Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Power Rankings: Telling off Your Boss and/or Quitting Your Job

The idea for this list spawned from a recent rewatching of Fight Club, which got me thinking about other great ways that people have told off their bosses. That led to the job-quitting part because, well, it basically is quitting. Now, this is list is really sketchy. It was fairly thrown together, so I am going to need some input in the end. I know that I have to be missing some huge ones. I came across a blog that had the end of The Truman Show on there, which I never would have thought of, so I will not include that one. Here it goes:

Others receiving votes:

“I’m mad as hell…” from Network (not exactly quitting, but close enough to be an honorable mention)

“I Quit! Hahaha I Quit!...I QUIT.” from That Thing You Do!

“I’ve always had an odd preference for very, very young girls…” from Reality Bites

10. “You better lawyer up, asshole.” from The Social Network

Now, I know Eduardo wouldn’t like to consider Mark his boss, but he was. This climactic scene in the best film of 2010 got the entire audience’s blood flowing when Eduardo found out that he was getting screwed out of his ownership of the business. He proceeds to tell the Mark that he better lawyer up because he isn’t coming back for 30%, but for everything. It was a brilliantly-acted scene and a fantastic way of telling off your boss.

9. “So don’t pay me, now leave me alone.” from American Beauty

In the first of two American Beauty scenes on this list, Ricky Fitts, a waiter (and drug dealer) is out smoking pot during his shift when his boss walks out on him and says that he isn’t paying him to do whatever it is he is doing. So, in the most nonchalant way, he says, “Fine, so don’t pay me…. I quit. So now you don’t have to pay me, now leave me alone.” Lester basically goes from 6 to midnight after hearing this and proclaims that he is now his personal hero. It is just about the greatest “I honestly do not care” middle finger ever given to a boss. I love it.

8. “Get your own fucking cheese!” from The Wrestler

This is a painful way to quit…literally. Randy is finally fed up with his degrading boss and the whiny customers at the deli, so he punches the meat cutter right on the blades and bleeds out profusely. He smears the blood all over his face, tells off the customers, and he storms out of the store, knocking over everything in sight and yells, “I’m outta here!” That is one way to go, terrorizing everything on the way out the door. It is a tough scene to watch, but one of the many great ones in the best film of 2008. (bad video quality on the clip below, sorry)

7. “The old payola won’t work anymore.” from The Apartment

This is a great, subtle quitting sequence. Baxter, who made a career out of letting executives use his apartment for their own business, decided one day to not have it anymore. When he was asked for the key, he gave up the key to the executive washroom. He stated that he wanted to become a human again, and that there was basically nothing that his boss could do to stop him from quitting. It was a great scene in an otherwise overrated Best Picture winner.

6. “I hate this job…and I don’t need it!” from Office Space

This is a hilarious scene. This movie has so many great, relatable workplace rebellion scenes. This is one of the best scenes. Joanna works for a tool of a boss at a restaurant who makes his employees wear a bunch of pins on their clothes to “express themselves”. She gets fed up with it one day, flips off her boss and the customers, saying that was her way of expressing herself, then quits on the spot. If only we all could be so bold and spontaneous in quitting our jobs…

5. “Someday, you’re gonna be sorry...” from Major League

This is a great scene in a classic sports comedy. Ricky Vaughn was getting cut by the team in his manager’s office, and in classic Wild Thing stature, he flips out. He starts yelling at his boss in a rage about how he is going to get another chance and take it out on the Indians when he plays them with his new team. He then throws a fastball at the locker, only to find out that the team was just pulling a prank on him. (could not find a clip for this one, so I will post the quotes)

Rick Vaughn: I got news for you Mr. Brown, you haven't heard the last of me. You may think I'm shit now, but someday you're gonna be sorry you cut me. I'm gonna catch on somewhere else and every time that I pitch against you I'm gonna stick it up you're fuckin' ass!
[Throws baseball against locker]
Lou Brown: Good, I like that kind of spirit in a player. The only problem is I didn't cut you.
Rick Vaughn: What?
Lou Brown: I think someone's been having some fun with you.

4. “Go fuck yourself, you fucking child!” from Charlie Wilson’s War

This is an amazing scene. Gust gets passed up for a promotion, and he lets his boss know of his displeasure. It is so awesome. It is a scene that only someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Slattery could have pulled off with that brilliant Aaron Sorkin writing. It is definitely the best case of telling off your boss that I could think of. It goes on for three minutes of amazingly-written banter and concluded with a brilliant couple lines and another broken window. And if you look in the background, you see the entire office staring at them, so you know it’s good. I love it.

