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2014's best movies for business professionals: 1-5

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A team of misfits thrown together to save a galaxy; a whistleblower whose revelations shook the world; a boy just trying to grow up.

Today’s movies examine the lives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring Chris PrattVin DieselBradley Cooper

Directed by James Gunn

What’s it about: A mismatched group of cranky, intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a super villain from taking control of the universe.

Why watch it: Because it’s not another comic book movie that takes itself too seriously. It’s goofy and corny and funny and heartfelt and an absolute joy to behold with snappy dialogue and a great 70s soundtrack. Although the weight of the world is in balance, we never feel the weight of the world on the shoulders of our hero (Chris Pratt). Whenever he gets himself in a pickle, he does what so many of us (okay, maybe I’m thinking of myself here) would like to do: He dances his way out of the problem.

Interesting factoid: The soundtrack album “Awesome Mix, Vol. 1″ reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, the first film soundtrack ever to reach number one without a single original song.

Business takeaway: Make an awesome mix tape to get you through those days where you don’t want to face another cantankerous client.

Memorable scene: How could it be anything but the abbreviated dance-off between Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and baddie Ronan (Lee Pace).

Memorable quote: 

Groot: I am Groot.

Peter Quill: Well that’s just as fascinating as the first 89 times. What is wrong with Giving Tree here?

Rocket Raccoon: Well he don’t know talkin’ good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to “I” and “am” and “Groot,” exclusively in that order.

Peter Quill: Well I tell you what, that’s gonna wear real thin, real fast, bud.

Next up: Citizen Four

4. Citizenfour

Starring Edward SnowdenGlenn GreenwaldWilliam Binney 

Directed by Laura Poitras

What’s it about: Documentarian Laura Poitras and reporter Glenn Greenwald travel to Hong Kong to hear Eric Snowden’s “big brother” story about the NSA and its surveillance programs. 

Why watch it: No matter your opinion on the subject of the NSA or what Eric Snowden did, this is riveting filmmaking and needs to be seen by a larger audience because it’s the best high-tech spy thriller since Three Days of the Condor (1975) and even more terrifying because it’s real.

Interesting factoid: Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to play Edward Snowden in a biopic directed by lefty filmmaker Oliver Stone

Business takeaway: Is the information on your computer ever really safe?

Memorable scene: Though released through news outlets, thus seen by millions of Americans already, the moment where Snowden reveals the extent of which the government accesses regular citizens’ private data. 

Memorable quote: 

Edward Snowden: Assume your adversary is capable of one trillion guesses per second.

Next up: Nightcrawler

3. Nightcrawler

Starring Jake GyllenhaalRene RussoBill Paxton

Directed by Dan Gilroy

What’s it about: A crime journalist (Jake Gyllenhaal) blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Why watch it: If you watch enough movies, like I do, a problem occurs: You often get bored because you recognize the patterns taking place. Nightcrawler is one of those rare films that keeps you on the edge of your seat, with no idea what will happen next.

Interesting factoid: Jake Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds for his role. This was Gyllenhaal’s idea, as he visualized Lou as a hungry coyote.

Business takeaway: Bad things happen when you become more important than your client or prospect.

Memorable scene: The moment where Lou (Gyllenhaal) begins to unravel in front of the mirror.

Memorable quote: 

Detective Fronteiri: You filmed him dying.

Lou Bloom: That’s my job, that’s what I do, I’d like to think if you’re seeing me you’re having the worst day of your life.

Next up: The Grand Budapest Hotel

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Starring  Ralph FiennesF. Murray AbrahamMathieu Amalric

Directed by Wes Anderson

What’s it about: The adventures of Gustave H, a concierge at a luxury hotel, between the first and second World Wars.

Why watch it: Wes Anderson is always a dazzling filmmaker, but too often his movies have a navel gazing quality about them. Here, he has a madcap crime caper to serve as a catalyst to his dizzying camerawork. 

Interesting factoid: As of January 2015, this is the highest-grossing film of Wes Andersons film-making career, grossing $175 million worldwide.

Business takeaway: If you want success, tell a good story.

Memorable scene: The scene where Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) hears that the police are on their way; his catch-me-if-you-can response is classic.

Memorable quote: 

M. Gustave: [to Mme. Celine's corpse] You’re looking so well, darling, you really are… they’ve done a marvelous job. I don’t know what sort of cream they’ve put on you down at the morgue, but… I want some.

Next up: Boyhood

1. Boyhood

Starring  Ellar ColtranePatricia ArquetteEthan Hawke

Directed by Richard Linklater

What’s it about: The life of a boy, from early childhood to his arrival at college.

Why watch it: It’s almost unfair to call Boyhood a film, though it clearly is, because it is so painfully real. Watching Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grow up onscreen, his physical and emotional transformation, is both a revelation and a nostalgic time capsule.

Interesting factoid: Ellar Coltrane, who plays the boy of the title, was 7 years old when the movie started filming and 19 when it finished.

Business takeaway: Too often in life and in business we look for the short-term fix, for instant gratification, but when we can build and plan for a long-term solution, that’s when we see our greatest achievements.

Memorable scene: The moment where Mom (Patricia Arquette) goes over the milestones of her life to Mason and admits to him that “I thought there would be more.” Heartbreaking.

Memorable quote: 

Dad: [Mason Jr. bowls a gutterball] Alright, don’t worry about it.

Mason: I wish I could use the bumpers…

Dad: You don’t want the bumpers, life doesn’t give you bumpers.

 

For the rest of the list, visit www.lifehealthpro.com/bestbusinessmovies.

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