Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "Office Space" Anne T. Donahue

Every time a week passes, I literally can’t believe it’s been a week since I last made a comment about not being able to believe that a week had passed. What is up! And/or shaking! We had a tumultuous go with our look into The Notebook last time, and to help us curtail the emotions associated with that, we are going to watch a movie that could not be anymore different if it tried.

OFFICE SPACE. ALL CAPS FOR A PURPOSE.

To get completely real, I have an emotional connection to this movie in that it became the only way I could function throughout a lot of jobs I was terrible at and hated. Sadly for me, I only watched this movie for the first time in the mid-2000s, and my quality of life suffered because of that until that point. But I did it! In 2005, I watched Office Space on VHS and realized that everything in the world finally made sense. We’ve ALL had cases of the Mondays! We’ve ALL been denied our red staplers! Hell, if I had a mat for every conclusion I’d like to jump to, I’d a rich woman too. So let’s embark. Let’s grab our proverbial punch clocks and begin our shifts at the one job we will all gladly show up for: one that allows us to watch movies together*.

*It’s fictitious, I think. But NOT TODAY, you guys/coworkers.

1. This commute is my life

Since we are all human beings, we all completely understand what it’s like to be stuck in traffic. But oh my goodness, the changing lanes! The old person bypassing me! (Which is also my friend Steph’s current life story.) The intense hatred reserved for anyone else in an automobile that isn’t the person currently sitting shotgun! Absolutely, Office Space. You hit it right on the head.

Especially with…

2. Michael Bolton and his rap music

Because obviously. Now, I won’t lie, I don’t know how to rap nearly as good as Michael Bolton (in that I don’t know how to rap at ALL), but I have been known to turn up the Tim Allen-narrated Michigan commercial every chance I get and blare it within 100 yards of another open automobile and/or human being. And then when I get to, say, the McDonalds drive-thru, I turn it down because that is reserved for me, that is MY TIME, and damn it, I just love that Cider House Rules theme song. (Please save me from myself, you guys.)

3. I worked at a bank once and it was exactly like this

EXACTLY. LIKE. THIS. Now. Working in a bank is a great job – it’s seriously an awesome job if that is the type of job you are good at and/or that’s what you want to do. For me, it was neither. So working at the bank was fun on the day I went out and bought new business clothes, and then after the first shift, I was very much thinking, “WHAT HAVE I DONE.” So I would go into the bank, every day, for the next six months, exactly as sad as Peter Gibbons, and by the end, when I realized I was quitting soon or endure getting fired (I was the only person probably in the history of banks ever to have -30% sales revenue) I actually looked up Office Space quotes in my spare time (aka on the bank’s internet). And every day you would see me would be on the worst day of my life.

4. “Are you related to that singer guy?”

NO OF COURSE NOT, LADY. Michael Bolton is named Michael Bolton. If he was RELATED to Michael Bolton, that would be weird because then there would be two people in the family named Michael Bolton. Is everyone here on the same page? Oh but wait there’s no time to discuss this because HERE is actually the best line in the world . . .

5. “Looks like SOMEBODY’S got a case of the Mondays!”

AHHH! And it still holds true! I mean, I like Mondays, personally, but when I worked at the bank and then in retail for nine years, oh my god, guys I HATED MONDAYS. I hated them. But I hated them even more in school, I think. And the worst thing about Mondays were the people who used the line, “Looks like SOMEBODY’S got a case of the Mondays!” but were the ones who actually meant it. Like, you CAN’T use this quote if you actually mean it! It’s not funny then! WHY. Why would you do this?! Why are you taking the one thing I have and using it to make me hate one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite movies? Why are you such a monster?! I can literally see the person I’m thinking of saying this as I type. And guys, it’s terrible. It’s almost as terrible as [drumroll please] . . .

6. Tom’s “Jump To Conclusions” mat

WHICH I would probably buy, I’m not going to lie to you.

