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7 Anti-Capitalism Movies to Watch This Black Friday

Characters from Parasite look at their phones in front of a toilet in their semi-basement apartment.

It’s Black Friday, the day when retail stores open their doors to overzealous, occasionally violent masses looking to score discounts on electronic goods and other items. This year, Black Friday feels especially bleak, not just in wondering how these stores are going to enforce safety measures in the middle of a pandemic, but also because so many people are struggling financially while the ultra-wealthy keep managing to profit off of those struggles.

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Here’s a movie list especially dedicated to the Jeff Bezos of the world. Yes, most of these were made by Hollywood studios and are themselves products of capitalism (one was also made in cooperation with a giant profit-driven toy company) but the themes here are all worth reveling in.

Yesterday we ate Turkey. Today we eat the rich.

Parasite

Song Kang-ho in Parasite

image: Neon/CJ Entertainment

A lot of Bong Joon-ho’s movies could be on this list (Snowpiercer and Okja immediately come to mind) but nothing will have you googling guillotine blueprints like the wealth disparity between the Kim family and the Parks.

Hustlers

Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer, Constance Wu, and Lili Reinhart in Hustlers (2019)

image: STX

These women exploit the men whose exploitation of our financial system helped cause the 2008 economic collapse. They are heroes.

The Lego Movie

Will Ferrel glues legos in the Lego Movie

image: Warner Bros

The villain’s name is literally Lord (or President) Business.

Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin as a factory worker caught in giant gears in Modern Times

image: United Artists

Charlie Chaplin’s character has a nervous breakdown over the awful conditions of his job on a factory assembly line, which includes getting physically caught up in the gears of the machinery. A metaphor!

There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood

image: Paramount

Want to feel really angry about capitalistic greed and the oil industry? This is the movie for you!

Spirited Away

image: Studio Ghibli

At its core, this is a story about loss of identity in the face of a capitalistic society.

Sorry to Bother You

lakeith stanfield tessa thompson

image: Annapurna Pictures

This movie is one of the most creative takedowns of capitalism ever made, showing just how much people will do, how much of themselves they’ll give up, to profit from these systems, and how much those at the top will do to turn them into obedient workers.

What are you watching today?

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.