I’m always on the look out for movies about neighbors and how our country thinks about neighborhoods and communities. Originally it was to hold movie nights. I did get to host one.
Funny Farm with Chevy Chase
I thought of this movie when our first re-sale house went up. One person was moving out. They discovered that cohousing wasn’t for them, not a match. Nothing terrible. But I was nervous. How do we sell a house? Do we let them know everything about us? Do we pretend it’s perfect? We, like many cohousing communities, had already been rejected by many perspective buyers. So many people are interested and then come visit and something chases them away. It’s usually cost, or timing to get into a house, or the simple fact that most people don’t want to commit to buying a house and living that close to each other. No matter what, it does feel like a slap in the face to this place we love.
So, the perfect film to show for selling a home is Funny Farm. Chevy Chase escapes to the country to write only to find out that he doesn’t like the rural life and his neighbors. So, he and his wife pay the neighbors to act like the town is out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It’s hilarious. For the first time ever, they get their mail delivered instead of thrown all over the drive way. All the neighbors get into it except one who still can’t get over his grudge against Chevy Chase but they hide it well and get an offer.
I think I felt more the pressure – look good to sell a house. We did clean up our porches more and did some landscaping. Same pressure of any home sell – keep it clean instead of chilling out and relaxing when you aren’t trying to get the sale.
I never heard of this movie but it popped up on one of my subscriptions so I thought it would be about neighbors. It is for about 2 seconds. I watched a version edited for television. It was still too violent for me. Basically if you look up George Clooney’s reasons for making the film, that’s all you need. You can watch the first few minutes and stop there.
Matt Damon lives in a perfect, planned 1950s neighborhood that is blatantly racist when an African American family moves in. Then the tale moves into a different movie – who done it. The only neighbor part is that the neighbors claim that there was never crime until the African American family moved in. Blaming the others when it was the people who already lived there and it was just a coincidence.
I guess that is like cohousing. People want to think only outsiders would do anything terrible. And it’s easier to gang up and scapegoat someone who is a little (or a lot) different.
I liked this movie. Very entertaining. It has an environmental message where people get really small (like Steve Martin’s drug dream) and have a smaller footprint on the planet. However, the motive soon appears that most just want all the goods and big life of consumerism just at a more affordable price in the small world.
Matt Damon (coincidence he’s in this movie too) chooses to downsize and join the best community – Leisure Land. It is like any Senior citizen community in Florida or Arizona. Lots of things to do and his friend tells him it’s the best place to choose. WIth twists and turns he ends up in Norway at the original community that first downsized. It is exactly like Americans traveling to see the original cohousing communities in Denmark. Very green and a lot of hippies. So, a stereotypical view.
There is a hilarious scene where his friend tells him these people are in a cult. They might be wrong in their group thinking. Of course, they were drumming together and dancing like at Woodstock and even had a cafeteria style common meal. I laughed since cohousing and cult like thinking can happen and that’s more the view people have of any intentional community anyhow.
You’ll have to watch the film to see where this character ends up – and the fate of the world.
Some Kind of Heaven
This is a documentary on the Villages in Florida. I always wonder what is the difference between condos and cohousing. There are many but the Villages do offer a lot of activities so you can easily make friends and stay busy. I met someone from there once and he didn’t really like it though. In this documentary, it shows a few people who aren’t quite fitting in either. It made me want to move there though – all those fun things to do.
In the end, a few people did find a way to find their place in the world as they know their days are numbered as they age.