Here are 10 Business Movies Young Entrepreneurs Should Watch
The Imitation Game Director Morten Tyldum’s widely discussed The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as computer scientist Alan Turing, the man behind the machine that cracked German military codes during World War II. Now an official 2014 Golden Globe nominee, this historical drama portrays Turing’s life and leadership, including how he came to build the world’s first computer. With a host of other A-list actors in tow, including Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode, The Imitation Game is a must-see for all introverts and students of leadership: Ultimately, Turing is lauded for his abnormality.
Halt and Catch Fire This brand-new series is an absolute must-see for entrepreneurs and computer geeks alike: Set in the early 1980s, Halt and Catch Fire captures the innovative spirit of the times. It chronicles the life and career of protagonist Joe MacMillan, a former IBM executive who works to reverse-engineer the company’s technology for his new firm, Cardiff Electric. Check out some of Inc.’s recaps if you haven’t already, and look forward to a second season of techie antics and personal intrigue next year. As an added bonus, it’s a great way to get in the mood and mindset for Aaron Sorkin’s forthcoming biopic on Steve Jobs.
The Internet’s Own Boy You might want to keep a box of tissues nearby, but definitely tune in for director Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary chronicling the life of entrepreneur and internet activist Aaron Swartz. An expert hacker who believed that information should be freely accessible to everyone, Swartz ultimately broke the law. When faced with an almost certain conviction, he decided to commit suicide. While Inc. staff writer Graham Winfrey points to the film’s many weaknesses–namely, that it does little to explain the political and personal motivations behind Swartz’s actions
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles A feel-good movie for the whole family, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also has some embedded leadership lessons. So while the kids are enjoying an action-packed animated flick at face value, be sure to read into its tie-ins to business ownership, including but not limited to: The importance of teamwork, “growing” into a spirit of risk taking (even and especially if it doesn’t come naturally), and placing value on a mentor whom you can count on when the going gets tough. (This mentor may or may not take the shape of a sewer rat sensei.)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Reeling in an impressive $123 million in opening weekend ticket sales, the long-awaited Hunger Games sequel was easily the highest grossing opening of 2014. So you think there’s nothing for you in a film adaptation of a young-adult novel, featuring a fantasy tyrannical government, warring districts, and an ever-evolving love triangle? Think again: The film proves to be surprisingly relevant for business owners. Heroine Katniss Everdeen agrees to become the face of the fictional Mockingjay movement, a revolutionary uprising against the Capital district, which holds her closest friend (and potential lover), Peeta Mellark, hostage. Some of the film’s key takeaways include: That effective leadership comes honestly and from the heart, and psychology (your perceptiveness) is half the battle, especially when it comes to real world competitors and investors.
Horrible Bosses 2 If you’re in the mood for something light, Horrible Bosses 2 fits the bill. In this comedy sequel, half-wits Nick, Kurt, and Dale decide to become their own bosses (and are, fittingly, just as awful as their predecessors were). Their new genius product: a so-called Shower Buddy, which dispenses shampoo. While the trio manage to nail their pitch meeting with a big-time investor, they fall prey to legal loopholes and are left hanging without a loan. This is clearly a jab at the popularly held opinion that entrepreneurship is simply a get-rich-quick scheme, requiring little business savvy to actually see it through.
Silicon Valley Perhaps the most obvious example of entrepreneurs getting screen time is HBO’s hit series Silicon Valley, which enjoyed plenty of limelight in 2014: It received five Emmy nominations, including one for Best Comedy Series. Although it didn’t end up winning the award, Silicon Valley certainly deserved the attention. The show nails stereotypes, has likeable characters, and reflects the notion of the American dream, following computer programmer Richard Hendricks as he navigates the ups and downs of startup culture in America’s famed entrepreneurial hotbed.
The Good Wife In case you haven’t caught any of Inc.’s recaps, The Good Wife is a legal and political drama brought to you by Robert and Michelle King. It focuses on protagonist Alicia Florrick, whose husband–a prominent political figure–was jailed following a high-profile corruption and sex scandal. In the aftermath of it all, Florrick must return to her old job as a litigator to provide for her family. The ensuing series– which received the 2014 Television and Critics Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama– offers up plenty of leadership lessons for business owners. One of the most recent episodes, for instance, reminds us that “likeability” is almost always in the eye of the beholder: And no matter how kind, smart, or selfless you are, the way you’re perceived is what ultimately determines your success– as well as the success of your company.
Food Chains Step out of your day-to-day routine and into the world of migrant farmworkers in Florida, who earn slightly more than a penny per pound of picked fruit. Eva Longoria’s documentary Food Chains offers a critical look at the U.S. agricultural system, taking aim not only at American farmers but also at the supermarkets and other large corporations that control pricing, which the documentary blames for the continued prominence of wage theft. The movie also nods to America’s history of exploitation:
Chef Is it madness or carne asada? From writer/director Jon Favreau comes the new movie Chef, an indie comedy starring Favreau himself as Chef Carl Casper, who quits his job at a high-end Los Angeles restaurant to try his hand at business by way of (you guessed it) a food truck. While you might not think to look to Hollywood for lessons in leadership–indeed, the film puts a glittery spin on what largely amounts to Casper’s dumb luck, rather than his business acumen–this movie does serve up some useful leadership tips: Notably, that failure is a great place to start, and that you should pick your partners wisely at every turn.