Category Archives: Mindless Movies

Miss Pink Slip’s Out-of-Work Oscars, Part Deux

Yesterday I counted down the first five of 10 movies I think best exemplify the life (for better or worse) of the unemployed. Some of them are inspirational; some are cautionary tales of the highest degree. Here we go with 6-10:

6. American Beauty– Oh, Kevin Spacey and his bitter, sardonic pervy Lester Burnham! As a depressed father living in “perfect” suburbia, Lester is going through a serious mid-life crisis. He is spectacularly fired, then decides to remake his life when he becomes obsessed with his daughter’s nymphet friend played by Mena Suvari. Chaos ensues. For the unemployed, though, all that matters are Lester’s classic responses to his state of loserness: the firing, the drive-thru window debacle (“you are soooo busted”), the confrontation of his wife sleeping with the Real Estate King. But perhaps the best thing for us to recall and repeat to ourselves is what Lester tells tight-ass Carolyn as she’s bitching him out for the 100th time: “I rule!” Yes, Lester, you do rule.

Moral of the story: Well, there shouldn’t really be a moral for this one, but what the hell. Don’t let the “man” push you around!

7. Pretty in Pink – Okay. You’re probably wondering how this made the list. Well, Harry Dean Stanton’s portrayal of Jack Walsh (father of Andie) exemplifies the perpetually out-of-work. There’s really no lesson to be learned here. I just wanted to honor the fact that while the guy couldn’t keep a job to save his soul, he really could pick out a good pink prom dress (which his daughter goes on to make into the most butt-ugly prom dress of all time). I guess everyone’s got talent. No chaos here, unless you count Blane dissing Andie for the prom.

Moral of the story: Be good at something. 

8. Fun with Dick and Jane – I have to admit that I’ve never seen this movie, but I know it absolutely represents our current environment. I also know chaos ensues, but I’ll quote from IMDB for a recap: “The day before Globodyne’s stock tanks, a la Enron, and its pension fund evaporates, the corporation’s CEO and CFO set up middle manager Dick Harper to be the public face of the disaster. Jobless, and with no savings, pension, or home equity, Dick and his wife Jane sink slowly into poverty. He looks for work (as do all former Globodyne executives); he even tries day labor with the relatives of their Mexican nanny. A foreclosure notice sends Dick and Jane over the edge into a life of blue-collar crime. Then, as things finally look up, the report of a looming indictment pushes Dick and Jane toward a denouement with the real criminals, the white-collar guys.” (Thanks, J. Hailey via IMDB!) 

Moral of the story: No matter what, criminal activity is not the answer.

9. Kramer vs. Kramer – Dustin Hoffman makes the list twice with this tear-jerker about a workaholic ad man who gets laid-off, then goes home to find out his wife’s leaving him…and their young son, Billy. Chaos ensues (including a great scene with French toast), leaving Ted Kramer to embrace his role as a single father and ultimately realize that family is first in his life. He also has a nasty court battle with wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) that will exhaust you.

Moral of the story: Bad events can often make you realize what’s most important in life.

10. Office Space – This is definitely a case of saving the best for last. “Office Space” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it fully cemented Ron Livingston’s position in my top five guy list. Plus, I believe it’s one of the only great movies Jennifer Aniston has done. Peter Gibbons is the hero of everyone stuck in a shit job. Unlike most of us, he’s desperately trying to get fired and does everything in his power to do so. What happens? He gets promoted! Genius! Chaos ensues and Peter and his friends move on to a life of white-collar crime. I could go on and on and on, but why? We all know the movie by heart anyway.

Moral of the story: Never steal someone’s red Swingline stapler.

One more moral: If you get laid-off, beating the hell out of a fax machine to the tune of “Still” by Geto Boyz will make you feel like a million bucks.

Did I forget any? I’m sure I have. Let me know your favorites!

Miss Pink Slip’s Out-of-Work Oscars

The Oscars are four days away, so I thought I’d repost one of my favorite blog entries from 2009: Miss Pink Slip’s Out-of-Work Oscars.

While “Up in the Air” was obviously not on this list, it is certainly the current crown-bearer of unemployment movies. But there are many others! As I said last year, grab some popcorn, hit Netflix and settle in for inspiring education in unemployment. The first of my favorites are listed below:

1. The Full Monty– Six unemployed British steel workers create their own “Chippendales” act in hopes of earning some serious cash. Chaos ensues, but when their pants finally come off, the women go wild and the dollar bills (er…pounds, Euro, whatever) are aplenty.                                                

Moral of the story: Get creative and use your resources (but keep your pants on, please).

