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.
5. Kal-El aka Superman – Newspaper Reporter
Kal-El comes from a long line of badass uh.. Els. Is that Spanish? According to Google Translate, Kal El means ‘compared to’ in Hungarian – so I dunno. Anyway, Kal and papa Jor are both men who could kick you into space while holding down ridiculously boring jobs.
Kal, or Clark, or Superman, is at least a reporter. That’s interesting if you’re reporting in a big city where you are also the superhuman flying Jesus, but had he stayed back in Smallville that would have been a real bitch. He’d probably walk around punching livestock half at night just to have something to write about during the day. His father’s job was a little better; he was a space scientist of sorts – what sorts that is, the movie doesn’t seem to say. He also helps jail people in little cubes or something – so he’s like a police scientist or lawyer. Whatever it was, it didn’t save his stupid planet from exploding like a piñata.
4. Indiana Jones – Professor
He also temps as a statutory rapist. Sorry, I shouldn’t joke about that, but we all know that Indy only seeks treasure to keep away from the hoards of underage that haunt his classroom. Did you not see what happened with him and Marion? She was his friend’s daughter – and when he meets back up with her she’s well crossed the border of alcoholism in a Nepalese bar still sore from the psychological wounds of being emotionally wrecked by an old man who clearly should have known better. Still – the hat’s pretty cool.
Anyway, sorry. He’s a teacher is the point of all this. A bad teacher at that. Let’s be honest here – he’s clearly murdered more people than he’s taught. His teach-to-kill ratio is not one you’d expect from someone with a ‘Dr.’ before his name.
3. Sarah Connor in Terminator – Waitress
It would have been awesome to see if Sarah, during her time on the run before she got committed in the second film, took up another waitress gig to make a few extra bucks. Besides shooting, it’s really her only other skill – right?
“Excuse me, miss? I was just wondering when you’d get around to that Diet Coke?”
“YOU’RE ALREADY DEAD! EVERYBODY DIES! YOU KNOW I BELIEVE IT SO DON’T FUCK WITH ME!”
Actually – that response would pretty much work for any job where you work with the general public. Also it’s technically true in a way.
2. Ash in The Evil Dead – Department Store Clerk
Specifically speaking, he works in housewares. But enough bullshit – who saw the new one? Coming from someone with four copies of the original film, two signed action figures, and one book signed personally to David “Papa Smurf” Bell by Campbell, I have to throw in my deepest feelings of satisfaction for the remake. No – it’s not anything close to the original, but it also didn’t try to be – so because of that I have to say that it was as good as an Evil Dead remake could possibly hope to be.
“We were not seriously talking about another Army of Darkness until about six months ago,” Campbell said. “Now we’re actually talking about it and Sam is going to have a whack at it with his brother (Ted Raimi) this summer. That’s what he’s threatening to do. But this has been threatened before.”
So look, maybe it will happen and maybe it wont. Personally I’d love to see a new one, but if it’s not meant to be then it’s just not meant to be. The last thing we want is for Ash to show back up in 20 years, his hand now replaced with a cane.
1. Ripley in Aliens – Consultant
Right? Technically, her last job before everything that happens in the last three freaking films is as a consultant to the Weyland Yutani Company. As we all know, being a consultant is by far the dullest possible job title you could ever have. All you do is like, consult people about stuff, which is just lame. Imagine if she went down there and everyone was dead and there were no more aliens left and they never found aliens ever again. She’s just be down there pointing at shit going, “Yep, this is what it was like last time for sure.”
Then they’d fly back up and unload everything and everyone would just like, go in those tanks and go to Earth or something. She’d probably make friends with Burke and they’d start a youth gardening center or an online homemade notebook store or something – talking about that time she consulted about those aliens they never found. Then she’d die 50 years later. When you think about it, seeing chests explode was pretty much the best thing to ever happen to Ripley.