Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Work Place Movies


I teach kids for a living. 7th graders. It's hard.

I suppose working in a school is much like working anywhere else. We have our dramas, our follies, our disagreements. We laugh a lot, too.

We spend most of our day, though, with the future. We try our best to fill these kids with positivity and intellect and at least a little bit of drive and determination. I teach English. Pulling out themes and discussing them is what I was born to do. I know it. I think this is why I love doing these posts.

So, this week on Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, it's Work Place Movies.


Here are mine:

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997)


The Business: Jack's House. He makes exotic pictures.

No water cooler banter in Jack's house. Just lots of blow. Movies get shot from time-to-time. Such a slick, fun, exhilarating piece of genius. His second feature film, Paul Thomas Anderson just throws every single influence of his life at the screen (mostly an ode to Scorsese a la Raging Bull. I mean, the final scene is a blatant ripoff with a "massive" twist.) P.T. loves the camera, and we love what he does with it. The soundtrack is immense and perfect on many levels. The performances from Wahlberg, Reilly, Hoffman, Reynolds, Moore, Macy, Tom Jane: Awesome! That scene at the end with Alfred Molina and the "Jesse's Girl" and Night Ranger and firecrackers and shotguns. Just the most amazing thing ever!

Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)


Work Place: Initech

Sort of an obvious choice, but it's the first one that came to mind, so here it is. I'm pretty sure everybody of my generation quotes this movie regularly. I can't tell you how many times I refer to people as "No talent ass clowns." Or maybe a little "I tell ya what I'd do. Two chicks at the same time, man" or maybe you need some more "pieces of flare." Mike Judge is a brilliant comedy mind. He gets right to the truth of the everyday and mundane and, with this one, made a shitty cubicle existence something miraculously funny and memorable. 

Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)


Work Place: The Offices of The San Fransisco Chronicle

The Lake Berryessa scene about a quarter of the way into David Fincher's true crime masterpiece is the single most terrifying scene I've encountered in any movie. And this one of the most affecting pieces of cinema out there. As Fincher is wont to do, he plays his own desire for order by telling a methodical story about men obsessed with their work. That work is investigation. The meat of the story deals with a hotshot, drunken crime reporter (a career performance from Robert Downey, Jr.) and a puzzle-obsessed political cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) at the San Francisco Chronicle in the last 1960s/early 1970s as The Zodiac Killer played his murderous games all over The Bay Area. Apart from the daily news beat, there are also the SFPD detectives (Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards) running around in circles trying to catch an uncatchable killer for the better part of a decade. If you want to see a filmmaker at the height of his power, it doesn't get any better than this. 


20 comments:

  1. Zodiac! Great pick, haven't seen the film for a while but I certainly liked it. I went for Office Space as well, still a popular film. It invented a meme which is still going strong.

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  2. I have yet to watch Zodiac, but liked your first two picks! Office Space was my bonus pick this week.

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    1. Watch Zodiac! But be prepared. It is long and methodical and often scary as hell.

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  3. I've seen all of these and enjoy them all. Especially big on Boogie Nights, big -lol, and Office Space. Speaking of Boogie Nights, exotic pictures, huh. That's a nice way of putting it. Great job.

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    1. Haha! I see what you did there. Thanks man.

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  4. Excellent picks! Good call on Zodiac, I never would've thought of that one this week.

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    1. I had it on my mind and it happened to work. Such a great film! My second favorite Fincher after The Social Network. Thanks!

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  5. All of these are not only brilliant picks, they are all brilliant films!

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  6. Funnily enough, I have not seen Office Space, and I really need to get on seeing some Paul Thomas Anderson because I keep hearing about his work but never seem to get around to actually seeing any of his films.

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    1. PT Anderson changed my life as a budding teenaged film buff. His work is just incredible. Office Space is a comedy classic. Must see!

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  7. Boogie Nights and Zodiac are great examples of movies I don't necessarily think of as office movies but really do immerse you in their respective businesses. Great picks!

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  8. Boogie Nights would never have occurred to me but it's very apt. Same with Zodiac. Both fine films though their depressive spirits don't really encourage repeat viewings. I had expected 9 to 5 to be the runaway title this week, surprised I haven't seen it yet but Good Heavens Office Space is everywhere today! A fun and very fitting film.

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    1. True true. Both are long and deep and take a lot out of you. Can't beat Office Space. Genius comedy!

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  9. Nice picks! Love that you went there with Boogie Nights.

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    1. Thanks, man. Someone had to do it. That's a helluva job.

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  10. Great minds think alike. I included Office Space too, and I considered Zodiac. I haven't seen Boogie Nights yet.

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    1. Oh, Irene! See Boogie Nights. It is a boy genius playing with a movie camera, plain and simple.

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