This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is workplace movies. If you haven't taken part in this event, the gameplay dynamic is really quite simple. Each week she picks a different theme, and participants have to list three movies that fit that theme. It's pretty straight forward in theory, though in practice sometimes deciding on the movies can prove difficult, as was the case for this week's theme. The workplace can be a very effective setting for movies, but what exactly defines a "workplace"? She never gave any specific definitions for what qualified, so I would assume it means films that deal with the everyday pressures of the "workplace" in the form of a specific job. I was never given any specific rules about what sort of jobs were acceptable for this list, so I'm just going to pull out some unusual choices, two of which highlight jobs I don't expect any of the other participants will think of.
Living in Oblivion (1995)
Well, here's something that one might not normally think of when they envision the "workplace", but it is still a place where people work and one that can be quite tedious: filmmaking. As someone with experience in this area, I can say that many of the amateur films I've made with literally no budget were extremely stressful to make. I've already got more than a few stories about the difficulties I faced when filming my high school short film In the Line of Duty. Of course, that was a film in which I had to do everything (I had to be the director, writer, cinematographer, editor, and camera operator) with very little experience using actors who had even less experience making movies, and I had virtually no budget. You'd think with a group of professionals who actually knew what they were doing it would be easier, right? Wrong. Living in Oblivion is all about that side of filmmaking, showing the stress and difficulties faced by a film crew just shooting a single scene, let alone an entire movie.
American Splendor (2003)
Okay, if you really want to be technical, this one isn't necessarily about the workplace itself, but it is a curious look at how one man is affected by it. In this case, the film is inspired by real events, even going as far as to emphasize it by having some of the real people the characters are based on appear as themselves sometimes. The central character of Harvey Pekar is an everyman who has a boring office job, but he manages to find one... unusual way of coping with it: by writing comics. Basically, Pekar has this philosophy that real life makes great fiction, and he made a surprisingly popular series of comics that were literally just about his boring job.
End of Watch (2012)
Yes, there is sort of a sub-plot about angry gangsters but really this film is about the side of police work that movies often overlook. Often being a cop is seen as an exciting job with lots of action, but that's not all it is. After all, while police are expected to show up at crimes and address the criminals appropriately, there are other aspects of the job, such as the extensive amount of paperwork involved. End of Watch hardly skips on the action but what makes it interesting is that it emphasizes the boring side of being a cop, seeing as a large portion of it is just the two main characters sitting in their squad car basically waiting for something to do, as well as their day-to-day relationships with each other and their fellow officers.