... and I'll get to how it is a time capsule in a moment.
Directed by Ron Howard, the film is about a Japanese car company that decides to buy up a shuttered American car factory in a town where it was the major source of employment. There is friction because of the numerous cultural/work culture differences between the Japanese management and the American workers. The main work problem is that the Japanese think "team" and the American workers on the line are individualists. Michael Keaton stars as Hunt Stevenson, who is promoted to liason between the American workers and the Japanese management. His problem is that he doesn't want to tell the unvarnished truth to the workers, and this gets him into trouble when he tells a lie he just can't take back that could mean the end of the plant. Gedde Watanabe plays the Japanese manager of the plant who is trying to go against his nature of caring about the home life of the workers and be "tough" so that the factory will be considered a success by the CEO back in Japan. Eventually he and Hunt form a friendship of sorts.
George Wendt of "Cheers" fame plays a worker who gets demoted to janitor. John Turturro is practically unrecognizable as another factory worker in a small part before the Coen brothers discovered him. If Ron Howard is directing then Clint Howard is not far away, usually playing a bit part, and that is true here too. Oh, if you are expecting the Michael Keaton of Birdman and Spotlight, then you are in for a surprise. This is the rather smart mouth character Keaton started out playing in the early 80s. Think of Bill Blazejowski of 1982's "Night Shift" (also directed by Ron Howard) but with a much bigger I.Q.
Why is this a time capsule and will probably be hard for you to find? When the American workers get angry they refer to their Japanese bosses with terms such as "rice a roni". Also, when Michael Keaton goes up to see the boss he refers to his Japanese secretary as "sugar puss". He isn't flirting, but that still would never make the grade in an American film today. George Wendt's character gets drunk and basically bullies and harasses the big boss' wife in a supermarket one day. Everybody just writes the episode off as the guy being angry about his demotion, as though that is acceptable behavior! It's just funny to have seen this in the theater back in 1986 and realize how much times have changed.
I'd recommend it as a great look back and as a comedic take on some of the economic issues confronting Americans in the 1980s. That decade was not as prosperous and carefree as you might have been led to believe.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
Hunt Stevenson works for a large car manufacturer that has just been bought out by a Japanese firm. Suddenly finding himself having to justify his own job, he's forced to choose between redundancy or the seemingly inhuman Japanese work ethic that the new owners have brought with them.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 07, 2020 at 02:24 PM