Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies

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Getting fired is not fun. Unless, of course, it’s in the movies, which often go out of their way to make people losing their entire livelihoods seem entertaining. So entirely apropos of nothing, honest, we’ve assembled some of the greatest movie sackings (at least among those available on YouTube, hence the lack of, say, Jerry Maguire) – guaranteed to cheer you up whether you’ve been let go, downsized, or are simply a football manager who’s failed to deliver...

This list wouldn’t get off the ground without this blistering, iconic scene (written specifically for the movie by David Mamet) in which Alec Baldwin’s Satanic salesman, Blake, busts the balls of an underperforming workforce and introduces a unique incentive in the form of a workplace competition. “Second prize is a set of steak knives… third prize is you’re fired.” Worst. Prize. Ever. Worse, even, than the Capital One Cup.

Ron Burgundy is, of course, so fragrantly inept that he manages to get fired in both of his movies. It’s a wonder, in fact, that he manages to make it from one scene to another without getting his marching orders. Here, he gets the heave-ho from station manager Ed Harken. His transgression? Telling an entire city to go fuck themselves. Seems harsh, but we guess it depends on the city.

In many ways, Jordan Chaney’s Dean Yager is the real hero of Ghostbusters. If this nasty, supercilious shit hadn’t taken so much pleasure in kicking Drs. Venkman, Stantz and Spengler out on their asses at the beginning of the movie, they’d never have had the guts or the working capital to go into business for themselves, and by extension to save the world. A toast, to Dean Yager, king of 80s Movie Dickheads!

We had to include this. Technically, however, we’re pretty sure that Art Malik’s Salim Abu Aziz doesn’t actually work for Arnie’s Harry Tasker, so we’re calling into question his authority to terminate his employment. This could end up at a tribunal.

Oh, Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith goes through underlings like Hollywood executives get through assistants. Here’s his finest hour: Force-choking, over a long distance, Admiral Ozzel for an administrative oversight. Makes the hairdryer treatment look like a gentle breeze.

Poor 2015 Marty McFly. Worn out, schlubby, looking worse at 47 than Michael J. Fox does now at 52. A grey man getting fired from his grey job via big-screen TV – and in-home fax (remember those?) – by Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. McFly? McBusted.

(Jump to 11:11 for the scene involved) This is a wonderful scene in which Joe Mantegna’s studio head, Harry Flugelman, lambasts the preening, pamperered Amigos (Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short) and has them kicked out of their home, their suits and his lot. Props go to the late, great Phil Hartman for his staccato phone manner as a studio flunkey.

The cracking final scene of Paul Verhoeven’s classic sci-fi satire sees RoboCop (Peter Weller), who’s unable to harm crooked OCP exec Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) given a literal window of opportunity when The Old Man (Dan O’Herlihy) – without recourse to a consultation process, letters of intent, or period of notice – fires Jones. RoboCop follows up by firing him again - this time, out of said window. The Apprentice would be way more exciting if Lord Sugar used this tactic.

AKA Sacking Mr Banks. This gorgeous scene sees David Tomlinson’s buttoned-up bank manager hauled before his board and made a scapegoat for a run at the bank, only to realize that he really couldn’t give two damns, and that there’s more to life than a dreary job that strands you in the doldrums and bosses who take pleasure in destroying your hat. Screw it; he’s off to fly a kite instead.

“I’m not a shrink, Bob. I’m a wake-up call.” Given that it’s about a professional corporate downsizer, Jason Reitman’s movie is filled with scenes of people being given the sack: some harrowing, some hilarious. But this one, in which George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham cuts through the initial shock and rage of J.K. Simmons’ cast-off employee to inspire long-dormant passion, is particularly touching.