Living Arrangements: The Movie

Posted on 10 December 2010

In case you haven’t heard, the indie film Living Arrangements shares the same title as my forthcoming story collection. The director, Sam Thompson, was kind enough to offer me a free DVD of the movie in exchange for a Crab Creek Review issue. Obviously, I jumped at the offer and Peter and I set aside some time to watch the movie last weekend. I grabbed a notebook to record the experience and some vegan popcorn chicken for a snack. We also had a few teensy little drinks, which might be why my notes are mostly indecipherable. (For example, right now I’m staring at a scribble that looks a lot like “That word spoken in the house of the nosepiercing.” Um. Anyone?)

This movie is about two vegans who move into a house that is inhabited by a werewolf. Sasha (the guy) and Billie (the girl) refuse to kill the werewolf because they love all living things.

Let me say this on the record: I am a strict vegetarian, but if there is a werewolf in my attic trying to murder me or my loved ones, IT GETS AXED. Just so we’re clear.

Basically, they start feeding the werewolf meat so it won’t kill them. But purchasing meat makes them lose their street cred as vegans. (Here’s a tip: When you’re trying to conceal the fact that you just bought ground beef and someone asks what’s in your bag, don’t say, “Meat.” Seriously, Sasha. Get in the game.) This leads them down the slippery, sausage-filled slope of having to acquire more and more meat, which they can’t afford. When they discover that a human sacrifice will satisfy the werewolf for longer periods of time, the plot thickens like so much beef stew.

I say “they” as if it’s a team effort, but Billie is pretty useless. She makes Sasha check out the werewolf, feed it, buy and prepare the meat,  pick up roadkill, etc., all while her hands stay clean. This is finally addressed near the end of the movie, but Billie? Pull your own weight! Billie’s selfishness is a big reason why I was rooting for their friend Colin, who’s in love with Sasha. I kept hope alive for a Sasha + Colin love connection throughout the movie.

In addition to Colin’s tortured love for Sasha, I enjoyed: 1. Billie’s crazy red semi-dreadlocked hair. I think I am in the minority in this, but whatever. I liked it. 2. Any scene that included the skeevy landlord. The first time we saw him, Peter said, “Hey, it’s Carl from Aqua Teen!” Later, we found out that the landlord’s name is Carl. There is no way that’s an accident, am I right? 3. The werewolf. It looks almost cute whenever we get a full-body shot; in the scene where it’s asleep, it’s downright adorable. Even its werewolf noises from the attic were kind of endearing.

When Sasha (or was it Billie?) said, “Now let’s go get some OatsCreme,” I drew three hearts in my notes. OatsCreme (vegan soft-serve ice cream) might sound gross, but it is awesome, especially in milkshake form. Years ago, there was this little vegan grocery store around here that made OatsCreme shakes and they were SO GOOD. But then the store changed ownership, completely tanked and went out of business. I haven’t had Oatscream in years and now it looks like it might have disappeared entirely? I can’t bear the thought.

But back to the movie. I don’t want to give away the whole thing, but it’s safe to say the Billie and Sasha attend ARP2 (animals are people, too) meetings; the werewolf falls into a temporary food coma; the neighbor, Landon, muses on whether vegans eat twigs; there’s an attempted amputation and a bloody bathroom scene; and Billie and Sasha take a good look at their situation and make a decision that magically does not involve a thrift store for once.

That’s about as much of a review as I’m capable of producing from my compromised notes, unless you want to hear the cat/alcohol theories we came up with when we paused the movie to get more drinks. (We decided Cirrus’s drink of choice would be Red Bull and vodka, or maybe Four Loko. He’d stay out at the club all night and then drive home drunk and get a DUI. Saucy, meanwhile, would prefer a good wine or cognac, but she’d be a mean drunk.) Anyway, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite comments from Peter and a few significant first sightings.

Gems from Peter:
“Why would you go up against a werewolf with a baseball bat?”
“A lot of beards in this movie.”
“That happened to my Hypercolor shirt, too!”
“Don’t worry. We’ll get to see hummus again soon.”
“Prediction: Landon gets eaten.”
“I’m not sure why killing all those cows is better than killing the werewolf.”

Significant Sightings:
First hummus sighting: 15:29
First tempeh sighting: 39:54
First gratuitous meat scene: 43:11
First puking scene: 43:34
First time Billie does something that’s actually helpful/productive: 1:27:46

Definitely a weird ride, but it was kind of cool to see the words LIVING ARRANGEMENTS on the screen. This made me wonder: What would the movie version of my story collection look like? While there’d be a lot less meat, there would be bagels, bugs, lingerie, figure skates, volcanoes, yoga mats, band directors, fasting guides, cabbage, wigs, veterinarians, watch factories, rainbows, spider plants, and more.

I think it’s probably best if I just stick with books, though.


6 responses to Living Arrangements: The Movie

  • glasseye says:

    What, no sausage in your Living Arrangements? No red dreads? Come on, girl!

  • Actually, sausage IS mentioned in one of my stories — in the first paragraph, too! — just not to the same extent as in the movie. You just gave me an idea — I’m going to make a list of all the elements shared by both my short story collection and the movie. :)

  • Downith says:

    Yes, Laura – do a compare and contrast thing. Oh and BTW,

    That word spoken in the house of the nosepiercing.”

    is OUCH

  • Sharon says:

    Oh how I miss the Oatscreme. And great comment from Peter comparing the cow killing to the werewolf killing. :)

  • Joanne says:

    Interesting how it gets you to thinking about your own work on the screen, always fun to visualize!

  • I miss Oatscreme too!

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