Looking Back at the Corporate Comedy Classic Office Space
Mike Judge's defining depiction of corporate America enters the Texas Film Hall of Fame
The Nineties were the decade when everyone realized they hated their job.
The Sixties: The counterculture thought they could just tune in, turn on, and drop out. The Seventies: Hippies and punks formed an uneasy alliance about smashing the system. The Eighties: It was all power suits and stock options; as the Joker said, "Money, money, money! Who do you trust?" But when Gen X took the reins, all they saw was the long con: that nothing was really going to change, and you were anchored to your boring 9-to-5. In 1990, Slacker defined the decade's directionless, sardonic nihilism. In the years to follow, Singles made its heroes embrace their professional mediocrity, Clerks had them working blue-collar shit-shifts, and Empire Records knocked the glamor off the last cool job in town.
It only made sense that the decade would end as it began: in ATX, with Office Space. While Richard Linklater's debut nine years earlier had put weird Austin in front of (and behind) the camera, Mike Judge looked past Downtown and the Drag to the corporate world – those cubicle farms that had sprung up near the Arboretum and down past Oltorf, filled with companies that epitomized the rapidly incoming tech bubble and an ecosystem of horrible chain restaurants that were the only break from striplights and malfunctioning tech. It's the "other" Austin, the one we don't talk about, but it's the one that pays the bills, and the one where even the hardiest of dreamers often end up.
If you didn't get the memo, on Thursday, March 7, this defining comedic depiction of life in corporate America enters the Texas Film Hall of Fame, with writer/director Judge and stars Ron Livingston, Gary Cole, and David Herman in attendance for a celebration of the movie that gave a quiet salute to anyone who issued a heavy-shouldered sigh when told that they must have a case of the Mondays.