Real Estate In Movies

Kevin Spacey and Jack Lemmon work in a tough Chicago real estate office in Glengarry Glen Ross.

 

By Dan St. Yves

Eventually, screenwriters find a way to work every subject into a movie. Go ahead, think about it – love, war, Spring Break, zombies…Heck, even warring zombies in love on Spring Break. There’s probably been a movie made about it!

Real estate or real estate agents don’t often find their way into the flickering pictures, but on occasion, they just might play some small part in a movie. Here are a few popular films that have featured either real estate or real estate agents:

Comedy:

The Money Pit, a 1986 comedy starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Despite what you might think, this is not a documentary about how much Brad Pitt is worth. Like a few listings you may have tried to market over the years, or a home you may have owned, this disaster comedy exaggerates what can go wrong after purchasing a fixer-upper. Let’s just hope there was full disclosure and the buyers walked into this knowing what they were getting into. The fact that the seller’s name was Con Artist suggests perhaps not.

Neighbors, a 1981 movie with the dynamic former Saturday Night Live duo, John Belushi and Canadian Dan Akroyd. There’s that old saying that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Sometimes, you take your chances when you buy a new home and inherit existing neighbours you might not gel with. Frankly, it’s just too bad that so many building codes in this day and age prohibit moats and 30-foot-tall perimeter stone walls.

Horror:

House – Not the popular TV series about medicine and one particularly cantankerous doctor, this 1986 horror film starring William Katt features a gateway to another dimension. In a note of interest to builders, this is not a prudent feature to install in a bathroom medicine cabinet with respect to future resale values.

This movie does feature zombies, although I don’t recall if it was set during Spring Break. Or if they were in love.

If you’re a big fan of horror movies blended with supernatural happenings in homes, you may also want to check out Poltergeist (1982), a home built on ancient burial ground, with spirits awakened by TV signals, then wreaking ghostly hijacks worse than opening and seeing your monthly cable bill. There’s also The Amityville Horror (1979), starring James Brolin and Canadian Margot Kidder, who probably wished she had stayed hooked up with Superman as Lois Lane after buying this home where a mass murder was committed the year before.

Drama:

The War of the Roses from 1989, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as a high-powered couple who refuses to vacate their home during a divorce. Short of literally splitting the residence in two, this movie is a great example of the delicate nature of dealing with the parties during the sale of a property whilst divorcing. If your stomach is weak however, and you’d prefer something less stressful than dealing with two temper-flared, immovable objects, consider instead performing a root canal with a paperclip on a non-sedated saltwater crocodile.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) with Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey. If you’ve ever worked in timeshare sales, multi-level marketing or any other sort of boiler-room sales environment, you will cherish the reality of the characters in this terrific film. You wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the table, especially when they bring in “Jimmy The Closer” to clinch the sale, but you’ll still enjoy the characters.

These are just a few movies that have had a degree of success, while featuring facets of the business of real estate. What are your own favourites?

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