Neighbors is a 1981 dark comedy directed by John G. Avildsen (Rocky/V, The Karate Kid franchise, Lean on Me, & For Keeps?). It’s based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Berger. It was written by Larry Gelbart (Movie Movie, Rough Cut, Tootsie, & M*A*S*H). It was produced by Richard D. Zanuck (Jaws 1/2, Sssssss, Cocoon 1/2, Rush, Road to Perdition, & Planet of the Apes). John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd switched their roles in pre-production. The movie had a troubled history & fights were always going on during filming. The budget was $8.5 million & it grossed $29,916,207 at the box office.
Earl Keese (played by: John Belushi from Animal House, The Blues Brothers,1941, & Saturday Night Live) is a low-key, ineffectual, middle-class suburbanite with a wife Enid (played by: Kathryn Walker from Blade, Slap Shot, Lights Out, & Rich Kids) & a teenage daughter Elaine (played by: Lauren-Marie Taylor from Friday the 13th Part 2 & Girls Nite Out). Earl’s peaceful life changes when a younger couple Vic (played by: Dan Aykroyd from the Ghostbusters franchise, The Blues Brothers franchise, Trading Places, & Coneheads) & Ramona (played by: Cathy Moriarty from Raging Bull, Cop Land, Analyze That, & White of the Eye) move in next door. Upon arrival, the new neighbors immediately impose themselves on the Keese household leaving Earl furious. Earl is frustrated by his inability to handle them & he can never come up with any proof that the couple are doing anything wrong on purpose. Enid & Elaine are no help when it comes to this awful situation. During one night, Earl & his new neighbors petty beef turns into suburban warfare. Earl starts to lose his his sanity & he realizes that this newfound chaos is the most excitement he’s had in years. His family & suburban life are boring to him. What will he do next to change his existence????
Neighbors took two huge comedians at the time who were both known for a certain style & flipped their roles. It was originally wrote the other way around but Aykroyd & Belushi decided to change things up with this project. The script is ambitious & wild but it works. Lots of laugh out loud moments here. This is a real dark comedy that pushes it’s limits for when it was made. It shows a normal man with a easy & cliche life getting a harsh reality check when he meets two people that are nothing like he’s seen before. John Belushi plays it straight for the most part until he loses his shit towards the end which was very different for the actor. Dan Aykroyd was total nutjob in Neighbors, always looking for trouble & ready to embrace his lunacy. Kathryn Walker & Lauren-Marie Taylor were bland individuals that didn’t really care. They both played it straight & calm to all the over the top actions going around their house. Cathy Moriarty is sexy, manipulative, & determined to seduce Earl from his lame world. She chops the scenery here & she has all kinds of fun with this role. Aykroyd & Moriarty had amazing chemistry, they were the couple from hell. I don’t really have to say it because it’s a known fact but as always Belushi & Aykroyd were perfect together in Neighbors. Those two are comedy gold together. This one isn’t as accepted or respected like their other collaborations but I personally think it’s highly under-rated. Neighbors is very fun & entertaining, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is from an older master. It’s an upgrade from the previous DVD & VHS releases but don’t expect reference quality or anything like that here. It was previously released by Sony Pictures in 2016 with their “Choice Collection” that’s made on demand. GOOD NEWS, this release is actually pro pressed. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is okay. It’s nothing to flex your home system on. The dialogue is very clean, all the madness is elevated, & the music sounds good here. There’s no extras on the disc. Thanks to the great folks at Mill Creek Entertainment is easier to get now on blu ray plus it’s way cheaper than the older release. It has an retro VHS slipcover plus different artwork underneath it. It’s the quality you would expect from an older catalog title but for the killer price it’s definitely worth adding to the collection. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!