I often wonder how it happens that one of the funniest movies from the early 1980s has yet to be released in the popular DVD format. When I think about the countless DVDs published of crap such as Arthur, Chariots of Fire and On Golden Pond, well, it makes me sick.
The film is based on Thomas Berger’s novel of the same title. I read somewhere that Neighbors should be thought of as part of a trilogy of Berger's novels about modern America's bad manners. The other titles include Being Invisible and The Houseguest. Incidentally, Thomas Berger also wrote Little Big Man, which is simply fantastic.
I actually walked out of the theater the first time I saw this movie because I didn’t understand it, and because I thought that drinking Mountain Dew and playing video games was a better use of my time. Some might think it strange that after all these years I would rank Neighbors high in my top ten list, but there it is. I also have an audio recording of the movie that I enjoy listening to during long road trips.
John Belushi stars as Earl Keese, a straight-laced family man living on the far edge of suburban America with his wife Enid and teenage daughter. Keese is essentially the complete opposite of Belushi, who died of a drug overdose not long after the film was released. Dan Aykroyd co-stars as the unpredictable Vic, who moves into the house next door with Ramona (who turns out to be even more unpredictable). The entire 94-minute movie is a virtual rollercoaster of odd happenings, funny dialogue, uncomfortable situations and unimaginable assaults on one’s personal space that takes place within the span of less than 24 hours.
Belushi delivers one of my favorite lines in the movie in response to Vic’s catch-phrase question, “Whaddya say neighbor?” His deadpan reply, “Welcome to the end of the road… I guess,” kills me every time.
I’ve been searching for this classic film on DVD since we tossed our VHS machine into the trash more than two years ago. I’ve heard rumors that the movie is available in the UK in the PAL format that won’t work here in the states. Every now and again, I’ll run across a listing for an American version DVD on eBay, but I’m suspicious enough to tell myself that those posts are likely the work of con artists. My cynical fire is fueled by the fact that bidding for this movie occasionally exceeds $50 (US).
Amazon.com indicates that the movie is not currently in press or otherwise available. Interestingly, they have a deal on their website that allows you to enter your email address to be informed of a pending release date for any particular movie. Supposedly, they gather together addresses of potential customers, and deliver them to the various companies who produce the movies so they’ll know how much interest a particular film has- or is likely to generate once it is released.
Tossing my skepticism of voting aside, I immediately signed up. Now I’m urging each and every reader to please do the same. Heck, I don’t even care if you don’t intend to purchase the movie. I don’t even care if you submit your “real” email address. All I ask is that you appear to be interested long enough to convince the powers that be to release this movie in DVD- ideally before the next time Santa is loading up his sleigh. And please, make sure you tell your friends, and your NEIGHBORS!