We take a look at some of the worst jobs ever shown in the movies…
This week, THE INTERNSHIP is released in Irish cinemas, and interning is not the professional position that Nick (Owen Wilson) and Billy (Vince Vaughn) thought they would find themselves in their 40s; even if the company they are interning with is Google, which seems to have one of the coolest office campuses in the world. This job change comedy got inspired us to take a look back at the worst jobs shown on the silver screen…
Anyone who has worked in retail will tell you that dealing with customers, management and colleagues is not always the most pleasant working environment; CLERKS certainly did nothing to dissuade audiences from that notion. During the course of one day, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) has to deal with the shutters of the store being stuck, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) dealing weed outside the store, Randal (Jeff Graves) accidentally selling cigarettes to an underage kid (leading to Dante being fined) the memorial service for his ex-girlfriend and someone dying in the store’s bathroom. Kevin Smith’s look at a day in the life of a convenience store worker encompasses every bad experience that a clerk may have in a lifetime of service, and is loosely based on The Divine Comedy by Dante, and there are nine cuts in the film to represent the nine circles of hell. Honourable mention: Jennifer Aniston’s dead end job at the Retail Rodeo in THE GOOD GIRL.
Similar to the retail industry, fast food workers have the added trouble of having the deal with customers who are picky about their food. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) in AMERICAN BEAUTY did not have to work in the fast food industry, since he had just blackmailed his office manager for $60,000, but his mid life crisis led to him trying to fulfil the dreams he had as a teenager, and he romanticised the notion of ‘flipping burgers’ for a living. Of course, he gets the ultimate revenge on his cheating wife Carolyn (Annette Bening), when he discovers her at the drive through, passionately kissing Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher). Unlike perhaps anyone who has worked in the food service industry, Lester Burnham romanticised his work – and was probably high all the time – so he seems to have enjoyed his job. Honourable mention: Dante and Randal’s move into the fast food industry in CLERKS 2.
Working at a theme park must be like a heightened version of any customer service work. Not only must workers be super chipper all the time, but they have to entice customers of the park to play games and go on rollercoasters. Sounds exhausting. The employees at ADVENTURELAND are made up of Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds and Kristen Stewart, but they seem to be the unhappiest theme park workers on the planet, especially those who are saddled with the Games booths. They do, however, manage to have fun out of hours, mainly with one another and copious amounts of alcohol, but their jobs are certainly not the main source of enjoyment in their lives. Honourable mention: NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, specifically beleagured security guard, Rus Lasky (John Candy), who is forced to show Clark (Chevy Chase) and his family around a closed theme park.
We are delighted that our jobs at Movies.ie are so entertaining; there are many movie office workers who are not nearly as lucky as we are… In FIGHT CLUB, the narrator (Edward Norton) is so disenchanted with his life, apartment and job that when he meets the charismatic Tyler Durden he is only too happy to set up underground fight clubs for office drones such as himself to fight away their frustration. The Narrator’s defining moment with his job comes after he consistently turns up for work in various states of disrepair and eventually gets himself a new position as ‘outside consultant’ upon beating himself up in his boss’s office. Perhaps The Narrator’s way out of office life is extreme, but there are certainly plenty of jobs that could make the worker resort to violence. Honourable mention: Lester Burnham in AMERICAN BEAUTY (again); his passive aggressiveness in his office job is darkly comic and his method of getting a decent severance package is not too dissimilar to the Narrator’s.
CRIME SCENE CLEANER
OK, this may be one of the less common of jobs, but surely the cleaners have to come in after every major movie bloodbath? In SUNSHINE CLEANING, Rose (Amy Adams) and Nora (Emily Blunt) discover that there is a lot of money to be made in cleaning up after the deceased. That said, cleaning up death scenes is a lot less appealing than any of the horrible jobs listed above, and it is not long before Rose and Nora find themselves dealing with blood splatter, disgusting mattresses that need to be destroyed and the emotional impact of cleaning the house of someone who has recently passed away. Honourable mention: The Wolf in PULP FICTION, whose clean up work is decidedly fast, and not strictly legal.
What do you think are the worst movie jobs? Prostitution (PRETTY WOMAN)? Flight Attendant (JACKIE BROWN)? Corporate Downsizer (UP IN THE AIR)? Let us know in the comments below.
THE INTERNSHIP is released in Irish cinemas on July 3rd