Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Office Space" (1999) pokes fun at the way corporate America treats non-union employees; a warning as to how one can be framed; "The Artist" wins at Oscars.

The 1999 satire-comedy “Office Space”, from director Mike Judge (20th Century Fox), refers to the Y2K effort (which I remember well from my own job then) and shows desktop office computers and workplace cubicles as they really looked then. 

More important, of course, is the “message”. 

A Texas company named Initech struggles with an old-fashioned workplace culture. It’s definitely pre-Google and pre-Facebook; it wouldn’t be fun to work for Initech.   (I actually think I would enjoy working for either of the two “modern” companies I just listed.)  A customer service agent Peter (Ron Livingston) hates his job and tells everybody. In the meantime, some efficiency experts go around and interview all the workers, who take it to mean their being re-interviewed to keep their own jobs.  Despite the currency of that sort of idea, it used to happen, even back in the 1950s (situation comedy episodes in shows like “My Little Margie” were based on this idea).  The company plans to lay off its best paid techies and hire free interns and outsource the rest overseas.  Morale is terrible.  We’ve all seen this before, and we hear about it today in the political debate on unemployment.

The plot gets zany when Peter is hypnotized and then the “doctor” drops dead, leaving Peter with some subconscious inspiration.  He winds up being groomed for management despite his bad attitude, and in the meantime the techies launch a scheme to shave off the rounding errors of transactions to put in his account, to make him look like a criminal.  The movie, however, has an ending that recalls “Body Heat”.

Seriously, in the mainframe world (or really the client-server world, too, with different parameters), it’s possible that if you don’t follow secured systems elevation procedures with “separation of function”, this could really happen.  A criminal could cause the load modules not to match the source, and plant a date-driven logic bomb.

Today’s “short films” (unrelated to the DVD).

First, “Sunday’s Aliens” (look at the Drama Blog today).

Then, “The Passenger:  Armenia  and Azerbaijan Without War”, International Issue blog, today.

Also, “Bent”, the 1997 film by Sean Mathias based on the play by Martin Sherman, is discussed on yesterday’s entry on the Drama Blog.

Happy Oscars!

Update: 1 AM Monday.

"The Artist" won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and a lot more. 

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