Fans and cast members filled Austin's historic Paramount Theater last night to honor the 10th anniversary of one of Texas's greatest gifts to the global zeitgeist: the Mike Judge classic Office Space. With its office park sprawl and generic American flag license plates on its cars, the movie looked like it could've been anywhere. Where it was, though, was Texas -- Austin and Dallas -- and that's where Judge and a handful of the film's best character actors reunited Sunday.
For many in the audience, it was their first time seeing the film on a big screen -- so much of the film's cult following found it first on cable, and for a while it seemed like everyone had a copy of it on DVD.
In some ways, Office Space makes 1999 seem like a long time ago. In one scene, VHS tapes are stacked next to a gray Nintendo 64 controller. The main character's job involves updating software code for the dreaded Y2K switch. That Initech cubicle farm, though, is still just a little too real -- some things haven't changed much at all in 10 years.
Speaking of timeless, Austin native Keith Sharp even showed up in a 10-year-old pair of pants. The Office Space fan, who also wore an "I Got Lei'd" T-shirt and a few buttons of flair, said he ripped the back of his pants in 1998, while climbing a tree to get a better view of the movie being filmed. "I was trying to get a look at Jennifer Aniston," he said, "and I slipped."
The years have been about as unkind to some of the cast members as they have to Sharp's khakis. Kinna McEnroe, the stout, perky red-headed office grunt (In the movie she chirps, "Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking") joked that seeing the film again reminded her what it was like to have acting work. John C. McGinley (one of the Bobs) has fared better since the movie came out, thanks to his starring spot on Scrubs. What would it take for the cast to reunite for an Office Space 2? "Pay me," McGinley joked, kind of.
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As after Sharp's pants-ripping slide out of the tree, the audience was denied their Aniston sighting. Nine cast members did turn up for the show, though, including Gary Cole (Peter's boss Bill Lumbergh) and Stephen Root (Milton). The two Bobs were there, as were Samir and Michael Bolton. Diedrich Bader, who played Peter's Fu-Manchu'd neighbor, was there, the most affable of the bunch, all smiles and chatting up fans in the theater lobby.
As they each stepped out of a limo in front of the red carpet, the cast took turns beating apart a fax machine on the pavement, each handing off a wooden baseball bat to the next actor once they'd had enough. After the movie, Judge and cast members took to the stage and answered questions from the audience.
One of the greatest revelations was that Todd Duffey, who played the too-enthused, double-bird-throwing Chotchkie's waiter Brian, was a casting choice out of Dallas, after he'd cut his teeth on Barney & Friends. He even danced a little to prove it. (That was one of a couple big moments for Dallas; the other was the raucous applause as opening credits rolled over LBJ Freeway traffic around Coit Road.)