The Courier: 30 days of film - day 5

Our writers recommend the movies in which a character had a job they want.

multiple writers
19th April 2020
Ever watched a movie and realized that one of the characters had your dream job? Our writers discuss the movies that gave them that feeling.

… And Justice for All (1979)

Lawyer films are a wierdly big part of why I decided to choose law as my degree. I fell in love with the idea of the lawyer as a superhero, fighting injustice and freeing the innocent. So naturally there's a wide litany of courtroom dramas I could pick from today, but I'm going with ...And Justice for All with Al Pacino, my favorite actor, as Arthur Kirkland. A passionate, morally pure lawyer with downtrodden clients that need him, Arthur faces a crisis of conscience when he is forced to defend a judge he has animosity towards over rape charges he very well might be guilty of.

The movie is a saddening look at the judicial system, exposing countless flaws and injustices that plague it، and doesn't really have a happy ending. Arthur is a good man wrestling with a dozen moral dilemmas constantly and although he tries his best, things don't always go his way. It's full of heartbreaking moments and explosive performances by Al Pacino. He's on top form as always , giving one of the best performances of his lifetime with Arthur. The entire supporting cast is also stellar, with notable mention to Jeffrey Tambor in his debut role as Arthur's partner, and Jack Warden as a gun-toting suicidal judge.

The movie is a must-see, especially for law students. Watch it, if only to witness that gloriously explosive final courtroom monologue.

Muslim Taseer

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

I am going to throw it back here to To Kill a Mockingbird, the book you probably all studied at GCSE. But the film is also amazing too!

Atticus Finch, a lawyer who fights for the rights of black people in a world that is prejudice towards them, is my inspiration. Defying all expectations in his society, Atticus had a profound sense of what was right and what was wrong. Going against the grain of society to seek justice, he dismissed the popular view that he was wasting his time fighting for his client. But this did not deter him. His determination and moral compass motivated him to carry out his job, and that is what I would love to do. I would love to be a solicitor, and being able to work to seek justice in a world that unfairly treats marginalised people is my ultimate dream. 

Sophie Wilson

Patch Adams (1998)

I’m not saying I’m training to become a doctor because of a film… But. If there were a film to convince you to do such a thing it’s this one. The film is packed with heart and beautifully executed by the great Robin Williams. It tells the touching true story of Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams a physician with a special knack to not only cure his patients but to make them smile. He was a ground-breaking man and this film does him justice and much more. It’s funny, unique and tackles the everyday struggle of those who are sick. This film did seriously change my career path forever (not the only reason don’t worry) but to see someone on screen with the presence that William’s has was special to me. To see the changes that he makes to people’s lives as their doctor is what makes this film unmissable.

Eve Ducker

The Martian (2015)

Being an astronaut is cool. Being a pirate is very cool. Being a space pirate? The coolest without a shadow of a doubt.  You need to look no further for evidence than Matt Damon in The Martian. When astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars, as you do, he must use all his skills to survive. Okay, it might not sound like a fun job but it certainly has its benefits even if its only a few. Firstly, the job title itself is probably one of the coolest in job title history. Secondly, you get to be the first person to do a lot of things like grow potatoes on a non-hospitable planet so you get at least a few awards named after you. Seen as though we are all self-isolating why not do it in style by being on a completely different planet. While everyone else is trapped to the confines of their homes, you have an entire planet to yourself to do whatever you want and have literally no chance of catching coronavirus. It might not be an easy job being a space pirate but it certainly is rewarding in many ways. The biggest, of course, being massive clout for surviving, alone, on a foreign alien planet. Try and get your friends to top that.

George Bell

Skate Kitchen (2018)

Ignoring the fact that her actual paying job is a supermarket cashier, Camille’s job in this film might as well be being a very cool, stylish, funny, gorgeous, amazing skateboarder who hangs around doing tricks and generally being cool with her all-girl skateboarding gang in New York.

This is a fictional film based around and featuring a real-life skating crew who director Crystal Moselle met on the subway, which gives it a lovely realism and documentary-like feel. The shots are gorgeous and the non-professional actors absorb you; I think the plot of family fall-outs and trying to get a boyfriend is almost redundant, because I could have easily watched an hour of them laughing about tampons and skating effortlessly on top of the world down sunlit city streets.

Hopefully it’s clear from this that I’m in love with the whole crew and am currently learning to skate as an attempt to be even half that cool.

Leonie Bellini

The Stuart Hall Project (2013)

The Stuart Hall Project is a documentary accounting the life and thought of Jamaican-born British cultural theorist Stuart Hall. 

Stuart Hall is considered to be one of the foremost thinkers on the British left in the 20th century and is widely regarded as one of the founders of Cultural Studies as an academic field. He was born into a middle-class family in Jamaica in 1932 and came over to Britain as part of the Windrush generation in order to study at Oxford University. It was there in 1960 he became a co-founder and editor of the New Left Review, an influential publication of left-wing thinkers who sought a new form of Marxist politics removed from the militaristic state-socialism of the USSR. Afterwards he moved to Birmingham University to head the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and brought to the fore the issues of race and gender that had eluded the field for so long.  

Stuart Hall, the new left, and cultural studies are all extremely influential on my world view, and comprise a lot of what I'm interested in. The documentary, comprised of archival footage and audio of Hall over the music of Miles Davis, is a thoughtful look at one of Britain’s most intelligent and important modern academics. 

