What's better than spending a few hours — or, you know, a whole day — watching movies instead of actually going to work? Nothing. Except for maybe watching movies about working and still not going to work. I'm going to let you in a secret little algorithm here, in case you're not picking up what I'm throwing down: Movies > work, and movies about work > movies > work.
There's something creatively inspiring about the banality of the workplace, which is probably why it serves as such a solid baseline for so many really good films. Sure, often times the tropes are the same — work sucks, life is hard, etc., etc. — but that doesn't mean each of these stories don't bring something fresh and new to the table. If nothing else, they can make you feel #blessed for not having the world's worst boss or not being stuck in a job you hate. And if that is your scenario, maybe they'll inspire you to make a change.
So if you have a day off, or maybe just took a day off to relax and unwind, allow yourself to escape into the often crazy, always intriguing workplace narratives of these films.
His Girl Friday (1940)
Even though it was one of the first ever, His Girl Friday will always be the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies. (Mostly because, well, Cary Grant.) It follows the story of a newspaper editor (Grant) as he tries to keep his ex-wife (and fellow reporter) from remarrying. It's especially interesting to watch now, as we see the all too familiar storyline of a woman trying to decide between work and love.
The Kevin Smith cult classic that launched him into stardom doesn’t disappoint. For a certain generation, this film defined the struggle of being young and a bit lost. It’s a humble film about two convenience store clerks, and though that concept might feel a bit dated to you, its genuine honesty is timeless.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
One of the most interesting, albeit oddest, films to date. If you want to lose yourself within the wild mind of Charlie Kaufman, let this be your jumping off point.
The Good Girl (2002)
This is a dark, dramatic, and — I'm not going to lie to you — sort of depressing story about two people falling in love while working as store clerks in Texas. But wait! It includes more: A young Jake Gyllenhaal (the opposite of depressing, always) looking gloomy and adorable and unfazed by Hollywood. Plus, it features an incredible, game-changing performance by Jennifer Anniston.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Sure, it sounds like a silly comedy about fashion and maybe satanic worship at first, but don’t write it off as superfluous — it's so much more than that. Thanks to the solid cast (Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt), and their believable performances, it's one worth watching over and over again.
Keri Russell carries this sweet, but quirky, film about a young waitress trying to make a better life for herself...by baking pies. Just the right amount of witty and self-aware, it never crosses over to the dark side of saccharine.
Though it flew relatively low under the radar, this small film has a big cast: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, and even Ben Affleck all star in this flick about a factory that produces flower extract, and the personal/professional demise of its employees.
Horrible Bosses (2011)
Besides Charlie Day being one of the funniest/best humans on this planet, there’s a Colin Farrell that’s not taking himself too seriously (ahem, True Detective Season 2), and a really foul-mouthed Jennifer Aniston. Win, win, win.
And, whatever you end up watching, remember to enjoy the time off!