Suffering your way through lockdown with a flatmate, or a group of them? It could be worse – you could be flat-sharing with any one of these characters from the following classic films.
See the funny side and get your household together with a film night containing one or all of the movies in our blog list.
1. Withnail and I (1987)
Blocked sinks, abject squalour, drinking lighter fluid... All of this will be recognisable to those who have flat-shared with someone. OK, maybe not the lighter fluid example – that's unique to the dark humour of this British cult classic, which made a star out of Richard E. Grant.
He plays one of two out of work actors in 1960s London (the other being Paul McGann's 'I'), whose decrepit flat sets the gold standard for grubby movie apartments. Bruce Robinson's booze-soaked comedy-drama is often seen as the archetypal student movie, and for good reason: it's endlessly quotable and utterly believable.
And as for that scene with the lighter fluid: Grant's reaction was genuine, as the water intended for use had been swapped out for vinegar without him knowing.
2. Shallow Grave (1994)
Struggling with your flatmates? Well, it could be worse – you could have a psychotic Christopher Eccleston drilling holes through your ceiling. That's where this paranoid Danny Boyle thriller ends up, charting a steady plunge into insanity after a group of friends steal money from a dead man.
Eccleston joins Ewan McGregor and Kerry Fox in Boyle's breakout movie, which characteristically mixes tar-black humour with moments of savage violence. The film begins on an amusing note, as the group audition prospective new flatmates and ruthlessly tease them in the process. But it all very quickly goes downhill, resulting in a climax that shreds our nerves.
3. Notting Hill (1999)
Walking around in one's pants might be par for the course in the midst of lockdown – no doubt many have tried the whole 'lower half undressed' thing while on a Zoom call for work. But wearing the tighty whities while opening the front door to the UK press? That's not cricket.
So goes one of the most famous scenes from Richard Curtis' hit rom-com, in which Rhys Ifans' hairy Welshman Spike rumbles the love affair of flatmate William Thacker (Hugh Grant). The reason why it causes such a sensation is William has fallen in love with Hollywood A-lister Anna (Julia Roberts).
Sartorial sense and not messing with your flat-mate's love-life – there are important lessons to be learned here.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's delightful rom-zom-com is one of the archetypal flatmate movies. Although the movie is centrally based on an outbreak of the undead, the real dramatic heart resides in the relationship between Pegg's Shaun and Nick Frost's slacker housemate Ed, who has nothing better to do than sit around playing PlayStation and swigging beer.
Ed's attitude doesn't automatically improve when faced with the flesh-eating zombie hordes, but he redeems himself at the end, helping Shaun and girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) to escape. The endearing punchline, with a zombiefied Ed locked up in the garden shed, will resonate with anyone who's shared communal space with their best friend.
5. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Director Taika Waititi has recently signed on to direct the new Star Wars movie. But before we get there, let's take a moment to champion one of his best, and funniest, films. The whole concept of flat-sharing gets a diabolically hilarious twist in this mockumentary comedy that focuses on a group of vampires sharing a New Zealand flat.
The result is a full-blooded laugh-fest that exploits practically every scenario one can think of. From Googling sun rises to the problems of getting dressed up when you can't see your own reflection, the film typifies Waititi's razor-sharp sense of humour. Yet it's also relatable, like when Waititi's Viago berates Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement, who co-writes) for leaving five years of (literally) bloody dishes stacked up.
However much you may be struggling in lockdown, be grateful you don't have to deal with that.
What are your favourite flatmate movies? Let us know @Cineworld.