The Nine Worst Movie Employers

If the zeitgeist is to be believed, you’re supposed to hate your job. You get up, you go to work, you do something you never wanted to do for a living, you come home, you begin to hate 40 hours (or more) out of your week a little more each day. Rinse, repeat. I am not one of those people. I thoroughly enjoy what I do for a living, and the people I work with. Mostly, I’m thankful that I don’t work at these nine places from the movies.

The Quick Stop, Clerks (1994)
This is how bad it was to work at the Quick Stop. Danté risked losing his job at various points in the day to attend a funeral, play hockey on the roof, and prepare for a date that was bound to leave him dejected. He also had customers throwing cigarettes at him, two stoners harassing everyone out front, and a steady stream of oddball customers on a crusade for the perfect jug of milk. No wonder the best way to while away the day was with obscure Star Wars references. Speaking of which…

The Death Star, The Star Wars trilogy
As Danté and Randall correctly pointed out in Clerks, the Death Star was a horrible place to work. Employees were at constant risk of death through no fault of their own, despite the ominous name of their place of employment. As if that wasn’t bad enough, their boss was a complete asshole with mommy issues who choked anyone who looked at him the wrong way. The benefits probably sucked, too.

The iron mines, North Country (2005)
Northern Minnesota may be “God’s country”, as the locals are fond of saying, but the iron range most certainly is not. Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate the value of an honest, hard day’s work. But given a choice, I’d rather not spend my day hundreds of feet below the surface digging for iron. It’s a million times worse if you’re a woman because of the way Charlize Theron’s male co-workers treated her.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Alien (1979)
Weyland-Yutani believes that a dangerous, murderous alien is more important than their own employees. You may have heard of the dangers of Alaskan king crab fishing. Now imagine that the king crabs are 10 feet tall and can plant their children in your stomach to be born later at your own peril. The company that asks you to do this should at least have your back a little bit.

Initech, Office Space (1999)
There’s no better example of corporate bureaucracy run amok than the world of Initech. The company bombards employees with meaningless performance reviews, TPS reports, and zombie-like managers like Bill Lumbergh. It’s bound to drive an employee to clutch tightly to his or her Swingline stapler and beg for their own piece of cake.

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Let’s start with the workplace discrimination. If you’re over five feet tall, Willy Wonka isn’t going to hire you. Throughout the day, you must handle seemingly delicious materials that are actually hazardous. The cherry on the crappy job sundae is that you have to sing ridiculous songs intermittently several times a day for your boss, who belongs in a straitjacket.

Mordor, The Lord of the Rings trilogy
It’s hard enough to deal with backstabbing co-workers. But knowing that those co-workers would literally stab you in the back, and then eat your corpse, is all too much to handle. That’s to say nothing of the fact that there are no female co-workers and you have to work around fire all day. OSHA would have a field day with Mordor.

Shenanigan’s restaurant, Waiting… (2005)
Waiting… took a bit of a beating with critics, but it rings true in at least one regard. Working in the chain restaurant industry is one of the most soul-sucking jobs on earth.

Dr. Seward’s Lunatic Asylum, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
I realize that very few (if any) of you have actually seen this movie. Hell, I’m shocked that I’ve seen it, but what can I say? I’m a Mel Brooks completist. Dr. Seward’s solution for every mental ailment was… an enema. This means that Dr. Seward’s orderlies spent their entire day giving enemas to the insane. There is not enough money in the world that you could pay me to do that job.


160 Comments

Filed under Humor, Movies

160 responses to “The Nine Worst Movie Employers

  1. Craig

    Why isn’t it called the Death Moon?

  2. Surely you can’t have forgotten the Hollywood studio run by tyrant Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey) in Swimming with Sharks?

  3. HAHAH I love this. Office Space was an obvious choice but the others were inspired.

    It is weird thinking of the guys on the Death Star getting up, having breakfast and going to work…. LOL

    • Somewhere in outer space, there was a coffee company that had to deliver coffee and filters to the Death Star. Probably a maid service, too.

  4. I have seen the Mel Brooks picture and it is a shame that it was his last movie… At least it ridiculized Coppola’s uneven Dracula.

  5. The guy who met Kevin Meany

    I know critics hated it, but I can watch Waiting over and over again. That gives me a good idea for something another post–movies that critics universally hate that you can watch over and over again. Everybody has them. One year, I watched Not Another Teen Movie over 10 to 15 times. I’m sure critics thought it was terrible. I think a lot of comediies and horror movies make that list.

    • Personally I prefer the quirky independent film of the same name. This little Philadelphia gem from 2000 was significantly more accurate and thought provoking than the Ryan Reynolds version. But then I’ve never been much of a Ryan Reynolds fan to begin with.

