If you can't trust your friends, well, what then? What then?
Recent developments in my household situation have sparked a renewed interest in a classic British thriller. One of our roommates is moving out after August, so the remaining three are getting ready to have a little 'open house' to interview some applicants. We share a house with a big yard in Georgetown, and the rent is very cheap, so this makes the room available very desirable.

This means we can be pretty discriminating when it comes to who gets the room (we've had over three dozen inquiries in about three days of posting). While contemplating some silly questions to ask (e.g., "Please name at least three applications of A1 sauce."), I was reminded of a great little flick called Shallow Grave. The film was the first film from Danny Boyle and John Hodge (who went on to do the landmark Trainspotting), and the movie that put Ewan McGregor on the map. The relevance is in the first quarter of the movie, three flatmates ruthlessly interview potential candidates for a room in a posh apartment. The questions are as funny as they are meant to make you cringe for the applicants:

  • OK, I'm going to play you just a few seconds of this tape -- I'd like you to name the song, the lead singer and the three hit singles subsequently recorded by him with another band.
  • With which of the following figures do you most closely identify: Joan of Arc, Eva Braun or Marilyn Monroe?
  • Turning very briefly to the subject of corporate finance -- no, this is important. Leveraged buy-outs -- a good thing or a bad thing?
  • And what if I told you that I was the antichrist?

However, the most scathingly funny diatribe comes from, naturally, Alex (McGregor) when he decides to skip the pretense and verbally dress down a hapless applicant:

    So tell me, Cameron, what on earth -- just tell me, because I want to know -- what on earth could make you think that we would want to share a flat like this with someone like you? I mean, my first impression, and they're rarely wrong, is that you have none of the qualities that we would normally seek in a prospective flatmate. I'm talking here about things like presence, charisma, style and charm, and I don't think we're being unreasonable.

I'm looking forward to this week's interviews. Oh yes.

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