Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Movies! - "Federal, pound me in the ass prison."

Writing about Office Space seems like an even bigger no-brainer than writing about and Casablanca and Citizen Kane. Sure, the latter two films are the darlings of film critics, both amateur and professional everywhere. Office Space, however, is pretty much loved by everybody of my generation. You can quote it left and right and you're pretty much guaranteed that people will know what you're talking about.

Now, I hate to be one of those "I liked it before it was cool" kinds of people, but I'm afraid that I have to be one of those kinds of people. For the most part, this film really picked up steam when it was released on DVD and played endlessly on cable. I actually saw it in the theater, and I remember really liking it quite a bit. I also remember some of my coworkers at the time (this was back in my dot com days) giving it very lukewarm reviews. It's a movie that really took a while to gestate in the collective unconscious, but I was hip to how great it was from the start. Basically what I'm saying is that I'm a better person than most people.

Among the many great things in this movie, the one thing that really struck a chord in me was how much I related to it. I didn't detest my dot com job, but let's just say that it was often rather uninspiring. I definitely related to Peter when he confessed that he spent the first part of his shift pretty much just zoning out and how he claimed to only get about an hour's worth of work done in an entire day.

I also definitely worked with a lot of people who reminded me of the characters in this movie. Bill Lumbergh, the boss/villain in the film, reminded me of a lady who worked in human resources. She had that same lay-it-on-thick phony friendliness about her that really got under my skin. Oh, and I still work with people who are like the guy who says, "If things go well I might be showing her my O-face. 'Oh... Oh... Oh!' You know what I'm talkin' about. 'Oh!'"

I would also be really remiss in not mentioning that one of the many great things about this film is how it ruthlessly makes fun of Michael Bolton. At the time, I, along with Scott C. Harris, used to have a "War on Bolton" website. While the website is gone, a blog post about it is right here. What's great is that the movie just takes Michael Bolton's suckiness as a given. It assumes that everybody understands that it's an objective, certifiable fact. I kind of feel sorry for people who are fans of his - they must have been really confused.

There's so much more I can say. Too bad that Idiocracy, made by the same writer-director, Mike Judge, didn't pan out quite as well. A quick note about that movie, I've mentioned, and many people have agreed, that Idiocracy isn't good, but it's worth seeing because it's funny when you talk about its jokes and ideas for some reason. Go figure.

Anyway, I'll just cap this off with some of my favorite dialogue exchanges:
Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.
Bob Porter: Don't... don't care?
Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
Bob Slydell: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
Peter Gibbons: What would you do if you had a million dollars?
Lawrence: I'll tell you what I'd do, man: two chicks at the same time, man.
Peter Gibbons: That's it? If you had a million dollars, you'd do two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I were a millionaire I could hook that up, too; 'cause chicks dig dudes with money.
Peter Gibbons: Well, not all chicks.
Lawrence: Well, the type of chicks that'd double up on a dude like me do.
Peter Gibbons: Good point.
Lawrence: Well, what about you now? what would you do?
Peter Gibbons: Besides two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Well, yeah.
Peter Gibbons: Nothing.
Lawrence: Nothing, huh?
Peter Gibbons: I would relax... I would sit on my ass all day... I would do nothing.
Lawrence: Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do shit.
Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Na-ghee-na-na-jar. Nagheenanajar.
Michael Bolton: Yeah, well, at least your name isn't Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know, there's nothing wrong with that name.
Michael Bolton: There *was* nothing wrong with it... until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.
Samir: Hmm... well, why don't you just go by Mike instead of Michael?
Michael Bolton: No way! Why should I change? He's the one who sucks.


Nolan said...

1. I saw this and liked it before you did. There was a free preview screening a week before it came out when I was living there post-college. I'm willing to admit that since I didn't have an office job at the time, I might not have appreciated it on the same level, but I definitely remember digging it.

2. I am that guy at work he's referring to, in case anybody's wondering. I would say I'm usually making that joke about Lance's mom, but A: She reads his blog, so that would be crass and B: She lives in Germany and is thus largely unattainable.

Nolan said...

The screening was at Cal, by the way. I was living in Berkeley at the time. Just to clear that up.