1. “Chef” (2014)
One of the most overlooked jobs is that of a chef. When renowned chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) has a public meltdown with a food critic, he rediscovers his creativity and love of food by opening up his own food truck and touring the American south-west. This film accomplished two key things: It made me deeply care about something I knew nothing about and it gave me that creative itch. You watch Carl struggle to remake himself as we reconciles public opinion with that of his top critics. You witness someone falling in love with their life all over again. This film will make you want to sign up for a cooking class ASAP, whether it be out of piqued curiosity or just to experience the excitement of creating something.
2. “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)
If there’s one thing that hits home with most audiences, it’s an underdog story. “Million Dollar Baby” tells the story of Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), a misanthropic boxing trainer, and his latest student Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank) as they try to leave their old selves behind and climb the ranks in boxing. Something that this story did exceptionally well was that it humanized professional athletes and their struggles in a way that its predecessor “Rocky” couldn’t for me. It not only reinforced our respect for professional athletes and the strain they put on their bodies, but is sure to inspire aspiring athletes and remind them of the long, but rewarding road ahead of them.
3. “La La Land” (2016)
No matter what anyone tells you, a career in the arts is valid. No film in recent years has better captured the rapture and tragedy of pursuing a career as a performer than “La La Land.” The film follows Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a struggling jazz pianist, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress. The duo is faced with rejection and failure many times over the course of the film, and that was an integral facet of the story. A life in the arts is harsh and takes just as much relentlessness as it does talent. It makes it all the more satisfying when we see the characters finally succeed and get a taste of real fame. “La La Land” is a love letter not only to Los Angeles, but those who aspire for a life in the arts and all that they endure.
4. “Hot Fuzz” (2007)
While it’s not your typical buddy cop movie, “Hot Fuzz” is a cult classic for a reason. The story follows Nick Angel (Simon Pegg) and Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a hilariously mismatched pair of cops charged with protecting a quiet English village in the midst of a string of bizarre murders. What makes this film worthy of job envy is the sheer amount of fun Nick and Danny have and the genuine love they have for their job by the end. They’re just two guys in trying to do the right thing, one wrong step at a time. Considering today’s culture of police brutality and subsequent public scrutiny of law enforcement, it’s nice to see a whacky film where the cops are not only the good guys, but good people.
5. “The Martian” (2015)
This is the film that reignited our generation’s wanderlust for space travel. Set in the not so distant future, astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of the first humans to study Mars firsthand. While the survivalist aspect of this film could make the astronaut life off-putting, no one left that film without a sense of wonder and amazement for space exploration. Against all odds, Watney used his scientific background to keep himself comfortable and entertained on the isolated Martian terrain, and you’re lying to yourself if he didn’t impress you with his quick wit. Strip away the danger of his situation, and who wouldn’t want a job that allows you bask in the beauty of a foreign planet and study its secrets? The portrayal of physicists, engineers, astronauts, and tech experts is the stuff of daydreams to those with an interest in science.