Labor Day Weekend! Werk!

The best way to celebrate having a job is by not having to do it. Welcome to Labor Day weekend, the three day end-of-summer celebration where those of us not in the 9% unemployment statistic try to pay tribute to all those brave laborers who have paved the way for us to sit at computers for eight hours a day and develop some serious posture issues. You could do yoga to counteract that curvature of your spine, but I suggest laying flat on the couch and revisiting a few films that remind us of why we do what we do.

In these angsty times of union busting and collective bargaining rights being usurped, no film resonates more than Norma Rae. You may only know of this movie as the vehicle that caused Sally Field to utter “You like me! You really like me!” as she picked up her Academy Award for Best Actress. But the 1979 film told the true story of one woman’s drive to organize a union at a North Carolina textile factory, and contains one of the most goosebump-inducing moments ever captured on film; after being repeatedly rebuffed by workers and about to fired by management at the mill, Norma scrawls the word UNION on a piece of cardboard and stands silently on a table, holding it up so the whole factory can see it. One by one, the workers shut off their machines in solidarity, and the din lessens until the entire room is silent. I have tried this technique myself, and it is amazingly effective (only I wrote the word LUNCH on my cardboard.) Send this link to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and perhaps the Republicans will remember that films about little people banding together for a greater cause are far more entertaining than movies where schoolteacher’s rights are stomped upon.

Whoa! Every once in a while those liberal opinions just gush out unchecked like an oil well under an explosion-rocked drilling platform. Instead of pushing my silly political agenda on my fellow filmophiles, I will gently guide you to look up a 1927 masterpiece known as Metropolis, which Wikipedia describes as “… set in a futuristic urban dystopia that explores the social crisis between workers and owners inherent in capitalism.” I believe the workers turn into robots, which is exactly what I’m afraid is happening at my job.

But because German expressionism and three day weekends don’t mix very well, I am going suggest instead that you Netflick directly to my all-time favorite workplace film. Anyone who spends their day surrounded by grey cubicle partitions will be able to empathize, sympathize and possibly want to euthanize their boss after watching Office Space, a classic depiction of what happens when your pores have absorbed too many of the toxic chemicals being spewed by Xerox machines. This 1999 movie was not a hit in the theatres but became a cult classic after it was released on DVD. I suggest you grab your red stapler and put on your O-face as you settle down to watch and celebrate the way three guys just like you figured out how to find exactly the right cover for their TSP reports. Quite possibly the funniest film ever made, and one that you must know in order to get the extensive references made to it in pop culture. Michael Bolton rules!

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS
Jalapeño Rating: ZERO PEPPERS
There will be no discomfort to your digestive system or your eyeballs; the only pain will be in your ass when you realize just how many hours you actually sit at your desk. But as an extra special holiday bonus, here is a missing scene from Office Space that will brighten your day.

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