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Intern movies to watch in the holidays

Brianne Turk

Careers Commentator
Uni holidays rock: sleep-ins, Netflix and a few casual bevvies to round out the evenings. But what about that knot in the pit of your stomach? The constant feeling that you’re not doing anything productive with your time? When the holiday guilt sets in, it’s time to kick off a movie marathon; an intern movie marathon to be precise.

Internships are a great way to fast-track your learning. If you’re not already undertaking one, it’s something to consider for your next uni break. For now though, we wouldn’t want you to do anything too strenuous – they’re called holidays for a reason! So sit back, relax and put your feet up. There are some stellar movies out there that can provide careers advice right from under a bowl of freshly popped popcorn! And what better place to start than with movies featuring internships. Whether you like it sweet with a touch of salt, or you’re a butter fan through and through, it’s time to get that popcorn ready. Here are five intern movies that’ll teach you a thing or two:

The Internship (119min PG-13)

The Internship is a light-hearted comedy that follows a pair of middle-aged men who are laid off. Despite having absolutely no technological savvy, Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) somehow manage to land a Google internship – not a bad effort! They comically spend their summer in a team of misfits competing against fellow interns.

So what do we learn from this dynamic duo? Well, we learn about teamwork and the competitive environment interns face when trying to impress recruiters. While there are often hundreds of candidates fighting for just a handful of positions, The Internship points outs that there is no room for jealousy when striving for team success. Despite Nick understanding coding and HTML far better than Billy, the two men use their strengths to elevate each other. Ultimately this is the recipe for success.

Billy also experiences a rite of passage for all new interns: he makes a serious error that impacts on the rest of his team. Billy handles this brilliantly, acknowledging and taking ownership of the mistake, giving it careful reflection and moving on to the next challenge with confidence.

The Intern (121min PG-13)

If you’re a fan of Robert De Niro, this one’s for you. The Intern is a heart-warming movie that teaches the value of lifelong learning, persistence and a positive attitude. In the role of Ben, De Niro plays a seventy year old retired executive who decides retirement is too boring. (Just quietly, what a legend.) He joins a senior citizen intern program and is assigned to work with Jules, the founder and CEO of – wait for it – an e-commerce fashion startup. While seemingly out of place in such a new-age business, Ben displays a childlike curiosity and determination that brings him out of the dark ages. His willingness to embrace innovation and step outside his comfort zone is truly inspiring. If old gramps can learn how to use a USB and work from the bottom rung of a fashion empire, it begs the question, what can you do?

Pursuit of Happyness (117min PG-13)

Will Smith. Need we say more?

For a holiday flick that will provide ample motivation while admittedly making the most stoic of viewers cry, look no further than the Pursuit of Happyness. Based on the real life story of Chris Gardner, struggling salesman turned stockbroker, the Pursuit of Happyness is a story of grit and hard work; a story of hitting rock bottom and rising again.

Despite being able to sell most of the bone density scanners in his inventory, Gardner is unable to cope with the growing financial needs of his family. After being given the chance to take part in an unpaid internship, he competes with 20 interns for a paid position as a stockbroker. During the course of the movie his wife leaves him, he gets evicted and then he becomes homeless, all while trying to make enough money day-to-day to care for his son.

Gardner never sits back and relies on fate or luck. He believes success lies in hard work and it is his drive and relentlessness that bring him success. He is not deterred by adversity but instead uses his experiences to charge ahead and reach his goals. These are admirable traits for all graduates entering the workforce. It’d be great to find a way to display these qualities in your application and interview processes.

The Devil Wears Prada (109 min PG-13)

Deviating a little from intern movies, The Devil Wears Prada centres on a fresh graduate named Andy (Anne Hathaway), who has just landed her first job. Andy begins working as a junior personal assistant to the difficult and demanding Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor-in-chief to a leading fashion magazine. As an aspiring journalist, Andy scoffs at the shallowness of the fashion industry; it is far from where she dreams to be. She puts up with being bullied, works huge hours and is forced to sacrifice her personal life, all in a desperate bid to prove herself in the glitz and glamour of the fashion world.

The Devil Wears Prada provides one of those great storylines featuring the evil boss. It’ll force you to think about your self-worth and at what point you’d be read to say ‘Enough is enough’; an important consideration for all soon-to-be recruits. There are some great career lessons in Andy’s journey and all in all, it’s a pretty cruisy way to spend an hour and 49 minutes of your holiday time.

Swimming with Sharks (93min R)

For an example of what not to do during your internship, give the 1990’s classic Swimming with Sharks a watch. It’s a brilliant comedy, albeit a bit dark. Just a heads up, it is R rated so under 17’s need an accompanying parent or guardian.

You’ve really got to feel for the lead character Guy, played by Frank Whaley. Despite warnings from colleagues, Guy begins his internship optimistic that everything will be peachy. Being a young film executive he is more than willing to go the extra mile to get to Hollywood. Unfortunately, after suffering a tirade of abuse from his manipulative boss Buddy (Kevin Spacey), Guy decides on the rather ill-fated approach of taking his boss hostage! While it might be somewhat cathartic to live out this fantasy through the safety of your screen, we absolutely do not recommend Guy’s course of action! There’s no doubt it would be a career ender, not to mention you would probably end up in jail. It gets you thinking about exactly when you would utilise your workplace’s channels of complaint though and how you might handle such a situation. It’s great viewing, but not for the faint hearted.

Well, with five intern movies to watch, that’s 559 minutes of your holiday sorted – and all in the name of research. It’s time to get cracking.