A List: What’s Your Favorite Career Inspiration Movie?


By J.T. O’Donnell

I love movies. Especially, funny ones. I’ve never been into horror or gore flicks. And after having kids, I tend to shy away from anything depressing. I’m an optimist by nature and trying to stay that way. Thus, when there’s time for a movie in my life, it’s usually a comedy…and I’m talking bad boy/girl humor at that. I’m sure I’m going to lose a few readers when they learn my movie tastes are generally, shall we say, not that intellectually challenging. Yet, it’s time I came clean. I love movies like Dodgeball, Superbad and Old School. They just make me belly laugh out loud. All of them involve the underdog winning – my kind of flick.

This weekend, I’m going to have a chance to watch a movie in peace. A rare luxury for me these days. Hubby’s out of town, kids in bed, Smartfood and Vitamin Water on my lap – and the big screen all to myself. When I thought of a new movie to rent – I went blank. So, it occurred to me that I should ask for some suggestions. Then I had an idea: What if I invite readers to help me make a comprehensive list of career-related movies that people should be watching right now? You know, movies that have the right message and inspiration for our current job climate.

Funny or serious, I want to know from all of you what films can help us get in the right mindset to deal with this crummy economy and bad job outlook. Let’s hear it! Based on your feedback, I might even post a vote and create the ‘Top 10 Career Movies to Watch in 2009.’ Sound good? Okay then, post your movie pics below to help us get started.


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  1. I see them everywhere too – it's got to be a professional side effect to us both being career strategists.

    Bee Movie is a good one – the graduation scene is one of my favorites.

    My hubby and I just took our girls to see Bedtime Stories. Adam Sandler grew up in the town next to us. It does have a wonderful message!

  2. I see them everywhere too – it's got to be a professional side effect to us both being career strategists.

    Bee Movie is a good one – the graduation scene is one of my favorites.

    My hubby and I just took our girls to see Bedtime Stories. Adam Sandler grew up in the town next to us. It does have a wonderful message!

    • I see them everywhere too – it's got to be a professional side effect to us both being career strategists.

      Bee Movie is a good one – the graduation scene is one of my favorites.

      My hubby and I just took our girls to see Bedtime Stories. Adam Sandler grew up in the town next to us. It does have a wonderful message!

    • I love Jane Fonda in that movie. And it was Dolly Parton's break out role, wasn't it? In fact, I'm trying to remember the name of the movie Dolly did where she was a country girl who came to the city and became a radio advice show host. Does anyone remember the name of that movie? Her name was 'Dr. Shirley' in it. My mind's blanking…

      Thanks for the contribution Susan!

  3. Like you, I gravitate towards funny, uplifting movies. This is my list of movies that I enjoy and may help others get in the right mindset to deal with harsh economy and give hope in today’s trying job market.

    Office Space: I just watched this movie last night on cable and it never ceases to make me laugh. Ron Livingston plays office drone Peter Gibbons, who conspires with his cubicle cohorts to embezzle money from their soulless employers. With help and hindrance from those around him — including the eminently quotable workplace nerd Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) — and the affection of waitress Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), Gibbons may just find his sanity … and his revenge.

    Clockwatchers: Four women — Iris (Toni Collette), Paula (Lisa Kudrow), Margaret (Parker Posey) and Jane (Alanna Ubach) — work as temps at Global Credit, a stoic, faceless megacorporation where their shared employment status creates a natural affinity among them. The quartet's sense of camaraderie crumbles, however, when another woman lands a choice assignment, things begin to vanish from the workplace, and mistrust and paranoia shred their relationship.

    The Devil Wears Prada: After taking a job in the Big Apple as assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep, in an Oscar-nominated role), small-town girl Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is thrilled — at first. But the magic soon wears off, leaving Andrea feeling battered and used — and wondering whether working for the boss from hell will pay off.

    Miracle: Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) takes a ragtag band of college hockey players and molds them into team that did the impossible – they beat the Soviet Union and won Olympic gold at Lake Placid in 1980.

    Fun With Dick and Jane: After losing their high-paying corporate jobs, Jane and Dick Harper (Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni) turn to crime — robbing banks — to maintain their standard of living.

    • Awesome list Rose! Clockwatchers is new to me – thanks for the tip, I like Toni Colllette – it's now on my list to see.

      I completely forgot about Miracle – such a great story.

      I just saw Fun With dick and Jane for the first time over the holidays – hilarious!

      I'm now going to have to go buy more Smartfood and Vitamin Water XXX for this weekend, I feel a movie marathon coming on!

  4. It's not really a “job” movie, but inspires me to stay focused and do whatever I need to do to get what I want – and that's got to be the movie “Rudy”. That kid was so determined and organized his life and his way of thinking that nothing was going to stop him from getting into Notre Dame and getting on the team.
    Some days, you have to be Rudy!

    • YES! That is an ideal choice. The fact that it's based on true events makes it even sweeter. A bunch of great stars in that movie too. I'm a huge Vince Vaughn fan. Nice call!

    • Of course, John! If you've got more than one, let's hear them. “The Devil Wears Prada” is a good one. I never get tired of hearing Merrill say “That's All.”

      • I always get choked up when she turns around at the end and…oops: no one there. It usually halts my channel surfing whenever I need reminding that I too have the power to shake off the dog collar.

  5. I'm old school – love the black and whites. One of my favorites is “His Girl Friday”. Rosalind Russell is giving up her job as a reporter to be a housewife. Cary Grant spends his day convincing her that it's in her blood and she can't give it up. In the end, she finds her true passion and calling in life – in the newsroom and not the kitchen. And if you want to see another strong female – check out Katherine Hepburn with Spencer Tracy in “Adam's Rib”. They are both lawyers squaring off on a case and courtroom dramas spill over into the homefront.

    • Oh Jen, you definitely have my interest with these. I haven't seen either one and I'm known in my family for not speaking to people who try to talk to me when I get caught up in an old B&W flick. Sounds like these would bring that out in me. True story – once I called in and said I was 'stuck in traffic' and would be an hour late just so I could finish watching a B&W film. This was back before DVR and Tivo – so I knew I wouldn't see the movie again for a while and couldn't stand to miss it. Okay – so don't tell anyone now. :)

  6. The first movie I thought of after reading this post is “Office Space”. If you haven't seen it then you need to. It's basically about a bunch of guys who are just sick and tired of their jobs. It's a clever movie because so many people can relate to it.

    I think the following discussion (direct quotes from the movie) really helps to sum up what this movie is all about:

    Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.
    Bob Porter: Don't… don't care?
    Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my butt off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime; so where's the motivation? And here's something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
    Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
    Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
    Bob Slydell: Eight?
    Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled; that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

    • That is a funny movie Greg and a favorite of mine – and that scene is fabulous. A friend just e-mailed me suggesting it as well, but wondered if it was a negative film and didn't meet my criteria for the list. I actually think films like that inspire us to look for work with meaning, regardless of what people think of the job. So, I'd definitely count it as a good choice. Thanks for posting!

  7. Legally Blonde- I know it sounds silly, but I love how Elle stays true to herself and that's how she eventually succeeds… gets me every time!

    • That's great! Her video for Harvard is hilarious! Technically, we could say she was an early adopter of personal branding. Thanks for the contribution Amy!

    • I love Melanie Griffith in that movie. The final scene is my favorite – nice call! Plus, I always crack up when I watch older movies like that and the technology is outdated. Cell phones the size of bricks always make me chuckle.

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