A bad movie boss only yields to violence

feature film She Said This week looks back on the fall of movie tycoon and serial rapist Harvey Weinstein in 2017, which sparked the #MeToo movement. Five years later, the focus seems to shift to other misbehavior: grumbling and insulting, threatening and belittling. Fascinating is the widespread resistance that Elon Musk’s attempted reign of terror is encountering at Twitter: a flash implosion of USD 44 billion is imminent. The Netherlands talks about the culture of fear among the alleged bullies Khadija Arib and Matthijs van Nieuwkerk.

In Hollywood, there have been some controversial cases in recent years. In May, NBC canceled the 19th season after 19 seasons Ellen DeGeneres Showanimated series Little Ellen follow the. The sparkling and approachable talk show host turned out to be haughty, indifferent and demanding behind the scenes, Buzzfeed revealed.

Much less image-sensitive film producers Joss Whedon and Scott Rudin were also warned last year. Rudin, good for 9 Oscar nominations, systematically terrorized employees and pelted them with – among other things – a laptop, a coffee mug, a stapler, a hot potato and a glass fruit bowl. That was common knowledge, but it didn’t stop liberals like Wes and PT Anderson or the Coen brothers from working with him.

The idea that such misconduct is simply part of top sport is quickly discredited. Does the film still play a role in this? In Hollywood movies, the horror boss is a comedic type. Short fuses à la Van Nieuwkerk are very funny: think of Louis de Funès, Donald Duck and yes, also Adolf Hitler. Service Steiner rant The Untergang became the most famous comedy monologue ever via social media.

In Hollywood movies, the horror boss is a comedic type

In addition to unstable types who yell in the face of subordinates – the blow-drying – office comedies often feature blunt narcissists like David Brent in The Office. Their humor lies in a flawed self-image that makes them think they are brilliant or loved. Also there are the sadists, like “cool boss” Bill Lumbergh who in comedy Office space (1999) never raises his voice – he is a maestro in hypothermia torture.

Actor Kevin Spacey perfected the role of a sadistic manipulator before his downfall by #MeToo, who keeps his staff permanently unbalanced with an unpredictable mix of fleming and aggression. President Frank Underwood House of Cards was the latest in a line of bastards dating back to film producer Buddy Ackerman into Swimming with Sharks in 1994, partly based on Scott Rudin by the way. was memorable Spacey’s role of David Harken in Horrible Bosseswho forces a close associate to drink a bubble of whiskey early in the morning only to publicly humiliate him for his alleged drinking problem.

In office comedies, only violence against horror bosses helps: kidnapping, hostage-taking or even murder. In Office space, where office mouse Peter becomes so lazy and indifferent after a failed hypnosis that consultants suddenly see management potential in him, the entire office eventually goes up in flames. But often the abomination boss is also a hard, very useful school of learning: see The Devil Wears Prada (2006). If you want to swim with sharks, you have to become a shark yourself.

So you better not touch that morale anymore. Are there any serious films about office terror? Very little, because that’s depressing. For example, which of you saw the brilliant The Assistant (2020), about a female Harvey Weinstein doormat? Anyone who hopes that protocol, complaints procedure and ombudsman will solve the problem of bad bosses will quickly learn that in that film.

Coen van Zwol is a film critic.

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