5 funniest home mishaps from the movies

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | July 27, 2015

Have you ever watched a movie, saw a scene that made you cringe, and thought, "Thank goodness that's not me"? When it comes to home renovations or projects - and the accidents that can befall any homeowner during upgrades - sometimes it can seem like your house is one straight out of the movies. N

Here are some top picks for renovations, accidents, mishaps, and flat-out weirdness from a few favorite movies. Which of these accidents-waiting-to-happen have you been guilty of during your home renovation planning?

The Christmas light incident: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Who doesn't love the adorably quirky and sometimes flat-out stupid Clark Griswold? When he chooses to have the most festive house on the block for Christmas, he turns to overloaded circuits, dozens of extension cords, and thousands of lights. Never a good idea! But the one who really takes the brunt of the Christmas brightness is the family cat, who chooses to nibble on the Christmas tree lights at the wrong moment.

  • The moral of the story: Don't overload the outlets, and keep Fluffy and Fido away from any loose wires. They might pout because you took their "toy" away, but at least they will be around to see another holiday.

Renovations gone wild: Under the Tuscan Sun

Who doesn't want to travel to Italy and renovate a beautiful old farmhouse? That's what Diane Lane did in this adaptation of the hit Frances Mayes book. But as we all know, renovations never quite go as planned. Case in point: the boiling water in the toilet, thanks to pipes getting crossed. And don't forget the mysterious faucet right in the middle of the wall with no apparent use - it takes on a meaning all its own.

  • Moral of the story: Be ready to laugh at renovation mistakes, because what else can you do? And never forget that sometimes, renovations of a home can mirror the renovations of your own life.

Everything about the house: Fight Club

The Narrator sums it up: "Turning on one light meant another light in the house had went out." This astoundingly dilapidated home has the strange charm of letting the rain in through a leaky roof, and some of the roof is even completely gone, leading to natural skylights. That's not to mention the basement that turns into a swimming pool when big storms come along. The house is in such bad shape, you have to actually see it to believe it.

  • The moral of the story: Patch up that roof the moment you notice a leak, and never ignore any electrical issues.

The chandelier scene: The War of the Roses

This epic revenge movie focuses on the Roses, a couple who are no longer in love with each other but still very much in love with their house. The war escalates to a point of destruction: from thrown plates to splintered furniture, this couple relish the fight. But when one of them loosens the heavy chandelier, things get serious. We won't spoil the outcome, but rest assured, it's a smashing good time.

  • The moral of the story: Always ensure that everything in your home is secure, including bookcases anchored to the walls, the television firmly seated in the proper alcove, and of course, the chandelier hanging from something more substantial than electrical wires.

When the stairs fall down: The Money Pit

This iconic scene comes from the top must-see movie for anyone who dares to consider embarking on their own renovations. Shortly after Walter and Anna moved into an impressive house, what seemed like a "too good to be true" deal turned out to be just that. From a collapsed chimney to falling doors to a racoon taking up residence in the dumbwaiter, things go from bad to worse. But the ultimate scene is the collapsing staircase, with the hapless Walter stuck on it as the whole thing goes down.

  • The moral of the story: If the house seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you think renovations will be easy, you're probably wrong. And finally, it pays to hire a good contractor - just ask Walter and Anna.

Through movie magic, we get to see the funny side of renovation disasters and accidents, but keep in mind that in real life, they aren't nearly as hilarious. Remember to take your time, call in the pros when necessary, and when things get too far out of hand, keep your sense of humor at the ready.

Photo credit to Kevin Irby

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.