Labor Day Lovin’: Six Films That Will Make You Appreciate Your Job

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.

Clerks (1994)

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.

Brazil (1985)

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."

Celebrate Boss’s Day Like a Boss With These Cinematic Honchos

It’s that time of year again: Boss’s Day. (What’s that, you ask? When is Employee’s Day? Everyday is Employee’s Day! Now shut up and get back to work, you peons!) (Yes, one could say I am blogging like a boss today.) To celebrate, here’s a list of the best bosses in movie history. "Best," of course, is a relative term, but hey, this is the internet and all I know is that I’m the boss of listicles today, so deal with it or you’re fired. 

1. Sigourney Weaver as Katharine Parker in Working Girl

2. Dabney Coleman as Franklin M. Hart, Jr. in 9 to 5

3. Diana Rigg as Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper
diana rigg

4. Christopher Walken as Max Shreck in Batman Returns

5. Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

6. Bette Midler as Sadie Shelton in Big Business

7. Michael Keaton as Captain Gene Mauch in The Other Guys

8. Garry Marshall as Walter Harvey in A League of Their Own

9. Dan Hedaya as Richard Nixon in Dick

10. Harvey Keitel as Matthew "Sport" Higgins in Taxi Driver

11. Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in In the Loop

12. Anthony LaPaglia as Joe Reaves in Empire Records

13. Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail

14. Maggie Smith as Mother Superior in Sister Act

15. John Cusack as Rob Gordon in High Fidelity

16. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

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Lauren Weisberger Announces Sequel to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Someone begin preparing Meryl Streep for her glorious role reprisal—sure, Lauren Weisberger’s sequel to The Devil Wears Prada may not even be complete yet, let alone be remotely ready for a film, even even, but Miranda Priestly and her former underlings are back. Weisberger’s sequel to her bestselling novel, which first hits stands nearly a decade ago (whoa), will be published by Simon & Schuster and released in April of 2013.

The second novel, with the B-movie-esque title of Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, finds Andy Sachs eight years out from her nightmare job at Runway and the clutches of Not Anna Wintour, now working at a hip bridal magazine alongside rival-turned-bestie Emily. As the release tells us: "Andy is madly in love with Max, a dashing scion of a storied media company, and planning to tie the knot.  But Andy is still haunted by her days at Runway, and the specter of Miranda Priestly. Andy can hardly know that all her efforts to build a bright new life will lead her directly to the one she fled — and into the path of Miranda." 

On a slightly related note, while searching for a good clip from the film to close out on, we discovered that there is also a band called The Devil Wears Prada. They are a Christian metalcore band from Dayton, Ohio and adapted Weisberger’s title with a more spiritual / day of judgment connotation. They also have a pretty intense screamo cover of Big Tymers’ Southern rap classic, "Still Fly." You’re welcome, everyone. 

Model Diary: Chartreuse, Burnt Pumpkin & Honeysuckle

Hoary holidays from Canada! All this cold and gray makes me yearn for the warm and color from Miami two weeks ago. I went down for a day to shoot Marie Claire, and even though it was chilly by Florida standards, it was radiant compared to this frozen abyss. I hate to talk about the weather though, so let’s get to that second point that made the shoot so significant: color. One thing that was made clear to me yet again during this shoot was that people in the fashion industry have an acute understanding of color. As I changed into each look, the makeup artist and stylist discussed different color options for eye makeup that would complement the clothes. During one particular outfit change, the makeup artist used the word chartreuse to describe the touches of neon yellow in the Dries collection. How beautiful and soft and historic her chartreuse was to my ugly, reductive neon yellow! And I consider myself a woman of words!

Hearing them speak made me realize the baseness and inaccuracy of my own sense of color. Like when Meryl Streep calls out Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada; we shouldn’t be so ignorant to call something blue, when it is in fact cerulean. Those in the fashion industry use and interpret color in a way akin to artists. I touched on this in another post, when I wrote about how makeup and hair are art forms (I am always overwhelmed when I see the palette of colors laid out on the makeup table—so many colors with such subtle differences, yet the artist is so comfortable and decisive about which colors to use and blend). During this shoot, though, I realized that this comfort with color is not unique to the makeup artist, but to anyone who follows style. Understanding the significance of color is just as important as creating with it. To some, the long list of colors may seem like fashion jargon, but I feel like it must be personally enriching to know and identify each hue. Life might seem brighter and more colorful if I could call each tone by name, instead of struggling to articulate between blues.

A literary friend of mine once saw beauty in a term he coined to describe a skirt I was wearing: burnt pumpkin. Yes, he was drunk at the time, and likely on some psychedelic drug, but he seemed so satisfied by his description, as though he had captured some elusive truth in vintage Rodier.

I thought about this importance of color, and of understanding color, on the subway the other day, while reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved (already one of my favorite books, and I’m only halfway through). Color plays such an important role in the protagonists’ lives. It brightens. It revitalizes. It makes life more bearable amidst a dismal reality of dusty grays. And reading such a poignant truth about color on the M train, on a particularly muted day, made me aware of its importance in my own environment. It seems especially crucial now, back in wintry Canada. So, as the days become whiter with snow and darker with earlier sunsets, I’m going to make a concerted effort to acknowledge whatever colors I can find, and hopefully build up my vocabulary with their wonderfully descriptive names. Some beautiful ones to look forward to for spring, according to Pantone’s Fashion Color Report: honeysuckle, coral rose, silver peony, peapod.