Tag Archives: Jennifer Aniston

The Guest Spot # 1: Office Space

My friend and budding sports journalist big Al (Alistair Watt on his birth certificate) watched a movie recently and felt compelled to pen a review. He reads the blog with religious regularity, and occasionally throws in a comment, so I felt it appropriate to give it an airing here…… Over to you Al.

Liam Gallagher is not renowned for being a merchant of profound wisdom. However, he put it quite beautifully in the Oasis anthem ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ when he posed the question ‘Is it worth the aggravation, to find yourself a job, when there’s nothing worth working for?’. If you haven’t faced this dilemma before, you’re either lucky or brain-dead.

It was after yet another day of grim monotony at the insurance company for which I work, that I purchased Mike Judge’s ‘Office Space’ for 3 Scottish pounds. And, perhaps with the exception of the sausage supper I devoured barely an hour ago, it was the best 3 quid I’ve ever spent.

The film revolves around the day-to-day frustrations of Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston), a reluctant employee of Initech corporation, a soulless technology company in Texas. From the very beginning the tone is set with Gibbons’ agonisingly slow commute to work followed by a dressing down from his obnoxious cretin of a boss, Bill Lumbergh (played by the excellent Gary Cole).
Lumbergh, a character derived from David Van Driessen in Judge’s more famous animated series ’Beavis and Butthead’, is a magnificent portrayal of the arsehole boss. Full of empty pleasantries and an arrogant swagger typical of certain types found in middle management.

The resentment that Lumbergh, and the general tedium of working for Initech, generates in the workforce is hilariously displayed by leading character Gibbons and his two colleagues Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman). Samir is furious that no-one can pronounce his name while Michael cannot bear having the same name as a famous 80’s singer.
Eventually, the trio embark on a plot to steal money from the company after Samir and Michael find out they are to be fired. But the aggression that working in a crap job can build up is best delivered in this scene where the disgruntled threesome take it out on a dodgy printer.

However, Office Space’s main strength is its wealth of other brilliant characters. Joanna (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a dippy Texan waitress who becomes the girlfriend of Gibbons, after they discover they share a love for kung-fu. Aniston’s role is brief but very enjoyable. The stressed out, paranoid Tom Smykowski (Richard Riehle) and mumbling Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) help to humourously complete the bleak picture of office life while Gibbons’ straight-talking neighbour Lawrence (Diedrich Bader) is equally funny. But my personal favourite, or favourites, are the two Bobs (played by Paul Willson and John C. McGinley) who are brought in to Initech to ’clear the decks’ of any deadwood. This scene sees the duo name and shame the soon to be sacked employees.

To conclude, Office Space is something of a hidden gem. Its comical take on the mediocrity often encountered in modern working life will strike a chord with anyone who has worked in a job they hate. And even for those who haven’t been so unfortunate, it’s a damn good watch.

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Saturday Night Clive

Being Saturday night I thought I’d keep it recent and take in a couple of Clive Owen films that had found their way into the “dvd’s to watch” pile that is currently growing on my lounge table. Owen, for my money, is one of the best we have at the moment, the movies I’ve seen him in have an integrity and always attempt to elevate themselves above the dirge of the day. The famous examples of this would, of course, be CHILDREN OF MEN (2006), INSIDE MAN (2006) and SIN CITY (2005).

First up was DERAILED (2005) in which Mr Owen stars as Charles Schine, a businessman who finds himself in a somewhat tricky blackmail situation after allowing himself to become involved with (a rather impressive) Jennifer Anniston’s character “Lucinda”.

The perpetrator of this blackmail is the genuinely frightening LaRoche played by notable French actor Vincent Cassel. I had some problems with the picture in the first half including the implausibility of the meeting, Aniston pays for Owens ticket on a train after he forgets to pick up some cash before boarding. This, of course, could just be a cinematic “meet cute” I thought, but it does become apparent why this needs to be. In fact, many of the nagging questions I had about the storyline were answered in the final third. It is indeed a fine ending to thoroughly decent movie with good performances all round. Rap stars Xzibit and the WU Tang Clan’s RZA get in the act on both sides of the fence. X is LaRoch’s muscle Dexter while RZA is the reformed mailroom man Winston at Schine’s office. Although this picture will never get into any of those best 100 movies lists, you won’t come away thinking you’ve wasted a part of life sitting through it.

The second picture of the Owen double was SHOOT EM’ UP (2007) and I have to be honest, I thought this effort would give question to Clive’s choice of direction.

The plot is rediculous, the one liners are corny and the action grotesque, violent and relentless, this is the kind of film I rarely watch and if I do, find something else to do or switch it off 20 minutes in. This however, was really good fun and at only 86 minutes, it zips along to a fairly satisfactory conclusion. I think what saves the film is that it never attemps to take itself too seriously and is well shot. Another plus is that Paul Giamatti is great as Owen’s nemesis.

I’ve managed to find the opening 3 minutes to the movie. NEVER IN MY LIFE have I seen a picture open like this. The more I think about it, the more it makes me laugh.
Watch the clip before reading the “what happened next below…….

So, Clive has shot a few people by this point. Why?…… well exactly. You do find out later but it takes a lot more bodies to get to that point. just after this point he helps the woman give birth to a baby boy, how does he cut the umbillical cord? ….. Well the movie IS called Shoot Em’ Up…. Owen then, with considerable help from Monica Bellucci, spends the rest of the movie trying to keep the baby alive (Giamatti’s gang are hell bent on killing him) although his parenting skills leave a lot to be desired. I’ll leave you with the hillariously rediculous roundabout scene where Owen tries to leave the baby to find a good home. He really should have known better.