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The 25 best movie pep talks (with video)

The 25 best movie pep talks (with video) (photo)

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Movies can be awesome sources of motivation, whether you’re storming the gates of Mordor or walking onto the field in the second half of a pee-wee football game. The great energizing speeches in film make us feel like we could do either and come out on top, and the actors on screen, from Rick Moranis to Kenneth Branagh, know how to makes an audience feel good.

So whether you need to take down the greatest ice hockey team in the world or just feel battered and beaten by repeated printer jams at work, here are our ten favorite movie pep talks, guaranteed to make you get up in the morning and fear no enemy in your path.

Some words of warning, though. Whether they involve wars, sports or rooms filled with Muppets, these scenes may cause excessive fist-pumping.

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25. The success speech, “Heavy Weights” (1995)
Tony Perkins (Ben Stiller) may not win many fans speaking to a camp full of overweight kids expecting to kick back and have a summer of fun. He does deliver an unbridled performance at the front of the room, however, declaring that he eats success for breakfast with skim milk. It’s one of Stiller’s best comedic performances and a classic introduction to one of the greatest summer camp villains in film.


24. Ben Affleck getting desperate, “The Town,” (2010)
You may not necessarily associate Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) from “The Town” with motivational pick-me-ups. Congressman Kevin McCarthy recently selected a scene from the film as required viewing for his fellow Republicans when was urging them to get behind House Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan. It’s not our pep talk of choice, but apparently the words, “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people,” really does it for some politicians.


23. The filibuster, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939)
Have all of the protracted debates about the United States’ debt ceiling had you bemoaning the inefficiencies of government recently? Well, have a drink and watch Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) call it like he sees it in one of the most iconic moments of Stewart’s career. He collapses on the floor before it’s all over, but not before speaking his mind to some some heartless lawmakers as he fights for his constituents.


22. Cyrus rallies the gangs together, “The Warriors” (1979)
Part Don King and part revolutionary, a gang leader named Cyrus (Roger Hill) invites representatives of hundreds of gangs from across New York City’s boroughs to congregate and listen to his pitch for a united super-gang. His anti-establishment, anti-police message goes over well, too, until a member of a gang called The Rogues shoots the leader dead and frames The Warriors for the crime. Thankfully, Cyrus lives long enough to immortalize the words “Can you dig it?” for everyone who has ever seen the “The Warriors.”


21. “Pain heals, chicks dig scars,” “The Replacements” (2000)
No one expresses passion and determination on the big screen quite like Keanu Reeves, and he gave the huddle speech that he was born to recite in “The Replacements.” His character, Shane Falco, admits that “classy” and “inspirational” are not his style and instead opts to keep things short and sweet: “Pain heals, chicks dig scars, and glory lasts forever.”


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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.