When you need a career boost
1 The Fountainhead (1949, MGM/UA, unrated)
Gary Cooper stars as Ayn Rand's architect, Howard Roark, who refuses to create for anyone but himself and is therefore attacked by a conformist world. The melodrama's frantic momentum should hurl you out of your seat.
2 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967,
Climbing the corporate ladder can involve all the intricacy of a Broadway production number, and this Frank Loesser musical merges the two in its tale of the World Wide Wicket Company. As the young man wielding the titular handbook, Robert Morse exudes a lovable ruthlessness.
3 A Shock to the System (1990, HBO, R)
An executive (Michael Caine) unfairly passed over for a promotion discovers how to win friends and influence people through homicide. Any aging businessman will find inspiration in this character, as well as in the way Caine rides roughshod over the young cast.
4 The Bellboy (1960, Video Treasures, unrated)
Jerry Lewis, as a havoc-raising bellboy, demonstrates how unstable people can achieve in an unstable world; the setting-up-the-chairs routine will inspire any employee to conquer Sisyphean tasks.
5 Ed Wood"] (1994, Touchstone, R)
''The worst movie you ever saw? Well, my next one will be better!'' So insists our hero, optimistic, inept auteur Ed Wood (Johnny Depp). Tim Burton's comic biopic should have you ready to take on any project, secure in the knowledge that success is a very relative term.
By Jason Cochran, Steve Daly, Glenn Kenny, Lois Alter Mark, Chris Nashawaty, Tim Purtell, Michael Sauter, and J.R. Taylor