Small Town Anthem

I was going to focus on a whole playlist about small towns. I still might make one but I really just wanted to focus on the best small town anthem of all time. Born to run is a close second. Drum role please…the song is… Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. It’s a tragic and beautiful narrative about growing up in a small town of dreaming about a better life than the one that your parents had. Only to find yourself and your significant other falling into the same exact pattern. Just listen to the song and embrace how grace filled Chapman’s voice is.

Celebrities with Humble Beginnings

It’s easy to look at celebrities and think they had it made. Seldom do we consider that some of them come from small towns just like us. We may look at them and be inspired but it’s important to go after your dreams the way these celebrities did.

Ashton Kutcher

This pretty boy came from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Both of his parents are factory workers & the town has less than 1,000 people. Kutcher even worked in the General Mills cereal department. He had to work to get where he is today and it’s admirable that he made it out of his small town.

Josh Hutcherson

This teen heartthrob wasn’t born into fame. He grew up in Union, Kentucky which has an area of only 3.2 square miles. Fortunately, his parents saw his passions and they moved to California to make their son’s dream a reality. The rest of the story is history.

Sarah Jessica Parker

The actress best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw, wasn’t always a flawless NYC fashionista like her character. SJP actually grew up in the small town of Nelsonville, Ohio. Parker was involved in the arts from an early aged and was a local ballerina.

Julia Roberts

Has anyone ever heard of Smyrna, Georgia? I definitely haven’t, but this is the small town where Roberts got her start. It’s a refreshing reminder that even those we perceive as glamorous, we believe they’ve always been that way. This famous actress is a refreshing reminder of that not applying in this situation.

Movies & TV Shows About Small Towns

In these respective movies & TV shows, we get a glimpse of the hopes that those who live there have. These characters may face challenges but they never stop dreaming.

1. Billy Elliot
This is an endearing tale about a 10 year old boy living in London. Both his father and brother are coal miners & Billy is forced to take boxing lessons. Instead, Billy is intrigued by the ballet class next door and ends up dancing behind his fathers back. Billy’s journey to using dance as an outlet to get out is amazing.

2. Friday Night Lights
This TV show follows the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. The town is filled with characters that live for Friday Night football played by the high school called the Dillon Panthers. The coaches, players, & everyone living in Dillon gets caught up in football. This story about a small town stands out because of all the hopes, drama, and dreams that the people have.

3. October Sky
Homer Hickam lives in Coalwood, West Virginia in 1957. His father works at the mines and Homer who is in high school, is likely to follow in his footsteps. Then, Homer watches the launch of Sputnik in complete awe and signs up for the Science fair. He joins his friends with encouragement from their science teacher & launches rockets. This is an inspirational true story that no matter what is typical for our hometown, we can go after what we want.

4. Good Will Hunting
Will is a guy working as a Janitor at M.I.T. in his town of Boston. He solves the seemingly impossible math problems that no one else can solve. The teacher discovers Will and also finds out that the boy has an attitude problem. Will finds out more about himself from his therapist played by the late and great Robin Williams. Will has it in his head that he’s destined to live and die in his small town instead of living up to his full potential.

5. Garden State
Zach Braff and Natalie Portman star in this movie about a man returning to his New Jersey town for his mothers funeral. There he meets the quirky Sam who teaches him that home isn’t always a place. Sometimes our home is a person. Sometimes we want out of our small town life so desperately only to discover that we can find the ones we love there.

6. Once
A girl & a guy dream of making it out of having to work off jobs and become full time musicians. They are stuck in their mundane lives and desperately dream of better. It’s a beautiful portrait of reality & that everything isn’t going to work in our favor sometimes.

7. Dazed And Confused
This coming of age film follows the lives of several different types of teens & the adventures they have at the start of summer break. We see upcoming freshman boys get paddled, freshman girls pretending to be dogs, and just pure violent hazing behavior as an initiation. However, it also shows us a glimpse of what high schoolers go through.

8. Rudy
Rudy is just a small guy with zero athletic ability. But he dreams of dressing one game for his favorite football team Notre Dame. This movie is an inspirational ride as Rudy is faced with challenge after challenge but he never gives up. His desire to get out of his small town and be better than anyone else is what gets him ahead.

9. Everwood
This show follows a big time doctor settling in a small town with his two kids after their mother dies. Ephron must learn how to adjust to the small town of Everwood as he navigates all of the people. The girl from Revenge is much younger in this and it’s a great show about growing up, falling in love, and dealing with loss.

10. 8 mile
This movie is the semi-autobiographic film about the rapper Eminem’s life. His character who’s rap name is Rabbit is living in Detroit, living at home in a trailer with his mom, and barely getting buy. He feels trapped in this town where he’s lived his whole life. This film is kind of his grapple with his future and overcoming people who doubt his rapping ability.

Songs That Feel Like Home

Everyone has there own list of songs that make them feel right at home. It’s ridiculous to say that I can pinpoint every song that gives us that particular feeling. However, I hope that these songs make you feel SOMETHING. What is home? Where is it? Who is it with? Home is where you’re comfortable, where you feel safe and like you belong somewhere. For me personally, I feel this in my hometown. Though it may be small, it’s still my home and my comfort.

September Theme

The concept of living in a small town is one that’s always intrigued me. Ever since I discovered Rookie Mag over a year ago, I’ve been intrigued with the concept of having monthly themes. I wanted to pay tribute to this in my own way. I’m not going to have as many pieces of writing as Rookie does since this is simply my personal blog. However, I will involve this theme in a few personal anecdotes, (maybe just one) playlists, movie & TV show recommendations, sports, & books. I’ve chosen to talk about small towns because the concept intrigues me. I plan on talking about my own hometown and the general concept of getting stuck in the town that you’ve grown up in. Why is that we spend the majority of our childhood wanting to get out yet we hardly ever actually leave? I plan on covering this to the best of my ability.