Films on Professions

American Teacher

Documentary 2011 NR 81 minutes. Profiling four extraordinary teachers from diverse parts of the country, this documentary feature examines the struggles of an underpaid profession. Educators weigh in on how the American school system might be radically transformed.

Bad Teacher

Satire 2011 UR 92 minutes. Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, a scheming and coarse-tongued middle school teacher who gets dumped by her wealthy boyfriend and rebounds by sinking her claws into a handsome substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake).

A Lawyer Walks into a Bar…

Documentary 2007 NR 84 minutes. Director Eric Chaikin’s insightful documentary explores the complexities of the U.S. legal system while tracing the journey of six prospective attorneys who are preparing for their fearsome bar exams. Chaikin talks with legal eagles Alan Dershowitz and Mark Lanier to help demystify the judicial process. In addition to high-profile lawyers, the film also features commentary from television’s Nancy Grace and comedian Eddie Griffin, among others.

Wall Street

Drama 1987 R 125 minutes. Enterprising stockbroker Bud Fox falls under the enticing spell of Gordon Gekko, an unscrupulous Wall Street arbitrageur. But when Gekko embroils his protégé in an insider-trading scheme, Fox develops a conscience and decides to turn the tables. See Full Review

Wall Street Warriors

Documentary Series 2006 NR 4 discs. From hardened veterans to fresh-faced newbies, the wizards of Wall Street get their due in this documentary series that shines a light on the floor of the American Stock Exchange — and the hungry financial investors who keep it jumping. In a cutthroat world where fortunes can turn on a dime, these savvy traders must keep all their wits about them to successfully navigate the shark-infested waters of high finance. Cameras roll as 10 Wall Street wheelers and dealers battle it out on the American Stock Exchange, then jet off in limos to swanky restaurants, spectacular office spaces, mansions and polo fields in the Hamptons in this documentary series. The six-part program chronicles the fast-paced lives of these financial big shots, offering a rare look at one of the most high-stress jobs in the world and the frenzied hub of American capitalism.

Boiler Room

Drama 2000 R 120 minutes. Underground casino operator and college dropout Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) becomes too involved in a sham New York brokerage firm and decides to go straight after his stern father (Ron Rifkin) rescinds all contact with him. Eager to make an honest living, win his father’s approval and the love of kindly Abbie (Nia Long), Seth risks everything when he turns his back on his greedy, hard-partying colleagues. Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel co-star.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Docudrama 2006 PG-13 117 minutes. Will Smith earned an Oscar nomination for an inspiring performance opposite his real-life son Jaden in this tearjerker about a struggling single parent who’s determined to build a better life for his family. Chris Gardner (Smith) is smart and talented, but his dead-end salesman job barely pays the bills. When he and his son are evicted, they face trying times as a desperate Chris accepts an unpaid internship at a stock brokerage firm.

Link to see photos of the real people this story is based on.

The American Ruling Class

Documentary 2005 NR 89 minutes. This inventive, mildly fictionalized documentary follows noted editor Lewis Lapham as he introduces two Ivy League graduates to America’s elite in an effort to examine the role of class and moneyed privilege in American democracy. With stops at the Pentagon, posh Manhattan parties and more, Lapham encounters luminaries — including James Baker III and Walter Cronkite — who each share their perspectives on America’s ruling class.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Drama 1992 R 100 minutes. Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin chew the words of David Mamet’s script (based on his own stage play) as a group of Chicago real estate salesmen vying for the best “leads” at a small firm that sells property in resort areas.

The Company Men

Drama 2010 R 1hr 44m.  This indie drama stars Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Ben Affleck as a successful businessman who comes face-to-face with America’s downsizing epidemic when he loses his job and is forced to take a construction gig. What happens when the American dream turns into a nightmare? What do you tell your wife, kids, friends, former colleagues when you are collecting unemployment? Written, directed and produced by John Wells. See Full Review

Dr Solomon’s Dilemma

Documentary Frontline 2000. In the 1990s, cost-cutting HMOs were reviled as the enemy of doctors and patients. After fighting to regain control of the medical process, doctors are now struggling to manage tough financial decisions as well as patient care. On a daily basis, doctors find themselves faced with the often excruciating responsibility of balancing quality care against their own bottom line. Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith goes inside one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching hospitals and discovers Dr. Martin Solomon, a highly rated primary care physician, embroiled in the most bitter conflict of his career. He and his colleagues battle with each other over cutting costs, worry about the impact of red ink on their own income, and fear the struggle between care and costs will not only damage quality but will ultimately tear apart the trust between doctors and patients.

Dollars and Dentists

Documentary Frontline 2012. Miles O’Brien investigates the flaws in America’s dental system and nascent proposals to fix them. Dental care can be a matter of life and death. Yet millions of Americans can’t afford a visit to the dentist. An investigation by Frontline and the Center for Public Integrity reveals the shocking consequences of a broken safety net. Correspondent Miles O’Brien investigates the flaws in our dental system and nascent proposals to fix them.

Tales from the Script

Documentary 2009 NR 105 minutes. Dozens of acclaimed Hollywood screenwriters discuss their successes and failures, share amusing anecdotes and insider insights, and reveal their experiences with big-name actors and directors in this fascinating documentary. Writers include William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), John Carpenter (Halloween), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and many others.

The Player

Satire 1992 R 123 minutes. Director Robert Altman’s wickedly funny masterpiece about a slick Hollywood studio executive named Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) — a hotshot whose life is falling apart — is packed with irreverence and myriad star cameos (including appearances from Steve Allen, Cher, John Cusack, Peter Falk and Jeff Goldblum). A rival wants his job, and he’s facing a murder rap. But will Griffin face the music or turn his liabilities into assets?See Full Review

Welcome to Hollywood

Mockumentary 2000 PG-13 89 minutes. Featuring appearances by A-list stars such as Will Smith, Halle Berry and John Travolta, director Adam Rifkin’s incisive mockumentary about Hollywood follows aspiring young actor Nick Decker (Tony Markes) as he struggles to make it big in Tinseltown. Rifkin hopes to capture Decker’s rise to stardom on celluloid, but he can’t seem to catch a break and keeps losing plum roles to actor David Lake (David Andriole).

The Cutting Edge
The Magic of Movie Editing

Documentary 2004 NR 99 minutes. While actors and directors certainly are instrumental in making a movie memorable and weaving story lines together, it’s the film editor who strings the scenes into a seamless, artistic whole. This fascinating movie, narrated by Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, unmasks the mystery of film editing with the help of such fine examples of the art form as Birth of a Nation, The Battleship Potemkin and Bullitt.

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