Can you make Officespace look good bt comparison?
February 17, 2009 3:41 PM   Subscribe

I need a movie with horribly unethical working environments.

I'd like to screen a movie for my students which depicts a really unethtical workplace. Ideally the movie would feature things like sexual harrasment, conflicts of interest, disregard for privacy, nepotism, and the like. Something like the movie Office Space but with more, and different, kinds of unethical behavior.

I'm definitely not looking for movies focused on the unethical actions of businesses (like Enron) toward their communities or about unethical businesses in general. I want the unethical behavior to be focused on the workers. Which is to say I'm not interested in corporate ethics per se, but specifically in the unethical treatment of employees.

I've scanned this thread already.
posted by oddman to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The first two that come to mind are The Apartment and Glengarry Glen Ross.
posted by ROTFL at 3:44 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ahem, alternatively if you could recommend some specific episodes of TV shows that I could string together, that would be fine. Perhaps a selection of episodes of Mad Men or The Office (or any show, really, those two just came to mind quickly). I really would need specific episodes, though. (I'm swamped with work and couldn't go hunting down half remembered references.)

Thanks.
posted by oddman at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2009


9 to 5. Not only is the boss sexist and horrible all-around, he is also an embezzler. The main characters engage in some unethical behavior as well. (May be too fanciful and dated).
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd never heard of The Apartment, but the wikipedia entry makes it sound pretty good. I counted, sexual harrasment, cronyism, favoritism, and blackmail! Sweet. If only they had questionable drug policies it would be perfect! (And it might still be.)

Thanks.
posted by oddman at 3:50 PM on February 17, 2009


Boiler Room
posted by DrDreidel at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you're willing to get a little surreal, Brazil sounds exactly like what you're looking for.
posted by CRM114 at 3:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago for a college course we watched a film that depicted some seriously unethical working conditions and the effect that it had on the workers, their families, and how businesses were run in general. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, but I've got some details if anyone knows it. I have no idea when it was made, but it was in black and white, and I think set in NYC. It followed a Mexican woman (maybe named Ana?) who was working with a lot of other people in a sweatshop-type job as a seamstress for a business run by a Korean couple. Her daughter was back in Mexico, sick, and the mom was working to send money home, but because her job sucked, she kept not getting payed, and it was just generally horrible. I think the film also followed some other stories, too, but we only watched the sweatshop part.

Sorry about the title fail. Maybe you could ask your librarian for help tracking it down?
posted by phunniemee at 3:56 PM on February 17, 2009


I've got the Brazil box-set at home, love the movie, but it's too much dystopia, too little office malfeaseance.
posted by oddman at 3:56 PM on February 17, 2009


In The Company Of Men
posted by The Whelk at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Swimming With Sharks
posted by rhizome at 3:59 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


9 to 5, at least the begining parts seems like a decent possibility.
posted by oddman at 3:59 PM on February 17, 2009


The Apartment is fantastic, both for your purposes and as a film.
I've recommended these union movies before: Matewan, Germinal, and Norma Rae.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:59 PM on February 17, 2009


Well, what about serious classics like Norma Rae or On the Waterfront? But, it sounds like you want something light-hearted.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:00 PM on February 17, 2009


Wall Street
posted by MeatLightning at 4:00 PM on February 17, 2009


Swimming with Sharks. Along similar lines, the TV show Entourage for Ari and his talent agency.

Also, perhaps the TV show House?
posted by mullacc at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Umm, The Office? Michael Scott (Steve Carell) routinely does things which would result in litigation. Harassment, insensitivity, breaches of contract, you name it, it happens. Pick an episode. Any episode. I guarantee that something will happen that would create liability for someone.

How about House? Not only does House commit at least two different actionable malpractice offenses every episode, but the whole place is rife with harassment, sexual and otherwise.

Both of those shows are all-but-guaranteed hits for any episode you care to screen. In almost every episode, at least one person does at least one thing which is illegal, or would at least provoke some sort of civil action.
posted by valkyryn at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Silkwood? The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.
posted by Ostara at 4:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Secretary?
posted by backseatpilot at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2009


Secretary
posted by elmono at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2009


jinx backseatpilot!
posted by elmono at 4:17 PM on February 17, 2009


The Toy

Not a good movie, but it has neat little book-ended scenes. In the first one, Richard Pryor's character debases himself to get a job, and Ned Beatty's character remarks something like, "Is it that bad out there?" Meaning, is it so bad out in the job market that you would do this to yourself? Pryor nods, yes. Yes, it is.

