Release Date: February 19th, 1999
Directed by: Mike Judge
Written by: Mike Judge
Based on: Milton by Mike Judge
Music by: John Frizzell
Cast: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Diedrich Bader, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Richard Riehle, John C. McGinley, Paul Wilson, Michael McShane, Alexandra Wentworth, Greg Pitts, Todd Duffy, Orlando Jones, Joe Bays, Mike Judge (uncredited)
Cubicle Inc., 3 Arts Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, 89 Minutes
“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.” – Peter Gibbons
Office Space just kind of came and went when it hit theaters in early 1999. However, once it hit VHS and everyone was able to rent it, it developed a cult following, which then became so large it wasn’t “cult” anymore and was more or less, mainstream.
This is a movie that nearly everyone loves because nearly everyone can relate to it on some level. Also, watching it now, I realized just how timeless it is, as the corporate world hasn’t changed much and many of us have very similar work lives to the characters featured in this story.
The core characters, here, are all pretty likable. So much so, I know that many people wanted a sequel just to spend more time with them, even though the story doesn’t need to be explored more than it was in this movie. I hope that ship has sailed and that Mike Judge would never actually sign-off on such a thing.
What I found most impressive about this now is that all the jokes still land and a lot of the anti-office stuff is still relevant.
The film also benefitted from being so well cast with Ron Livingston being such a great lead. Plus, all the other actors are pretty perfect in their roles.
Oddly, Jennifer Aniston is the only one that feels somewhat out of place but not because she was bad but because her role almost felt unnecessary. The story didn’t need a love interest and those scenes felt like they were in the way of the main plot.
However, Aniston’s character and her issues with working in the chain restaurant industry probably inspired the film Waiting…, which was a pretty enjoyable flick with similar themes.
Overall, Office Space was one of the best comedies of its time and it is still one of my favorites, today. I don’t think I’ll ever be sick of it and it’s one of those movies that you’ll just stop and watch if you walk into a room and it’s on.
Original Run: April 6th, 2014 – present
Created by: Mike Judge
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Cast: Thomas Middleditch, T. J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Christopher Evan Welch, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, Jimmy O. Yang, Stephen Tobolowsky
Judgemental Films, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Alec Berg Inc., 3 Arts Entertainment, HBO Entertainment, 28 Episodes (so far), 30 Minutes (per episode)
Mike Judge is mostly known for his animated shows Beavis & Butt-Head, Daria and King of the Hill but when he does live-action stuff, it is still pretty darn good. Just look at Office Space and Idiocracy for examples.
Silicon Valley is almost a spiritual successor to Office Space but with a tech industry spin. It also benefits in ways that Office Space couldn’t, as that film was confined to just 90 minutes. The episodic format and now multiple seasons of Silicon Valley gives it more wiggle room and lots of different ideas can be explored in more depth. We have time to get to know our characters more intimately and the story of their company (and rival companies) is allowed to flourish in a broader way.
The cast is literally an all-star team of talent, many of whom have been on the scene for awhile but never really had the right project to shine in a long-term sense.
The cast is led by Thomas Middleditch, who had bit roles in a lot of television shows and movies but never had much time to stand out. He is backed by T.J. Miller, who would go on to be awesome in Deadpool but also worked in Cloverfield as well as a slew of other projects. Then you have Josh Brener, who I found to be hilarious in Maron but never got to see much else from him. Kumail Nanjiani may be recognized from small roles in Portlandia, as well as some commercials, but this too, is his first real long-term project. Martin Starr, who has probably had the most success, started his career in the cult classic television show Freaks & Geeks and went on to be integral to another cult show Party Down. Starr has really found the perfect role for his personality. You also have Zach Woods, who is mostly known as the unlikable character Gabe from the later seasons of The Office. Woods’ Jared is the antithesis of Gabe however, as he is one of the most likable characters on Silicon Valley. Finally, you have Amanda Crew, who should probably be featured on the show more than she has been in the first three seasons because she is great and adds a needed feminine element to the show’s male dominated cast.
The show also boasts a good supporting cast. Matt Ross is great as the dastardly villain of the series. Jimmy O. Yang is great as the Chinese roommate of the main cast. Christopher Evan Welch was enigmatic as the bizarre Peter Gregory but he unfortunately passed away during production of the first season. Chris Diamantopoulos is perfect as the douchebaggy rich guy Russ Hanneman. One of my favorite actors in any role he plays, Stephen Tobolowsky is fantastic as a short-lived CEO of the main characters’ company. Lastly, Milana Vayntrub, best known as Lilly in those AT&T commercials, plays Starr’s girlfriend in a few episodes and I wish she was in more.
The show is stellar and it is consistent throughout its first three seasons. I’m glad to see it coming back for a fourth but the show could run its course pretty soon and hopefully it doesn’t stick around longer than it should, like most successful shows these days.
Everyone is fairly likable and the contrast in personalities is what makes the show work. The show is perfectly cast, the funny look into the tech world is executed brilliantly and the balance between its lightheartedness and more dramatic parts is handled well.
Silicon Valley is one of those shows that is a perfect storm. While it isn’t a perfect show, the scale tips much more towards positives than negatives and it is hard not to care about the characters and appreciate the talent of the actors that bring the show to life.