Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Hate Work Film Festival List

I dream someday of putting together a film festival whose title would be the "I Hate Work" Film Festival. All of the films would be movies about work and hating work. Below is the list I propose. I should point out that I don't necessarily hate work but the exercise of planning the film festival is cleansing in and of itself.


Just think of that room full of bureaucrats and poor Sam Lowry, the competent employee propping up incompetent upper management. The crushing bureaucracy in this movie actually seems tame compared to some modern counterparts. I certainly long to fly on angel wings to the heavens. Sam Lowry brings day dreaming at work to high fantasy.

9 to 5

Who hasn't wanted to truss up their boss and extract promises of a raise and other benefits. The key is to not get caught. I also learned a long time ago that the administrative assistants are the true power behind the thrown, this movie provides confirmation of this idea.


Any movie in which computer generated cartoon ants quote Marxist dialectic is OK by me. The workers control the means of production, after all. Also fun are ant middle managers trying to meet quota. There is a nice juxtaposition of Z trying to be an individual, but being crushed into conformity by his ant society. The modern corporation values diversity, just as long as everyone is the same as everyone else.


A slow movie made intentionally slow so as to emphasize the tedium of the workday for the temp employees portrayed. The overblown drama and office politics surrounding the search for a petty office thief seemed plucked from a very real office. You can almost smell the desperation of these girls trying to move into permanent positions. Generation Xer's (are there any of us left) should empathize with these desperate characters. I must also admit that I like this movie because it stars Toni Collete(Muriel's Wedding), Parker Posey and Lisa Kudrow.

Office Space

This is the quintessential "I hate work" office movie. Office Space has so many good situations and great lines that it is hard to pick a single one. It may be a little unfair to include this movie into the "I hate work" Film Festival since the movie's catch phrase is "Work Sucks". Still, many a time I have quoted any number of the funny lines from the movie. For instance

"I believe you have my stapler.", "Pieces of Flair", "Federal Pound-me-in-the-a** prison", and who can forget those "TPS reports".

Many of the best lines must be performed, like - "You could have as many as ... four ... direct reports", but you need to hold up four fingers during your delivery. Certainly you should make an O-face for full effect if you are going to talk about making your O-face. Someday, I want to take my troublesome laserprinter out back with a bat, "Office Space-style".

What other office related movies should I have included in my film festival? The nominations are open. Please post your favorites in the comments.


The Virtual Ranger said...

Fantastic list - I love Antz for exactly the same reasons you describe. It looks like a kidz film on the surface, but, my, is it different from 'A Bugs Life' once you listen to the words. My nomination for your list is the disturbing, funny, but ultimately positive 2002 film 'Secretary', about the bizarrely intense relationship between two work colleagues acted out through the office environment. Hey, if work's boring, you can always have fun with your colleagues, right? :)

whirdly said...

Is 'Secretary' about a boss having an affair with his secretary and she becomes a dominatrix? I always wanted to see that one.

The Virtual Ranger said...

Yeah, it's a bit like that... It's more about how they managed to make everyday office stuff really sexy. Quite cute, and not really very naughty.

Anonymous said...

do do do do, do do do do do

Bex said...

I have a nomination for your list..."Equilibrium". A futuristic movie where having feelings is illegal and the turmoil John Preston (played by the dreamy Christian Bale) has as his job is to enforce the law of never having a feeling. Needless-to-say, the movie leans towards him starting to hate work. I don't want to spoil it so go check it out!

Jack Saturday said...

A Thousand Clowns, a 1965 play and film starring Jason Robards, about a happy man on welfare and his 12 year old nephew.