As hard as it is to find affordable apartments in NYC, enduring a bad roommate can be even worse. Crumbs on the counter, grabby with the remote, penniless at the end of the month, way too exuberant with random guests in the bedroom—the infractions can be endless. But don’t give up: Throw on one of these nightmare-roommate movies, and maybe even invite them to watch. You can thank us later.
The film’s vision of NYC apartments—spacious, sunlit, more than slightly unreal—is perfect for its nightmare plot. Chipper consultant Allie (Bridget Fonda) brings in the boho-chic Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to share costs after a bad breakup. The latter shares a bit too much: her roommate’s clothes, hairstyle and ex-boyfriend. Leigh’s psychopathic performance turns the movie into unbelievably fun trash.
All you wanted to do was stretch out your failed screenwriting career another week and elude the repo men coming for your car. But one wrong turn leads you to the decrepit mansion of former Hollywood icon Norma Desmond. She takes you in, dresses you in fancy clothes and transforms you into her kept boy. Do you like watching old movies? Better make sure they star her. Things don’t end well.
Sure, you remember this Tarantino-scripted crime comedy for other reasons: Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, a general air of smart-assed cleverness (this was just before Pulp Fiction hit). But rising star Brad Pitt steals the film from a couch-ensconced position as constantly stoned roomie Floyd. His bong runneth over—as does his mouth when the gangsters show up. Not cool, Floyd.
This is one of those films that could go either way. If you’re a neat freak, then divorced sportswriter and slob Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) is going to piss the hell out of you, regardless of his generosity in letting you crash on his couch. Then again, if you identify with the fastidious Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon), your OCD bitchiness has no doubt already cost you a few housing situations.
A movie that should be far more widely seen and cherished, Roger Avary's bleakly comic spin on Bret Easton Ellis’s novel is set at fictional Camden College, where spoiled students pretend to pursue higher learning. With a little bad luck, your roommate might be Lara (Jessica Biel), seducer of the whole football team and—more problematically—the one guy who actually likes you.
Ultimately, Rhys Ifans’s deeply unhelpful Spike has a bit of wisdom for his affable roommate, Will (Hugh Grant): “You daft prick.” What he means by that, of course, is Will’s gone and dumped the wrong girl. Leave it to the roomie who can’t even take a proper phone message to offer a life-changing insult. Eventually, this Welshman will become Will’s brother-in-law, proving that sometimes you just can’t get rid of them.
In his previous film, Knocked Up, writer-director Judd Apatow did an expert job of creating an arrested-development zone of pot smoke and porn consumption. But his follow-up film has an even more annoying roommate: Mark (Jason Schwartzman), a patronizing jerk who’s constantly bragging about his hit TV show “Yo Teach…!” and willing to steal his less-successful roommate's girlfriend.
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) ends up being a rather inspiring figure in Richard Linklater’s infectious rock-the-youth comedy. But until his redemption, he’s the unemployed dude sleeping well into the afternoon, consistently late on the rent. Dewey’s big scheme: Steal his buttoned-down roommate’s identity as a substitute teacher, go wildly off curriculum and teach the kids how to play Deep Purple songs.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) actually has two roommates that give him headaches: Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) is a severe prig, and Ed (Nick Frost) is slovenly, jobless and a terrible influence. Still he’s Shaun’s best friend, and when the zombie apocalypse hits, some of Ed’s pub-going instincts prove crucial. Always at the ready with a pop-culture argument, Ed represents the irresponsible years you can’t quite leave behind.
How could we not include this one, just for the title alone? It’s not a great film, but Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester makes it luridly enjoyable as Rebecca, a deranged collegian who obsesses over her dormmate, Sara (Minka Kelly). Among the former’s many crimes: She tears out the belly-button ring of a competitor, kills a cat in the dryer, and gets the name of Sara’s dead sister tattooed on her body.