Film Forum: The Most Unintentionally Inspirational Movie of All-Time

This is an ongoing discussion between friends about the best in motion pictures.

With the exception of Frank, none of us knows what we’re talking about.

That’s never stopped us before.

Today’s question: What’s the most unintentionally inspirational movie of all-time?

Shane Burchfiel: The Agrarian

Taken. Here you have a guy who is keenly aware of the evil that surrounds us. Yes it’s implied he wasn’t around much when the kid was young, and he has a crabby, naive ex-wife. So, he leaves his secret military job and moves close to his daughter to make amends and be part of her life. When she (the daughter) is later kidnapped and sold into a sex slave ring, this guy uses all his resources and stops at nothing in order to rescue his daughter. As a father of 3 girls, I was standing up and cheering with every bad guy he gunned down. I pray everyday over the safety, protection, and purity of my 3 girls. I want to believe that I will always protect and defend–using force is necessary– them against any and all form of evil to the best of my ability, Lord willing.

Casey Harpe: The Newlywed

The movie Taken with Liam Neeson encourages me. I’m not sure how to word this
without sounding goofy so I’m just going to say it. The first time I
saw this movie, the main thing I took away from it was the beautiful
picture of the gospel it represents. It’s not exact, of course.
Examples never are. (Spoiler) When the father finally rescues his
daughter from the people who kidnapped her, the relief you can’t help
but feel is very similar to the relief that Christ’s rescue gives me.
In the film, the father travels all over the world, doing whatever it
takes to find his daughter. They did a great job of making you see and
believe the hopelessness of ever finding his daughter, right up until
the moment he rescues her. When she’s finally safe, there’s a moment
of huge relief. When that moment came, immediately I thought of the
gospel. I’d imagine the producers just wanted to make a movie about a
guy who had some kind of super secret government job where he learned
how to kill people really well, and who has to use these skills to
find his kidnapped daughter. I’m sure Jesus Christ was nowhere near
their thinking but I was encouraged to thank God for His Son after
watching this movie.

Jeff Merrill: The Musician

Tough category. Crazy Heart for some reason works for me here. Part of that is probably the musician in me responding to the soundtrack. The rest is Jeff Bridges’ character, Bad Blake and the desire to be a better man that is inspired in him by Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal).  He finds renewed faith in himself through someone else’s faith in him.

Jay Sanders: The Right Reverend

I did not go to school in Compton or anywhere near south central LA for that matter.  But when I saw Boyz n the Hood in high school it made me realize what some of the kids I went to school with were facing.  At the time, this was the most powerful movie I had ever seen.  It really opened my eyes to the destruction of an entire race within our country.  Now that I’m a father, the role of Furious Styles, played by Laurence Fishburne, really stands out.  Styles was a flawed man but he took his role as a father very seriously.  This movie, perhaps more than any other I’ve ever seen, underscores the importance of strong fathers.  It’s very brutal and if you want to watch it I’d recommend that you try to find it on TV but John Singleton’s classic challenged me to rethink the way I viewed issues of race in our country.

Frank Glidden: The Actor

This one was tough. I put a lot of thought into it. I tried to think of a movie I watched as a kid that has stayed with me into adulthood. That inspirational movie is……Meatballs! I’m sure Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray and the writers, one being Harold Ramis, had no intention of inspiring a little kid in Lexington, NC to be the best darn camper he could be. I went to camp religiously every summer, from 3rd grade until I graduated from high school. Every summer the week before camp, I would watch Meatballs. It inspired me to be a better basketball player at camp, a better friend to my fellow campers, and a better camper to my counselors. It was probably the first Bill Murray movie I ever saw. Since then he has become one of my favorite actors. I had a chance to audition for a movie in Atlanta that he was the star of a couple years ago called Get Low. I got to the second round, and they went with Lucas Black. It was just awesome to get that close. The next year I got to meet Mr. Murray at a celebrity golf tournament. I could have got him to autograph Ghostbusters. Nope, guess what I went with. That’s right, Meatballs. This is my inspired pick for an unintentionally inspiring movie. BTW as I write this Mr. Murray is on Letterman. Truly inspired.

Kevin Lester: Webmaster for the Mayberry PD

When I think about this category I keep coming back to The Karate Kid.
It made every kid want to learn karate even though we find out later
that kung-fu is much cooler as this came out in ’84 and The Last
Dragon did not come out until ’85.  The final scene with the Crane
technique on the bully and then the respect of the bully after he is
defeated is a true picture of real life.  The way a kid learned karate
in a few weeks and beats kids who had been training for years is a
true life lesson as well.  In fact thinking about this movie has given
me a new found inspiration today.  I’ve been watching UFC videos on
Youtube all day.  I think I’m ready to jump on the new fighting
entertainment bandwagon and step into the octagon.  Come check me out
this coming weekend.  I just need to find myself an asian guy who
owned a restaurant in the 50’s who will let me rebuild his house.