You have to love Labor Day, the holiday that celebrates the American worker by giving us the day off. You’ve earned the break, so why not spend your Labor Day weekend firing up the backyard theater system? Here are a few movies set in the workplace to remind you of what you’re missing, for better or for worse:
Office Space – You knew we’d have to include this one. Mike Judge’s darkly comical look at the life and times of a “cubicle farm” strikes a chord in many of us who feel overwhelmed by paperwork and dream of finding some way out.
Nine to Five – This 80’s comedy stars Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda as three female employees who seek revenge against their despicable boss (Dabney Coleman). This goofy farce will put a smile on your face.
Wall Street – For a close-up view of the dark underside of insider trading, look no further than Oliver Stone’s drama starring Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas and Darryl Hannah. “Greed is good” — or is it?
Modern Times – For a vintage film that makes entertaining comments about a mechanized workplace, you can’t do better than this classic Charlie Chaplin comedy. Released in 1936 with sound effects and music but no spoken dialogue, it’s a hilarious display of a brilliant comedian at his best.
Norma Rae – Based on a true story, this 1979 film tells the tale of a worker in a North Carolina textile factory who fights to get the workers unionized. Sally Field won an Oscar for her portrayal of Norma Rae Webster.
As usual, check the ratings and family-friendliness of these or other movies before organizing your own Labor Day film festival. And then — have fun!