You are fired, please take your things and leave.
November 10, 2012 5:33 AM   Subscribe

[Moves/Media Filter] What scenes in either movies or television depict employees being laid off? I am thinking scenes that are done either properly, or terribly inappropriate. Ideally the clips should be short 1-4 minutes. Thank you in advance!
posted by handbanana to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Scrooged -- "Elliot Loudermilk's leaving early today"
posted by Zonker at 5:35 AM on November 10, 2012

Up in the Air
posted by mermily at 5:38 AM on November 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

There's a How I Met Your Mother episode in which layoffs of multiple employees are pictured, in montage format. Don't remember which season -- I think 5?
posted by devinemissk at 5:41 AM on November 10, 2012

It's an extremely passive-aggressive example, but the scene in Office Space where the two Bobs explain to Lumbergh about "fixing the glitch" with Milton's payroll comes to mind.
posted by usonian at 5:43 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Kids in the Hall sketch about firing Monique the pyromaniac, or here's another one where there are many "strong hints" involved in the firing process.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

More specifically from Up In The Air: this really amazing scene.

Also, at the beginning of the Ringer, Johnny Knoxville is tasked with firing an employee. Can't find a clip online, though.
posted by puritycontrol at 5:58 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mad Men:
  • Don fires Lane for misappropriation of funds and forgery, Season 5, "Commissions and Fees". Some great moments here, especially from Jared Harris.
  • Peggy fires Joey for general disrespect of the women in the office, Season 4, "The Summer Man".
  • Joan fires Jane on the pretext of Jane's inducing a group to sneak into Bert's office to see his new painting, Season 2, "The Gold Violin."
  • Joan fires Lane's secretary as a face-saving move for Lane, Season 4, "The Good News."
Couldn't find any clips but the episodes themselves should be available on Vudu et al.
posted by Currer Belfry at 6:00 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Office Space. Just wanted to quote my favorite part:

Bob Slydell: What would you say ya do here?

Tom Smykowski: Well look, I already told you! I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people!?

posted by sharkfu at 6:04 AM on November 10, 2012

Mr Mom has a pretty good one when Jack finds out he's being let go.
posted by notcreative at 6:05 AM on November 10, 2012

Fun with Dick and Jane - the '77 version. Charlie is pretty drunk when he tells Dick "Your fired. Ha ha ha... I must have fired 50 people today, but that's the first time I said it just like that."
posted by adamt at 6:12 AM on November 10, 2012

On The Office Season 3, Episode 08, "The Merger," there's a particularly good bit where boss Michael Scott fires an employee who tries to quit:

Michael: Don't bother quitting because you're fired.
Tony: Excuse me?
Michael: You are fired! I'm sorry, but we don't have quitters on this team! Just clean out your desk!
Tony: But there's nothing in my desk except coupons.
Michael: Don't try to apologize to me, man! It's too late. Just get out! Take your bad vibes with you.

Michael's boss is none too pleased:

Jan: Did you fire Tony Gardner when he was trying to quit?
Michael: I did. Major personnel crises averted. Compliment accepted.
Jan: Do you realize, Michael, that we now have to pay him severance?

posted by lemoncakeisalie at 6:16 AM on November 10, 2012

The Company Men deals with layoffs and the after effects:

Phil Woodward: You know the worst part?
[a beat]
Phil Woodward: The world didn't stop. The newspaper still came every morning, the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
Phil Woodward: My life ended and nobody noticed.

HR Director: I'm confident all these dismissals will stand up under legal scrutiny.
Gene McClary: What about ethical scrutiny.
HR Director: We're not breaking any laws, Gene.
Gene McClary: I guess I always assumed were trying for a higher standard than that, Paul.

