The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, a film by Annika Iltis & Timothy James Kane 

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I hadn’t heard of this film until it popped up on my Netflix queue and I am so glad that it did. The filmmakers take us back to the epic journey of those racing in the 2012 Barkley Marathons.

Up until this point, there had only been 10 finishers of the 100 mile race since it’s conception in 1986. Gary Cantrell, former ultra-marathon runner and creator of the Barkley Marathons, has been driven by challenges his entire life. With his love of chasing the limit and an inspiration from James Early Ray’s prison escape into the woods of what is now part of the race route, the birth of the Barkley Marathons began.

With Gary’s help and all those participating in the 2012 race, we are able to join in the hellish, but heroic journey of 35 runners over the course of 60 hours.

Although I’ve only become a runner in the last few years and have fallen in love with the sport, I couldn’t imagine attempting something as profound as the Barkley Marathons. Watching the runners as they proceed on the course and hearing their thoughts along the way was very inspirational. Gary says, “…people that go through this, they are better for it. They’re not made of better stuff than other people, but they’re better for what they have asked of themselves.”

This is film that motivates, encourages, and awakens the desire to challenge ourselves to be our best person.

 

 

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Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home

Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home, a film by Thomas Napper

Narrated by Catherine Keener, this film takes takes us first hand to the less than 5 square mile radius of a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles called Skid Row. While there are no official defined boundaries, Skid Row is generally used to refer to the area east of San Pedro Street, south of Third Street, west of Central Avenue, and north of Seventh Street. Skid Row contains one of the largest homeless populations in the United States. For those of you Angelenos, this is here in our city.

This film is told from the perspective of those who have made Skid Row a place they call home, or in some cases, a place they found solace until continuing their journey through life.

Danny leads us through his path to sobriety while living on the streets of Skid Row. OG engages us with his vibrant mission to “Keep Skid Row Clean” along with maintaing his 3 on 3 basketball league. We follow Linda while she cooks meal after meal for her neighbors and friends while making it her mission to put her health first. General Dogon fearlessly continues to advocate for the homeless after his return to Skid Row, determined to right all of his wrongs.

Sadly, this film isn’t all happy tears. There has been a war on the poor for quite sometime and director Thomas Napper through images of Downtown Los Angeles, as well as in depth interviews, depicts what life is really like for those living on Skid Row.

I recommend seeing Lost Angels, as we all need to be reminded that everyone calls somewhere home.

“It’s going to take us all coming together to do something about it.”

-General Dogon

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Undefeated

Undefeated, a film by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

This is a film about a team full of uncommon men, tackling their opponents not only on the field, but off the field in the way of their real life struggles. The Manassas Tigers football team in years past was not only underfunded, underprivileged, and defeated, but they were often paid to go and get beat by bigger Tennessee schools.

Coach Bill Courtney is a fearless leader throughout the course of the season, instilling the the players with a belief in themselves as individuals as well as the importance of being a part of a team. For all you Friday Night Light fans, Coach Courtney reminds me of a real life Coach Taylor. Having grown up without a father, Courtney is determined to make sure these men don’t have the same doubts about their worth and value as he did throughout his childhood.

We have all seen the “Based on a True Story” football movie, but this is a true story. It is a beautiful, uplifting film about an amazing man who earns the trust and ultimate respect of his players. Your adrenaline will be pumping, your heart strings will be tugged, and you will be constantly reminded that no matter what — full hearts can never be defeated.

“Throw your chest out, and hold your chin up. Remember the things that carry you are the things you’ve been taught.”

– Bill Courtney 

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