Later, Ned Beatty's character is similarly debased in order to preserve his job, and Pryor remarks, "Is it that bad in there?" They're both victims of cutthroat environments.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:26 PM on February 17, 2009


From the Office: "That's What She Said"
posted by aquafortis at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2009


Seconding(?) Silkwood.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 4:39 PM on February 17, 2009


This list of labor films is worth checking out (via).

Also n'thing Silkwood.
posted by Westringia F. at 4:48 PM on February 17, 2009


The TV series' The Shield and The Wire, and the Australian TV miniseries Blue Murder would all fit the bill, if police is an appropriate context. A Blue Murder quote in the opening seconds (upon the officers seeing a traffic accident) - "Nah, we gotta turn around. We're in for overtime if we report this" and them turning around and driving off the other way.

For The Shield - any scene with Vic Mackey and Dutch (although the scenes with Vic and Kavanagh (season 5) might be more telling for a more advanced audience), and for The Wire season 2 highlights corruption in US ports and beyond (and provide a great scenario for discussion about the sociology of labour).

I also highly recommend the Australian TV series' Frontline, The Hollowmen and The Games for discussion about the edge cases - are they corrupt and unethical, or just downright stupid? - in a humorous context. Frontline is about a high-rating current affairs show, Hollowmen about political staffers and The Games about the administrators for the Olympic Games.
posted by goo at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2009


Clockwatchers is sort of a dark/sad comedy about temping and there's some unethical stuff in there.
posted by chococat at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I immediately thought of North Country.
posted by mingodingo at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2009


Working Girl, with Harrison Ford. Also, Secret of My Success with Michael J. Fox. These two movies have almost identical plots.
posted by Melismata at 5:27 PM on February 17, 2009


The "workplace" is a bit amorphous - but Dirty Pretty Things is as sharp and sad a portrait of human exploitation as I can think of.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:30 PM on February 17, 2009


Dirty Pretty Things was the first movie that came to mind.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:37 PM on February 17, 2009


Brazil
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:37 PM on February 17, 2009


Just about any episode of The Sopranos - or Deadwood come to think of it.
posted by webhund at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2009


Disclosure?
posted by macska at 5:53 PM on February 17, 2009


Roots
posted by one_bean at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2009


The Hudsucker Proxy
posted by plasticbugs at 6:08 PM on February 17, 2009


The Sweet Smell of Success
posted by aquafortis at 6:13 PM on February 17, 2009


There are parts of A Scanner Darkly that would work.
posted by hardcore taters at 6:47 PM on February 17, 2009


The Devil Wears Prada?
posted by SisterHavana at 7:13 PM on February 17, 2009


The "Let's Call It Quits" episode of Roseanne (part 1, part 2) features a boss who is demeaning, sexist, demanding, and just overall disgusting.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2009


Meet the Feebles for the lulz
posted by phrakture at 8:25 PM on February 17, 2009


Fast Food Nation
posted by davey_darling at 9:29 PM on February 17, 2009


Serpico details corruption in the police force. Based on the true-life experiences of police officer Frank Serpico.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:48 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which is to say I'm not interested in corporate ethics per se, but specifically in the unethical treatment of employees.

Well, hey, Roots. Or Amistad, which delves into the legal aspects.

Silver City has some stuff about worker mistreatment (and a note-perfect parody of Bush by Chris Cooper). But it's more about corruption and corporate influence on politics ultimately (and unfortunately not as good as some of the 70s thrillers in the same vein like The Parallax View).

Robocop is all about medical experimentation without consent. Outland is about ... well, I've already said too much by listing it.
posted by dhartung at 10:33 PM on February 17, 2009


a comedy, but still... "The Secret of My Success"
posted by alchemist at 2:11 AM on February 18, 2009


Dirty Pretty Things
posted by biffa at 2:45 AM on February 18, 2009


The Corporation
posted by Thorzdad at 4:57 AM on February 18, 2009


How about the Truth In Advertising video? Its a classic.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:27 AM on February 18, 2009


I screened The Apartment and the beginning of 9 to 5, to great effect. Thanks, internets!
posted by oddman at 3:19 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


« Older Da Palermo a Roma!   |   Please complete this quote by Buddha. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.