Cap the Hawaiian Tropic, winterize the seersucker and hang up the Havaianas: The end of summer is upon us like a flannel sheet. But Labor Day is more than just back-to-school sales and the season’s last big cookout—it’s about workers. So take a moment to reflect on the social and economic contributions of the working class with some of the films that have given new meaning to the phrase "tough day at the office."
9 to 5 (1980)
The setup: Three office workers (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton) seeks to get even with their sexist sleazeball boss (Dabney Coleman).
Line please: Dolly: If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!
Critical commentary: Roger Ebert wrote that Dolly Parton "is, on the basis of this one film, a natural-born movie star, a performer who holds our attention so easily that it’s hard to believe it’s her first film."
Did you know? With box office sales exceeding $100 million, 9 to 5 is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film.
Training Day (2001)
The setup: Highly decorated yet brutal and corrupt L.A. narcotics detective (Denzel Washington) takes rookie (Ethan Hawke) on his first day of training, which involves murder, mayhem and PCP-laden marijuana.
Line please: Denzel: You disloyal, fool-ass, bitch-made punk.
Critical commentary: Roger Ebert described Denzel’s character as "the meanest, baddest narcotics cop in the city—a dude who cruises the mean streets in his confiscated customized Caddy, extracting tribute and accumulating graft like a medieval warlord shaking down his serfs."
Did you know? Bruce Willis, Tom Sizemore and Gary Sinise were offered the role that Denzel Washington eventually took on.
The setup: A New Jersey convenience store retail clerk (Brian O’Halloran) slacks off on the job while the boss is on vacation.
Line please: Brian O’Halloran: I love your sexy talk. It’s so kindergarten. "Poo poo." "Wee wee."
Critical commentary: "The movie has the attitude of a gas station attendant who tells you to check your own oil." — Roger Ebert
Did you know? Shot for $27,575 in the convenience and video stores where director Kevin Smith worked in real life, the flm grossed over $3 million at the box office.
The setup: A low-level government employee (Jonathan Pryce) daydreams about saving a damsel in distress while trying to function in Terry Gilliam’s retro-futuristic, hyper-consumerist dystopia.
Line please: Jonathan Pryce: Sorry, I’m a bit of a stickler for paperwork. Where would we be if we didn’t follow the correct procedures?
Critical commentary: "The most potent piece of satiric political cinema since Dr. Strangelove." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Did you know? Brazil was River Phoenix’s favorite film.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
The setup: A frumpy college grad (Anne Hathaway) gets a job working for an imperious fashion magazine editor (Meryl Streep) purportedly inspired by real-life U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Line please: Meryl Streep: Details of your incompetence do not interest me.
Critical commentary: Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers called Streep’s performance "a comic and dramatic tour de force."
Did you know? Though Anna Wintour wasn’t invited to the film’s premiere, she attended an advance press screening, dressed in (what else?) Prada.
Office Space (1999)
The setup: A worker (Ron Livingston) stuck in a mind-numbing cubicle job seeks way to escape his situation and get revenge on his boss (Gary Cole).
Line please: Ron Livingston: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Critical commentary: "If you’ve ever had a job, you’ll be amused by this paean to peons." — Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today
Did you know? Entertainment Weekly ranked this cult classic fifth on its list of "25 Great Comedies From the Past 25 Years."