Ed loves a movie night as much as the next guy. Sometimes he’ll put in a drama, or a documentary, and sometimes he likes to check out how Hollywood has portrayed his ‘biz on the big screen. There are plenty of movies with characters working in the magazine industry, and while the films sometimes embellish, exaggerate or don’t quite get it right, there are still some lessons Whippersnappers can take away. Here are a few of Ed’s favorites, in no particular order.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
What it’s about: Aspiring journo, Andy (Anne Hathaway), scores the job a million girls would kill for: Assistant to Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep), the ruthless EIC of top fashion magazine, Runway.
What it taught us: Aside from introducing many to the wonders of the fashion closet and the many perks that can come with working at a glamorous mag, there’s more than just clothes porn here—there’s also a cautionary tale about what can happen if your job starts consuming your life. Keep your work email handy, but set boundaries, folks!
(Also, what to expect if your boss has lots and lots of coats.)
13 Going on 30 (2004)
What it’s about: Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) wakes up after making a wish on her 13th birthday to find that she’s now 30 (and flirty, and thriving)—and just so happens to be an editor at a women’s magazine called Poise.
What it taught us: Want to be a top editor before you hit the big 3-0? You don’t have to be Jennifer Garner in a rom-com to make it happen. (That fancypants apartment of hers, however, might be more difficult to get your hands on.) Also, to watch out for backstabbing co-workers—though Judy Greer plays a great baddie!—and to avoid becoming one yourself. Sparkle can come up with its own ideas.
Shattered Glass (2003)
What it’s about: Based on the true story of journalist Stephan Glass (Hayden Christensen), a young writer whose star was on the rise until it was discovered he’d fabricated more than half his articles.
What it taught us: Don’t make up sources. Don’t make up stories. Don’t. Make. Up. Anything! Nope nope nope nope nope.
Almost Famous (2000)
What it’s about: This one’s more about music than mags, but hear Ed out—it’s the story of a high school teen and aspiring writer who, after lying about his age, gets assigned a Rolling Stone article profiling an up-and-coming band as they go on tour.
What it taught us: There’s the whole don’t-lie-to-your-editor thing, of course, but there’s also the lesson that getting immersed in an assignment and discovering all the little details can sometimes lead to the best parts of a story. (Just hope you don’t have to be on a plane that nearly crashes to get them.)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
What it’s about: The “How-To” writer at Composure magazine (Kate Hudson) is assigned an article on “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” (gee, wonder where the movie’s title came from!). She attempts to drive a guy (Matthew McConaughey) away, not knowing he’s made a bet that he can make a woman fall in love with him in that same 10-day period.
What it taught us: Never underestimate the power of a service story. Even a ridiculous one like this.
The September Issue (2009)
What it’s about: This one’s a documentary, following Vogue EIC Anna Wintour and her staff as they put together the magazine’s 2007 September issue.
What it taught us: Just how much work goes into making a magazine come together (as if we didn’t already know). Sometimes, the truth is even better than fiction.