Also Horrible Bosses, and I can never resist an excuse to link to Glengarry Glen Ross:

Blake: You're talking about what.You're talking about... Bitching about that sale you shot, some sonofabitch who don't wanna buy land, some broad you're trying to screw, so forth. Let's talk about something important. They all here?
Williamson: All but one.
Blake: I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important. Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee's for closers only. You think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Levine? You call yourself a salesman you son of a bitch?
Dave Moss: I don't gotta sit here and listen to this shit.
Blake: You certainly don't pal, 'cause the good news is - you're fired. The bad news is - you've got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. "Cause we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. Get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money, get their names to sell them. you can't close the leads youre given you can't close shit. You ARE shit. Hit the bricks pal, and beat it 'cause you are going OUT.
Shelley Levene: The leads are weak.
Blake: The leads are weak? Fucking leads are weak. You're weak. I've been in this business 15 years...
Dave Moss: What's your name?
Blake: Fuck you. That's my name. You know why, mister? You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT'S my name. And your name is you're wanting. You can't play in the man's game, you can't close them - go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you fucking faggots? A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention - Do I have you attention? Interest - Are you interested? I know you are, because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision - Have you made your decision, for Christ? And Action. A-I-D-A. Get out there - you got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What's the problem, pal?
Dave Moss: You - Moss. You're such a hero, you're so rich, how come you're coming down here wasting your time with such a bunch of bums?
Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch?
Dave Moss: Yeah.
Blake: That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much'd you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave. _I_ can go out there tonight with the materials you've got and make myself $15,000. Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can YOU? Go and do likewise. A-I-D-A. Get mad you son of a bitches. get mad. You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes BRASS BALLS to sell real estate. Go and do likewise gents. Money's out there. You pick it up, it's yours. You don't, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, CLOSE. It's yours. If not you're gonna be shining my shoes. And you know what you'll be saying - a bunch of losers sittin' around in a bar. 'Oh yeah. I used to be a salesman. It's a tough racket.' These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they're gold, and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They're for closers. I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it. And to answer you question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to. They asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 6:37 AM on November 10, 2012

There's a very sad little bit at the beginning of an X-Files episode called "Blood" (season 2, episode 3) in which a postal clerk--played by William Sanderson, which just adds to the pitiful--gets laid off. His employer genuinely feels bad about it, I think, and tries his best to do it gently.

(All X-Files episodes are on Netflix streaming if you have it.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:54 AM on November 10, 2012

American Beauty
Jerry Maguire
posted by mochapickle at 7:04 AM on November 10, 2012

Bull Durham.
posted by Melismata at 7:51 AM on November 10, 2012

Response by poster: You guys are awesome! Thank you so very much. I am doing a presentation on reduction in force and needed some visuals.

The American Beauty, Up in the Air, and Office Space are awesome suggestions. I will check out the other ones this afternoon!
posted by handbanana at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2012

Well, that is certainly ominous. I believe there's a lay off scene in In Good Company with Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. In any case, the whole movie is about a corporate takeover and "reduction in force."
posted by murfed13 at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2012

'A Ticket to Berlin" (art house film i saw in the 90's, foreign...not seeing on imdb :[) Best. Firing. Scene. Ever. (minutes after hiring...drinking on the job) arrg...would love to see it failing...darkness closing in...
posted by sexyrobot at 8:38 AM on November 10, 2012

aha! found it! (had the title wrong) Ticket of no Return by Ulrike Ottinger...seems like only available on vhs :( srsly, tho...the scene is so funny you will have milk shooting out of your nose...even if you're not drinking any.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2012

Another from Mad Men - Don fires Salvatore for not giving in to the demands of a client. It's done "properly" but also inappropriately (by today's standards) because of the subtext.
posted by illenion at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2012

Margin Call* starts with a mass layoff.

* I really did not like this film. It's well-crafted, and has some great visuals, but I could work up any sympathy for the characters.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:22 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

argh. That should read, "I could not work up..."
I missed that even with an edit window!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2012

...The Emperor's New Groove?
posted by geek anachronism at 2:39 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's a great scene of massive layoffs at a TV network toward the end of Broadcast News.

Also this might not be right since it's not a layoff, but there's a fantastic scene at the beginning of Lost in America where Alert Brooks is offered a lateral move when he was expecting a promotion, blows his top about it, and gets fired on the spot.

Somehow I feel like Albert Brooks has done a lot of these, now that I think about it.
posted by Mchelly at 7:43 PM on November 10, 2012

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