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Take This Job and Shove It (1981)

Inspired by Johnny Paycheck’s song, this is the story of a corporate conglomerate taking over four ailing breweries in the Mid-West . Rising star executive Frank Macklin (Robert Hays) is sent in to reorganize. It just happens to be his home town where his boyhood mates are employed at the brewery. In he comes with all his corporate ideas but soon finds himself in a dilemma which leads to him changing sides, having got the brewplant to busting point to ramp up production. The parent company’s supposed commitment is unmasked when the chace comes up to sell it on to a Texan oil millionaire who doesn’t know the first thing about brewing. The town did  have another finer craft brewery with a great beer range but now standing empty and Frank , brewery staff and townsfolk look into reviving that once great name. You get to think there’ll be a “Brassed Off” or “Full Monty” moment as folk gather together and offer their life savings, but this ain’t a British movie, so no saccharin, just glorious vengeful destruction is the outcome!

These parts of blue collar Middle America are known as fly-over states and could be a million miles from Eastern or Western seaboard sophistication. The brewery is genuinely Picketts Star Brewery in Dubuque, Iowa, and the 5 storey brick tower brewhouse sort of survives, as did the brand name until recently from other sources in Iowa having truly gone through a number of closures and optimistic re-openings.

Johnny Paycheck actually appears as the man with hamburgers, along with Art Carney, Robert HaysBarbara HersheyTim ThomersonDavid Keith and half the population of Dubuque as extras.

This delicious and often earthy dvd is available on-line from the US: try Amazon.com Marketplace or Turner Classic Movies shop, and remember that you’ll need a multi-region player.

©RKW