10 Movies for When You Need to Fight the Man
Sometimes the news is so bad that even protest feels useless. Sometimes we need to get ourselves fired up for change and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" just isn't going to cut it. We need a movie (or two, or three) that will put us in the mindset to fight, fight, fight, even when the going gets rough and it's raining and we're tired. Ever listened to the "Rocky" soundtrack to inspire you to work out harder? It's like that; we need a little rebel-spiration (that's rebel + inspiration). These 10 movies are guaranteed to get you geared up like that.
1. "Network" (1976)
For when you're mad as hell and considering not taking it anymore. This movie masterfully satirizes "the media" and exposes how "ratings" and corporations conspire to keep the truth out of the news. But be warned: there are no heroes in "Network." Only madness.
2. "Silkwood" (1983)
Okay, so this movie — based on the true story of Karen Silkwood, whistleblowing employee at a nuclear facility — might make you less than eager to fight the powers that be, unless you fancy being murdered. But it's a harrowing reminder of what we're fighting for and what we're up against, a stunning depiction of just how far the powerful will go to screw over the little guy (or gal, as the case may be). Also, Cher is in it. Never forget: neither corporations nor government agencies are ever really on your side.
*If "Silkwood" is your jam, may we also suggest "Norma Rae"?
3. "Real Genius" (1985)
A science prodigy discovers a technology with massive potential and has to race to keep it out of the hands of those who would use it to hurt others: the United States military. Sounds like a biopic or maybe a sci-fi drama, but it's actually a goofy college comedy starring Val Kilmer as — you guessed it — a real genius with a real attitude problem. Rebellion comes in all shapes and sizes, man.
4. "Robocop" (1987)
Look, this movie is total fiction. But what isn't fiction is that our police force is more militarized than ever before. What do you get when you cross radical life-extension and drone technology? Peter Thiel. JK, JK, you get "Robocop."
5. "Pump Up The Volume" (1990)
Christian Slater is taking on — and taking down — the authorities, one radio at a time, as a counter-culture thinker broadcasting unrest, live on air. No, Slater's not believable as an unpopular high school outsider, mostly due to the fact that he looks like 1990 Christian Slater, my god, but this is a fascinating look at pre-Internet, awesome zines-era teen counterculture with one hell of a soundtrack.
6. "Empire Records" (1995)
Five friends have one day to fight the man by saving the Empire. Their beloved local record store (well, CD store, but it was the 90s) is on the verge of being turned into a MusicTown, though ironically, indie record stores are the only ones still standing post-Napster. This film, which itself became a cult classic, also features a to-die-for soundtrack. Why did we ever stop digging the Gin Blossoms?
7. "All I Wanna Do! (AKA Strike!)" (1998)
At the dawn of the sexual revolution, the students of an all-girls boarding school begin their sexual awakenings, and are thrilled when they get more access than ever to the local boys. But they soon realize that men aren't the solution to their problems. Perhaps, men are the source. Soon they're engaged in an all-out war against the worser sex, with hints of teenage "Lysistrata" and shades of "A Room of One's Own."
(I mean, or you could just watch "Dead Poet's Society" and cry. Like, you could do that. But this is more fun!)
8. "Bend It Like Beckham" (2002)
Sometimes fighting the status quo just means being yourself, loud and proud. Jess is an Indian girl who wants to play soccer (fine, football), despite the expectations of her family, the constraints of her gender and her country's racism. Sometimes sports mean so much more. (See also: "She's The Man" and "Stick It".)
9. "V for Vendetta" (2006)
This seems self-explanatory. People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
10. "Rogue One" (2016)
Yas Jynnnn blow that death star UP, rebel against the Empire. May the force be with you!
We hope these movies inspire you to push for progress no matter what arena in which you battle. If that arena is movies themselves, or if you're just a film fan, consider adding to your to-watch list a show or movie made by a woman.
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