7. I still have no idea what “PC Load Letter” actually means

But since I am going to talk about the bank quite a bit (guys, this movie was my life raft – from September 2007 – March 2008 it really was the only thing I watched other than The Office and Arrested Development because I was SO SAD, you guys I hated the bank SO MUCH and I was SO BAD AT IT), I will tell you that I hated nothing as much as our fax machine. Wait, no – lies. That is a lie because it was at the hardware store where I was a manager that I hated the fax machine. Yes, I was once the manager of a hardware store. And the fax machine – and the shifts that began at 6 a.m. – were the banes of my existence. (As well as the work vest and the work boots.) (And the misery, you guys. Because I really am bad at everything other than writing things and making jokes about like, Fresh Prince.)

8. See, you think Peter would be able to tell his boss that he’s not going to come in on Saturday, but THEY TRICK YOU

Well this is another retail story – not a bank one (gah, I am making this all about me I AM SO SORRY) – but my manager at the hardware store had an amazing way of cornering you and making you stay late JUST LIKE LUMBERG. Here is an example of the exchange that would ensure you were working every day for the rest of your life:

Her: “Hi Sunshine! What are you doing tonight?”

Me: “Oh! Not much – I think going to a friend’s? Not too sure!”

Her: “Great, so you can come in tonight, then.”

Me: “Oh… um…”

Her: “I’ll write you in. I mean, you want hours, right? You want to be part of the team, don’t you?”

FIN.

I would have totally preferred Lumberg.

9. Do we think this type of hypnotism exists?

Clearly I am at the part where Peter is getting hypnotized, thus leading to the reason he gives not one single care about his job or anyone or anything aside from the things that he loves. This is a terrific idea, BUT do we think it’s real? I’m not sure if I buy into hypnotism at all, even. It always freaked me out, so I have combatted said fear by denying its power exists. Needless to say, if Harry Potter were real (IT IS WHAT AM I SAYING), I would just deny the existence of Voldemort because it would be easier than dealing with him or his consequences.

I’m an adult, you guys.

10. This place where Jennifer Aniston works is just like that restaurant in Waiting…

Did you guys see that movie? Ryan Reynolds! Anna Faris? Eh? EH? Anyway. It’s pretty great, AND reminded me of when I worked in a restaurant (which I was also really bad at) (like I said, I am really bad at any jobs that aren’t the one I have). But the flair! The paraphernalia on the walls! The wooden paneling! Like, I have nothing against Applebee’s, but I will say that each of these restaurants ARE basically Applebee’s. The one in Waiting… was called “Shinaniganz.” So what I’m saying ACTUALLY is I wish that Applebee’s was called Shinaniganz.

In retrospect, this has nothing to do with Office Space, but if you’re like me, and you like to draw parallels between every movie ever made, you are joining me in this field day of pop culture knowledge.

11. Imagine though that you just stopped going to the job that you hated?

I mean, I think a big part of being an adult is just doing stuff you don’t want to do all the time. Obviously this isn’t about compromising your happiness, BUT I think that to be responsible, you have to do some joy-less stuff on the occasion (ex. pay bills, answer the phone when Visa calls you, etc). BUT where do you draw the line between being totally joyless and just being an adult? RIGHT?! So like, is Peter just maintaing his happiness or is he just not being a grown-up? THESE ARE THE TYPES OF THINGS I THINK ABOUT. THIS IS WHY I AM QUALIFIED FOR NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD AT ALL.

12. Okay, but I will say that Peter’s “I don’t care” attitude DOES work with upper management sometimes

Before I begin, let me just tell you that I am and was a terrible employee. I didn’t lie, cheat or steal – I tried to be as nice as I could, and I never called in sick (and sometimes I even worked an open to close), BUT I will tell you that as soon as I stopped caring about doing a thing, I really, really sucked at my job. Like, when I realized I didn’t want to be at the bank, I just wore the same sweater all the time and didn’t try to sell anything to anyone. (I mean, why would I want to sell someone a credit card anyway?) And then at the clothes store I worked at, I just worked on cash and literally that’s all I did. (“You’re a CASHIER!” – Elaine in Seinfeld) SO I took Peter’s ethos to heart and every time the DM came into work, I’d be like, “Heyyyy Dave – whaaaaat’s shaking?” and IT WORKED. In fact, it also worked at the hardware store! THEY LOVED IT. No ass-kissing! Just … “Hey, ‘sup buddy” and BOOM. So I don’t know if this is a story that could potentially damage your career that you’ve worked hard to build, but I will say… DARE TO DREAM/SAY ‘SUP TO YOUR BOSS*.

