There are many ways to judge a film's goodness. They can judged by an intensity in character, plot or symbolism. They can also be judged by how well they inspire people to be the best of themselves, or to extend beyond themselves. In our opinions, we believe that a good film should be good of the later. The essence of sport after all, is struggle, and struggle is either the process of extending beyond or being the best of oneself, or the cause and/or result of such. It is struggle against both exterior and internal foes, the later of which is usually the stronger one. These are two of such films which, through an intimate depiction of an individual athlete's struggles, motivate us to go beyond ourselves.

Rocky (1976)

As they all said, opportunity equals to luck plus hard work. The events of the main character in this film, Rocky, is testament to such an axiom. The luck in the film comes in the form of a one-off chance for the unknown Rocky to compete at the highest level in boxing, when the reigning heavyweight boxing world champion, Apollo Creed, was informed five weeks from the fight date of a title bout that his scheduled opponent is unable to compete due to an injured hand. Rocky only managed to secure the spot because all other potential replacements were unavailable at that time. The hard work in the film comes in the form of Rocky relishing every training opportunity, even if such opportunities are far below dismal. He was reduced to using meat carcasses as punching bags for weeks, but did not waver from want.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

We often learn best in moments of pain and/or grief, and the ending of this film could be considered to be one such moment. Inspiring as much as it touches, the ending of the movie was seen by us to encapsulate all that the movie stood for. Maggie's (Hilary Swank) saying that she could die with no regrets, given how she had gotten everything out of life. How is one capable of saying that, when her family effectively disowned her, when she only got into competitive boxing at a retirement age and for a very brief time only before getting herself invalidated by an act of crookedness, and when there is no other thing positive in her life except for hardship, blood, tears and a lot of sweat. Perhaps, when you have everything taken away from you, will one find out what really matters in life. To her it is the journey of self-improvement - that has been the only positive observable in the film. Perhaps this is also what keeps great champions such as Federer or Nadal going - it is not the wins that count for them, for they treat victory and disaster just the same.

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