Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blind Spots 2012: Office Space

Office Space is currently #59 on Flickchart's global ranking (and the #13 comedy). It's gained a huge cult following but I had never seen it before.

I feel about it the way I feel about most movies that have the "cult" sort of label attached to them: 1) I don't think it's nearly as interesting or funny as I think I should think, but 2) I have a feeling that if I watched it several more times it would grow on me. There's nothing wrong with the movie, but nothing really stood out to me as something I loved.

Office Space actually reminded me a lot (in an odd way) of one of my very favorite cult movies - Napoleon Dynamite. They both have very low-key humor, a fairly loose plot, distinct and quirky characters, and infinitely quotable lines. They're both structured more as a series of entertaining scenes than a straight beginning-to-end story. The first time I watched Napoleon Dynamite I thought it was mildly funny but nothing special, but as friends kept making me watch it over and over again, little lines or moments started jumping out at me as hilarious. I feel like the same is true of Office Space. There were so many little things that, although they were new to me, jumped out as potentially hilarious, even though they just made me smile pleasantly at the time rather than actually laugh.

(It's also occurred to me that, although it's a bit flashier, I made the same journey with This Is Spinal Tap, which is now my #7 of all-time on Flickchart.)

It's weird to judge a movie based so much on how you think you might like it in the future, but I really feel this is a movie I shouldn't give up on. In a year or two, I'd like to rewatch it. I'd love to watch it with someone who really enjoys it. It's got a bizarre charm to it that I feel I am just on the verge of, and it could someday become one of my very favorites. Or I could watch it 3 more times and still not get it. I will have to keep everyone updated on the "liking Office Space"-o-meter.

For the moment, 3 stars.

Blind Spot Movies I've Seen So Far, In Order of How Much I Liked Them
Beetlejuice (1988)
Office Space (1999)

Blind Spot Movies I Have Yet To See, In No Order

The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Carrie (1976)
Rushmore (1998)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Nosferatu (1929)


  1. Yeeeeaahhh... I'm gonna need you to go ahead and rewatch it again soon. Mkay?

  2. Well, I need some space first. If I rewatch it again immediately, I'm probably not going to like it any better. I need at LEAST six months. Preferably a year or two. Then we'll see.

  3. Office Space is one of those deceptive movies that, on the surface, just seems so obvious that it feels you've already seen it. It's almost like tuning in to basic cable reruns of a sitcom that you never watched when it was a new show. You recognize what's going on, and why, but there's no real sense of it being anything special or groundbreaking in any way.

    But then later, you catch yourself being prompted to recall it in casual conversations and daily moments. Someone says or does something and that's when you realize: there was never another movie or TV show that more perfectly discussed the mundane nature of the daily grind. It works partly as a snapshot of how absurd it is that we aspire to spend the vast majority of our time regurgitating the same inane phrases and doing the same spiritually bankrupt activities. There's also, though, the vicarious fantasy of rebellion against that mental oppression.

    BTW, you can print out a T.P.S. cover sheet here: I downloaded it from the "Special Edition...with Flair" DVD.

    You raise an important question, incidentally, regarding the extent to which we measure our reactions against what we believe our reactions "should" be. It happens in all manner of contexts, but I think it's easier to explore in the context of discussing movies. The Avengers just made more money than some continents will all year and the Internet is alight with "ZOMG! GREATEST MOVIE EVAR!" reactions. I feel like the fact I left thinking it was fun, but not very original, is not the adequate, acceptable reaction it would have been if the rest of the world hadn't apparently gone gaga over it.