3. “If you weren’t such a bitch, we’d feel sorry for you.” from Wanted

This is one of those great instances when the main character finally snaps and lets it out on his boss. His constantly nagging boss was at it again, and after telling her not so politely to shut up, he lets her know that everyone in the office knows all of her little secrets, breaks her beloved red stapler, and tells her off, leaving her absolutely speechless, along with the rest of the office. Then he takes his keyboard and breaks his annoying coworker’s face. Awesome!

2. -TIE- “I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.” from American Beauty

Now, this scene is about as cool of a way to quit a job as possible. If only Fight Club hadn’t had a very similar scene the same year… Anyway, Lester decides to blackmail his boss, convincing him to pay him his salary and benefits and threatens to make up an untraceable sexual harassment lawsuit against his boss. It is one of the many brilliant scenes in that nearly flawless movie of our time.

2. -TIE- “I am Jack’s smirking revenge.” from Fight Club

This is such a good scene. Not only is it a great blackmail scene, but he also beats himself up and rubs all the blood on his boss seemingly accidentally, so when security shows up, it looked like he just got beaten by his boss. He had no choice but to oblige. It is a lot like the American Beauty scene, and while this one is less believable, it is just as awesome.

Jack's Smirking Revenge by movieclips

1. “Who’s coming with me?!” from Jerry Maguire

After Jerry accidentally sends out a scandalous memo, he is forced to quit. On his way out, he takes his skills, his fish, and anyone else who will follow. DOROTHY BOYD! THANK YOU! She is the only one who will go with him (not even his secretary), but he made his point. He starts his own firm. He went out like a rockstar, and became somewhat of a legend. I love that movie. Only Cameron Crowe can make a scene with such feeling and awkwardness like this one.

So, what did I miss? Other blogs have mentioned Joe Versus the Volcano, but I haven’t seen that so I shouldn’t use it. Terry mentioned Click, but I haven’t watched that either. Let me know what you come up with.


  1. Seeing the Charlie Wilson's War quote on there made me think of Glengarry GlenRoss. There are at least three or four speeches on there of employees telling off Williamson.



    Classic . . .

  2. Todd.

    I am disappointed.

    No MENTION of Budd at the strip club in "Kill Bill: Volume Two?" Unforgivable.

    Although I guess he was getting fired technically. But still.

    Other honorable mentions would include: Ian quitting as band manager after the Stonehenge debacle in "This is Spinal Tap" (or, for that matter, Nigel's meltdown in the studio); any scene at the bank between Laura Linney and Matthew Broderick in "You Can Count on Me"; and the final scene of "The Truman Show."

    Great pick at #7 -- but not overrated in the least!!

  3. Terry-
    I did not even think of that! See this is why we need to put our heads together sometimes...our movie memory is so much different than each other's. Might be the only area of life that is the truth. But yeah, at the very least Shelley's rant should have defintiely been on there.

    Yeah, that is not quitting. I already expanded the criteria, so getting fired wasn't going to be included. That would have been a much easier list. I actually did think about Vol. 2, but it was more trying to figure out a way to put in quitting by running away with your boss's unborn child, but there wasn't really a good scene for that.

    And I haven't seen Spinal Tap in forever, so I wouldn't have remembered those. Same goes for You Can Cuont on Me. And yeah, as I said in the opening paragraph, The Truman Show would have been on there, butI would have not thought of it like that if I hadn't seen it on someone else's list. It wasn't my idea. I dunno.

    And I know we will always disagree on this, but The Apartment is a pretty well-written, totally solid 3 star comedy, and not really anything more.

  4. Though of another one. Liar Liar!!! Both the board scene and the courtroom scene. "I'M JOSE CANSECO!!!"

    Speaking of courtroom scenes, how about ...And Justice For All. "This whole courtroom is out of order!!!"

    Or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and his filibuster. Just some thoughts.

  5. "Simmons is old! He shoulda been out of the game years ago but he can't go home cuz he hates his wife!" That is a great one!

    But I don't think the other three qualify. The judges aren't their bosses, and in neither of the court scenes are they really quitting. I guess Fletcher implied that he was quitting by not shaking his boss's hand, but not quite. And the filibuster I don't think would work either, but that one is clsoer than the other two. Good ideas, though.

    But hey, I think you might have found your next power ranking with the top 10 courtroom scenes. That could be a good one.