I came across this image today and felt the immediate need to share it.
For those of you who have somehow managed to be unaware of what film this still comes from, it’s an image lifted from the near-perfect Office Space. For those of you who needed the enlightenment, go, watch it now. Seriously, right now. I’ll wait.
Ok, no, I really won’t wait, but those suckers who ran off to watch the movie won’t care. They’ll be engrossed in one of cinema’s most recent true masterpieces.
This movie came out in 1999, the final year of high school for this old man. I remember seeing trailers for it, I remember seeing the posters, I remember being completely disinterested in it whatsoever. Yet, somehow, I ended up at the theater watching this thing the weekend it opened up. One of my friends decided he had enough interest, and since movies were about the only thing we did back then. . . yeah.
Since that day of mystical kismet, I have easily watched the film 50 times, a majority of which occurred that same year. Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta’ was our unofficial class song (at least for the male portion of our graduating class). It really struck a chord with us young bucks, nearing our time of entering the work force.
But since then, I’ve actually worked in a few cubicle farms. Yet, until a few months ago, it had been years since I had watched this movie. Sure, Lundberg impersonations would abound (at least coming from me) as I walked the office halls with my coffee mug in hand, but I honestly hadn’t viewed this film from the vantage point of a man who had to answer to 3 different bosses at the same time, or was constantly being asked to fill out reports (for a short while, we actually DID have TPS reports in one of my positions).
So, a few months back, the urge hit, and magically the film was now on Netflix’s Instant Watch service (it looks like it has since been relegated back to DVD only form on Netflix). First of all, the film definitely held up. It was as funny as ever. This band of juvenile adults who just aren’t ready for the responsibilities of an office job is just plain brilliant. The easily offended will find much to be offended at, but that’s part of the point of this flick. These are not refined grown up men, these are men who have been forced into jobs where decorum is required, yet they are far from dignified.
And that’s where my new point of view really stepped in. It was now evident why I had connected with this film so strongly back in my high school days. Because life in a cubicle farm is exactly like life in high school. I became aware of this fact quite early on in my time as a cube jockey, in fact, when I first become employed at my current job, I couldn’t help but laugh as my co-workers fled out in excitement to see their new desks. It was all-too-reminiscent of running out to see where your new locker was, see who you were near, and all that crap.
Quite simply, the people haven’t changed, and the requirements on those people haven’t changed. You have a group of people who just want to express themselves in any way possible, being forced to sit quietly at their desk and do exactly not that.
And that’s when I finally realized how brilliant this film from Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge really was. This was an expression of the teen angst the 90’s was filled with, grown up. The central character of Peter doesn’t even realize that he feels this need to express himself, to act like him. But when his brain finally breaks, he begins to feel much better about everything, as he’s not trying to impress people, he’s not fearing for his job. . . he’s just being him. Of course, this leads him on an incredibly crazy adventure, but the true story is about Peter finally learning how to express himself and get out of that high school mindset. It’s a completely different type of coming of age story. And it’s hilarious.
So, yeah. . . that’s what I’ve got today. A love story for Office Space. I take Peter as my own personal role model. That’s why I’m always playing Tetris at my desk. 🙂
Have a good one.