Bob Dylan sang “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.” But Johnny Paycheck said it best for all people with evil employers when he snarled, “Take this job and shove it.”
This weekend, a new movie takes hatred for bad bosses to a new level. The guys in Horrible Bosses, a new comedy starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, hate their supervisors, and try to solve their employment problems…permanently.
Not all movie bosses are in such danger. Often movie characters find more creative ways to get even with their bosses.
Remember Office Space’s Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston)? He hated his nitpicking boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), so much he created a computer virus to steal money from the company. Too bad he got the decimal point wrong.
Gibbons didn’t go to prison for his revenge scheme but another agitated employee did. In Wall Street, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) allows his boss, Mr. Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko, to lead him down a moral and professional rabbit hole.
His revenge was simple: He recorded Gekko’s admission of guilt. Trouble was, to do so he had to implicate himself.
Going to jail was too good for Guy’s (Frank Whaley) boss in Swimming with Sharks. The up and coming writer thought he had it made when he got a job as the assistant to hot shot producer Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey) but soon found out that being low on the food chain in Hollywood means putting up with a constant stream of abuse and humiliation.
Instead of quitting he does what any slightly psychotic Tinsel Town wannabe would do: he breaks into Buddy’s house, kidnaps him and tortures him. In a twist, the extreme behaviour earns Buddy’s respect and Guy gets a promotion.
Usually in the movies, it’s men who are the bad bosses but there are two glaring examples of distaff evil employers. In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep was Miranda, a boss who redefines the word demanding.
She’s bad, but the worst female boss ever is Working Girl’s Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). Miranda was belittling and arrogant, but at least she was upfront about it. Parker, on the other hand, is two faced, passing off her trusted secretary Tess McGill’s (Melanie Griffith) ideas as her own. In the end, Tess teaches her a lesson about honesty…and gets her fired.
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