My Favourite Film: Office Space

Written by n-phull

I always find it difficult to state what my favourite anything is, but when it comes to picking my favourite film there’s one that sticks out firmly in my mind. Releases that I’ve enjoyed this year include 12 Years a Slave, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy and Gone Girl. Quite a mixed bag of genres, but I tend to respond well to anything with a good script, a powerful message and on-point acting performances. My favourite film incorporates all of these things, but the strangest thing is that I’ve only seen it once…

What is your favourite film?

Office Space (1999). Written and directed by Mike Judge. Starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root and Gary Cole. 

The film satirises life in the office of a software company by following the lives and frustrations of Peter (Ron Livingston), Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Michael (David Herman).

When, and where, was the first time you saw this film? Was it a particularly memorable day/company/experience?

I know exactly when I watched the film because I tweeted about it afterwards.

I watched the film for the first time on the 25th October 2014 when it was showing on Film4. I stumbled across it entirely by accident whilst flicking through the channels trying to find something to watch.

It was the opening scene which enticed me to commit to watching the whole film. It shows main character, Peter, stuck in traffic on his daily commute to work. Every moving lane he moves into suddenly stops while the one he just left starts moving. Sod’s law. Hilarious. 

Favourite character and why?

The film itself was based on Milton, a series of animated shorts created by director, Mike Judge which aired on Saturday Night Live in the 1990’s.

In Office Space, the character of Milton steals every scene as Stephen Root plays the mumbling character brilliantly. Although you feel sorry for his situation, you can’t help but laugh at his misery as he gets walked all over and ignored by the other more dominant members of the office. 

Favourite scene?

To exact their revenge on Initech, the company that had made their lives misery, the trio decide to plant a virus onto the accounting system to launder money into their personal accounts. 

On Michael and Samir’s last day at the company, they take their notoriously temperamental printer and smash it (PC Load Letter, no more!). This is arguably the most famous scene from the film and has even been parodied on Family Guy.   

Favourite quote?

Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It’s not that hard: Nayee-Nanajar. Nayeenanajar.
Michael: Yeah, well, at least you’re name isn’t Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know, there’s nothing wrong with that name.
Michael: There WAS nothing wrong with it… until I was about 12 years old, and that no-talent-ass-clown because famous and started winning Grammys.

Michael and his namesake are the butt of many jokes throughout the film. 

Who would you like to be in the film?

One of the reasons that the film works so well is because of its largely unknown actors (at least at the time of its pre-millennium release anyway). It could be funny to see a ridiculously famous and rich entrepreneur to make a cameo in the office though – maybe Bill Gates or Richard Branson. 

Why is it your favourite?

If laughing burns calories then I lost a couple of hundred during Office Space: it’s one of those comedies where every other line has you in stitches. For me, sarcastic humour is the best kind and this is hands down, the funniest film I have ever seen. 

Although it didn’t exactly set the box office alight, it has since gone on to receive cult classic status and worm its way into the hearts of generations old and new. This is even one of Jennifer Aniston’s better films. 

Despite all the hilarious scenes, brilliant characterisation and witty script, the film does have an important message, one which is particularly pertinent to my current status as a graduate job-hunter. Employers that send worthless memos and call pointless meetings, employees that do banal tasks sitting in suffocating cubicles – these are the kinds of people and working environment that the film pokes fun at and exposes as far from ideal. 

Sadly, the frustrations and monotony of working life is probably something a lot of people can relate to. The important thing is to be passionate about your job and not spend your working days staring into (office) space! I’d like to think that everyone’s dream job is out there somewhere and the film made me determined to find mine. 

Have you seen Office Space? What did you think?