Great movies about work

A few of us here at Blog Break HQ spent some time discussing our favorite work movies. What’s a work movie, you ask? In keeping with our methodically formulated classification system, any film that takes place primarily in the workplace, is about the workplace or whose characters’ principal roles are as employees qualifies as a work movie.

Here are our top three picks:

“Glengarry Glen Ross:” Stars include Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey. Baldwin’s “Mission of Mercy” scene is outstanding. (Keep the headphones on and the kids away while you watch it; it’s full of coarse language.)

IMDb (Internet Movie Database) rundown:

Times are tough in a New York real estate office; the salesmen are given a strong incentive by Blake to succeed in a sales contest. The prizes? First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is the sack! There is no room for losers in this dramatically masculine world; only “closers” will get the good sales leads. There is a lot of pressure to succeed, so a robbery is committed, which has unforeseen consequences for all the characters.

“Office Space:” Great characters, memorable dialogue and a work environment teeming with inept management and nonsensical protocols. Life at the office has never been funnier – or more monotonous. But you know this, of course, because you’ve already watched it a dozen times.

IMDb rundown:

Peter Gibbons just can’t seem to catch a break. His girlfriend is cheating on him, he has an obnoxious neighbor, and he’s completely miserable with his job as a small cog in a company called Initech. Then he visits a hypnotherapist, who dies just after putting Peter into a state of complete bliss. Free of worrying about making a living, he no longer feels the need to keep his job, just as the company is going through a massive downsizing. However, his new attitude only makes him more valuable in the company’s eyes, and his friends Michael and Samir are fired instead. Together, they scheme to plant a virus inside Initech’s computer system that will pull money into their own account.

“Swimming with Sharks:” Supposedly, film producer Scott Rudin was the inspiration behind Kevin Spacey’s mercurial character.

IMDb rundown:

A young Hollywood executive becomes the assistant to a big-time movie producer who is the worst boss imaginable: abusive, abrasive and cruel. But soon things turn around when the young executive kidnaps his boss and visits all the cruelties back on him.

Runners up: “Up in the Air,” “Boiler Room” and “Clerks.”

Tell us about your favorites. What are your picks for the best movies about work?

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One comment Add your comment


July 6th, 2010
11:10 am

When “The Devil Wears Prada” came out, I had a boss that would give vague instructions then tear apart your work as “not what he wanted.” He basked in praise from his superiors as though he were personally responsible for everything that happened.

I would have killed to work for Miranda Priestly. Not only because the office was in New York and full of well-dressed beautiful women, but because working for her and anticipating her needs would be a dream compared to my situation at the time.