There are a lot of reasons why we watch beautiful people pretend to be other beautiful people on our computer screens, HDTVs and at the cinema. In particular, it relieves boredom; it makes us laugh and cry (hopefully at the same time!); it provides a wholesome alternative to getting sloppy drunk on a Saturday night. Most importantly, movies can give you hope in an otherwise insane world. Looking for an escape from the troubles in your life? Check out these 10 movies that are sure to inspire you!
1.Forrest Gump (1992)
Trivia time: His name is Forrest Gump. And you know what people call him? Forrest Gump. Duh. This one-of-a-kind movie, starring Tom Hanks as the titular character, follows the fictional life of a mentally slow man who experiences all of the chaos and turmoil of the 1960s through 1980s, from the Vietnam War through the AIDS epidemic. Full of memorable quotes (“I have to pee”), this film took home six Oscars, inspired a Weird Al song, and demonstrably proves that a big heart more than compensates for a little brain. Probably.
2. Office Space (1998)
Tired of the daily grind that is your meaningless job? Me too! Let’s be friends! Or at least acquaintances. Although it originally bombed at the box office, Office Space has since become a cult hit about employers at a software company who are sick and tired of the crap they have to put up with at work. Feeling completely free following a hypnosis session in which the therapist dies in the middle of it, Peter (Ron Livingston), discovers that less he cares about his job, the more his oblivious bosses reward him. If that doesn’t inspire you to be your worst self, nothing will!
3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
No movie list would be complete without a nod to the past. Let’s go with this Christmas classic, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man with serious financial troubles who intends to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. His guardian angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) intervenes and reveals to him what life would have been like to those close to him had he never been born. Turns out, things would have been pretty sucky! Realizing how much he means to others, he rushes back home and all sorts of happy, inspirational, Christmasy things happen! Hooray!
4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Loosely based on the true story of siblings who were killed in combat during WWII, Saving Private Ryan tells the story of a company of rangers lead by Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) who are tasked with locating Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) so that he can be brought home. This Steven Spielberg-directed movie is renown for the realistic way in which it depicts the storming of Omaha Beach in Normandy and the general horrors of war.
5. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This movie provides an account John Nash (Russell Crowe), a professor at Princeton who revolutionized the field of game theory and descended into madness as a result of paranoid schizophrenia. With the love and support of his family as well as the help of medical professionals, he manages to overcome his mental illness and continues to make contributions to the field of mathematics.
6. Dead Poet’s Society (1990)
John Keating (Robin Williams) is a high school English literature teacher at a prestigious all-male boarding school who gets into trouble with the school administration after encouraging his students to challenge authority and think for themselves. Certainly inspirational, if not also frustratingly sad. No spoilers!
7. Remember the Titans (2000)
Another movie that was inspired by real events, this one stars Denzel Washington as an African-American football coach in 1971 Alexandria, Virginia who is tasked with bringing his players together after racial tensions resulting from the high school’s integration boil over. At times the movie feels like a 2-hour long Hallmark card reading, but come on. What else would you expect from Disney?
8. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting (Matt Damon – again!) is a pretty good fella, guys. He’s secretly a math genius who works as a janitor at MIT, likes drinking with fellow South Boston hooligan Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck), and has some serious relationship issues that only therapist Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams – again!) is able to solve. Funny, emotional and just all around a damn good movie!
9. Rain Man (1988)
Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is a sleazy hustler who finds out that his estranged father has passed away and left all of his money Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) an older brother with a form of savant autism who Charlie didn’t previously know existed. Babbitt attempts to gain custody of his brother in order to have access to the money, but gradually evolves into a decent guy who looks out for Raymond’s interests.
10. Swingers (1996)
This is one of the most underrated movies of all time. It’s a romantic comedy for bros, but girls enjoy it too. It tells the story of Mike Peters (Jon Favreau), a young actor who moves from New York City to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams, and who is still trying to come to terms with being dumped by his girlfriend 6 months earlier. The movie could be considered outdated in some aspects (answering machines! Calling somebody collect!), but it’s still charming and ultimately inspiring if you’re somebody who is looking to mend your broken heart.