Bartleby (2001)
May 4, 2023 1:57 PM - Subscribe

A manager (David Paymer) hires a strange employee (Crispin Glover) who, at first, is exceptionally efficient but then begins to reply to any request with "I would prefer not to." An adaptation of Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby, the Scrivener" told in the setting of a modern office.

Also starring Glenne Headly, Joe Piscopo, Dick Martin, Maury Chaykin, Seymour Cassel.

Directed by Jonathan Parker, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Catherine DiNapoli. Based on the "Bartleby, The Scrivener" by Herman Melville.

Criminally underrated at Rotten Tomatoes.
Available for free streaming on multiple apps and for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I actually saw this ages ago! Probably on a Netflix DVD, or else in the early days of their streaming service. I remember looking at it mainly because the idea of Crispin Glover as a modern Bartleby just seemed...well...absurd, in the classic sense of the term, and he turned out to be absurdly perfect.
posted by KelsonV at 5:33 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]

Oh wow, I didn't even know this existed! I'll check it out, but just from looking at this it seems like perfect casting.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:18 AM on May 5

This is a great little movie.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:20 PM on May 5

I would prefer not to [pass up commenting].

Love this movie from beginning to end, and it cemented my Paymer fandom. Oddly, Bartleby comes off to me as kind of a MacGuffin here, if a tornado can be one.

The scene when the wonderful, late Glenne Headly meets Seymour Cassel's character is one of the most erotic exchanges in modern cinematic history. Recent decades anyway.
posted by rhizome at 5:39 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

Is this a “books included” thread? I’ve alway been amused that you can argue that, among other things, Melville created the “weird fiction” genre. “Bartleby, the Scrivener" is absolutely a horror story n that register.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:46 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]

This is an obscure enough adaptation of an old, widely known public domain story that I can't imagine anyone getting all het up about mentioning book stuff.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:11 PM on May 7

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