A Great Year for Free Market Capitalism in Film

Ben Affleck in 'Air.' (Image via Amazon Studios)

One of the most common and annoying movie tropes is the portrayal of business as evil, boring, foolish, or sometimes all three. Good guy employees are forced or brainwashed into working at these hellholes, and their bosses are profit-obsessed idiots, scumbags, or even monsters hellbent—for some unknown reason—on destroying the planet (and, bizarrely, their customer base). 

Of course, real Business Bad Guys do exist, and not everyone loves his job. But few of us truly fit Hollywood’s standard corporate stereotype. Instead, the real world is full of stories about Good Guys winning at business, or of Bad Guys losing not because of some superhero or dogged government investigator but because of good ol’ free market competition. Yet these stories are rarely told—until, it seems, this past year.

Indeed, 2023 featured not one of these stories but five of them, collectively called “produpics” (because they’re about, you guessed it, famous products) but really about the many people, good and bad, behind the items at issue. And unlike most of the free-market fanfic that does get made (ahem), they actually turned out pretty great. 

OK, fine, not all of them are great, but several are, and the rest are both watchable and educational. And who can ask for anything more than that in a movie?

(Yes, I am a hit at parties. Why do you ask?)

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