). This woman loses EVERYTHING. She finds out her husband is leaving her for a younger woman, she moves into a one bedroom apartment with their only daughter (who is kind of a brat), she has to re-enter the work force, her daughter moves back home with her ex-husband and new girlfriend, she gets mugged and knocked out, ends up in the hospital, gets evicted because she can’t pay her rent and ends up living in her car. She’s depressed, alone and without a clue as what to do. She befriends another homeless woman who was laid off by a bank who has also been living in her car for a year. After admitting how helpless and hopeless she feels, the woman shows her how to get by on literally nothing. But it’s not too long before she uses the free resources available to her to raise out of the ashes that was her former life and start a business of her own.
3. A Knight’s Tale – Too many wonderful elements to pin down in such a fun and enjoyable movie, but if you remember nothing
else, remember anyone can change their stars. It doesn’t matter the status to which you were born into, if you work smart (and hard), always sharpen your talent and skills, you can achieve the unimaginable. It also doesn’t hurt to have a strong and diverse support team (Kate, Watt, Rowlin, & Jeffrey), friends in high places (Prince Edward) and a unique approach to everything you do. However, keep in mind, everything you gain along the way is a result of who you are and how you treat others.
4. 300 – If you had a chance to watch the History Channel‘s explanation of the Spartan defense against the Persian invasion, so to speak, you’ll know that was more like 1,200 than 300. But the idea is romantic. A small army of a few hundred standing up against a larger greater army of tens of thousands. Actually it was more like 300 ground troops and 900 sailors. 300-ish men stood against a force greater than themselves because they didn’t want to be overtaken and under foreign rule. And although they died at the very end (trust me, the movie is not ruined, there are plenty of memorable parts worth watching even is you know the ending), their cause, their freedom and sovereignty were theirs to keep. We may not win every battle that we come up against, but we’ll win the war as long as we remember what we’re fighting for.
5. October Sky -Four young men from a small mining community turn a state-wide competition to the launching pad of their dreams. For those of you out there persistent about the powers of education, you’ll love this movie. What I enjoyed was watching the most in this movie is these young men fight the odds consistently. They go up against their parents, their principal, their schoolmates, the local authorities, and everyone’s expectations of them. In an effort to launch a rocket, they illustrated that defeat and opposition are inevitable, but the rewards that come afterwards are well worth the temporary burden. We may have to go against some of the closest people to us, but our lives, decisions and future are still our own. If don’t own them, something or someone else will.
You may feel like you’re wasting time or killing of valuable brain cells when you plopped down in front of the boob tube. But the next you’re watching something that seems to hold your attention, ask yourself, is it entertaining or inspiring.