Thursday, March 24, 2011

Movies That Inspire

Continuing in my recent theme of Favorites, I decided to list a few of the movies I find most inspiring. While story content touches different people in different ways, I believe there are some themes, or common archetypes that draw people to a story. And lest any of you be offended that some of these films are Rated R, let me just remind you that ClearPlay and TV editing are wonderful things.

First, A Few Good Men. In its most basic form, this movie is about right and wrong and pits the powerful against the weak. Our main character, JAG Attorney Caffey defends two Marines accused in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Through his investigation he discovers a cover up. Just as the weak Marine at Guantanamo died because of powerful opposition, the defendants are also being railroaded because the strong wield their power unfairly. Tom Cruise’s character must decide how much he is personally willing to risk protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.

This movie is an example of strong themes people are inspired by.
1- Even in a world of confusion and moral relativism, there is right and wrong
2- Defending the weak
3- Risking yourself for the greater good
What’s not to love about a character that overcomes personal weaknesses to be an example of such courage and moral clarity?

Second, Field of Dreams. Some people think of this as only a baseball movie but they are wrong, and wrong in a BIG way. Although baseball is an integral character within the film, this movie is about a whole lot more. I still remember the feeling I had as I sat in the theater watching this in 1989. I was literally on the edge of my seat and this is not an action packed film. Instead of explosions and intrigue, this movie is about a man’s search for understanding. He wants to understand who he is and his role in this life. Even though he doesn’t know it, he wants to make up for the mistakes of his past. He wants to reconnect with his father and this happens in a most unique and emotional way.

In this story, our main character takes a leap of faith and does something totally crazy because he believes it’s the right thing to do. Even though he is wrong about WHY it is important for him to be obedient to the promptings he receives, he is right that it is important and he is rewarded in ways he never imagined.

Even though this isn’t a “spiritual” movie, there are themes of eternal truth.
1- Family relationships endure past death.
2- We receive blessings when we listen to and are obedient to promptings
3- God knows us even better than we know ourselves and he seeks to bless us with what we need most.
4- Faith is rewarded after it is tested

Finally, The Shawshank Redemption is based on the Stephen King Novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Yes it is by Stephen King. No, there are no monsters or supernatural evil powers at play. The only evil we have to worry about in this movie is the real evil found in man, which is often more frightening than an imagined Boogeyman.

After being imprisoned for the murder of his wife, Andy Dufresne learns to cope with the despair of being confined. He watches and learns from the way other prisoners manage their imprisonment and eventual freedom. He builds lasting friendships and is able to serve others, even within the walls of prison. I don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t seen this, but if you haven’t, shame on you. I suggest you rectify this problem immediately. This movie motivates and inspires and the payoff at the end…WOW!

So what do we learn and feel from Shawshank Redemption?
1- Though life isn’t always fair we will eventually earn our just reward
2- Hope is the leaven of life. Without it, life is a prison of drudgery and despair.
3- Freedom is often a state of mind. With the right attitude a man can be free, even in prison, or in bondage, even while enjoying physical liberty.

I want to watch all of these movies again. They are FANTASTIC! I highly recommend, them, though again, remember clearplay or TV editing may help you to fully enjoy the movie without the distractions of bad language. I don’t think any of these films would be listed in the “Inspirational” genre but all are inspirational to me. Each of the main characters in these films overcome obstacles that would likely stop the best among us. They become stronger, better people through their efforts. These movies and their characters appeal to emotions and common themes that I think are held common by all of us. Prove me wrong.
Put these films on your queue and enjoy! Prepare to be inspired. What movies inspire you and why?

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