*Please don’t listen to me. Office Space has become a part of my soul. Run! Now! Flee while you can!

13. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob!”

The only answer to anything, you guys. So if you, say, don’t go to school for weeks at a time, and your teacher mentions it, you respond by saying this exact line. Even Bob! Make sure you add Bob. And by “make sure you add Bob” I mean “please guys never take any advice I give you literally – unless I say, “TAKE THIS LITERALLY I AM BEING FOR REAL” or I seem serious.

The bank version of Anne is out in full force today. I wish I still had that sweater.

14. And then BOOM Office Space turns into a bank heist film or something equally great

I think the reason all of us like this movie is because IMAGINE you could just use a computer program to take 0.00001 of a cent? Also because we know we would never do this! It’s also illegal! But that’s why Ocean’s 11 is so great! We would never, ever actually DO these things – but imagine?! NEVER DO THEM. BUT IMAGINE. (So for the record, never, ever, ever, steal – but imagine you are Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11.)

15. THE MUSIC

The music in this movie is the only thing that matters. Honestly, no other music would be as good. NONE. Not even Tim Allen juxtaposed over The Cider House Rules theme. NO. MUSIC. And oh my GOD, we have just gotten to the greatest part:

16. “I stole something”

THE FAX MACHINE. PC LOAD LETTER WHAT WHAT. Oh my goodness, I wish I still had my hardware safety boots so I could’ve done this exact thing when I quit after I found out the store manager was doing impressions of me in front of everyone. (Actually.) Instead, I just gave my two weeks and worked up until the last shift and then I even stayed late that night because I wanted to make sure I left on a good note.

I wish I’d taken the fax machine.

17. But Joanna does have a point

Obviously this whole stealing plot is ridiculous because it IS stealing! Like Joanna says! It’d be so weird if people actually did just take what they felt they deserved when it didn’t belong to them, and by “weird” I mean “illegal” and “the worst.” I think another word is called “looting”? Either way, just please don’t steal from your employers or anyone, you guys. And to further re-iterate my point, TAKE THIS LITERALLY I AM BEING FOR REAL.

18. Poor Joanna, though!

Like, she is dating a legitimate man-child. NOW. I love Office Space as much as the next guy, but what IS wrong with you, Peter? Who cares if Joanna slept with Lumberg! And it’s not even the right one! (Which makes this conversation funny.) But SERIOUSLY. Get bent, Peter. GET. BENT.

19. But then she quits! 

AND WHAT A WAY TO GO. All of us would probably really like to express ourselves like Joanna, sort to speak. BUT we can’t because our lives aren’t movies, and we rely on money to pay bills and probably don’t hate our bosses enough to give the finger. BUT I will say that we have all WANTED to do that at one point or another, more than likely. So this is the part in the movie where – like in Ocean’s 11 - you’re like, YOU GO, GIRL. But you know we should never actually do that because, well, there’s probably a lawsuit or something involved in quitting in a way that isn’t the usual two weeks. I don’t know, you guys. All I know is that when I quit the job I hated the most, I still went for my last shift because I was really afraid of screwing somebody over because I have a guilt complex.

So what I’m saying is that I have lived vicariously through Joanna more than once. DON’T JUDGE ME, YOU GUYS I’M ONLY HUMAN.

