From Internship to Glengarry Glen Ross: Unemployment can make for some great movies By Richard Crouse Metro Canada – In Focus June 5, 2013
The new buddy comedy The Internship pairs Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn for the first time since 2005’s Wedding Crashers.
They are still wild and crazy guys, but this time out they are unemployed wild and crazy guys pushed out of their jobs by technology.
Unable to get a foothold in the new media field they take intern jobs at Google.
“We’re looking at some sort of mental Hunger Games against a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs,” says Wilson.
Many movies have used unemployment as the starting point for storytelling.
In Lost in America, rated one of Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies, Albert Brooks plays a successful advertising executive who gets fired for insulting his boss.
Free from the shackles of employment he goes all carpe diem and convinces his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) to leave her job and explore the country in a Winnebago. When they lose their nest egg on a Las Vegas stop over they reenter the work force as a crossing guard and manager at a Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant, respectively.
As the movie ends they hit the road once again, hoping to reclaim their old jobs and lifestyles.
It would be hard to imagine a more toxic workplace than the real estate office in Glengarry Glen Ross.
Encouragement comes in the form of verbal abuse — most of which can’t be printed in a family newspaper — and a motivational sales contest offering three prizes.
The top seller wins a Cadillac Eldorado.
“Second prize is a set of steak knives,” says Blake (Alec Baldwin). “Third prize is you’re fired.”
Playwright David Mamet based the original play on his experiences working in a real estate office in the 1970s.
Finally, The Full Monty is a comedy that takes a serious look at the effects of unemployment on the individual and the community.
Set in Sheffield, England, it’s the story of six men, most unemployed steel workers, who come up with a unique way to pay the bills.
They decide to form a Chippendale dancer style group, separating themselves from the pack by going “the full monty” and go completely stark naked.
While filming, the actors agreed to go completely nude in front of 400 extras provided they only had to do it once.
They got it in one take, and according to Roger Ebert, the inspiring and revealing final scene “was applauded at the screening I attended.”
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