I saw In Good Company tonight. I was looking through stuff released to DVD in the past six months and I was kind of interested because I adore Scarlett Johansson. Oddly enough, the movie wasn't about what the previews suggested, a relationship movie where a guy dates his much older employee's daughter. No, the movie was actually about where we get our value and meaning in life. That's a subject that's near and dear to me.
First off was the whole corporate culture thing. It was interesting to me to see how so many of the characters placed so much of their self-definition on their jobs. It doesn't surprise me, because I was there once, but going back to a company to work I see it everyday. The movie touches on the whole concept of loyalty, which in terms of jobs is so absurd to me. Maybe that's because of all the lay-offs I've been through, but I wish people would realize how expendable they really are and not place so much value in what they do. I did that for a long time and it just crushed my self-esteem when things didn't go well. It's what happened with all of the lay-offs in the movie, people just shattered by it.
And then there's the money thing. Topher Grace's character gets a promotion, buys a Porsche and gets divorced pretty much all at once. It's so weird to me that people buy cars when they're financially successful. I actually traded down to a smaller car when I first broke the six-figure barrier (maybe in part because I knew I wouldn't choose to sustain a job at that rate). Money doesn't mean shit, and that's a lesson I think a lot of people never learn, or learn too late in life. I'm not saying that having lots of it is bad, but people do OK as long as they have some and account for a future with adequate funds.
There was a line at the end that really summed up how I feel though, where Grace's character asks Dennis Quaid if he really believes in what he's doing. And of course he says yes, and that's so critical to whatever you do. If something doesn't feed the soul in some way, however minor, I really think you shouldn't do it. Some people think that's naive, but if anything, I feel stronger about that now than ever. Buying into anything less is being jaded.
The other point they made several times was that relationships are probably the things that define and create the most value in your life. That's tough when you lose out on relationships, but relative to the other things (like money and jobs), that's where the good stuff is.
Not a bad movie... worth the rental.