I am a Wakanda Forever! Who isn’t anyway? You have no idea what you are missing from the big screens. And don’t wait to watch it on our 50bob downloads… no. no. no. Go all out. Girl, treat yourself. My brother, tag that lass you’ve been pursuing and she never seems to give you a hello. You are sure not be disappointed. The movie holds your attention from start to end.
My movie addiction had hit an all-time high until this friend T, challenged me, “If only you could spend as much time reading as you do watching movies…” he continued this monologue on and on and on. All this while I was thinking of how boring his life was. I mean, the guy leaves work and will be reading in the car, bus, on a bed; even in the club, he carries a book with him. Ha…who wants that life? Then he continued, “Before fully adjusting to books, you could be watching inspirational movies instead. At least let your time before a screen count. It should add value, not take from you. We are going to have a deal. You watch at least two inspirational movies a week, I give you a treat.”
‘Ha-ha’ I had laughed. Thinking how I would outsmart him. We girls love a treat, right? I had to get watching. “Easy breezy,” I had thought out loud. Little did I know this would be the beginning of my transformation. The movies on this list changed my life.
1. The Gabby Douglas Story
Ever since her childhood, Gabby had set her mind for the Olympics. She was going to represent America in gymnastics someday. At the London 2012 Olympics, this came to pass; she was among those of Team USA. What does it take to become a champion? Gabriella Douglas had been born fourth to a family struggling financially. This was in addition to being born with a rare blood disorder. Her siblings seeing her exceptional talent gave up their own and pushed their mother to invest in her. Gabby’s expenses for training and hiring a coach continued to skyrocket until Coach Chow came to the scene.
Her family motto read, “Today should always be better than yesterday.” Truth is, she has natural talent but, it is hard work, persistence, and perseverance that saw her to victory. She and her family made great sacrifices, however, at some point, she still wanted to quit. She gave up and wanted to return home not having belief in herself. Her last push to success saw her not only achieving her dream but also becoming the 1st ever African American female to be named “Individual All-Around Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympic Games.”
This is a story of determination and the passion to succeed.
Rudy Ruttinger set his eyes for Notre Dame, and specifically to play for its football team. Now, Notre Dame is this prestigious university in the USA that you get admitted to only on merit. Rudy’s GPA was wanting, he was physically tiny, and never great at athletics too. His parent, family, friends, and teachers are convinced he will never amount to anything great and the pressures on him to give up his dream take the day. He goes ahead to get a job at the local steel mill company like most people from his town.
A fatal accident leaves him mourning for his best friend; the only person who had an ounce of hope in him. Pete had even bought him a Notre Dame jacket at the local thrift store for his birthday. This becomes his turning point. He makes his mind to go all out pursuing this ‘delusion’ for the sake of Pete. He struggles to get an admission to Notre Dame after he got help to join a nearby high school, so he could work on his grades. The number of times he got an apology letter is disheartening.
One day he is just not at Notre Dame as a student, but also playing for the ‘Fighting Irish’ team. His dream is coming true. In his senior year, his teammates give up their positions to suit up for Rudy. This is a dream come true for him and he wants his family present. His coach also lets him lead the team to the benches, an experience of a lifetime. While he didn’t expect much, his team is winning and his mates are chanting his name, Rudy is called upon by the coach to play for his team in the last minutes of the game.
“Look at you. You’re 5-foot-nothing. And you weigh 1000 and nothing.” Fortune, the groundskeeper of the University’s stadium had told Rudy.
This movie gives us a small window into the power of the human spirit; victory does not come easy.
3. War Room
This is a movie about the power of prayer. It tells of how to choose your battles wisely; not everything is for you to engage in.
Liz and Tony Jordan seem to have it all. A beautiful daughter, great careers, a mega home, name it. Happiness in their marriage, on the other hand, is wanting. This is brought out by their daughter when Elizabeth overhears her conversing. She admits that her parent when together only fight.
There is power in prayer, whatever deity you believe in and your friends do matter too.
Elizabeth meets Miss Clara at a moment when she is filled with bitterness and loathing of her husband. It is here where her life changes, realizing, no one loves their coffee lukewarm. It should either be hot or cold.
Miss Clara says, “War is as old as humanity. We fight for power. We fight for riches. We fight for rights. We even fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight for. Very few of us know how to fight the right way.”
4. Facing the Giants
Coach Grant Taylor goes all out to strategize once more for his team. He has developed an ardent prayer life; this is changing his life. For six years, his team has not had a single winning season. Parents and players are giving up and his best player leaves Shiloh Eagles for their competitors.
His car keeps breaking down, there is a stinking smell at his little house, inadequacy, infertility and betrayal chew at him. He goes all out daring to trust God to do the impossible. And the winning cycle at Shiloh Eagles begins.
It is a story of how God never gives up on us; when we are weak, He is strong.
5. Freedom Writers
English teacher Erin Gruwell, white and passionate about her calling is sent to teach a class of truant, disillusioned, gang members of African American, Hispanic, and other origins in central LA.
She uses her money, extra time, resources and the Diary of Anne Frank to help this her class reinvent the narratives of their lives. She hopes to use this story of the Holocaust, to end the kid’s hatred. The kids initially are unwelcoming, but with time, they turn to love her and their lives are transformed one by one. This happens at the expense of her marriage, her sense of style as her colleagues so-called ‘traditions’ downplay her efforts. Erin will nevertheless just not give up, even when her career is put on the line.
Released from prison after 27 years, Nelson Mandela comes home to an economically and racially divided South Africa. He goes on to become president of the same nation that jailed him. He has the duty to unite the country, and he chooses the universal language of sport; supporting the Spring Brooks, for his love of Rugby.
Many of the blacks were not supportive of him. They felt his forgiveness mantra was too difficult. And it was only post-apartheid. He had a lot of forgiveness to do, and he did. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went to work on nation building; Nelson Mandela called Pienaar, the Spring Brooks Captain to his office and tells him, “We need inspiration.”
This begins the cycle of change. The team traverses the country, state to state meeting the communities and playing with the children there. In their midst is only one black player. Mandela and the team join forces, uniting the nation under the umbrella of rugby. The Spring Brooks went on to win that year making one of the greatest teams in rugby history.
What is your legacy? What will you be remembered for? I mean inside of us is that one thing that only you can do so well, that it awes the world. Look for it diligently, there is nothing stopping you but your fears. In the meantime, let us go all out and share them movie titles that have inspired us or touched our lives in one way or another. You never can tell whose life you will be touching tonight.