In reality, no job is actually mundane unless you make it that way. Washing dishes or delivering mail can be terrific if you’re happy, and you’re with people who make you happy. My point is – a job is whatever you want it to be. You can quote me on that.
“A job is whatever you want it to be.” – Man wearing pajama pants
Anyhoo – in the movie world this tends to be different. Very rarely do we see a character shuffling fries and acting completely content. The best however, is when a mundane job is used to juxtapose the badassness of the character – or better yet, the badass character just happens to have a mundane job attached to them.
These are by far the best combinations of “boring” vs “badass” I could think up in a single afternoon while not wearing any pants. Shop smart, everyone:
10. Bob and Helen in The Incredibles – House Mom / Office Dad
Elastigirl isn’t number ten because she isn’t as badass as the others, no – Elastigirl is number ten because being a house mom is probably the least mundane job on this list. Personally, I know nothing about the gig – but I do know my 2-year-old nephew, and the incredibly creative amount of chaos he is able to inflict. Children are like walking nightmares because, if you love them, you can’t just leave them in a cupboard somewhere. It’s like a constant hostage negotiation.
Bob has it way worse, and when you watch the film you realize that there’s no indication that it got any better at the end. After all, do they pay superheroes to be superheroes? Unless we’re talking Bruce Wayne, they always have to hold down a job on the side. Why didn’t at least one superhero think to charge?
9. Robert Neville in I Am Legend – Virologist
While you might think that being a virologist is all about playing chicken with bombers and getting to nail Kate Winslet, most of it is time spent in a laboratory looking at bullshit under a microscope. At best you’ll be the Kevin Spacey character, and he fucking died.
I Am Legend is like, any virologist’s dream: a moment where you actually get to physically trap things to study a virus. Not to mention sports car driving and Times Square deer hunting, both being the official sports of the end of the world. I love how we’re supposed to be all happy at the end with the virus guy finds a possible cure for the virus that other virus people invented. It’s like when a dog shits on the floor and then also eats it.
8. Cherry Darling in Planet Terror – Exotic (Go-go) Dancer
No, it’s not actually an interesting job. It’s interesting to watch, but I can’t imagine it’s very fun as a means of employment. Then again, I’m out of shape – so dancing sounds like work to me. Anyway, if any dancers out there think I’m wrong about this, feel free to email me your proof.
Cherry Darling, Merle Dixon, Ashley James Williams – these people knew right away what the secret plus side is to a zombie apocalypse: weapon appendages. No other scenario do we get to lose a limb and replace it with some kind of razor sharp death and still be considered sane for it. Cherry went with a freaking gun, which hasn’t really been done before in a movie, has it? Seriously, when has this happened before in a film?
7. Neo in The Matrix – Code Monkey
There was a time where you could hold Neo down and give him a wet willy and there would have been nothing he could’ve done about it. After becoming the chosen one, however, if you were to give him a wet willy, it would be entirely on his terms – meaning that succeeding would make him the weirdo and not you. Same goes for doing this to Keanu Reeves if you ever see him. I forget where I was going with this.
Anyway yeah, Neo was once Thomas Anderson – introvert computer programmer/probably masturbator extraordinaire. After taking a pill given to him by a man he only just met, he can do all that plus stopping time and flipping upside down and stuff.
6. Michael in Dawn Of The Dead – Best Buy Salesman
Best Buy employees are the most volatile of the electronic store chain variety – just the other day I saw one coldcock the guy working the Fuji Chen counter because his dumplings were too oily. I tried to defuse the situation but he bit me in the cheek and called me “Satan’s shitrag.” To be honest, he might have just been a hobo wearing a blue shirt.
Michael is great because he not only appears to have the zombie-calm of a man who simply must be aware he’s only in a movie, but his reflexes and skill coupled with that make you assume he’s ex-military or a cop or something. Turns out that some people just run better when there’s no tomorrow.