"The Roommate"

    Based on a story by JOHN UPDIKE
    Written & Produced by: NEAL MILLER
    Directed by NELL COX and NEAL MILLER (uncredited)

Orson Ziegler, church-going model student, valedictorian, captain of the basketball and baseball teams, president of his graduating class, arrives at Northwestern University in 1952 with his life completely planned. He will become a doctor like his father, marry his high school sweetheart, and settle down as a pillar of his small South Dakota town. The last thing Orson expects is a roommate like Henry "Hub" Palamountain, a vegetarian Christian Platonist who operates a squeaky spinning wheel, recites a strange mantra at all hours, rarely studies, and refuses to fulfill his science requirement because the information will be obsolete by the time he graduates anyway.

As the semester wears on, Hub's unconventional antics and extreme actions erode Orson's calm and orderly view of the world. The conflicts between this polar-opposite freshman “Odd Couple” become humorously explosive as they try to finish the semester without killing each other.

Reviews & Awards

  • Munich Film Festival - 6/84
  • American Independent Feature Film Market - NYC - 10/84
  • Chicago Int'l Film Festival - 11/84
  • Sundance Film Festival - 1/85
  • Gran Prix Award - Los Angeles Int'l Film Festival - 3/85
  • Special Jury Award - San Francisco Int'l Film Fest. - 4/85
  • Special Jury Award - USA Film Festival (Dallas) 4/85
  • -- "A touching, bittersweet tale of a campus odd couple. Beautifully written and moving saga of self-discovery and self-preservation. A literate, poignant, bitingly funny and timeless examination of campus life."
    - Chicago Sun Times

    -- "Charming and a raffish but low-key humor ... high grades are due Neal Miller, who has written a human and often subtle narrative ... astutely captures the boosterish idealism of 1950s college students."
    - The Hollywood Reporter

    -- "There are several pluses in "Roommates", but the pictures winning qualities are the performances and the authentic period aura. A sure fest choice."
    - Daily Variety

    -- "A gem!"
    - Sheila Benson, L.A. Times

    -- "Roommate, Masterpiece"
    - Lee Margulies, L.A. Times

    -- "Hilarious ... the experience of college has never been more subtly or succinctly described."
    - F.X. Feeney, L.A. Weekly

    Additional information at Internet Movie Database