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Life Health > Running Your Business

2014's best movies for business professionals: 6-10

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A brilliant codebreaker; a tough love teacher; a world built by a child.

Today’s five movies explore the lives of people who have the ability to change the world around them. 

10. The Imitation Game

Starring Benedict CumberbatchKeira KnightleyMatthew Goode

Directed by Morten Tyldum

What’s it about: The story of computer pioneer Alan Turing and his race to break the Nazi codes during World War II.

Why watch it: Whatever role he chooses, Benedict Cumberbatch always appears to be the smartest person in the room, as he should here portraying the genius, Turing. Besides the innate intelligence that he brings to a role, Cumberbatch has the best voice in film, a mesmerizing barritone that would sound good even while reading the local phone book.

Interesting factoid: Benedict Cumberbatch and Alan Turing are related. According to the family history site,, the two are 17th cousins with family relations dating back to the 14th century.

Business takeaway: With so much data at your disposal, use it! One day it may save your business, or even your life.

Memorable scene: During Turing’s interrogation, where Cumberbatch reveals the awkward, arrogant genius of the man he’s portraying.

Memorable quote: 

Alan Turing: Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.

Next up: Whiplash

9. Whiplash

Starring Miles TellerJ.K. SimmonsMelissa Benoist

Directed by Damien Chazelle

What’s it about: A drummer savant (Miles Teller) enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where he is mentored by a music teacher who resembles a boot camp drill instructor.

Why watch it: For the incredible jazz drumming that builds and builds until a final competition solo that will leave you exhausted.

Interesting factoid: J.K. Simmons suffered two cracked ribs when Miles Teller tackled him during a scene.

Business takeaway: Sometimes tough love is what it takes to get through to people.

Memorable scene: The first moment we meet Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is a revelation in language, both foul and fair.

Memorable quote: 

Terence Fletcher: There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job.”

Next up: The Drop

8. The Drop

Starring Tom HardyNoomi RapaceJames Gandolfini

Directed by Michaël R. Roskam

What’s it about: Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) gets caught up in a robbery gone awry at the bar where he works. The heat turns up when an investigation turns up a neighborhood full of secrets and lies.

Why watch it: For one last opportunity to see the late, great James Gandolfini on-screen.

Interesting factoid: The last film appearance of James Gandolfini; he died one month after shooting wrapped.

Business takeaway: ”The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner

Memorable scene: Gandolfini’s, “Well, I’m not the guy who wasted his entire life,” speech. It’s an homage to Brando’s, “I coulda been somebody,” line from On The Waterfront and brilliant in its own right.

Memorable quote: 

Bob: There are some sins that you commit that you can’t come back from, you know, no matter how hard you try. You just can’t. It’s like the devil is waiting for your body to quit. Because he knows, he knows that he already owns your soul. And then I think maybe there’s no devil. You die… and God, he says, Nah, nah you can’t come in. You have to leave now. You have to leave and go away and you have to be alone. You have to be alone forever.

Next up: The Lego Movie

7. The Lego Movie

Starring Chris PrattWill FerrellElizabeth Banks

Directed by Michaël R. Roskam

What’s it about: The Lego Movie follows the humdrum existence of Emmet, an everymanl Lego figure, whose life changes when he is identified as “the most extraordinary person” and the key to saving the Lego universe. 

Why watch it: One of the great joys of being a parent, at least for me, is taking my daughter to movies. It takes me back to my own childhood, to the summer of 1977, when my Dad picked me up at the Memphis Airport, after I’d been away for a month at camp. After a drive-thru of burger and fries, we headed straight to the nearest theatre to watch this new movie everyone was buzzing about, Star Wars. That remains my favorite childhood memory and spending two hours with my daughter and seeing films like The Lego Movie allow me to relive it.

Interesting factoid: Everything in the movie was designed to look as if built out of Lego pieces. This even includes effects like water, fire, laser bolts, explosions and smoke.

Business takeaway: You can build a great business, but if somewhere along the line you lose the support of those closest to you, you have to ask yourself: What was it all for?

Memorable scene: The scene where Emmet and the girl he’s sweet on are rescued by a Lego Batman. The problem: Emmet soon finds out his crush is Batman’s secret girlfriend.

Memorable quote: 

Emmet: You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true. It’s about all of us. Right now, it’s about you. And you… still… can change everything.

Next up: Birdman

6. Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Starring Michael KeatonZach GalifianakisEdward Norton

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu 

What’s it about: A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to rediscover himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play. 

Why watch it: For many of us who grew up in the 80s, it’s wonderful to see the hyper-kinetic talent of Michael Keaton once again unleashed on audiences.

Interesting factoid: The words seen in the opening credits are the words written on legendary short story writer Raymond Carver’s tombstone in real life: “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”

Business takeaway: There are second acts in life. If you experience failure, dust yourself off, and try again.

Memorable scene: The heartbreaking moment where Riggan (Michael Keaton) is talking with his daughter only to realize mid-sentence, he has no idea what it is they’re supposed to be talking about.

Memorable quote: 

Riggan: The last time I flew here from LA, George Clooney was sitting two seats in front of me. With those cuff links, and that… ridiculous chin. We ended up flying through this really bad storm. The plane started to rattle and shake, and everyone on board was crying, and praying. And I just sat there. Sat there thinking that when Sam opened that paper it was going to be Clooney’s face on the front page. Not mine. Did you know that Farrah Fawcett died on the same day as Michael Jackson?

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