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Monday, September 17, 2012


I've got a question for all of you reading this right now. How far have you gone in order to land yourself a job?

Seriously...have you gone out of your way in order to land your dream job?

I imagine that most of us have at some point, particularly in recent years with the economy being the way that it is. We all have tried to do something that makes us stand out more from the competition.

I know that I have tried to do that whenever I have applied for jobs in the past. I'd always try to jazz up my resume so that it would stand out. I wrote cover letters explaining why I wanted the job. I even wore my best clothes to job interviews because I wanted to make the best impression possible. Sometimes it worked, and I ended up getting hired, and sometimes it didn't exactly work. But the important thing is that I did try. And I'm sure that when another job opportunity comes along, or whether I have to have an interview in regards to reapplying to college, or something else along those lines, I will likely do my best to try to stand out. After all, I have to keep telling myself that I have just as much of a shot as anyone else to do the best job possible.

But there are some instances in which people sometimes go above and beyond what is expected of them in order to land that dream job. I have heard of some people using social media in order to get the job of their dreams...using sites such as Twitter or Facebook to get their names out there. In yesterday's blog, I talked about Taylor Swift and her road to success, and one detail I forgot to mention was that she actually used her MySpace profile as a promotional gimmick to help her land concert gigs. Granted, MySpace in 2012 is about as current as the 8-track tape player, but back in 2006, it was a decent tactic. I've also heard of people buying ad space online to promote the company that they want to work for. I've even heard of people setting up demonstrations in front of the building of the place they want to work for to round up business, and it has actually worked out for them. But, I warn you...if you want to go that route, you may want to check the legality of it so that you don't end up getting put in jail for trespassing.

And then there's the idea that a man by the name of Michael Dorsey came up with. He ended up having a very difficult time finding work in his industry (largely due to his demeanor), and he was at his depths of desperation. What he ended up doing was something that was incredibly bizarre, but incredibly creative...and in the process, he learned a lot more about himself.

I should note that Michael Dorsey is a fictional character in the Monday Matinee feature that we will be discussing in this blog today. But what a character he was. He was larger than life, had creative genius...and looked good in a red sequined dress?!?

Yes, the movie that we're going to be looking at is the classic film “Tootsie”, which starred Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr, and Bill Murray.

Released on December 17, 1982, “Tootsie” was a movie that was produced and directed by Sydney Pollack, and was adapted by the team of Larry Gelbart, Barry Levinson, Elaine May, and Murray Schisgal (though Levinson and May were uncredited in the film's credits). It seems hard to believe that this movie was released thirty years ago, but a lot of people still have fond memories of this film.

And why shouldn't they? It was one of the few movies made within the last three decades that the United States Library of Congress deemed “culturally significant” and which was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The movie made over $177 million dollars during its initial screening, making it one of the most successful films of 1982. The movie was ranked by the American Film Institute as the second most funniest film of all time, earned ten Academy Award nominations, and one Academy Award win for actress Jessica Lange.

Tootsie” begins in the city of New York where we're first introduced to Michael Dorsey (Hoffman). His occupation is that of working actor, but his overinflated ego causes him to see himself as a thespian in the making. Initially, Michael had no trouble finding acting jobs, but he had one Achilles heel that prevented him from moving forward with his career.

He was a pain in the butt to work with.

You know those co-workers that you might have in your life that expect everything to be one hundred per cent perfect? The ones who go out of their way to be perfect no matter how much it may rub their colleagues the wrong way? We all have had them.

In Michael's case...he WAS that colleague.

His inability to work well with others and his perfectionist attitude gave him a really bad reputation all over New York City. Nobody would hire him. He couldn't get a job on a movie soundstage, sitcom, dramatic series, theatre production...he even got rejected from a television commercial because he questioned the idea of portraying a tomato!

Because of this, Michael ended up being unemployed for months. With the possibility of him living on the streets over his head, he knew that he had to find something fast. Luckily, Michael's friend Sandy (Garr) managed to alert him to a potential job offer. It turns out that a television program is looking for someone to play the role of a hospital administrator for an upcoming storyline, and Michael thinks that it could be the role that will get his career back on track. So he goes to audition for the role, which turns out to be for a soap opera “Southwest General”. Unfortunately, he once again loses out on the part.

Now it is here where Michael decides to grasp at the straws of desperation. He decides to audition for the job again...but this time, he changes his complete appearance. Instead of a thirtysomething actor, he donned a wig, a dress, and a high-pitched Southern accent to transform into actress Dorothy Michaels. And surprise, surprise...”Dorothy” ends up getting the part!

There are a couple of reasons why Michael ended up taking such a risk in order to get a job. First, it gave him money to live on. But secondly, he could use the money to help his friend Jeff (Murray) produce a play that he wrote entitled “Return To Love Canal”.

As Dorothy, Michael didn't realize just how huge a star that “she” would eventually become. A true test of his acting abilities stemmed from the idea that he would be playing a character that was completely unlike himself. As a result, Dorothy Michaels was feisty, had feminist tendencies, and a strong will...all traits that seemed to shock, yet delight the others who worked on the show. Within a matter of months, Dorothy becomes a television sweetheart.

Of course, keeping the secret proves problematic for Michael. Sandy almost busts his secret after she walks in on him in his underwear (at the time, he had the idea of trying on Sandy's clothes to get some fashion ideas for Dorothy's wardrobe), but he successfully covers by admitting that he has always desired her and wanted to make love to her. Michael briefly considers telling Sandy the truth, but decides against it, believing her to be too emotionally fragile for her to handle the truth.

To add to the stress, Michael ends up falling for his attractive young co-star, Julie Nichols (Lange). Nichols happens to be a single mother who is unfortunately shacked up with one of the directors of the soap opera, Ron Carlisle (Coleman), who has sexist and amoral beliefs. Michael tries his best to get Julie to notice him, but both times he tries, he fails. In an amusing scene, Michael even tries hitting on Julie, completely unaware that he is dressed as Dorothy, which leads to some awkward conversation.

Initially, only Jeff and Michael's agent (played by Sydney Pollack) are made aware of Michael's ruse, and they watch as the situation involving Michael continues to spiral out of control. The more lies that Michael ends up telling, the deeper the mess. It also doesn't help matters much that two men end up falling in love with “Dorothy”, one of whom is Julie's father Les (Charles Durning).

The climax of the film takes place when producers inform “Dorothy” that her character has proven to be so popular that they want to sign her for another year. And faced with the stress of keeping up the charade another year, Michael decided that enough was enough...which lead to this classic scene.

And I think that's a great place to end this discussion of “Tootsie”. You didn't think I'd reveal what happened AFTER the reveal, did you?

But I will say this. Michael ended up learning a valuable lesson in regards to how he treated other people...and I think that his experience in dressing as a woman helped him relate to them a lot better than he ever could as a man. I suppose in that aspect, Dorothy helped Michael grow up a bit.

So, what movie are we looking at next week? I'll give you some word association. Crocodiles. Australia. Knife.  

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