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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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