2. Mr. Mom– Michael Keaton’s Jack is let go from his job as an auto engineer. Wife Caroline (Teri Garr) returns to the job market, becoming the primary breadwinner and leaving Jack to run the household. Chaos ensues (crazy poker games for coupons, a night out with the girls at “Chippendales”, etc. etc.), Jack battles with the washer/dryer and a vacuum, but he learns to make a darn good grilled cheese with an iron and ends up finding happiness at home.

Moral of the story: Find your strengths in unexpected situations.

3. TIE

The Toy – A bratty kid purchases an underemployed reporter/janitor (Richard Pryor) at a department store in the hopes of using him as a “toy”. Desperate for cash, said reporter takes the job, chaos ensues and the man is perpetually humiliated through a series of antics. 

Tootsie– Unemployed New York actor (Dustin Hoffman) goes drag to land a role on a popular soap opera. Chaos ensues. Unexpectedly, the character becomes a huge success and Hoffman falls in love with his female co-star (Jessica Lange). In turn, everyone falls in love with Hoffman’s “Dorothy”, including a male co-star (George Gaines) and his love interest’s father (Charles Durning). Utterly confused and humiliated, everyone discovers the ruse and everything plays out.                                                                  

Moral of the stories: Never knowingly humiliate yourself for a steady paycheck.

5. Erin Brockovich – Unemployed mom of three (played by Julia Roberts) meets lawyer Ed Masry when he represents her in a car accident suit. He loses the case, and because she’s out of cash, Roberts’ character guilts Masry into giving her a job as a legal assistant. Chaos ensues, and Masry fires her over and over again. Erin Brockovich remains persistent in her goal and, ultimately, ends up a hero, earning a boat-load of dough for herself, Masry and an entire town. Plus, she punishes a really bad chemical company.                                                                                                                          

Moral of the story: Be prepared to make sacrifices and be persistent.  

Mindless Movie Monday: Top Gun

top_gun_maverick_tom_cruise_suitedIt’s a cloudy, rainy day in Atlanta, so I’d love to be on the sofa curled up with my favorite furry pal watching “Top Gun”.

This was Tom Cruise’s coming out party (no pun intended), and I don’t think he’s ever looked better than he did in his leather jacket, jeans, Ray-Ban Aviators and…that sculpted body. Whoo!

So tune into AMC today at 12:30 p.m. ET and join Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Jester and Viper for a little volleyball action. I want to give a special shout-out to Slider–his stance on the volleyball field was smokin’. 

And if you need a little something to punch up your job search juices today, go ahead and shout out “I feel the need…the need for speed!” Yes, it’s cliche and overdone, but it might make you feel like a badass mo’ fo’ for at least two seconds.

Mindless Movie Monday: Mystic Pizza

julia_roberts4_180_240I am so so very sorry I forgot to alert you MPS readers that “St. Elmo’s Fire” is on AMC RIGHT NOW. To make up for it, I’m giving you a quick heads up that “Mystic Pizza” is on at 3:30 p.m. ET, immediately following the “Brat Pack” classic.

“Mystic Pizza”is a perfect “Mindless Movie Monday” flick: A great reminder that you never know what’s yet to come. Emerging starlet Julia Roberts has no idea she’s an Oscar-winner in the making; Lili Taylor hasn’t yet reigned over the indie film circuit; Vincent D’Onofrio hasn’t seen episode one of “Law & Order”. What am I saying? I’m saying that you, too, could have years of wild success ahead of you. You just have to pay your dues. 

So readjust your naptime blanket, turn the channel to AMC and bask in the newness of these once small-time chick flick actors on the brink of stardom. Keep in mind: You could be, too.

In Memoriam: MPS’ “Top 10 John Hughes Hotties” of All Time

This has nothing toJakeRyan do with unemployment, job hunting or the recession, but it has everything to do with the formative years for many readers of this blog.

Iconic writer, producer and director John Hughes died of a heart attack yesterday in New York City at the age of 59. Everything I can say about him has already been written, so with that, please indulge me as I salute this filmmaker with my own personal list of
Top 10 John Hughes Hotties”.

I’ll remember John Hughes best for bringing into my life some of the cutest guys I’ll ever know. Thanks, Mr. Hughes!

