Now showing at a workplace near you

The air is bitterly cold, especially here in Minnesota. The kids are back in school, and the Christmas decorations have all been put away. For followers of pop culture, those signs can mean only one thing: Now you finally have time to see all those prestigious, blockbuster movies that came out in late 2014.shutterstock_141495676

Business owners and human resources professionals are especially fortunate this year, because so many of the top movies of 2014 had employment-related themes. What HR manager has never had to deal with the fallout from “Horrible Bosses,” after all? And what business hasn’t worried that at some point, “The Judge” could be deciding the outcome of a legal claim filed by a disgruntled former employee?

And those aren’t the only ones. While I may not have actually seen any of the following films, I’m quite sure I can tell, just from their titles, what they are about and how they relate to HR issues.

“The Interview,” for example. I was surprised that this movie caused such an international furor. What could be so controversial about a movie concerning the questions an employer can and cannot ask while meeting with a job applicant? Granted, it doesn’t exactly sound like a blockbuster, but then again, who ever imagined millions of people would line up this year to see a movie about LEGOs?

In another popular spellbinder, all the company’s managers are asking, “Where’s that new employee we hired for the steno pool?” (It’s a period piece.) Turns out she’s absent again, without calling in. Where did she go, and how many warnings will they give her before she’s fired? If these questions have you on the edge of your seat, run, don’t walk, to the nearest theater to see “Gone Girl.”

Then there’s the story of three plucky employees who taunt their HR Director, Jay, while they file a complaint over having to work a full eight-hour shift without a lunch break. Yes, it’s “The Hunger Games III: Mocking Jay.”  Poor Jay; they’re mocking him so much they had to split it into two movies.

We’ve all seen those Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges where every box is checked. You know: “My employer fired me because of my age, race, religion, sex, national origin, and disability. Also, it was retaliatory.” What exactly is this former employee’s legal theory? Well, they wrote a movie about it: the “Theory of Everything.”

Then there’s the flick about the director of research and development who jumped ship and went to work for the competition. Suddenly, the competition’s products looked, sounded, felt, tasted, and, yes, smelled just like the first company’s products. A lawsuit about trade-secret theft may not make for boffo box office, but it might stop that thieving employee from playing “The Imitation Game.”

So if “The Fury” of the short, cold days of winter has got you down, don’t try to escape by running “Into the Woods” or spending a “Night at the Museum.” Wouldn’t you rather relive your “Boyhood” and be a “Big Hero” by grabbing your friends “Selma” and “Annie” for a “Wild” night at the movies, as long as the theater’s projector is “Unbroken”?

Got a movie favorite of your own that sounds like it’s about HR issues? Tell us about it with a comment below. But be forewarned: Trying to come up with these bad movie puns can be “Hobbit”-forming.