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Company Men

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mrsl
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Joined: April 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Chicago SW suburbs

Company Men

Postby mrsl » March 11th, 2013, 10:47 pm

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I saw this relatively new movie from 2010 about 2 months ago on one of the cable channels, but only caught half of it. Last month I watched it from beginning to end, and again this past Saturday afternoon.

The premise is; due to economics, several top level executives are laid off from a firm with apparently revised closing packages. I know most packages are quite generous and at their level, they should have been set for life, but I guess from the looks of their mansion type homes, foreign cars, and kids in college, their ways of life were going to change drastically. Only one in the four main characters obviously invested wisely and late in the movie we learn the company has been sold and he will be receiving a 7 figure check for his stocks.

Anyway starring in this is Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and in an unusual, for him, mainly supporting role, Kevin Costner. Chris Cooper really suffers because he is the oldest and in addition to not looking too well, is told to quit smoking, and dye his hair. Tommy Lee leaves his wife and moves in with his girlfriend (Maria Bello), who happens to be the head cutter who figured out who should go. Ben ends up selling his house, his little Italian car, and spending his days at the unemployment office trying to find something but nobody is hiring. Finally, he goes to his brother in law (a construction company owner, Kevin), and asks for a job, which he gets, but is sadly lacking in manual labor talent. For Ben at least, things get better, not financially (still living with wife's parents), but gets more bonded with his teenage son, and appreciates wife more. Now, this movie has become kind of a guilty pleasure for me because I guess the audience is supposed to feel sorry for these 'poor' guys and all they've lost, but guess what ? ? ? ? ? This lady cheers every now and then throughout the movie. No, I'm not getting political, I just can't help enjoying their discomfort. They're losing their big homes, nice cars, etc. and they just don't realize the point of what's happened - - they still plan to start their own business and get back on top again. I won't give away the ending although it tries to be redeeming, but the circumstances are just a little too close to reality to take it with more than a grain of salt.
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Anne


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Professional Tourist
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Location: NYC

Re: Company Men

Postby Professional Tourist » March 12th, 2013, 8:34 pm

Mrsl, thank you for recommending this movie. I watched it during dinner tonight and enjoyed it.

I have a few notes:

-- Except for one character, the severance packages they received would not be enough to be set for life -- they needed new jobs. Ben Affleck's character, for example, received 12 weeks severance pay plus benefits (probably health insurance) and four months of outplacement assistance. Being that his base salary was $120,000 a year, that would have come to about $28,000. With a wife and two young children, even if they had lived in a modest home and driven economy cars, severance plus unemployment insurance would probably have lasted about a year.

-- The character who 'invested wisely' I don't think really made the investments himself, but received them as part of his job compensation. And when he cashed out the amount was more like eight or nine figures! :o

-- From my own point of view, I do feel sorry for these guys -- even when they show the bad sides of their personalities. It's devastating to have your world change for the worse all at once, and not be able to pick up the pieces no matter how hard you try. :(

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mrsl
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Joined: April 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Chicago SW suburbs

Re: Company Men

Postby mrsl » March 15th, 2013, 7:19 pm

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Prof. Tourist:

Actually Ben Affleck is the only one who tried to do something. Chris Cooper gave it a nudge but gave up quite quickly. You're probably correct about the last character's 'investments' now that I think about it, but he too, left his wife to figure out what to do in addition to picking up the pieces. He just left her high and dry with that enormous house, and bills probably coming out of her ears by the end of a few months. while he just blithely went along with his little honey finally realizing they were never really a good match either.

Believe it or not, I've been through it twice in my career lifetime and had to grab my boot straps and keep myself together to keep going while still having 4 kids to feed and clothe, with no help from their 'loving' father, and ultimately losing my last job due to 'reorganization' at 58 years, and try to find a job at that age as a woman who had been out of offices for several years by that time, in addition to arthritis becoming active in knees and back. I've got it together now, but living on Social Security, and in dread of anything being done to 'reorganize' SS and medicare. But I say all this because I DO understand where those guys are coming from. In Ben's case though, they used the wrong career for him as upper level sales executives are always in demand. I'm not talking about just a common sales job, but a V.P. or equal level for a Fortune 500 company. I don't think he would really have had such a hard time finding another position. He was at the perfect peak in fact. Too young to be near retirement, well oriented in the job to make training unnecessary, and settled with a wife and kids, making him a fairly good risk for hire. Chris Cooper was definitely out of it on the day he was let go. I liked Costner in the part he played. He came across as the working stiff as if born to the role, with just the right attitude to his brother in law - didn't treat him like a loser, but didn't try to rub his nose in his problems, just let him work out his frustrations, and self doubts.

I'm glad you liked the movie though. I truly did enjoy it and as I said earlier, in these days and times, with so many places of business closing and my friends kids all losing their jobs because of it, I did have difficulty finding a lot of sympathy for the upper echelon. although they suffered as much as the factory workers did I suppose.
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Anne


***********************************************************************
* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************


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