It's kind of easy in this economy for a person to feel discouraged or unmotivated about the future. Sometimes an external stimulus is required to keep us focused and lift our spirits. Sometimes playing a favorite piece of blood-pumping music is the thing. (Mine is David Sanborn's "Tintin.") Or maybe you need to hit the gym to get your blood actually pumping. Even just going for a walk can help get us "re-wired" correctly. There's something about the left-brain/right-brain stimulation of opposing limb movement (right arm with left leg, left arm with right leg) that really clears out the cobwebs.
Of course, one of my tried-and-true methods is put on one of my favorite films to help change my mood. There is an endless catalog of well-crafted films out there that can move us to laughter (try being depressed after laughing for 90 minutes), to tears (which can also be cathartic), or to stand right up and cheer ("Yo, Adrian!")
One of the best films in the last category is 1993's Rudy, starring Sean Astin.
Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger is too short, too slow, and too, well, untalented to play college football - as he is told by just about everyone he knows. However, Rudy has a dream to play football for Notre Dame. This adds another challenge: Rudy isn't very good at school.
Against almost insurmountable odds and with very little support from just about anyone, Rudy digs in and decides that he will reach his goal "whatever it takes."
His tenacity, his refusal to see any other possible outcome, and his ability to overcome those dark moments when it seems all hope is lost, are inspiring, to say the least.
Sean Astin is incredible in this movie as he captures all of the heart that allowed Rudy to (not really a spoiler) realize his dreams.
Helped along by Jerry Goldsmith's rousing score (which has since been used in a dozen or so trailers for other films) David Anspaugh's film will have you on your feet by the closing credits.
Being a Hollywood film, a few of the elements are fictionalized for dramatic effect, but, amazingly, some of the more incredible aspects of Ruettiger's story - particularly those in the final moments of the movie - are absolutely true.
Also featuring Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton, Robert Prosky, and Vince Vaughn (in his film debut), Rudy is a great DVD to pop in on one of those "grey" days.
Now that was the original trailer for the movie and, as such, didn't feature Goldsmith's actual inspiring score. Here's a little taste of that.