Saturday, June 08, 2013

"The Internship": two aging salesman have something to show digital script kiddies at boot camp

The Internship” sold out all 151 seats at the remodeled AMC Courthouse in Arlington, as the storms for the day receded.  And  last seat in the house is likely to be very close to the wall with a very acute angular view.

This is the first major studio (Fox and Regency) “comedy” I’ve seen in a while. And it has a couple of important messages.  But unlike an earlier film about the high-tech world (“The Social Network”) it has no pretensions of taking itself seriously.
  
Ross Perlin authored a book “Intern Nation” (reviewed on the books blog June 8, 2011), about the abuse of interns (getting work done for free), basically in the media business.  And don’t forget Bib Weinstein’s 1994 book “I’ll Work for Free”, to get my foot in the door.

In the movie (directed by Shawn Levy), Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn (who shared the screenwriting with Jared Wilson) play two “manufacturer’s representatives”  for wholesaling wristwatches, whose maker goes out of business.  The movie doesn’t  mention the Pebble (missed chance); anyway, you don’t want to give a hairy man a grabby metal-band watch (that doesn’t affect these characters).  The Net is destroying the old fashioned way of doing things.

My own father was a rep for Imperial Glass (Bellaire, Ohio) from about 1934 until 1971, when he was 68 and “they” made him retire for someone younger.  The company had to call him back.  Then ot got bought by Lenox.  Then it tore down the old factory in Ohio, where a 7-11 sits now.  I remember watching him do paper orders on preprinted yellow forms for years.  Mother sometimes helped.  We would go to shows in Williamsburg, Philadelphia, New York City, even Syracuse. 

But today, you have Amazon for everything, right?  Well, in this movie, though, the internship happens at Google.

The end credits say that the film was shot in Georgia, and I don’t know whether the company’s Disney-looking campus (with its iconic trademark) was reconstructed with CGI, or was filmed on location in Mountain View, CA.  It looks like fun.

The two salesmen, after the demise of their first company, try a mattress retailer (how boring) before applying for an internship (by Skype). As older men, they provide “diversity”.

The “Company” divides all its interns into 5-person teams, and only one team will wind up with permanent jobs (for everyone on the team).  It’s a little bit like a variation of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice”.  (There’s no Troy McClain to get his legs waxed on camera for “the team” though; oh, that’s another movie.)  The teams have to conjure and develop apps.

The “kids”, like Lyle (Josh Brener) , Stuart (Dylan O’Brien) and Graham (Max Minghella)  all appeal.  They have real charisma, of their own -- talk fast, with rich vocabularies, filled with metaphors.  The old veterans salesmen are totally out of their league, except in one regard.  They know how to approach ordinary, common people to get them interested in things – in these days where nobody wants to be solicited. They can actually imagine what people really need.  And that can be their saving grace.

There's a scene early in the internship where the tag team learns that all the food at the"Internet book camp" is free.  So are the bikes.  There's an earlier scene where the two are job hunting in a public library (that's where they have the first interview), that reminds me of the "Redi-ing" videos about free stuff.  It seems as though a clip from Reid Ewing's videos, whatever the copyright-related licensing arrangements to use them, would have made a funny insert.  Which raises the question -- could he have been cast as one of the"kids" -- serving the free stuff?

Toward the end of the film, there is a phone bank customer service exercise.  But my impression is that Google doesn't normally offer this the way paid hosting providers do.

Google actually pays its interns about $5500 a month.

The official site from Fox is here

Google Play (from Google+) presents its own trailer to promote this movie on YouTube



I doubt many middle agers with mortgages can afford to intern.  Oh, one other thing. If you still work in a theater but you're young, named Nolan, and look like ABC Revenge's "Nolan", just remember that ABC's inventor of the NolPad is prime time television's richest youngster, a billionaire outdoing even Mark Zuckerberg (oh, sorry, that's Facebook, isn't it).  

First picture" That's Disney, my own 2012 trip. (I haven't made it to Mountainview yet, although I was close to it in Feb. 2002).  Second picture, Bellaire Ohio (Nov 2012).

One other AMC customer service tip.  I applaud the renovation of the theater.   The soda machine had a slight glitch.  When I pressed Diet Coke, it gave me a Cherry Coke. No big deal for me, but what if the customer were diabetic?  

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