The best job in the world…not!

There have been lots of great movies about work–Glengarry Glen Ross, Tin Men, The Help, and Nine to Five for starters–but you’ve probably already seen those, yes? Three worthwhile work-place movies you might’ve missed, however, include:

220px-Office_space_posterOffice Space, a 1999 satire written and directed by Mike Judge, creator of the Milton cartoon series, tells the story of Peter Gibbons, an unhappy computer programmer who is having a premature midlife crisis, at age 28. Unable to endure another moment of the mind-numbing routine and petty annoyances that comprise his work week, Peter and two equally frustrated colleagues come up with a scheme that could lead to a very lucrative and early retirement—if they’re not caught. Although Office Space disappointed at the box office, it has done well in the rental and DVD sales market, becoming something of a cult favorite for its spot-on depiction of the insufferability that can characterize white-collar employment. Many viewers will identify with the scene in which the protagonists kick an office printer to death, while others will resonate with, “So I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s the worst day of my life.”

 

Boiler-room-posterBoiler Room This 2000 feature film also focuses on the dark side of corporate life; however, if Office Space made you laugh, Boiler Room will likely send chills down your spine. College dropout Seth Davis, who achieved financial success—but not his father’s approval—operating a casino from his apartment, finds himself seduced by the opportunity to become a trainee stock broker for JT Marlin, a fictional small-time brokerage firm on the outskirts of New York. An aggressive welcome speech (Ben Affleck in a cameo performance) sets the tone for a firm clearly placing money above all else. Based on interviews the writer-director Ben Younger conducted with numerous brokers over a two-year period, Boiler Room was inspired by the firm Stratton Oakmont and the life of Jordan Belfort, whose autobiography was later adapted into Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Possible best line in Boiler Room, “Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil, doesn’t F#!*ing have any!”

 

Modern-Times-posterModern Times If you haven’t seen Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 classic on the dehumanizing effects of industrialization, you owe it to yourself.  Set against the Great Depression, Chaplin portrays a hapless assembly line worker subjected to ever-greater indignities—first at work, where trying to keep pace with the assembly line sparks a nervous breakdown, and then trying to make sense of the modern world, where his innocent efforts at survival land him on the wrong side of the law. Although the film is nearly 80 years old, Modern Times’ message is as relevant as ever – and Chaplin’s spectacular gift for physical comedy leaves us laughing until it hurts.

 

And finally, this 20-minute TED talk on modern-day slavery is a must-see you can watch right now:

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