Tom Leach

Dead Poets Society (1989)

I've literally spent all day wracking my mind for a film with a book publisher in it and I literally could not come up with any. So, if you're reading this, please leave a comment with film recommendations with characters who are book publishers if you know of any!

Anyway, instead of my current ideal job, I opted for Dead Poets Society, in particular the role of English teacher John Keating (played by the wonderful Robin Williams). Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to teach and with English literature being my passion, it was always going to be English. As I grew older, I came to realise the negatives of teaching with my Mam being one herself and simply hating the job. Dead Poets Society further reinforces this at the end of the film as we see Keating leave in possibly the saddest ending in cinematic history.

Anyway, enough of the dwelling. Keating in this film offers a perspective of English that expands his students minds, allowing us to think for ourselves, establish our own opinions and be passionate. For me, that is what teaching is all about and whatever creative industry I do end up in, I hope to spread the same powerful message Keating does in Dead Poets Society: SEIZE THE DAY! I hope in my future career I can establish the bond Keating does with his students, inspire their minds and increase a passion for literature and reading in young adults in an increasing age in which books and literature are becoming less influential in children's lives.

Lucy Lillystone

Scooby-Doo (2002)

Shaggy has an absolute whale of a time in Scooby-Doo.

He gets to work alongside a dog. I think that’s pretty darn cool. He also get some to work alongside all his best friends - even if they do sometimes fall out. And his job always seems to include eating a suspiciously large quantity of delicious food - even being allowed to gorge on Scooby Snacks.

What sets Shaggy’s job in this film apart from the tasks he undertakes in the TV series is that in Scooby Doo, he gets to do it on Spooky Island. He solves crimes with his gang, not in the middle of a farm, a derelict village or an abandoned mansion, but on a holiday island where everyone dances, sings, drinks at the funky bar, and just generally has a whole lot of fun.

Of course, it’s unclear whether the meddling kids actually get paid for solving all these crimes - the way that Scooby and Shaggy seem to clamber feverishly for any free food on offer suggests otherwise, but whether Shaggy is actually capable of holding down any permanent employment than doesn’t involve accidentally solving crimes while eating dog food with a Great Dane seems quite impossible to me.

Grace Dean

It Chapter Two (2019)

A lot of people have been picking characters with crazy jobs, which I was very close to doing myself. However, I decided to stick to real life for this one. Now I know what you're thinking, IT is a horror movie about a clown. And no, that's not the job I'm referring to. Stay with me here, I promise it makes sense.

This long awaited sequel follows the Losers Club all grown up when they're called back to Derry to defeat shape shifting clown Pennywise once and for all. We meet adult Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) who has become a successful novelist and screenwriter. This is especially important in the book of IT, as we see Bill dealing with his childhood by writing horror fiction. The key to him truly succeeding in the end was the closure of Pennywise finally being gone for good. It's a great little side arc for his character, and it always stuck with me. Bill was never even my favourite from the franchise, but I have come to appreciate him through this and I would love to have his job. Please. I'd be able to write better endings than him.

Amy Brown

You've Got Mail (1998)

Because I couldn’t find a film about a film journalist at Empire, I’ve resorted to the Nora Ephron 1998 classic rom-com You’ve Got Mail – because not only would I like a good 90% of Meg Ryan’s wardrobe from this film, but her job as owner of ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ means she’s surrounded by books. Such heaven. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love through email, despite – unbeknownst to the both of them – Hanks being the owner of ‘Fox Books’, the giant rival bookstore that threatens the closure of Ryan’s independent bookshop. And it’s set at Christmas time so it’s extra magical; but not. a. Christmas. film.

It’s adorable, cosy and is sure to pass a few hours. Lockdown led me to finally re-organise my book shelves like the true nerd I am, and whilst a copy of Anna Karenina did almost land on my head, You’ve Got Mail is one of those films that reminds me why I love reading… yes, even you, Tolstoy.  

Harriet Metcalfe

Spy Kids (2001)

In terms of life aspirations, I have no idea what I want to do. However, there is a job in a film that I would not mind: the Spy Kids (2001). Yes, there are some cool spies out there, but none quite compete with the magic of Spy Kids. James Bond? Meh. Carmen Elizabeth Juanita Costa-Brava Cortez? A literal genius. Juni, well, Juni's just Juni.

Although their parents are cool (ANTONIO BANDERAS!) in the first film, and the other films really, they don't do tons because -shocker- the film is about Spy Kids. So, if I'm discussing the first film I would rather be a spy kid, rather than a spy adult who is held hostage. I know I wouldn't technically be a kid, but hey, I certainly do not have the mind of an adult.

I would love Carmen and Juni's job. Okay, maybe not the negatives of the job, like their parents being kidnapped by their favourite television host. But, being told that your parents are famous spies and that you need to go on a spy mission would be incredible. Being a spy sounds like great entertainment, especially in this quarantine where all I want to do is walk outside. So, imagine being a spy! That would be like Christmas every day with all the new gadgets you would get!

I won't ever be able to afford a house, but if I did, I hope that my house would have a secret submarine like the Spy Kids. I would also love to kick one of the Thumb-Thumbs in its...nail? I guess it's not a head? Not sure how those things can see, to be honest. Oh, and all the spy gadgets would be very beneficial to my everyday life. A jetpack would allow me to socially isolate whilst outside at least! As a kid, I envied their lives and as an adult, I pine for their job. It's 2020, why don't I have my own spy plane?

Sophie Hicks

All images credit: IMDB

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