We love stories about people who manage to triumph through the worst of times. It’s inspirational when we see a well done movie show how to accomplish our goals no matter what life throws at us. That brings us to The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a new movie starring Steve Carell as an aging magician who struggles to make a comeback when a new-wave magician looks to snuff him out of the spotlight. Since Burt Wonderstone deals with coming back in a person’s career, we’ve decided to point out some of the best movies that have been released touching upon this subject matter.
10. The Wrestler
While it may not have the happiest of endings, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is still a great comeback film. We follow a has-been wrestler as he tries his best to relive his glory days that are far behind him. Throughout the film he continues to sink lower into the deep abyss that is his life, but finds a form of comeback through a match that could have a serious effect on his health. It may be a bit of a sad film to watch, this is still wonderful just for Mickey Rourke alone. This was considered to be the actor’s comeback film which gave him award recognition once it hit theaters.
9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
There are a lot of people who quote Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but very few really sit back and think about the kind of journey the cocky news anchor had throughout the film. There’s one point where, due to a mix up with the teleprompter, Ron trashes the city he’s doing news coverage for. Instantly he loses his job, his friends and the respect of all of San Diego. He may be conceited, but he had enough heart to save the love of his life from vicious bears and live to report about it. Good work there Ron.
8. The Fighter
All right, let’s bring out the wave of “based on true stories” movies. The first one we’d like to mention is The Fighter, a recent Oscar winner centering on the true story of Mickey and Dicky Eklund. Both of the brothers are struggling in their own different ways. Mickey has been a serious boxer but never got that opportunity to really turn into the superstar he believes he can be. Dicky once was a wonderful boxer but eventually turned into a crack addict. The two eventually learn how to pick themselves up from the low points of their lives, through their spats, and it’s a really well-done film. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.
7. Cinderella Man
Now we’re knee-deep into the sports section of our list. The first movie that should be acknowledged and honored is Cinderella Man, a story that in some ways is too good to be true (but is). James Braddock was once a boxer, but when he got his right hand busted up he gave up fighting in the ring. Years later he gave it another shot, going back into the ring and amazing everybody in the boxing world by showing that he’s still got it. His climb back out of retirement is one of the greater moments in boxing history and should be admired by all.
Believe it or not, there’s only a couple of Rocky movies the really deal with the big struggle, comeback story of it all. A lot of them have to deal with Rocky Balboa being a cocky snob who believes he can beat anybody in the ring. But in the first Rocky movie, he didn’t have that super ego that we saw in the sequels. No, this was a Rocky Balboa who was a small time loan shark with big dreams of boxing. Sure, he was a boxer, but nobody really took him seriously until a former boxer turned coach took him under his wing. After that point Rocky turns into the sudden favorite against the big and bad Apollo Creed. He didn’t win the match, but he did win the respect of others and that’s what really matters, doesn’t it?
5. Slap Shot
Not only is Slap Shot one of the funniest sports movies ever made, it’s one of the best comeback films. It follows a fictional team called The Chiefs who’ve never been worse. They’re the laughing stock of the town and even their coach Dunlop (Paul Newman) thinks they’re an embarrassment. But when they find out that the mill at their small town will be closing, it’s decided that the team will be done with by the end of their season due to lack of interests. From then on Dunlop uses every lie in the book in order to perk up interest, turning his hockey team into a brawling group of goons in order to raise up attendance. While they may not have been able to save The Chiefs, Dunlop and company were able to make their way to the championship in a hilarious way.
4. The Great Moment
Finally, a true story that isn’t based off of any sports athlete. The Great Moment focuses on the real story of William Morton, a dentist who continued to have a hard time keeping patients in their seats until he discovered the formula for anesthetic, which is still used today. The moment he found it out he began using it on his patients, being hailed at as the inventor of this great new formula. However, he began getting shunned on by many of his colleagues who were in disbelief that he made what he did. When forced to give up his formula to the world, and be discredited for the invention in the process, Morton still did the right thing and told his secret. While many didn’t recognize him as the true inventor of anesthetic for a long while, his contribution to the field of medicine was the biggest one of that time.
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
There’s nothing more touching than watching a movie that shows that through perseverance and a little bit of hope, you can make it through the darkest of times. Based off a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness centers on Chris Gardner (Will Smith), a businessman who falls onto hard times when his investment leaves him flat broke and ends his marriage. Left with only the strength of hope and his son (Jaden Smith), the two try their best to survive on the streets for an entire year as Chris attempts to find another job. It’s a really endearing film and will leave a tear in your eye once it’s over.
We’ve all seen this movie at some point in our lives, whether it was through a friend or while in school. Rudy is one of the ultimate inspirational sports films, centering on a young man who so desperately tries to become a football player at the Notre Dame University. We follow him as he continually strives to not only make it into the university, but make his way onto the team. It takes him awhile but Rudy finally gets the position, and the respect, he so longed for within those past four years. This is yet another movie that’ll make both men and women alike choke up a little bit towards the end. Talk about inspiring.
1. Sunset Boulevard
There is no way you can bring up comeback movies without mentioning Sunset Boulevard. This film was monumental in the comeback sector for a couple of reasons. The first was that the film deals with an aging movie star of the Silent Film era who longed to be back in the spotlight, at least one last time, but gets so caught up in trying to stage a comeback that she drags a couple of innocent people down along with her in her crazy quest for more fame. The second was the lead actress herself, Gloria Swanson who in reality was one of the stars of the Silent Film era who in a big way made her own comeback with this film. Even if you haven’t seen Sunset Boulevard, you probably know it for that famous scene of hers at the end in which the character finally snaps (which you can watch below).
What’s your favorite comeback film?