I have been told my many people to see this movie, so after a while of wanting to see it I finally got the initiative to rent
it. Overall, I thought it rocked, like everyone else here, in much the same way I thought Microserfs
rocked, even though the activities of the characters differ quite a bit.
Most of the scenes depict what we would like to do at our jobs. Deflate the power our bosses have over us, rendering them to be, in light of truth, the often worthless figure heads they really are. Knock down the walls to our cubicles. Wear casual clothing even though most offices do not deal directly with the public anyway but yet we are most often required to dress up every day of our work week. Destroy a malfunctioning office appliance. Have the guts to change our lives, break up with those who are ruining our lives and make the move to speak where silence further prompted the awkwardness of the single sexes. Blow up the boss’ office. You know, the usual.
Despite the fact that most geeks are unified in their support of this movie’s depiction, I felt that the main character was not what I could consider most code slaves. Despite the fact that he had a cathartic revelation while his hypno-therapist croaks in front of him during a session, which is the impetus that catapults the action of the movie, he is not himself, to me, all that interesting. He is not articulate, not prone to creative hobbies, not revered for much outside of action. Perhaps most office people yearn for shiftlessness, but I was led to believe that they sought creative mental freedom (which allows also for the freedom of doing nothing, but humor me here), that they sought a sense of accomplishment through their jobs as they do in their personal lives, and that these were diluted by the dull, unrewarding, and repetitive staccato that their minimum pay, no future jobs. I mean, if you yearn to break out of your cubicle, I would assume that you have reasons, that you have things you’d rather be doing.
What I mean here is that I guess I think more highly of office geeks than this character would best depict. And his friends at work aren’t much more interesting to me. The one set in the opening scene said more to me about racial divides than it did about civil unrest. A white, geeky male derives his feeling of power and strength by memorizing lines to misogynist rap lyrics, gesturing as likely he’s seen on MTV, but then, when he sees a black man selling roses at the intersection, promptly and with slight fear, locks his car door. If that is an example of how my small framed guys find their inner source of rebellion in suburbia, then I am a bit disappointed. But I also find it amusing that punks wear Army issue gear and that fat people wear designer athletic shoes, so maybe I’m just too cynical.
All through the movie, rap plays in scenes where the characters are celebrating their new found union, energy, sense of accomplishment, laying of the naughty plans to rob the company, and printer destruction. Now, I love rap, don’t get me wrong. And I too derive a sense of empowerment from it. But at the same time, I do not consider myself to be as white-washed as these guys were, so completely (it seems) isolated from cultural differences and socioeconomic strata; in addition, they don’t seem to care about how things are and are content to keep them that way. Anyone who supports a type of music that is of a different culture but fears and is ignorant of that culture is a bit narrow-minded, IMHO, and likewise I wouldn’t want to characterize office geeks this way.
Having worked more in the service industry willingly than in the office world unwillingly, I personally identify more with Jennifer Aniston’s way of improving her standard of living, even if that only meant going to another waitress job down the street. That is usually how most of us upgrade our jobs; we stay in a similar field and shop around. That, the willingness to pick up and start over, even if just the water cooler is in a different corner of the box, is more noble and realistic. We like the drama of the lead characters more, of course, because they are daring, the do what we would not necessarily choose to do.
I have a similar reaction to the issue of Colombine. Some people, like I did when I first heard the story, were not ashamed that they thought shooting up frat boys was at least amusing, the stuff of their adolescent dreams ( I had those dreams too, believe you me). But then, when I read a little more than Newsweek would offer, I realized that it was more than just hatred of a high school class order. There usually is more to a story than lies on the surface. As I read, more issues came up, and the more complicated the story became. While I loved the flick, I had problems with it, problems that maybe not many people think about. Most people may say, “I just wanted to enjoy the movie and not think about all that.” And that’s their right. This is mine.
The lead character may have been a code cruncher, but I didn’t see in him the attributes I’ve seen in geeks that I know personally, and maybe I’ve just been lucky to have met some of the most interesting, intelligent, creative, multi-faceted, and unique geeks. I thought it could have been made much better, and the story would have been more fulfilling if it couldn’t be summed up in a few one-liners. Despite all that, I still did my one person cheer at the end, beer in hand, and went to bed.