The Set of 400: #132 – My Favorite Stapler

Today! Because it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care –

Office Space (1999)

Directed by Mike Judge

Starring Ron Livingston, David Herman (x2), Ajay Naidu (x2), Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole (x2), Diedrich Bader (x2), Stephen Root (x3), Richard Riehle (x2), John C. McGinley (x2), Paul Wilson, Joe Bays, Orlando Jones, Greg Pitts, Alexandra Wentworth

When you’re in college and see Office Space for the first time, it’s a goofy, light-hearted look at relationships and co-workers and oh, what a laugh! When you watch it as an adult who has worked in an office non-stop for that last fifteen years, it’s still funny, but in that sympathetic, soul-crushing manner that watching videos of people falling on the ice is funny. It’s such a curiously accurate representation of the horrors of white-collar working that it’s amazing anyone could watch this film while still in college – still figuring out what it is you want to do with your life – and end up in an office. It’s like watching Saving Private Ryan and thinking how fun it probably is to join the Army. It’s like watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and being inspired to go into politics. It’s like watching The Dark Knight and considering a career as a bank manager.

Sure, we’d all like to grow up to be William Fichtner, but not this William Fichtner

And yet, here we are – well, here I am, anyway – working in offices after all these years. Hell, someone has to, right? And what am I going to do instead? Become a park ranger? With these kneecaps? We hooked up our old Nintendo Wii the other day and played a few games of Bowling, and I swear I’m a little sore today. Man, I’ve gotta start doing some push-ups or something. Hopefully by the time this publishes I’m in better shape! Check my Instagram and belittle my toneless triceps if not!

But yes, Office Space rightly became a beloved comedy classic, for its sheer relatability and the carefree fantasy attitudes developed. Who doesn’t want to be hypnotized Peter, coasting through his job however he pleases? Who doesn’t daydream about breaking free from the corporate overlords and going door-to-door selling subscriptions to Vibe? Who doesn’t have their own prototype Jump to Conclusion mat hidden in their closet, ready to spring on the world and make your fortune?

The “Jump to Conclusions” guy would probably be the film MVP, if this guy didn’t exist –

Really though, I’ve worked in offices forever, but it doesn’t kill me. I didn’t intend on doing pretty much anything I’ve done for money over the last two decades, and so I’ve never been super stressed out about climbing through a company or advancing in this career or anything. I just want my PTO and my 401K and my PPO plan until I can retire, which hopefully will be any day now. A guy can dream, right? By the time you read this, I might have my student loans paid off, only 22ish years after I first got with the borrowing! That’s like step one to buying the beach house, right?

I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

It took a few years before this movie caught on – being a colossal flop at the box office in ’99 – but now is universally loved. Have you ever met anyone who was kinda meh on Office Space? I don’t believe that person exists. It won no awards and grossed something like $12 million, and yet it features the Best Printer Destruction ever captured on film, as well as the Best Use of “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta.” 

We’ve got a surprising number of folks joining the Two-Timers, including Michael Bolton himself David Herman (#385 Bee Movie), Lumbergh Gary Cole (#335 In the Line of Fire), Ajay Naidu (#194 Bad Santa), John C. McGinley (#214 Nixon), Richard Riehle (#201 The Fugitive), and Diedrich Bader (#208 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), while the only advancing person from the film is stapler aficionado Milton, Stephen Root, heading to the Threes (#398 Ghost, #290 Cedar Rapids). Spotlight!

Coming tomorrow! If I wasn’t so buddy-buddy with that motherfucker, none of this would work –

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