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Office Space (1999)

November 20, 2009

9/10 Jump-To-Conclusions Mats

Was hilarious before I graduated college and stepped into “the real world”, and now that I’m there…still can’t believe how it true it all is.

Office Space is about a guy who’s girlfriend is probably cheating on him, who hates his bullshit job pushing paper at a software programming company, Initech, who is nonetheless worried about getting fired, and who does absolutely nothing to change his circumstances. Then one day he goes to a hypnotist who sends him into a state of perpetual nirvana, thus prompting this former dull bastard to stop taking orders and do whatever the hell he wants instead.

This is the story of Peter Gibbons – a god among men.

Was planning to post this one on a Monday as a nod to the whole “Looks like someone’s got a case of the Mondays” thing, but, folks, I couldn’t help myself. It’s been a long week.

I was tempted to give this movie an 8 out of 10 for a while there, then it occurred to me that this was and always will be the be-all-end-all satire of corporate America. There’s simply no point in trying to one-up this because no one will ever say it better. Sorry, screenwriters, but this one’s a losing battle.

It’s pretty self-explanatory why this movie works as well as it does, pretty much because work environments like that at Initech are more or less a joke in themselves. And considering that everyone has worked a shitty job in their life, whether it be in an cubicle or otherwise, even if you can’t exactly go “That’s what I’m talkin‘ about!” when Peter and his buddies murder the office printer/copier, you’ll get it and you will laugh.

The writing here is just so damn good and quotable and original, especially for a comedy. It’s not lewd and it doesn’t go for shock value, but rather it cashes in on being painfully observant, has a great cast of characters, and has a slew of freakin’ classic running gags, most of which can be summed up in two words…

Michael Bolton.

And even though this is probably one of the best things Jennifer Aniston‘s ever done with her life as Peter’s love interest, I can’t help but totally dig when a cast of unknowns like this works so well. Ron Livingston is great as Peter, Diedrich Bader has some choice lines as Peter’s next-door neighbor, Gary Cole is a rip as Peter’s boss, Lumbergh, and of course I have to give it up to Stephen Root as Milton. Can’t forget Milton – the one and only reason anyone gives a damn about red Swingline staplers. The only backfire here is that, with the exception of Jennifer, this cast will never escape these characters for as long as they live. Might not be the worst thing in the world considering how awesome this movie is, but still, I can imagine how being “That guy from Office Space” could get old quick, let alone being called “Milton!” at every casting call you show up to.

Man, I could go on about this movie, but it’s one of those things that’s actually better to just quote about with friends rather than break down to a science. With that being said, feel free to leave comments on your favorite parts, let’s get a good little discussion going here, m’kay? Great.

Whenever I talk about the guy, my uncle/fellow movie buff always calls Mike Judge “a comic genius”, and while that’s a pretty epic statement, I’ve gotta agree with him. Even if Office Space were the only credit to his career, had Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill never even been created, I think the statement would still stand. Usually after groundbreaking comedies like this come out, there is inevitably an absurd amount of horribly sub-par knock-offs that try to capture that same magic in the following years. Maybe it’s because it was a box office dud when it was out in theaters, but time has been more than kind to this movie since and there still hasn’t been any competition.

When you make something so good that no one even tries to copy it just because they know they can’t, that, my friend, is the mark of genius.

Have a nice weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to show her your “O” face.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2009 2:14 pm

    It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

  2. Branden permalink
    November 20, 2009 3:38 pm

    There are so many great quotes that I can’t list them all. I knew what Peter, Samir and Michael were going through. I had a shit cubicle job. I hated it.

  3. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    November 20, 2009 5:11 pm

    This movie lays to waste every bit of crap our high school teachers fed us about “the real world” and “real jobs.” Yeah, all that jazz about people being more sophisticated, smart and mature? Horse puckey. “Office Space” captures the petty realities that make up our 9-to-5 world so perfectly that I continue to be amazed upon every viewing. This is, in my opinion, the best movie ever made about the realities of the average working man. Period. Amen.

  4. November 20, 2009 6:38 pm

    Got to love the”O” face. Hahahha Nice Review Man!!!

  5. Marc permalink
    November 20, 2009 9:53 pm

    File this movie under “so funny because it’s true” and call it a day. Never have more disillusions about the working world been dispelled after this masterpiece was made. God help all the people stuck in cubicle hell and may the children of this great nation watch this movie at an early age and take it an an incentive to try harder in life…

    “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.” Pure genius, period!

  6. November 22, 2009 2:13 pm

    This… is a f***!

  7. March 16, 2010 9:09 am

    Interesting factoid about the red Swingline stapler, there was no such stapler before Office Space. As Office Space became more and more of a cult hit Swingline was inundated with requests for a red stapler that they didn’t actually make, so they decided to actually make one, and to this day it is their highest selling stapler.

    Tidbit aside, you know I love this movie, and that I love Mike Judge, I can watch this film countless times and always laugh my ass off, that’s how god damn funny it is.

  8. Sheik Yerbouti permalink
    October 20, 2010 12:13 pm

    Ron Livingston has done okay for himself. Not only has he landed numerous movie roles, but he was fantastic in Band of Brothers (oddly enough, playing a character similar to post-hypno Peter Gibbons).

    I discovered early in my career that whenever my work environment began to resemble Dilbert and/or Office Space, it was time to leave. This rule has served me handily ever since.

    Your point is well made about the lack of lewdness and shock value. Good writers don’t need that stuff. This will endure.

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