  6. Phil

    The coal mines of Harlan County…oh wait, that one was real.

  7. I’ve been a stapler-clutcher but thankfully that was at a previous company. Wonderful list and congrats, you’re Fresh Pressed! MJ

  8. “OSHA would have a field day with Mordor.” Classic! ROTFL.

  9. forensics4fiction

    Great list but I’m torn on the Willy Wonka Factory. All that chocolate! That makes up for a lot of other hassles 😉

  10. Michael A. Miller

    I still think of the woman in “Clerks” sitting on the floor surrounded by milks and examining their expiration dates every time I buy milk. I’m just this side of that in my quest for eyeball-searing freshness and avoiding a toxic encounter with common foodstuffs. I’ve taken to walking two racks deep into the dairy cooler at Aldi to fetch a carton whose expiration date is one day later than the one up front. Then, of course, being a gentleman, I always offer a fresher carton to the people who are staring at me, waiting for me to replace the front rack. They always just kind of pretend that they’re not avoiding eye contact and mumble “No, thanks”. I have an alibi ready if I ever get busted. I’m going to claim I have a service animal (a kitten) who escaped into the cooler and I had to retrieve him.

    I can’t get the “ratio of people to cake” line from “Office Space” out of my head, and am ready to pounce like a tiger in the weeds on an an opportunity to deliver it under real-life conditions.

  11. iamlenise

    Haha and LOL @ The Death Star..I think I use to work at a subsidiary of Initech..several times…thanks for sharing..great laugh for the day 🙂

    • I’m not positive, but I think there’s a real Initech. Either that, or someone created a really elaborate fake website for the fake Initech.

  12. I can see this one going over REALLY well! Who can’t identify with the plight of these poor saps who work for these maniacal employers?

  13. How do the employees at Skynet feel about working for the company that will bring about the world of “The Terminator?”

  14. Office Space, Clerks and the Star Wars Trilogy are on the top of my favorite all time movies! Great post.

  15. Great point, I’ve never thought of willy Wonka as an employer before this post ! And the OSHA /Mordor issue, brilliant !

  16. Love it as always. You should have Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 playing in the background. Can you do that?

    • Nikola

      Speaking of which, why didn’t Dabney Coleman’s character from the movie “9 to5” (starring Dolly, him, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) make the list?

  17. Brilliant – and not just because I love Office Space. ‘Shenanigans’ in Waiting reminded me so much of my own time working in a chain restaurant it was spooky. Having said that, we didn’t play the ‘penis showing’ game. Shame really, it would probably have made the 10-hour shifts go quicker…

  18. Rae

    I always thought Willy Wonka kind of seemed a little bit like an asshole. The Oompa Loompas totally seemed like they were being kept their against their will.

  19. Ha! I appreciate the amount of thought you put into this. Well done!

  20. You HAVE to include the Jurassic Park resort in there as well. I mean the possibility of being eaten on a daily basis would have sent the stress meter shooting through the roof.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  21. Office Space was hilarious one of my favorite movies! And Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses was a crack up! She treated Dale so bad! Congratulations on being freshly pressed! Great post!

  22. hahaha ) thanks for reminding about the Office Space movie! Uhm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and visit my blog too, ehmmmmm… )) haha great post, thanks!

  23. JIm

    As bad as movie employers are – they’re quite tame compared to real world employers. Movie employers are more hokey. In the real world they can be very menacing.

  24. Let’s also not forget:
    – Chotchkie’s from The Office – “I noticed you only had 15 pieces of flare …”
    – Dixie Boy Truck Stop from Maximum Overdrive – Toxic work environment filled with a gun-crazy boss and alien-inhabited evil trucks.
    – TEC from TimeCop – the alternate time version TEC in which everyone turned corporate-evil, which is shown by the main tech-geek now wearing a suit.
    – Dark City – since your crazy alien bosses are constantly changing their mind on what you “role” is.

  25. This is a great post!!!! I’m surprised more people haven’t seen Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Mel Brooks is a genius and all of his movies are worth watching. The only employers I can think of worth mentioned that may have made the list would be the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil (though that was a video game first) and the Soylent Company from Soylent green…..its made of people.
    Great post, hilarious

    • Mel Brooks is indeed a genius, though you can’t really tell from his later output (which includes “Dracula, Dead And Loving It.”).

      As far as I am concerned he peaked with his Holy Trinity: “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “High Anxiety.”

      “History Of The World, Part One,” and “Spaceballs” have some great moments, but don’t quite gel the way his earlier films do.

