Film, List

INSPIRATIONAL FILM SPEECHES:

Just as I recently shared with you some of my preferred study tracks, I thought I would also explore another of my useful study aids: the inspirational film speech.

A quick delve into Youtube and you will find yourself a treasure trove of cinematic brilliance – an inspirational speech is just what you need as you brace yourself to take on a mammoth task, be it a left-to-the-last-minute essay or a long day at work. Here are some of my go-to videos:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY:

Let me level with you – I’ve never seen Any Given Sunday. I do, however, adore Al Pacino and never has his over-the-top-ness worked so well as it does here.

Inspirational speeches and sports films go hand in hand and the message being put across here is universal – take things one step at a time.

It is also speeches such as these that make you a little glad that the US hasn’t fully adopted the metric system, centimetre by centimetre doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

ROCKY BALBOA:

Rocky Balboa has a quite a few moments of brilliance from Sylvester Stallone, but the speech he gives to his son is the one that hits home hardest. 

Robert “Rocky” Jnr has some problems with living in his fathers shadow, and Stallone pulled the flailing film series out of the gutter with this speech where he tackles his son head on, reminding him that it is up to yourself to take control of your own life.

“You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Basically, you don’t have anyone else to blame if you don’t get your uni work done.

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION:

Ok so it’s that point in the semester where everything is piling up and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight, but at least you haven’t been falsely imprisoned for a double murder. 

Andy Dufrense managed to maintain hope in the face of some incredibly poor prospects, and this speech is the perfect one to drag you out of the pit if you are feeling sorry for yourself.

Not a straight up speech like the others, but still full to the brim with inspiration.

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE:

This is a film from the guys who make South Park, and I’ve always been an advocate of the fact that underneath the profanity and vulgarity (of which there is plenty) there is almost always a clever and sometimes affecting message. 

Plus, if you don’t buy into any of that you will probably at least get a laugh from it.

LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING:

Pre-battle speeches are a great form of inspiration – also see 300 and Braveheart for some other examples – but this one from Aragorn in the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy could easily be regarded as the grandaddy of them all. 

It’s fairly short and to the point, but Viggo Mortensen delivers it with such gusto that you will watch it and find yourself fired up and ready to take on the world.

LEGALLY BLONDE:

“You must always have faith in yourself.”

The world of inspirational film speeches is quite a male dominated one, from sports films to battle scenes, but Legally Blonde is a great one in the motivation stakes – if Elle can graduate, so can you.

BRIDGET JONES DIARY:

Less inspirational, more painfully relatable, this one was too funny not to be included. 

Which film speeches inspire you? Let me know in the comments section! 

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Film, Reviews

FILM REVIEW: CREED

The best Rocky film since Rocky.

Creed05188.dngBack in 1976, a struggling actor named Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in a film about a struggling boxer named Rocky Balboa, and thus a legend was born. Fast forward 40 years and it is time to pass the mantle along with Creed, a sequel/spin-off which brings the Rocky legacy to a new generation. It was a risky move – Stallone brought the franchise to a suitable conclusion a decade ago with a sixth film, Rocky Balboa (2006) after increasingly diminishing returns – but Creed strikes the perfect balance between old and new.

Co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler, who’s debut Fruitvale Station (2013) won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and starring rising star Michael B Jordan (who also led Fruitvale Station) as Adonis Creed, the illegitimate son of late Heavyweight Champion Apollo. Adonis ‘Donny’ is raised by Apollo’s widow (Phylicia Rashad) in LA but makes his way to Philadelphia to pursue boxing and ask Rocky to be his trainer. Donny must then learn to deal with the legacy of his name as he takes on current Heavyweight Champion Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew – a real-life boxer) in a once in a lifetime showdown.

Creed10521.dngThe plot could have been generic, but Coogler and Aaron Covington have written the characters with obvious love for the franchise, but also a desire to take things in a new direction. The Rocky we see in this film is not the legend of the past – his beloved wife and best friend have both passed away, he is all but estranged from his son, his own health is flailing and he has turned his back on boxing. Whilst Donny is at the centre, the films theme of living with a name also branches out to the Italian Stallion, who is human and vulnerable. With such an action-orientated career, it is easy to forget that Stallone can act, but Coogler has drawn out the best from the actor, who delivers a Golden Globe winning performance that packs a real emotional punch.

Michael B Jordan also looks and acts the part as Donny, a young man struggling to come out from under the shadow of a father he never knew. Whilst it would be a stretch to say that Donny has a particularly memorable personality, Jordan hits all the right notes in terms of the characters anger and insecurities. The father-son bond that emerges between Balboa and Creed is the beating heart of the entire film, and it likely to bring a lump to the throat of even the franchises toughest fans.

Creed29156.dngAnother thing Coogler has got resoundingly right is Bianca (Tessa Thompson), Donny’s neighbor and eventual girlfriend. Bianca, a singer with progressive hearing loss, is a character in her own right and has dreams and ambitions just as strong and important as Donny’s, something which is extremely rare to see in a sports/boxing movie, where women are generally just one-note love interests (see Rachel McAdam’s character in last years Southpaw for a recent example). Thompson is brilliant as the character, finding and settling on the area where strength and vulnerability meet.

Whilst Creed is a film that thrives on its characters, they are not the only strong element. All the ingredients for a classic Rocky film are present, from a great score from Fruitvale Station’s composer Ludwig Goransson, who has channeled 1970s influences and Bill Conti’s iconic original score to create something new, to not one but multiple training montages (the last of which is literally breathtaking). We also get to see those ‘Rocky’ steps as a final reminder that this is a film that knows and loves its roots.

CRD207_000035.tifThe visuals are also great, particularly the fight scenes. One early fight is filmed in one continuous take, whilst the camera is rarely static. The obligatory final fight is an exhilarating watch that’ll have you on the edge of your seat throughout, and it is clear why boxing is regarded as one of the most cinematic sports, you feel every blow and the Coogler mixes intense long takes with sharp hits to create something that is a real experience to watch.

Creed is not a film to be missed – be you a steadfast and loyal fan of the franchise or a newcomer, it is everything that a boxing film should be and more, with fully realised characters, intense action and just the right amount of nostalgia, Coogler has delivered a knockout.

 

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