20. Office cakes = so much pressure

See, we all laugh at Milton not getting a piece of cake, but you know what? WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE. We have all been there in that some of us (read: me) have not gotten to the cake in time, or only gotten to the cake when it was half melted and stale and people had coughed on it, probably. If there’s an office cake, I am the person who will not get any. Or I will get the cupcake or the cake piece that EVERYONE touched, somehow. Like the one that 19515825 people had their hands on. That is me. I am Milton. Only my red stapler is my delicious cupcake I brought from home that somebody ate by accident. (“By accident.”) (And while that hasn’t technically happened to me, someone did make me take the cupcakes I brought into work for my birthday home because they didn’t want “leftover cupcakes cluttering the break room.”) (This is my life.)

21. I’m sorry but with all this talk of Lumberg, we haven’t really given him the attention he deserves

Because YEAAAAAAHHHH I’m going to have to go ahead and ask you to do your finest impressions of Bill Lumberg wherever you may be right now… thaaaaaanks…

22. Obviously, the key to happiness at work IS finding something you love

And in this beautiful precious life lesson, Office Space has proven that it’s not about finding some high-paying job, it’s about DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Exactly! Like, to get completely real, the bank was a nightmare for me in which every day I prayed for death, BUT for someone else – like my best friend’s boyfriend – it’s his dream job and he’s amazing at it. And he wouldn’t want to do what I do! See? Everyone has their niche. So congratulations to Peter for realizing he likes being outside and working in construction. I have friends who LOVE their construction jobs, and the idea of staring at a laptop and caring about ’90s movies seems like a fresh concept of hell. So the moral of the story is: do what you love. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

23. I do love how Milton is obviously a sociopath, though

I mean, when you think about how long it took for him to burn down Initech (SPOILER ALERT), and how quickly he decides the resort needs to pay for him getting his drink order wrong, there’s obviously only a matter of time before he becomes a serial arsonist and/or murderer. And we just leave that unresolved! Way to be, Mike Judge. Luckily, I know that Milton ISN’T REAL, but I will always associate just a little bit of sociopathology (huh?) with the actor who plays him despite me having a profound love of Newsradio. (It’s the same actor, right? Should I just be looking this up on IMDB to confirm? Probably. I’m just so tired right now, my friends.)

24. We never touched on Peter’s neighbour

And I literally only realized that now when he and Peter are working in construction together. And he’s all “Effing eh” and channeling his inner Canadian, despite us not saying “eh” all that much, except in sentences where I totally catch myself saying “eh.” BUT WHATEVER. Peter’s neighbour! You’re kind of a voyeur! But you know what? That’s necessary. We need you to tell this tale. And your mullet is beautiful.

25. So all in all, everything works out for Peter which makes Office Space wonderful

First, obviously this movie is perfect. Duh. Second of all, not only does Peter find his dream job, BUT he apologizes to Joanna (rightfully!) and admits his jealousy is HIS problem not hers, so another shout-out to equality and sanity and how relationships should be. So in Joanna-Peter Land, they go off to watch kung fu forever, and we soak up the glory that is their dynamic. Then Michael Bolton and Samir get new jobs they’re fine with, and avoid going to prison. Horray! Lumberg is off saying “yeahhhh…” somewhere. And Milton? Well we already touched on that, and just in case he is in any way real, let’s all lock our doors and windows tonight. And leave one perfect red stapler out on the sidewalk so he just takes it and leaves.

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  1. I love that you referenced The Office and Arrested Development… because in my opinion, they are the two best shows that have ever existed, and also the only reason I’ve ever had to pause the TV in order to stop laughing. No joke.

    Oh, but Office Space. Yes, it’s in an epic world all of its own.

  2. Hear not here Haha

  3. Anne, this may be shocking to here but I’m pretty sure we were seperated at birth.

  4. I was asked to work from 9pm-3am on New Year’s Eve, in 1999. So yeah, for me, partying like it’s 1999 meant dealing with drunken customers at the arcade while all of my fellow 16-year-old pals had a house bash without me.

    My boss’ excuse was “We rotate everyone on the NYE closing shift every year, and this time it’s your turn.”

  5. I work at a bank and my supervisors and I LOVE quoting Office Space to one another. :)

  6. Pure Michigan commercials are the best! I did not know it was the Cider House Rules song, must watch that again soon!

  7. I LOVE saying, “I don’t really like talking about my flair.”