You know that point in a movie where it seems like all is lost? It generally arrives at the end of Act II or the beginning of Act III. Something dire has just occurred and the main characters are on the precipice of obscurity, failure or even death. You know that point?
If you do, then it's obvious what comes next words of greatness, or at least a flood of generic colloquy delivered while a background orchestra slowly builds to a crescendo. The obligatory inspirational movie speech is a tool used so often that characters, plots, settings and even centuries are virtually interchangeable.
Regardless of the circumstances, Hollywood law mandates that the following themes must always be included in an inspirational movie speech:
First, an acknowledgment that things are bad and no one seems motivated to make things better ...
"Will you fight?"
"No, we will run and we will live."
Mel Gibson in Braveheart
"This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst."
John Belushi in Animal House
Then a vigorous refusal to accept the status quo ...
"We've come too far!"
Will Ferrell in Old School
"The day may come when the courage of men fails, but it is not this day."
Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings
Next, recognition that the road ahead will be long and hard ...
"I'm not sayin' it's gonna be easy."
Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On
"You're gonna work harder than you've ever worked before."
Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver
Followed by ego-boosting assurances, possibly including some reference to an intimidating animal ...
"Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions!"
Brad Pitt in Troy
"You're like a big bear, man."
Patrick Van Horn in Swingers
Then a rousing call to action (crescendo ... starts ... now ...)
Gene Hackman in Hoosiers
Emilio Estevez in Mighty Ducks
Topped off with arms raised in a triumphant V with lots of clapping and cheering.
So the next time an "inspirational" speech appears on your movie screen and the surround-sound strings swell don't worry. They'll make it. They'll win. They'll prevail. They have to. It's Hollywood.