Listen up, Michael Bolton. Chances are you probably found Office Space the same way most people did, playing on Comedy Central over and over again in the early 2000s.  Maybe you were an outlier who snagged the DVD. Either way, I bet that you, like me, became an instant fan. 

It's hard to believe, but this ode to corporate parks and boring lives only raked in $10.8 million at the box office during its theatrical run. 

But thanks to the constant streams on cable, rentals at Blockbuster, and just working its way into the cultural lexicon, the movie gathered steam. I should know. I worked at a TGIFridays where we had to add flair to our uniforms. The effects were pervasive. 

But Office Space is a masterpiece that makes you forget all that. 

It was Mike Judge's live-action directorial debut about the cubicle warriors of the 1990s. Guys who lived boring lives and worked boring jobs. After one of them gets hypnotized into living a better life, he gets two others to steal money from corporate using a plot from an old Superman movie.  

But the plot is much looser than that, instead focusing on death by the ennui of the working class. 

The movie stars Ron LivingstonJennifer AnistonGary ColeStephen RootDavid HermanAjay Naidu, and Diedrich Bader.

"The main message of the movie is, you got to give yourself permission to do the things that make you happy even if it’s going to disappoint your employer,” Livingston told Variety. "People come and tell me that the movie changed their life. It’s like after seeing the movie, it gave them the confidence to get out of whatever it was they were doing that was making them miserable and move on to something else. I only hear from the people for whom that worked out, but hopefully there’s not too many that regret it.”

In the same Variety article, Judge revealed he gets similar reactions, but thinks there's a positive outcome.

“I haven’t had anyone say they quit their job after watching the movie and wound up on welfare,” he said.

The movie was loosely based on Judge's series of "Milton" cartoons. It features a character whose quest to get his stapler back actually provides the deus ex machina at the end of the story. 

It was hard to measure how popular the film got after leaving theaters. Word of mouth was driving rentals and DVD sales, but Judge knew he had some redemption when Swingline, makers of staplers, said they were experiencing an influx of calls asking them to make red staplers. See, they didn't even have them in production. The prop from the movie was just a black one painted to seem unique. 

For the film's 20th anniversary, they made a special "Milton" edition you could buy.  

The movie was not a hit early on, but its legend grew as time went on. And so did Judge's career. He has released other cult classics like Idiocracy, which had a resurgence in 2020, and dominated animation on TV with the Beavis and Butt-Head reboot as well as King of the Hill

It's a testament to cream eventually rising to the top. And one of the funniest movies of all time finally finding its audience. 

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.