Movies and tv shows are a great way to stay entertained and learn new things about different subjects. Peak Performer has put together ten compelling ones about business and money that you can watch in your free time.
- The Big Short
This is an exciting movie about money. It was released in 2015 and directed by Adam McKay. The movie is based on a book that told the story of the 2008 financial crisis. It had great performances from Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale.
The Big Short is one of those rare movies that capture the insights of the financial world while remaining entertaining and accessible. Some of the best parts of the movie are the explanations of complex financial terms. Adam McKay used celebrity cameos from the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez to explain financial terms using analogies.
The film shows the scope of the loss and upheaval that the 2008 financial crisis brought. It also showed the role banks and other large financial institutions played in the crisis.
It’s an exciting film and you can put it on whenever you’re looking for something exciting and fast-paced.
Find The Big Short on Netflix.
- Silicon Valley
It’s an HBO original show that covers a group of young developers on their journey to start their own tech company in Silicon Valley. The show was created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky and ran for six seasons between 2014 and 2019.
It’s a parody of the start-up culture of Silicon Valley. The series depicted and often exaggerated the struggles of starting a company, especially in Silicon Valley. It showed how difficult simple parts of the process could cause much trouble. Their fictional company ‘Pied Piper’ had issues from creating a logo to finding investors. Their funny mishaps and situations were often made worse by the billionaire arch enemy that constantly tried to wreck them.
You can always watch it when you’re bored or to pass the time on the weekends.
You can find Silicon Valley on HBO Max.
- The Social Network
The Social Network is the retelling of Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to and the humble beginnings of Facebook, which is now called Meta. It is directed by award-winning director David Fincher as an adaptation of the book The Accidental Billionaires. It featured Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg.
The film highlights a young Zuckerberg’s brilliance and his ironic social awkwardness considering he created the largest social media platform. It also showed his early missteps and ignorance in trying to run a company. We also see his mistreatment of his co-founders and original partners. The legal battles among the various people who believed they had a claim to some of the company’s fortune are some of the key moments of the film. It won an award for its screenplay at the 2011 Oscars.
The film is a good watch for founders and entrepreneurs seeking insight into the beginnings of the tech giant and its founder.
You can watch The Social Network on Amazon Prime.
This is technically a sports movie, but it focuses more on the business side of running a baseball team. It premiered in 2011 at the Toronto Film Festival. It was written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian and directed by Bennett Miller. The movie is based on a book by Michael Lewis titled Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. (You might have noticed the trend; great books can make for great films).
The film casts Brad Pitt as the general manager of the Oakland Athletics Billy Beane. As General Manager, he’s tasked with assembling a team for a new season on a limited budget. His job is further complicated as the team is about to lose their star players to free agency. However, he meets a young economics graduate who pitches him a radical idea for player recruitment.
Brad Pitt is brilliant in the role garnering an Oscar nomination for his performance. It’s a great watch to understand some of the complexities of the sports business and the role of analytics in recruitment.
Moneyball is available for streaming on Netflix.
- House of Lies
House of Lies is a fast-paced comedy series that ran from 2012 to 2016 on Showtime. It follows a group of business consultants who are willing to do anything and everything to close a deal.
The protagonist Marty Kaan played by Don Cheadle is the leader of the group and the most immoral. The group goes on consultations with various companies to solve their alleged problems. They also dealt with in-house fighting and squabbles within their consultancy agency. The series also explored Kaan’s personal life, especially his relationship with his son and his colleague Jeannie played by Kristen Bell.
It’s a great movie if you have ever wondered what consultants do, although we can’t guarantee that you would like the answer. It also shows how hard it is to run a business and its challenges.
You can watch House of Lies on Showtime.
- The Wizard of Lies
The Wizard of Lies is a movie about Bernie Madoff and his notorious investment fund that is regarded as the largest Ponzi scheme in American history. As with most other films on the list it is based on the book The Wizard of Lies; by Diana B. Henriques. The movie features Robert De Niro as the infamous Madoff and is directed by Barry Levinson.
It follows the investigation into Bernie Madoff’s investment fund by federal prosecutors. It also examined the bankruptcy of the fund and the subsequent trial and imprisonment of Madoff. The movie examines the situations that led Bernie Madoff to run the fund as a Ponzi scheme and how much it cost investors. It also showed his family’s role in his arrest and trial.
The movie explores how lies can balloon out of control. It also shows the risks in investment banking and the need for caution. It’s a great way to learn about Bernie Madoff and his crimes if you’re interested in some history.
Watch The Wizard of Lies on HBO Max.
- Shark Tank
Shark Tank is a reality TV show for entrepreneurs and start-up founders. It has run since 2009 for over 13 seasons and has a spinoff called Beyond the Tank. The show featured notable business people like Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Barbara Corcoran as judges on the show.
The show follows entrepreneurs who pitch business ideas and inventions to the judges in hopes of persuading the judges to invest in their ideas. However, the judges have strict criteria for selecting ideas and products for investment. Their rebuttals to the product ideas are some of the most entertaining parts of the show. The funny products and ideas from some contestants are some of the reasons the show has gone on for so long. The show has also had some successful products that have generated millions in sales.
It’s a very entertaining watch for slow days. You can watch Shark Tank on Hulu.
- The Intern
The Intern is a feel-good comedy about an older man who interns in a fashion retail company. Released in 2015, the movie features Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in the leading roles.
Robert De Niro plays Ben, a 70-year-old widower who decides to take an internship position at a start-up. He eventually ends up as an assistant to the CEO Jules, played by Anne Hathaway. Jules never liked the proposal to hire senior citizens as interns and is sceptical about Ben working directly with her. The movie captures the struggles of being a woman entrepreneur and the difficulties in scaling a business. It’s a great watch if you’re looking for something light and fun to watch.
Watch The Intern on Netflix.
This is another great offering by HBO. Succession is an ongoing TV series about the highly dysfunctional family of a billionaire. The series was created by Jesse Armstrong and features top performers like Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox and Sarah Snook.
The series begins with what is supposed to be a handover of the family business from the father Logan Roy (Brian Cox) to his son Kendall (Jeremy Strong). However, a last-minute change of mind leads to the ensuing struggle for control of the company.
We are shown the dysfunctional and funny lives these extremely rich people live. Their inability to run these large businesses and the funny mistakes they make. Jeremy Strong is phenomenal in his role as Kendall Roy and has become a fan favourite.
You can watch Succession on HBO Max.
- The Founder
The Founder is the story of the founder of McDonald’s Ray Kroc played by Michael Keaton. It explores his beginnings as a salesman to his revolutionary approach to franchising in America. It was released in 2016 and is directed by Robert Siegel.
The movie shows the entrepreneurial acumen of Ray Kroc in creating a franchise out of the original McDonald’s restaurant and his vision to create the largest restaurant chain in the world. The film doesn’t completely paint him in gold, however. As with most start-up stories, there are always issues among the founders. The movie explores his flaws as a person and his will to create something great.
Every entrepreneur should watch this film to see the mental will required to go from humble beginnings to global dominance.
You can watch The Founder on Netflix.
Next time you are bored on the weekend, check out this list and find something great to watch.