It’s the height of the summer and your productivity is dwindling.
You’ve already tried to have a bit more fun in the office–now it’s time to get inspired by the big screen. (Or, like, watch on your phone.)
With that in mind, here’s a list of the best offices in movies. To be clear, these are coolest office environments depicted in films–not necessarily the best office movies, nor the best movies about offices, but specific, fictional places of work that have captured the imagination of the collective American workforce since first flickering before our eyes.
A few basic ground rules: TV shows, naturally, are disqualified. (Sorry, Office and Mad Men fans.) The workplaces in question not only must play a somewhat prominent role in the overall tone and tenor of the film they serve, but also feel, to a certain extent, just… office-y. And, perhaps most importantly, these are places of work where anyone would actually like to work–a point which quite clearly affects the standings of classics like Office Space and Glengarry Glen Ross.
Now, please quit Bogarting the popcorn.
Honorable Mention: Initech, Office Space
First, a moment of silence. Office Space’s influence on the modern American workplace is unequaled; “I believe you have my stapler” became a national meme before memes even existed. Mike Judge’s masterpiece, committed to examining notions of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction as a member of the middle-class workforce, is a comedy classic thanks to a witty script and the banter at Initech offices. The list of things that make Office Space so funny is long and deep: Bill Lumbergh, the very embodiment of the Boss from Hell; Peter, Samir, and Michael Bolton vs. the laser printer; Drew’s “O Face”; Milton.
Unfortunately, as stated above, this is a list about places you’d actually want to be Sooo… yeahhhh.
6) Various British government offices, In the Loop
Those who’ve seen In the Loop–writer/director Armando Iannucci’s feature-length take on The Thick of It, the brilliant BBC series he created and oversaw–may question why anyone would actually want to work in the miserable, gray din of British government offices depicted here. The answer, quite simply, is the opportunity to witness this (warning, NSFW language) on a daily basis:
5 & 5a) Quick Stop and Mooby’s, Clerks/Clerks 2
Dante and Randall’s exploits over the course of a work day at their local New Jersey convenience store are the stuff of legend by now, and the 2006 sequel absolutely matched the original in terms of sheer hilarity. Some may question whether both the Quick Stop and Mooby’s, respectively, constitute “office” environments, but Kevin Smith’s movies are nothing if not meditations on the ennui (and everyday comedy) of working life in the suburbs. Plus, midday pickup street hockey games? Count us in.
4) Capitol Hill, Charlie Wilson’s War
We should begin by noting that the movie mostly takes place both on Capitol Hill and inside Langley, which is always awesome. More specifically, though, the goings-on in Rep. Charlie Wilson’s office evoke a breezy, early-’80s D.C. cool exemplified by the (based-on-real-life) beauty of the congressional aides who surround the congressman. As we’ve explored previously, amazing views can sure inspire employees.
3) KVWN Channel 4 offices, Anchorman
Cons: Sexist, gender-discriminatory undertones (alright, overtones) throughout the workplace.
2) SmartTech, The 40-Year-Old Virgin
This may be a controversially high slot for our friends at SmartTech. Simply put, one of the best comedies of the last decade is also one of the best workplace comedies. Under any other circumstance, a retail gig at a strip-mall electronics store would be a nightmare–a dead-end job if there ever was one. At SmartTech, though, the greatest group of coworkers ever written would not only ensure that you’d never be bored, but they’d approach the task of ending your cold streak and getting you laid with the utmost conviction. Why? Because that’s what coworkers are for. (Warning: NSFW language.)
1) Washington Post HQ, All The President’s Men
Maybe it’s because your listmaker is a journalist who’s feeling sentimental this week. The fact remains that the Watergate-era Washington Post headquarters depicted here, in the on-screen adaptation of the greatest work of American journalism ever written, represent the Platonic ideal of a newsroom. And, for our purposes, the best office ever depicted in a feature film.
There’s real purpose behind the work being done, and that’s an understatement. How often do we find ourselves ruminating over the mundane truth of our office lives, filing TPS reports and doing completely menial tasks that seems utterly insignificant? Well, at the Post, Woodward and Bernstein are pursuing a story that exposes the President of the United States as a criminal. Exciting enough for you?
If Office Space’s Initech depicted everything wrong with the modern American workplace, Post HQ in All The President’s Men is the most exhilarating place ever occupied by cubicles.
Also, you’d have the coolest boss ever.
Have other ideas for movie-based wonderful workplaces? Tells us below what you would’ve included on this list.
—Rey Mashayekhi is a financial reporter and freelance journalist based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @ReyM12.
[Water Cooler: Sean De Burca via Shutterstock]