  1. Jake Ryan – If ever there was a guy I wanted to sit on my dining room table with, eat birthday cake with and give my underwear to, it’s him. God — the Porsche, the cute rolled jeans, Top Siders and sweater vest. I get giddy and girly just thinking about him!
  2. John Bender – He was the kid in my high school who listened to Metallica and Slayer all day long while smoking cigarettes in the parking lot…and these days, I wish I could go back in time and date him! BTW–I love Judd Nelson and his dark hair, eyes and prominent nose. Just love him!
  3. Steff – It’s well documented in this blog how much I love James Spader’s snobby, detestable Steff from “Pretty in Pink”. The linen suit, smirk, feathery blonde locks…I met a guy one night at Automatic Slim’s in NYC, and he was Steff in the flesh. I hit on him so hard it was embarrassing. We did make out, though. Eureka!
  4. Cameron Frye – Everyone loves Ferris. It’s too easy. But, Alan Ruck’s pathetic Cameron stole my heart. He was just pitiful. I felt sorry for him, wanted to hold his hand and take him to prom.
  5. Chet Donnelly – Asshole. But, a hot asshole. Bill Paxton is a mighty good looking man. I might have eaten a greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray just for him.
  6. Jake Briggs – How precious was Kevin Bacon’s Jake Briggs in “She’s Having a Baby”? Pitifully being forced to have sex on a schedule while having nightmarish visions of his in-laws critiquing his performance? However, it was his attic-dwelling, cigarette smoking writer persona I fell in love with.
  7. Davis McDonald – Do you note a pattern of bad boys here? Davis, played to perfection by Alec Baldwin, was Jake Briggs’ slimy friend and might be the sleaziest pal ever put on the face of the Earth. However, this was Alec Baldwin of the 80s, and no matter how smarmy he was, he was hot!
  8. Jack Butler – Michael Keaton’s “Jack” from “Mr. Mom” makes a surprising appearance on this list. I think it was the way he fought for his woman, the adorable Teri Garr, as she was practically molested by her boss Ron, played by Martin Mull. Or maybe it was how he made a grilled cheese with an iron and battled for his kid’s woobie with a vacuum cleaner. Either way, love him. 
  9. Anthony Michael Hall – I don’t list a character name here, because everything Anthony Michael Hall was in seemed to begin with this red-haired boy as a total goon who became an endearing doll. The way he manuevered the Rolls? So adorable. Writing a brilliant treatise for Dick Vernon in study hall? Smart and insightful.
  10. Long Duk Dong – Really. Was there ever any doubt he would make my list?

Mindless Movie Monday: Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?


Need some time off from job hunting? Flip the TV channel to AMC at 12:30 p.m. ET today and immerse yourself in the world of the “day off” king, Ferris Bueller.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”might be one of the most iconic teen movies of the 80s. Starring Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck and a pre-nose job Jennifer Grey (plus a coked-out Charlie Sheen – maybe it was just for the role), this fun flick lets us live vicariously through three spoiled suburban Chicago teens as they experience a day most of us can only dream of. Joy riding in a 1961 250 GT California Ferrari? Check! Five-star lunch? Check! Cubs game? Check! Trailed by a crazed, pathetic principal and his dopey secretarial sidekick? Check! Check! Check!

I have always loved this movie. Maybe because it slapped authority around like a little bitch; maybe because I’ve always wanted to jump on a parade float and sing for a crowd while riding down Michigan Ave.; maybe because it gave some credence to one of my favorite 80s one-hit wonder new wave bands, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and its lone hit “Love Missile F1-11”.

If anything, perhaps re-watching this movie (which I’m sure we can all quote word-f0r-word) will help us recall and live out its most famous line: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That can be pretty tough to do during these times, but how can a 17-year old “snot-nosed punk” be wrong?

P.S. – “Ghostbusters” comes on right after!

Mindless Movie Monday: The Primetime Edition

the-bachelorette-jillian-harrisSee, there are worse things than being unemployed. You could be starring on “The Bachelorette”. Or your name could be “Kiptyn”. Or worse yet, you could be the inaugural Bachelor Alex Michel (whom I once saw trolling a Sutton Place bar in NYC during happy hour…solo). Take your pick:

See what schmuck Jillian chooses in tonight’s “Bachelorette” finale at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Is it just me, or does Jillian look like she’s saying, “Good morning, Mr. M. Looks like you could use a cupcake!” I just got a Tracy Flick vision in my head. Can you imagine Tracy Flick on “The Bachelorette”? That bitch would be scary.

