Saturday, July 8, 2006

The Break-up: Implications for Teaching Rights of Co-Tenants

Breakup In the spirit of Michael's post on property in Superman (very nice post, btw).... I just went to see the new Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn movie, The Break-up.  It's about . . . an unmarried couple's break-up.  Always trying to turn time spent on non-productive stuff, like watching movies, into something useful--so I started thinking about its implications for property class.  Aniston and Vaughn are co-owners of a condominium in Chicago.  A significant part of the movie revolves around Aniston and Vaughn annoying each other as they're still living together.  They divide the condo into rooms that are common and separate and then do a bunch of things to constructively evict the other.  (Aniston has her brother's acapella singing group practice in her bedroom; Vaughn brings in a pool table--and then does a lot more outrageous things later.) 

Property profs may want to draw on it when talking about rights among co-tenants.  So next time you teach Schwartzbaugh v. Sampson (a case I find difficult to teach well), roll out a few examples from The Break-up (you can get the short-version at the movie's website.)

I'll avoid commentary on Jennifer Aniston's clothes (you can find some of that from our friends over at concurring opinions).  I do, however, have some thoughts on the movie.  In talking with the people whom I went with, I commented that I didn't enjoy the ending--it ends with Aniston and Vaughn going different ways, it appears.  So one of my friends said, "Al, you write about slavery and race riots.  How can it bother you that a movie doesn't have a cliched, happy ending?"

Endnote: Nice product placement, don't you think?  A little pushy, but I got the idea from the movie, which sprinkled a bunch of Budweiser advertisements on us.

Alfred L. Brophy
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