The Apartment: Why Making Your Domicile a Brothel Is Not a Good Idea

The next film is the famous cautionary tale of not letting your boss use your apartment to shag loads of women, especially not if one of the women you happen to be in love with.  Although now that I've written all that out, it seems a lot less like a cautionary take and more like common sense.  Regardless, this is The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon, and it clocks in at #58 on our list.

Bud has a problem.  He's a nerdy middle management type with a passion for statistics who has been cursed with a very conveniently located apartment.  So much so that a number of the executives at his insurance company have taken to borrowing his apartment for their various and sundry indiscretions.  This is largely an inconvenience for him, but he puts up with it because he believes his bosses when they tell him they're going to give him a promotion.

So he deals with getting locked out of his apartment, having to sleep in Central Park in the dead of winter, and having everyone in his apartment think that he's a degenerate male prostitute with a drinking problem and probably several sexual transmitted diseases.  Until he finds out that the elevator girl at work, whom he secretly fancies, is going to be accompanying his boss Mr Sheldrake to his apartment.  Then things just get awkward.

Because contrary to popular belief, men who cheat on their wives are frankly just not that trustworthy.  Fran (the elevator girl) is so depressed after learning that Sheldrake has pulled the whole "I love you, I want to be with you, I'm going to divorce my wife" number on several other girls before her, that she takes an inadvisable amount of sleeping pills and passes out.

Bud comes home that night to find Fran passed out on his bed, and quickly enlists the aid of his neighbor, Dr Dreyfus.  They pump her stomach.

And she sleeps it off.  She does, however, have to stay at Bud's apartment for the next couple of days until it's out of her system.  Sheldrake is predictably not very interested in helping take care of her, so Bud plays nursemaid, and the two get quite cozy and domestic.  Until Fran's brother-in-law shows up, punches Bud, and makes her come home.

Meanwhile, Sheldrake's wife has been made aware of his secret liaisons, and she divorces his ass faster than Kim Kardashian. (Sorry.)  To the surprise of absolutely no one, now that Sheldrake is getting divorced, he wants to be with Fran again.  But Bud puts his foot down.  He loves her, dammit, and he's not going to let Sheldrake use his apartment to nail her.  So Fran is out with Sheldrake at some bar, and she finds all this out.  Apparently that's enough to make her realize her feelings for him, so she ditches Sheldrake and heads over to Bud's place, where they play gin rummy and presumably live happily ever after.

Random Musings:

  • So Jack Lemmon lives in the West 60s, just a few blocks from Central Park, and his rent is $85 a month.  What?!?

Can I please go back in time to 1960 so I can live in the West 60s for $85 a month?!  Where's a TARDIS or a Delorean when you need one?

  • Eww, so he allows his boss and tons of random women to have sex in his bed?  He must be washing his sheets, like, daily.

  • I've been giving it some thought, and I think that Shirley Maclaine is to 1960 as Zooey Deschanel is to 2010.  The quirky, sweet girl who ends up with the cute, but neurotic guy.  Amirite?

  • These executive businessmen are douchefaces.  They cheat on their wives on a regular basis, take advantage of a poor sweet guy like Bud, drink all the liquor and eat all the cheese!

  • Um, Bud?  It's generally not a turn on when a guy you barely know tells you that he knows where you live, who you live with, and your social security number.  Just saying.

  • Oh, poor Jack Lemmon - stood up at the lobby of The Music Man.  He's such a little Woobie.

  • "The mirror's broken." "Yes, I like it that way.  It makes me look the way I feel."  Wow, let's shed some emo tears for the girl who's sleeping with a married man and then is all shocked and offended that he's not an honest, stand-up kind of guy.

  • OMG...Sheldrake just pulls out his wallet and gives her a hundred dollar bill as a Christmas present?

You never give a girl you're seeing cash money as a present, it's like the least romantic thing on the planet, it makes you look thoughtless, and it makes us feel cheap.

  • I love that everyone thinks that Jack Lemmon is some kind of Casanova who's with a different dame every night and goes through several liquor bottles in one go.  I mean, come's Jack Lemmon.

  • I am a little surprised (not unpleasantly so) at the pretty frank discussion of suicide in this film.  That's not something I necessarily would have expected from 1960.

  • Bud is such a sweet little caretaker.  I want to pick him up and give him a hug.

So yeah, that's The Apartment.  It's a fun movie with some well-played comedy as well as fairly compelling drama.  It succeeds in a large part because of Jack Lemmon doing what Jack Lemmon does best, which is to be that nice, ordinary, quirky guy who might get stepped on a bit along the way but ultimately comes through in the end.  He's in top form here, and is totally deserving of his Oscar nom for this film.  A lot of the film's comedy comes from the random hijinks involving his various bosses using him, but the film's heart is Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine's scenes in that apartment.  Bonus points go to his Jewish stereotypes neighbors, who are in a lot of ways comic relief, but will also go the extra mile to help out Bud, despite disapproving of his man sluttiness every step of the way.

Thanks for reading, and come back next time for AI: Artificial Intelligence!

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