9 to 5 (1980)


“Want to move ahead, but the boss won’t seem to let me. I swear sometimes that man is out to get me.” —Dolly Parton, “9 to 5″ song

We’ve all been guilty of clock-watching at times, and not just at work on the precipice of a weekend. We may be doing chores, having a conversation with someone we don’t like, or watching a really boring movie. Having said that, I am thankful to announce that I did not look at the clock once while watching 9 to 5. It was delightful.

9 to 5 is a movie about three women who kidnap their boss who has gotten away with sexually harassing them in the office for ages. Sadly, this is a injustice many women continue to face in the workplace. It was therapeutic to see heroines Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda race against the clock to expose their boss’s shady past before the office figures out where he really is.

I was especially impressed with Dolly Parton‘s performance, because my expectations weren’t too high after considering past singers who have attempted to climb up onto the big screen. Some have succeeded, others have failed; Tim McGraw did a fine job in The Blind Side, but the jury is still out on Janet Jackson’s performance in Nutty Professor II: The KlumpsI was rooting wholeheartedly for Dolly’s success when I booted up the DVD player, probably because I have such positive memories of attending her Dixie Stampede in Branson with my pal Logan. (Let me tell you, The Cracker Barrel is child’s play compared to that Southern experience.) Dolly never falls victim to blonde stereotypes in this movie, and she could even be considered to be the brains behind the whole operation. You want this lady on your team.

My favorite scene is when the three women (I guess I haven’t said this yet, but their names are Judy, Violet, and Doralee) are fantasizing about what they’d like to do to evil Franklin M. Hart Jr. Everyone has a different idea with tones that reflect a crime drama, a Western, and Disney princess movie. Each of the daydreams is filmed in its specific style. Some of the transitions and effects might be a bit outdated, but you have so much fun watching the scene that you forget it was made in the ’80s. This just goes to show that thoughtfully executing a good story—using whatever means you have at the time—will be accepted by future audiences regardless of the rough edges.

I love how movies let us watch others do what we would get in so much trouble for doing in real life. There are probably quite a few scallywags out there who should be kidnapped for a few weeks, and many who would benefit from being the kidnappers. Which of the two roles would do you the most good? My answer is, “a little of both.”