Mandatory Movies: What To Watch When You Despise Your Dead-End Job
Photo: Deagreez (Getty Images)
Hey, we’ve all been there: stuck in a soul-sucking job so awful you want to bang your head against the desk (if you’re lucky enough to have a desk) all day, every day. Your boss has nothing better to do than breathe down your neck. Your co-workers don’t pull their weight. And the receptionist always microwaves fish at lunchtime. The only people you empathize with at work are the custodians, and that’s only because they have a crappier gig than you.
Testosterone infusion: What To Watch When You Need To Man Up
But before you stomp into the top dog’s office and tell him where he can shove this sorry excuse for a job, take a personal day and binge-watch some Mandatory Movies instead. These flicks will remind you that as bad as you have it, your so-called career could be a whole lot worse.
After being hypnotized, office drone Peter (Ron Livingston) gets in on a plan to sabotage the software company that’s the bane of his professional existence. If you haven’t seen this cult-classic eff-this-job film yet, make it your top priority to do so now.
'A Most Violent Year'
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is trying to grow a fuel distribution business that he’s taken over from his father-in-law. Morales wants to succeed by moral means only, a rarity in 1981 New York. After his trucks are targeted for a series of robberies, his conniving wife and bookkeeper Anna (Jessica Chastain) insists they take a tougher stance and play by the rules of the streets instead.
'Bringing Out The Dead'
Manhattan ambulance medic Frank (Nicolas Cage) could probably use a vacation – or a complete career change. Once known for his life-saving efforts, he’s now haunted by ghosts. This Martin Scorsese flick is a scary, psychedelic trip that’ll confirm you were never cut out to be a first responder.
Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles into the underbelly of videography and begins listening to police scanners at night, then racing to the scene to capture footage of the aftermath of murders, fires, car accidents, and miscellany gore to sell to a news station with an “if it bleeds, it leads” ethos. The gig changes Louis, and soon he’s interfering in the crime scenes as much as he’s documenting them.
'There Will Be Blood'
Ruthless oil man Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) will let nothing interfere with his money-making schemes. He sets his sights on Little Boston, California, and begins to convince residents to sell their oil-rich land to him. A local preacher, Eli Sunday, is tempted by the prospect of funds for a new church, but suspects Plainview’s promises aren’t as deliverable as they seem, and the two brutally butt heads as each of them struggles to achieve his goals.
'A Few Good Men'
After a death on a Guantanamo Marine base, Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a plea-bargin-happy attorney, is assigned to defend the Marines involved, but investigator Lieutenant Commander Jo Galloway (Demi Moore) believes the death can be traced back to orders given by an intimidating base commander, Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson). Now her challenge is to convince Kaffee that the case deserves to go to court and to get Jessup to admit he ordered the Marine be killed. This courtroom thriller is a powder keg of a film -- and will make you glad you're working a desk job rather than humping it in the armed forces.
'Up In The Air'
Ryan Bingham’s (George Clooney) job is to fire people, a task he excels at and prefers to do face-to-face, requiring constant travel that’s garnered him almost 10 million frequent flyer miles. When newbie corporate downsizer Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) suggests they do the dirty work via videoconferencing instead, Bingham drags her along on his travels to show her that despite the spirit-crushing interactions with the suddenly unemployed, it’s the most humane way to give employees the boot. By the end of the film, however, Bingham starts questioning everything he does, including his no-strings-attached arrangement with fellow jet-setter Alex (Vera Farmiga).
Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is sick and tired of his safe, suburban life. At 42, he quits his advertising executive job in a bold and demanding way most employees only dream of and starts working at a fast-food joint instead. That one change spurs on others: he buys a vintage car, gets into running and weight-lifting, starts smoking weed again, stands up to his domineering wife, and (creep alert) crushes on his teenage daughter’s best friend. It would seem that quitting his job was the best decision Lester ever made...until the film takes a sinister turn.
Three dudes (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis) plot to murder their respective bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell) in this raunchy, brazen, and expletive-laden comedy. PSA: quitting, whether it's your job or your dumb hit-man plan, is always an option.
Sisters Rose (Amy Adams) and Norah (Emily Blunt) launch a crime-scene cleanup business to help raise money so that Rose’s son can go to private school. Though the subject matter is dark, the comedic duo keeps the movie light and serves as a reminder that even in the worst of jobs, the right co-worker can make all the difference.