As a movie buff, I love nothing better than seeing my favorite flicks time and again. As a blogger on community association issues, I can't help but draw some analogies between some of my favorite movies and what I do in real life-helping community associations.
I started thinking about some of the ways Hollywood has depicted community life over the years. Let's take a look.
The Crucible: this was originally a 1953 play by Arthur Miller based on the Salem Witch Trials. The 1996 movie with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder does a great job of depicting a community beset with hysteria where the court (aka Grievance Committee) is treated to some testimony that is less than credible but consistent in terms of its targets. Miller's play has been re-staged countless times since its creation and was also made into an opera so obviously the "witch hunt" theme hits many nerves including with some modern day association members.
Rosemary's Baby: who can forget Roman Polanski's 1968 horror film? Was there ever a creepier cooperative board? Ever?
The Neighbors: While Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi are best known for their pairing in the Blues Brothers, this dark comedy based on the book by Thomas Berger (no relation) portrays suburban warfare in its most paranoid incarnation.
Over The Hedge: this animated film by Dreamworks is one of my favorites. Even though most of us love cute little animals, Allison Janney plays the voice of Gladys Sharp, the president of the Camelot Homeowners Association who is disgusted by the furry intruders into her community. Spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie already-at the end, Gladys is arrested for using an illegal animal trap known as the Depelter Turbo.
And on the small screen, a new TV show starring Jamie Gertz also bears the name of The Neighbors. In this show, Debbie and Marty Weaver cannot believe their luck in buying into a beautiful, gated townhouse community in New Jersey at a great price until they find out all of their neighbors are aliens. Community members all dress exactly alike and patrol the community in golf carts.
If you have never seen the foregoing movies or haven't seen them in a while, check them out with a community association perspective in mind when you do. Also, ask yourself if Hollywood was going to depict your community on the big screen, what would that movie look like?