Thursday, October 6, 2011

Inspiration on the Big Screen

I think when you try to do just about any big sort of feat, getting the inspiration together to pull through sometimes is a little hard to come by.

'Gumption' they call it.

Now I'm a movie buff and there are always a couple of movies I come back to when I want to feel some very good vibes, especially before a competition.

1. The World's Fastest Indian starring Sir Anthony Hopkins.
The story is about a 60-something Kiwi named Burt Munro who has a love affair with motorcycles and dreams of racing on the salt flats of Utah for the annual Speed Week.

Based on a true story, Munro ships himself out with his trusty Indian motorcycle which he built up and broke the record for fastest time for built sub-1000 cc motorcycle.

If you aren't out of your seat, cheering on Burt in the final scene, you are pretty cold.

2. Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
There is always something lovely about seeing the underdog make it through. I think people can relate to a story where someone has everything going against them. But for some insane reason, they keep believing that they can.

And they do.

That was the story of the Springboks, the South African rugby team. Last in the rankings, newly elected Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) decides that the country needs unification and looks for it through this sport and its capitan, Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon.

3. The Pianist starring Adrien Brody.
I only saw this movie just recently and it blew my mind. Anyone who has watched this movie will understand why I chose this image as the most representative one.

All I kept thinking was that this man was starved, witnessed death, had become sick, scrounged for food and was in hiding all those many years and the one thing that kept him alive was his music.

You have to be a very strong person to be able to survive. And then, want to survive after all was said and done.

4. The Peaceful Warrior starring Nick Nolte.
I've always hated showboats. People who have no respect nor care for the world and only search for praise and adulation.

That's how our hero, Dan Millman, starts out: cocky, daringly stupid and seemingly invincible. That is, until his motorcycle accident.

Socrates, played by Nick Nolte, gives him a few philosophical knocks on the head, some good advice and does some really cool magic tricks to boot.

5. Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa.
I saw a documentary on the director, Akira Kurosawa, and it was amazing for me to learn that 23 years after making this masterpiece, he had attempted suicide because there was a tremendous lull in his career.

The title of the movie is the Japanese verb "to live".

It is rather slow for the modern-day viewer of movies but it is a story that is pretty common: a bureaucrat has lived his life stamping documents and living estranged from his wife and son. When it is discovered that he has cancer and only months to live, he goes on a desperate journey to find meaning in his life. And much to the surprise of his co-workers and family, he finds it.

I always cry like an absolute bastard whenever I watch any of these movies so if you prefer not to hear my Kleenex-shuffle, watch these on your own and I'll see you on the track!

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