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.