Mindless Movie(s) Monday: “Sabrina” and “Pretty in Pink”

sabrinaWhat a double feature! I’ve already espoused my love and affection for “Pretty in Pink”…well, Steff in “Pretty in Pink”. Oh, what a smarmy hunk he is in his white linen jacket and pants, that Steff!

But, prior to the John Hughes classic airs the remake of Billy Wilder’s “Sabrina”. Starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear, this charming comedy follows the Pygmalion-esque transformation of a frumpy driver’s daughter and the romantic games that ensue between two old-money, WASPy brothers for whom she longs…and for whom her father drives.

I adore this film. I adore Julia Ormond’s short, cropped curls, the touching relationship with her father and the unintentional wooing of uptight Linus Larrabee, played by Ford. I know many will disagree with me, but I prefer this version to the 1954 movie with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. For some reason, I just didn’t buy the allure of Holden’s David Larrabee. However, Audrey Hepburn is always incomparable.

I wish I could crawl under the covers and live vicariously through these two iconic romances. I really could use the escape.

“Sabrina”, 10:15 a.m. ET
“Pretty in Pink”, 1:15 p.m. ET

Mindless Movie Monday: Killer Hair


Hold on to your hats, ladies. This is actually one Lifetime movie I haven’t seen.

“Killer Hair”, starring Maggie Lawson (“Model Behavior”) and Finola Hughes (“Staying Alive”), debuted Saturday night on the Lifetime Movie Network, and since I cut back on cable a while ago and no longer get the joy of turning to LMN, I am writing this recommendation for “Mindless Movie Monday” completely blind.

“Killer Hair” makes yet another encore appearance Monday at 12 p.m. ET on LMN.

From Based on the “Crimes of Fashion” book series by Ellen Byerrum. Who knew fashion could be dangerous to anything beyond your credit card balance? Lacey Smithsonian (also seen in “Hostile Makeover”), “Crimes of Fashion” columnist, finds herself reporting on more than just this season’s line when dead bodies start showing up in her best friend’s hot DC hair salon. Lacey’s uniquely trained fashion eye catches clues that others miss. The only thing that knocks Lacey from her high-heeled stride is the sudden appearance of Vic Donovan, the guy she left behind and the one man that makes her heart flutter. With her best friends, Stella, a punky hairstylist, and Brooke, an upper crust Georgetown lawyer, at her side, Lacey foils the murderer, solves the mystery and the fashion crime itself, all while meeting the deadline for her column. KILLER HAIR is a funny, fashionable, and fabulous murder mystery set against our nation’s capital.

Now, that sounds like super, cheesy fun. I’ll bet the novel has a cover that’s bright pink with a bleached blonde on it. Oops, I’m only half right! Just checked, and there is a bleached blonde on the cover! I’ll have to go buy the mass market paperback and read it by the pool later. Love the novel/TV- movie combo. That’s what made my all-time favorite summer reading book “The Thorn Birds”so darned appealing! That and every Danielle Steele/Jackie Collins/Judith Krantz made-for-television movie.

Related Post:

Mindless Movie Monday: Hey! Joey Buttafuoco Over Here!

Got a minute to spare? Need to feel better about yourself?

amy%20alyssaTune into Lifetime Movie Network today at 12 noon ET for a classic film in the made-for-TV docudrama genre. Alyssa Milano stars in “Casualties of Love: The ‘Long Island Lolita’ Story”, the televised movie about the Joey Buttafuoco/Amy Fisher disaster. Acid washed jeans? Check! Zubaz pants? Check again! Long Island claw-bangs? You got ’em!

Jack Scalia is appropriately sleazy as Long Island Letch Joey Buttafuoco.

Do you remember the night this originally aired on network TV? If memory serves me correctly, Drew Barrymore’s standout flick “The Amy Fisher Story” also made its debut the same night. I think my high school friends and I had a Sunday night viewing party. Trashtastic!

For extra giggles (read: gags), check out the muscle shirts and gold chains Jack Scalia wears throughout the program. If the real Joey sported those gems, I can see why Amy couldn’t resist parking her car in his garage (or is it the other way around?). Either way, bleeecccchhhh.

You may be unemployed, but at least you’re not dating Joey Buttafuoco.