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For reasons unknown to people who actually work in them, factories are very popular locations for movies. The type of factory really doesn’t matter. Anything blue collar is a novelty it seems, and therefore must be exploited.

So, the next time you are looking through the classifieds trying to replace your current crappy job, remember: Hollywood loves factories and that makes them cool places to work … or does it?

Let’s take a look at just how cool running a piece of machinery can be. “Gung Ho” is the story of an automotive plant foreman who travels all the way to Japan to beg someone to buy his plant and reopen it. This dedicated man is played terrifically by the one and only decent Batman, Michael Keaton. Because Michael is such a personable guy he succeeds in getting the plant reopened but then has to find a way to get the hard-working Japanese to get along with the lazy, good-for-nothing, fat American workers.

Do I see a bit of possible propaganda? I think whoever made this movie needed an excuse to take jobs out of this country and move them to Mexico. Michael Moore, keep on fighting the good fight buddy, we’re with ya.

Speaking of fighting, let’s move on to a great little union film called “Norma Rae.” This film stars cutie pie Sally Field, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the performance. She is a woman on a mission to prove she can make a difference. When a scrappy union organizer informs her that the textile factory she works in is dangerous, Norma agrees to help organize a union for her plant. It’s dangerous work, but she is just the single mother to do the job. All joking aside, this film has a lot of great performances and a decent message.

The message in “An Officer and a Gentleman” however, is that if you are a slightly trashy girl who lives near an Army base and works in a factory, you better shake your tail feathers to the next military dance and find yourself a good soldier. Debra Winger and Richard Gere play the star-crossed pair in this tale of love and all that stuff. Really it is just a lot of dramatic lovers’ quarrels but it does include some pretty hot sex and for that some of us can sit through anything. It is also the debut of Louis Gossett Jr. doing his first in a long line of asshole drill sergeant roles.

Unfortunately not all factory work is about unions, Japanese workers and sex; sometimes the factory can mean plain old death and dismemberment. In “Silkwood” Meryl Streep plays a subtly ignorant nuclear power plant worker who smokes like a chimney and finds herself sick from her factory.

“Silkwood” is the unbelievably sad and true story of Karen Silkwood, a woman who mysteriously died on the way to a meeting with a reporter from the New York Times. She was set to blow the whistle on her corrupt factory owners and their sloppy safety procedures. Cher turns in a strong performance as Karen’s lesbian roommate and gets some action too. Who would have thought that Cher could act?

So, the next time you are sitting around bitching that you hate school, or you are thinking you want to drop out and get a “real” job, rent one of these movies. The working world sucks and sometimes you even have to ask to go to the bathroom.