Even though things are looking up, we’ve taken a pounding. Where can we find the inspiration to do our part in this long-overdue national healing? Probably the same place we always turn for motivation: YouTube. Here are some great movie scenes (and a couple of songs) to help galvanize and energize you and yours for the revival.
Rocky gets off the canvas
Make the recent troubles we’ve endured look at you the way Apollo Creed looks at Rocky after he rises from the canvas in the 14th round. The announcer had just wondered aloud: “What is keeping him up?” Even Rocky’s trainer implores him to stay down. But, as Adrian emerges from the locker room to watch, Rocky gets to his feet. Then, after assuring the referee that’s he is not beaten, he challenges Creed to try again.
It’s My Life (Bon Jovi)
As Bon Jovi sings:
It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live when I’m alive
Rick’s nod in Casablanca
The forces of repression and division plant their flag. Someone in your midst wishes to stand up to them. Everyone is just waiting for the signal. At 0:44 of this clip from Casablanca, with a simple nod, Rick (Humphrey Bogart) not only sets loose the forces of resistance but makes it clear he is with them — in body and spirit — even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Times Like These (Foo Fighters)
As Dave Grohl sings:
It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
We stand up for justice
We’ve gone through a reckoning, plus unrest and deep introspection. How can we move forward? Well, for starters, we can look to Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) in Hidden Figures. She’s got some inspiration to offer about how to stand your ground, find your voice, and tell your story. As this scene shows, such courage can directly lead to the sustainable change we all need.
I Know Where I’ve Been (Queen Latifah)
As Queen Latifah sings:
There’s a dream in the future
There’s a struggle that we have yet to win
And there’s pride in my heart
‘Cause I know where I’m going
And I know where I’ve been
You can survive and you can make it to the other side of your struggles
After enduring the worst the world can throw at him in The Shawshank Redemption, the resilient, resourceful Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) implements a plan. He puts the past behind him and makes it to the other side (even if it’s a seriously gross journey — what a metaphor).
I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
…and now, for the Mother of All “Gettin’ Through” Songs.
As Gloria Gaynor sings:
Oh no, not I, I will survive
As long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive
Keep moving forward…
We come full circle and now return to an older, wiser version of Rocky Balboa for these closing words: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”
Real life, of course, is not a movie or a song. Yet, there is immeasurable power in the stories we choose to share. For centuries, people have found strength and motivation in the tales they pass down to each other. In “times like these,” this indomitable aspect of our shared human condition just may serve as a much-needed road map.
Image: The Foo Fighters (screenshot)