      • I agree with everything in your assessment, and I’d throw Silent Movie into the holy trinity (making it a holy, uh, quadrinity?)… although I know that not everybody feels that way.

    • Mel Brooks is very much a personal favorite of mine when it comes to comedy. The guy knew what he was doing. And he seems like he’d be the nicest guy around on top of being a genius.

  26. You had me with the red stapler. Thanks for writing!

  27. bicycle

    What about LesterCorp form “Being John Malkovitch”? Only half a level, a crazy receptionist telling you that you have a speech impediment, and the manipulative co-workers!

  28. Lol @ Dracula- Dead and Loving it! As a child (around 10 years old, maybe a little younger) this was my favourite movie, and fer my birthday parties for about 4 years in a row I insisted we rent the movie so I could inflict it on my friends.. My parents may have thought I was crazy…

  29. This is fantastic – thank you for sharing… I especially appreciated the Willy Wonka reference.

  30. I always felt that the oompa-loompas liked their job, and Wonka felt they were not ridden with human deficiencies and tendencies. However, you got a point, the Death Star looks like a horrible place to work.

  31. Like someone else commented, the real-world employers are the really scary ones. It’s important to realize that a corporation is nothing more than a private tyranny. Under the law a corporation is considered a person (actually with more rights than living-breathing persons), but that person fits all the characteristics of a sociopath. Whether you’re a so-called “blue-collar” or “white-collar” worker, you spend most of your waking hours in a top-down organization where you don’t have any control over your work and you don’t own what you produce. In the final analysis, most of us are slaves. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

  32. Initech was brutal. If I had that guy as a boss, I don’t know what I would do. Ummm yeah….I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday…

  33. Great post. And don’t forget “The Firm” what a bunch of sleaze balls to work for and with.

  34. meekthegeek

    What, no Umbrella Corp.?

  35. I never thought people actually worked at the Death Star, but now that you mention it, doesn’t seem like a nice place to work, LOL!

  36. Initech Guy – WORST! Passive aggressive hate monger that comes to close to reality.
    Quick Stop – At least they had a sweet roof to play ball hockey on.
    Death Star – I bet they had decent benefits, I wonder what their recruitment commercials were like?
    How about Nexgen? (Jurassic Park) probably not a bad company except for their safety record,
    The Wonka Chocolate Factory couldn’t have been that bad, I mean the employees were continually singing and dancing, and they clearly had a strong benefits plan for tanning booths.
    Oh and to Rainbowchair – Yes! Mel Brooks was brilliant!

  37. I think I’d also pick the company Sam Lowry works for in Brazil.

  38. nator73

    How about selling your soul and working for the Corleone family.

  39. 1000000thingstodobeforeyoudie

    Channel 83 in Videodrome anybody? It’s really only on my mind because I watched it yesterday. But inflicting people with brain cancer should rank on up there.

  40. Very nice!! I love office space!

  41. Fun post, and congrats on being selected for freshly pressed.

  42. Wonderful post. Every day, while I’m working, I think of the scene near the beginning of Conan, where he’s turning the mill wheel around over and over, mindlessly turning the wheel. I also think of Cool Hand Luke, where he’s digging a ditch and filling it up…..

  43. “OSHA would have a field day with Mordor.” Bahahahahhahahahhahahahahahah ha ha ahaha
    ohh ahahhaha
    ha
    ha ah
    ha.
    k, I’m done now.

  44. Funny post! Congrats on making it to ‘Freshly Pressed’!

    Dracula is one of my favourite books and Dracula: Dead and Loving It is one of the best spoofs of it but yes I wouldn’t want to work at Dr. Seward’s Asylum either.

  45. Iteti

    This has definitely brightened up my African morning 🙂 Thanks! And congrats on being freshly pressed!

  46. lijiujiu

    Excellent post.
    This is really a good work. I appreciate your efforts behind that. Thanks for sharing.

  47. dtechnotes

    lord of the ring was really great movie.

  48. flutterbox

    I love Office Space! I compare it almost daily to my current job! lol

  49. Just wanted to check the freshly pressed tab and found this post lol, such a good laugh, keep up the good work!

    Mind checking my blog? I just started and would love some feedback on the topic i picked for it, cya

  50. These were some interesting choices. I especially enjoyed Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I never thought about it being a bad place to work, but I think you’ve got a point.

    Congrats on FP!

  51. Great list! Mine would be quite similar, I think you caught all the best (worst?) ones.

    • I’m sure there are a few more. I came up with the first nine that came to mind. I haven’t seen Norma Jean but I bet that company belongs on this list.

