Bad Tenant 12/29/22

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Watching another stupid movie of the genre “landlord and nightmare tenant”, I’ve come to realize that I’ve never seen a good movie of this type. The first, and to date only, movie that I walked out of was a serious attempt at this genre meant to be a horror/suspense film. Today I just watched a similar movie meant to be a comedy.

In the one I saw today, the nightmare tenant was living in the “guest house” of the dream home of the poor sweet innocent young engaged couple. The reason these movies are so horrid, in my opinion, is because they’re just to predictable. Instead of going through the proper channels (which, yes, I understand can be cumbersome and very time-consuming), the owners choose to take matters into their own hands. As they try various tricks to get the tenant to move on, of course they always backfire making the homeowner look like the criminal and ultimately landing them in legal problems. And every time, I know what will happen. There are no surprises, no twists, just the standard and appropriate consequences.

Of course, the owners try to reason with the tenant in an effort to prove that they’re the good guys. And, of course, it fails. And the hilarity, or suspense (both what which fail equally) ensues.

In this one, the tenant had the key to the main house. This added a twist that was so ridiculously stupid that it detracted from the movie rather than adding to the story line. Maybe it’s because I lived for a time in New Your City, but even I know that as soon as you move into a new property, the very first thing that you do is changed the locks. When I moved into my current house, I had no idea how many copies of the keys had been made or who had them. Why wouldn’t I just change the locks? Well of course I did. In fact, I made it a point to install them myself, large impressive looking locks of a very different and easily visible style just to make it clear to anybody who might see them that, yes, if you had keys to this house, they don’t work anymore.

Speaking of, as an aside, bars make remarkably effective locks. Growing up, we had a sliding glass door. A bar in the door track stops the door cold and is very difficult to defeat. In New York, one of the best ways to secure the door at night is a simple bar. A spot is installed in the floorboards and one on the door and setting that bar in these spots at night is nearly impossible to defeat. You can put bars in window tracks for an added level of locking as well.

Back to the movies. The next obvious and overly predictable move is to turn off the utilities, and of course, it’s illegal. It’s always the first time the owners end up on the radar of law enforcement, but is only the start of a string of missteps. Drugs are always involved, and of course the homeowners end up partying with the tenant. Often the owner will report illegal substances in the tenant’s home, and of course they get rid of them all, cooperate sweetly with the police and drop hints about other things the owners have done. There’s a big surprise.

The homeowner becomes increasingly angry and ends up throwing a punch. Assault is always illegal, and of course, the homeowner ends up in jail and, invariably, gets hit with a restraining order for a man living in or near his own home. At this point I begin wondering what is wrong with the young wife or fiancé. Is she not paying attention to how idiotic her husband or fiancé truly is? What will happen when he gets angry with her? Why is she still with this idiot?

Yes, eventually there is a fire, part of the property is destroyed, but by now the tenant knows how to pull the strings of the owner, plus has a great relationship with law enforcement while the owner is well-known to the police in the wrong way.

And throughout the entire movie, the biggest idiot of all is me for watching yet another piece of cinematic garbage and losing another ninety minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. This time, I kept hoping that there would at least be something funny involved. There never was. Even the proverbial “humor” was sophomoric and predictable. And, yes, she left him, but only to take him back. I have no idea why.

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