five films to cure the sunday night blues

by rowena grant-frost

Sunday night always feels like the last day of holidays. Suddenly, all the spare time that seemed to sprawl before you is gone (but where?), and all you're left with are a precious few hours to spend basking in the golden glow of not having to answer emails, make coffees or do a single thing you don't want to.

How these hours feel – long or short, happy or sad – obviously depends on how much you like your work. If you're stuck in a job you don't enjoy, they can feel heavy and stifling. If you're in a job you enjoy, though, they can act as a blissful countdown to another fun week – a timer that's ticking by calmly and evenly, and when it finishes, it shouts, "YAAAAY!"

However you feel about going back to work tomorrow, let's take a peek at some movies that will help you prepare for the week ahead.


Falling Down

Have you ever had one of those terrible, endless days when everything goes wrong and the world keeps prodding and poking you until you just want to scream into your pillow or maybe just cry? I think we all have.

If you have the kind of job that makes you feel this way (and I'm sorry if you do – those jobs are really no fun), then maybe you'll find your kindred spirit in William 'D-Fens' Foster (Michael Douglas), a basically ordinary guy who one day decides to express his frustrations with some righteous yelling and a rocket launcher.

Watch it if: You don't like your job very much and need to let off some steam. But remember: Falling Down is therapy, not advice.

Don't watch it if: You don't like your job very much and you're looking for effective ways to deal with your unhappiness. Briefcase-as-weapon is never the answer.

Office Space

As recently as last century, Chinese water torture was used as a way of sending people crazy. The torture worked like this: a terrible person tied someone to a chair and then dripped water onto their forehead until they just couldn't take it.

The dryer, modern-day equivalent is office work, which, in its day-after-day-after-day-after-day routine, can be a bit like a non-stop drip you can't get rid of. Eventually it just takes one more thing to send you over the edge: a paper jam? A missed memo? The words "PC load letter"?

If you feel yourself nodding along with the above, you'll most likely dig Office Space a whole bunch. It's an ode to the modern(ish) office in all its fluorescent-tubed glory.

Watch it if: You work in a felt cubicle and don't know where your stapler is.

Don't watch it if: You work in a felt cubicle, don't know where your stapler is and your desk has been moved into storage.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

In Office Space, our hero has to deal with the repetitiveness of work by doing his best to ignore it. In this documentary, 90-year-old Japanese sushi master Jiro and his loyal middle-aged son heroically embrace work's endless repetitions; and, in doing so, reinspire belief in the possibility of a more perfect life.

The main focus on Jiro slowly gives way to an interest in his son, who we watch spend many lonely hours grilling seaweed over a flame to his father's exacting demands. But in a surprising twist, we discover it is the son who is, in the end, responsible for the sushi that earned Jiro his great fame, reputation and three Michelin stars. There are few more moving reminders of what in life is worth more than recognition.

Watch it if: You need reminding of why you're getting up tomorrow morning.

Don't watch it if: You're hungry.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

If you've ever needed a reason to take it easy at work tomorrow or, hell, just blow the whole damn thing off so you don't waste a day you'll never get back, look no further. But not at Ferris. Look at Cameron.

Ferris might be an okay role model when you're in high school and all you want to do is skip out on listening to The Man. But what about when you're older, and skipping out on listening to The Man means losing out on a sack of cash at the end of the fortnight? Who wants to do that?

I tell you who didn't ever want to do that: Cameron's dad – you know, the rich guy with the Ferrari who is completely absent from the movie and from the life of his neurotic, sad son? If Cameron's dad proves anything it's that there are things in life more important than going to work.

Watch it if: You've decided to call in sick tomorrow.

Don't watch it if: You can't fake the symptoms.


Ah, summer jobs. The long, hot days; the cool, ice-cream-filled nights; the almost total lack of responsibility for basically anything. There are two hard rules for summer jobs: one is that you don't do a summer job for the work, you do it for the experience; and the other is that you don't do a summer job for more than a summer. After that it just gets a bit sad.

Adventureland is good reminder of these rules, as it tells the story of James (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent graduate in comparative literature who has to find his first job after college. Unsurprisingly, his first job isn't in comparative literature; instead, it's at a theme park, where her meets Em (Kristen Stewart) and competes for her affections with the park's older, musician type, Mike (Ryan Reynolds).

As you ready yourself for another Monday, Adventureland is a nice reminder of how far you've come from that first job, even if it's only a little bit further down the track. It's also a nice reminder that sometimes, in some ways, it's good to grow up.

Watch it if: You like to find the best in everything.

Don't watch it if: You can no longer find the best in anything.

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