  52. Love it!! 😀 A list worthy of Cracked.com!

  53. trying working for batman or superman.
    cleaning them caves and ice fortress… damn!

  54. bellesogni

    Funny, funny,funny!!!

  55. Göransson's Photography

    Hahah, couldn’t agree with you more on the Willy Wonka part!

  56. Reblogged this on Avery Flynn and commented:
    “The Death Star was a horrible place to work.” So true. 🙂

  57. annlivingston

    I love Office Space! Thank you for your article, great time killer and very entertaining.

  58. you’re right about the willy wonka hiring discrimination. how did they get away with that??

  59. Aaaah, how could you leave off Murray & Mitch from Glengarry Glen Ross??

  60. lol @ Willy Wonka Chocolate factory analysis. Great job on Modor too 🙂

  61. Devil Wears Prada is another fine example 😛

  62. ha ha ha, that is reminding me an Indian movie too where employer puts everything on a home servant.

  63. Chitij Karki

    Love your stuff…you’ve scored once again!!!!!!!!!!

  64. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed! Well deserved. 🙂

    Cheers!
    G-LO

  65. Don’t forget Omni Consumer Products…

  66. Ahhh, definitely put my complaining about my job to shame!! Yes I’m so blessed I don’t work for any of these. I thought of the Office Space one right away, I mean that Bill Lumbergh is the quintessential boss from hell!

    • While trying to find Office Space pics, I found out that you can actually buy a t-shirt made to look like Bill Lumbergh’s suit. It’s pretty funny.

  67. I’m fairly certain I worked at a few of these places! I remember one job would see me speak in movie quotes the entire day to my supervisors…I stretched it to a week…no one realized it. Amazing. I had to do something to entertain myself!
    http://tr4f.wordpress.com

    • At one place I worked, my relationship with my boss was a lot like Christopher Moltisanti’s to Tony Soprano. That’s as close as I can come to having a pop culture-like job.

  68. Reblogged this on geekswhoplayoutside and commented:
    Omg! So true!

  69. Reblogged this on geekswhoplayoutside and commented:
    Tag is so true! My dad uses to that! I hate them so much!

  70. I love this post! In particular, that you included Shenanigan’s (Waiting…) and The Quick Stop (Clerks), two places I would never want to work!

    I put together a list of people I love to watch on TV but couldn’t work with, in case you’re interested: http://ravingmadscientists.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/not-too-close-love/

    Great post!
    ~Nikki

  71. I don’t know…working for Wonka might be worth the yummy workspace. 🙂

  72. Hands down Mordor would be the worst work environment. The Umbrella Corporation would also be rather oppressive. No windows. No fresh air. No escape from zombie-fied co-workers.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed! Cheers!

  73. Ben

    I literally just finished watching Office Space, great movie!

    The Death Star would definitely be the worst place to work.

  74. lol, Willy wonka gives me the chills…..

  75. I think the movie “horrible bosses” would fit right into this list.

  76. Groovy post! I know that it looked lame, but check out Horrible Bosses. Way better than one would expect.

  77. TheBestofAlexandra

    As a woman who has given an enema (to a person with a mental illness), I feel qualified to say that it’s not that bad of a gig. Better than coal mining or getting choked out by Darth Vader. Probably.

  78. Haha enjoyed reading your post! Office Space really is one of the funniest movies of all-time!

  79. Darth Vader’s performance review:

  80. Dabney Coleman playing the boss on 9 to 5 – he was one meany

  81. How about OCP from Robocop???

  82. Loved your list! I’m glad you didn’t include any of the bosses/companies from Horrible Bosses. That was not a funny movie. It goes to show you that indeed when there are a large number of well-known actors in a film, it totally sucks. For guys, I guess the only redeeming quality was Jennifer Aniston’s foul-mouthed character.

  83. jenkakio

    HAHA….great post. it made me realize that, “Hey, my job is not as bad as I thought.”

    I love Clerks. i love how Dante keeps on saying, “I’m not supposed to be HERE today!” That and “my girlfriend sucked 37 d*cks”…”In a row?” LOL Still cracks me up to this day!

  84. You forgot Umbrella Corp. from the Resident Evil franchise

  85. Stu

    Working for the Empire would be fairly rough. Working for Jabba/The Huts wouldn’t be a cakewalk either, I’m assuming.

    Also, I popped in my “Alien” Blu-ray last week and came to the same conclusion you have. Any corporation, fictitious or no, who treats their employees as expendable is a company I don’t want to be trapped working for.

  86. Jacob

    I LOL’d at the last one, partly because I’ve seen that movie 3 or 4 times.

  87. Pingback: Movie blog lists nine worst big screen employers « Minding the Workplace

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