Walk into a Barnes & Noble in January and displays with the signage ‘New Year, New You’ can be seen all over the store. Many businesses and industries have similar versions of this theme and prey on people who want to do better and be better in the coming year.
I myself fell victim to this mentality last weekend where friends were gathered to celebrate the holiday season and after a couple of beers I declared the year of 2016 to be the year of 3 things. Of course, now I can remember only two of them (maybe someone from the party remembers the third!!) 2016 was declared (by me) to be the Year of Dates (it’s been a bit of a dry spell for me) and the Year of One Song (the subtle push from my guitar teachers that I will play one song with my band friends, as soon as I get some serious guitar practice in).
Whenever I am feeling like a change is in order in my own life, I head over to my movie shelves and see which of my favorites will inspire me that day. Here is a list of movies that I think are transformative, and inspire me to be better:
This story helps me to remember to use more of what God gave me every single day. George Malley (John Travolta) is an average Joe, until an unexplained moment brings about untapped potential. How he uses his newfound gifts to better himself and everyone around him is heartwarming and sometimes gutwrenching. Here’s the movie trailer:
Field of Dreams (1989)
I love this iconic film about baseball and reaching for something bigger, even when you don’t know what it is and reason tells you not to. Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella struggles to go the distance and fulfill his destiny. Sometimes I cannot put into words why I am doing something, I just know it has to be done, just like Ray. If only everyone could have passion for something the way he did, in whatever they choose to accomplish. Here is the scene, “They will come…”
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
This remake of “Little Shop Around The Corner” (1940 with Jimmy Stewart) starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is a story I love, and not just because Fox Books is a thinly veiled version of Barnes & Noble. Judging a book by it’s cover takes a whole new meaning in this story of two people who are trying to find connection in a sometimes lonely world. In this clip, Joe tries to convince Kathleen that they would be a good match and that she should give him, and not the anonymous guy she met online, a chance:
Hope Floats (1998)
My friend KT will not watch this movie because she thinks Harry Connick Jr is creepy (because of his role in Copycat) and many others will not watch this movie because it got some bad reviews. I love the story of Birdie (Sandra Bullock) and how she learns to fly again after an embarrassing, devastating betrayal. The scene I am sharing is the most heartbreaking ‘child of divorce’ scene I have ever witnessed.
The Way We Were (1973)
Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand) walks the fine line of wanting to reach for a different kind of picturesque life while staying true to her convictions. She tries to bend over backwards to fit into Hubbell’s life when he shows an interest. Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) is a golden boy and as aspiring writer who knocks out a first novel effortlessly. Hubbell was talented even in college, where he wrote a short story that started out, “In a way he was a lot like the country he lived in. Everything came too easily to him,” (one of the movie quotes my dad often repeats to me). No matter how much Katie pushes him, he tries and tries but can’t seem to top his early success. He and Katie later split when their core values just don’t match and neither is able to live their true lives. Here is a chance meeting of the two of them years later.
Jersey Girl (2004)
Ben Affleck stars in this movie about a single dad (spoiler) trying to live his best life for his little girl, and stumbling around quite a bit…just when he feels there is no further to fall, Liz Tyler shows up and he starts to come back around. Normally a Kevin Smith movie wouldn’t show up on a feel good list, but this one is worth it. In this scene, Liv’s character is interviewing Ollie for her college thesis about porn video rentals.
Practical Magic (1998)
The Owens sisters Sally and Gilly (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) must put their shattered lives together after a series of blows that are dealt to them by an unforgiving family legacy. Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing try to help their nieces clean up the mess, but ultimately help them take responsibility by leaving the two sisters to deal on their own. As things continue to spiral out of control, Aidan Quinn shows up in response to a years old spell that Sally cast, but she is not ready to have her wish come true. As for this scene, I have three words. Coolest aunts ever.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
And of course the perfect ending to this post is the New Year’s Eve scene at the end of this film. Harry (Billy Crystal) listing the little things that make him love Sally (Meg Ryan) after 12 years of friendship is really how marriages should be built and sustained. But it did take 12 years, so that gives me hope. Happy New Year!!