Coming Next Door This Christmas

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21 Responses to “Coming Next Door This Christmas”

  1. Oh, my! THE FUTURIST! recalls seeing this film at Christmas time … he had read the Thomas Berger novel and was highly anticipating this visual treatment. It, however, was a mess. THE FUTURIST! recalls being in a state of dismay of the horrid direction and terrible putrid awful disturbing musical score. The score was like painting shoe polish on a stale birthday cake. This has never made it to DVD. Why? THE FUTURIST! would take a 2nd look. Christian, you have conjure up a very old Holiday memory.

    • I’m going to track down a copy of that novel and read it next. I’ve never read any of his books, but the films made from them like LITTLE BIG MAN have ben so unique I can only imagine how much richer they must be. Larry Gelbart was very unhappy Akroyd and Belushi rewrote his script, so it’d be an interesting comparison. Would love to see the early cuts that tested so awful.

  2. NEIGHBORS is a fascinating mess fer sure. I saw it upon release and liked its odd tone while feeling unsteady through the film. The score by Bill Conti is a source of major friction of fans and critics as the original soundtrack by Tom Scott was replaced at the last minute with noticeable differences as this clip reveals:

    Ackroyd is great and funny, especially his Italian dinner, and Cathy Moriarty was smokin’. I thought it was a good idea to have Belushi switch roles — again at the last minute — although it reduces Belushi to straight man for Ackroyd. Still, it was John Belushi’s last film and it’s inredible it’s not avaialable on DVD. Can’t imagine why. The film was actually a hit, but hated.

  3. wow, i haven’t seen this since i was but a lass, now i have a hankering (not on dvd tho? that won’t help!)

    quite a bizarre one-sheet with that really rather lengthy preamble taking up so much space amidst all the brown…

    (any time i see the late great john belushi i feel a pang of sadness for a life and talent so needlessly cut short)

  4. It might be available on vhs, but definitely out there on bootleg.

    And the poster’s preamble should be read in a Rod Serling voice as it was in the trailer, which was pretty effective and sold the movie to at least an interested audience:

    And leah, try this, neighbour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7SM6DgticE

    • ha, i see what you mean, bonza! (thanks for posting that, christian, but now i want to hunt it down more than ever, good luck to me on that!)

  5. sorry, somehow i missed your link below the trailer, now i can watch it all on youtube! YAY! double thanks, C!!

    (hey, where’s frankbooth lately anyway? i miss that psycho PABST BLUE RIBBON-loving oxygen-tank-breathing freakazoid)

  6. GOOD MOVIE. Aykroyd is terrific, and Belushi is quite sympathetic as the sadsack straight man. Probably might’ve had a less enthusiastic opinion had I not been 10 and a HUGE fan of those guys when I saw this a million and one times on HBO… It’s kind of hard for me to keep that in perspective when I meet or talk to someone 45 or beyond who might’ve seen this once in a theater at age 25 and written it off. Sort of how NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY was a one-time mild amusement for me on opening weekend, but to some kid who’s 23 now, he’s probably seen it 40 times on DVD and Showtime and considers it a formative classic

    Also, this is the movie where Belushi pushed hard for punk band FEAR to do the soundtrack and got shot down, no?

    As an aside, Bill Conti’s scores from that era are more dated than the Old West. Excepting of course the ROCKY scores, Conti HAS to be one of the worst composers ever held in such high esteem.

    • Yes, Belushi actually got the few good notices for the film playing against type. Tho not as against type as his character in CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. But it works better here. I just wish the film was more consistent. Conti’s score is Looney Tunes subtle, but that was clearly the edict to pump up the dark humor with musical wackiness. Joe Dante could have made that score worked. Fear recorded four songs for the film but nobody wanted them in there. So Belushi got Fear on SNL where they caused a riot. Who knew Belushi was so punk rock?

      • Speaking of CONTINENTAL DIVIDE!

        Had a chance to revisit that not TOO long ago; What a strange, lopsided movie. The long, likable first half, with Belushi going up into the mountains and slowly winning over Blair Brown is a charming, old-school romantic comedy; But like SO many early ’80s comedies, they keep going far too long and throw in too much boring plot. Instead of sticking with their romance, they kinda break up, then Belushi’s dealing with some underdeveloped CRIME PLOT back in Chicago, half of which gets explained via headlines and montage. Shades of how other movies of that era like STIR CRAZY and STRIPES would get bogged down with some laughless “competition” or “action” half when they ran out of shtick.

        Still, I can see why Belushi would’ve been proud of it… He gets to play a genteel romantic lead instead of his “slob” persona, and is pretty winning in that capacity. Plus it’s a pretty great “Chicago” movie even in its dull patches.

        I’d be curious to see “Old Boyfriends,” the OTHER completely atypical Belushi role that seems to be entirely MIA from video.

  7. …and speaking of unsung, mostly forgotten comedies from 1982!

    Just watched A LITTLE SEX on Encore, starring Tim Matheson and a philandering cad struggling to stay faithful to new wife… KATE CAPSHAW.

    Totally enjoyed it, as it had that SO-depressing 1982 quality where the music and fashions and sexual mores just hadn’t QUITE moved entirely away from disco hedonism into mid-80s conservatism and cheese; And great to see such such a nothing romcom SHOT ON THE ACTUAL BUSTLING STREETS OF NEW YORK, like SO many great early ’80s movies. Plus it had that grey, drab early 80s Universal comedy look we all know and love from DC Cab, Dr. Detroit, and Lonely Guy.

  8. Wow, haven’t thought about this film in AGES. It does pop up on cable every so often. Man, I really need to see this film again. I cannot believe that as of next year, first BLUES BROS. film is gonna be 30 years old! Aigh, I feel like an old fogie now.

    • I think it holds up well for what it is, a black comedy that isn’t so much laugh out loud as titter under your breath. I’m going to go to the WGA and read Gelbart’s draft to compare what it was as Gelbart wished he had taken his name off the script. Ouch. I never thought it was bad at the time when I saw it, just dark and different.

  9. Sad/funny video worth watching: Aykroyd and (a clearly annoyed) Belushi promoting NEIGHBORS with Gene Shalit:

  10. Has anyone ever noticed how a number of posters for Columbia films from around this time (CHRISTINE comes to mind) is absolutely filled to the brim with text? Just an observation.

    Funny, I was actually thinking of writing a piece on NEIGHBORS, probably because I remembered the anniversary was coming up. I’ve always been mixed on it but it’s weird in an interesting sort of way, probably also due to memories of watching it on cable many times back in the day–it was an HBOnly, I believe. I also read the novel many years ago and my vague recollection is that more dialogue in the movie comes from it than you would think. But it’s been a long time.

    • The poster for Universal’s REPO MAN features a shitload of verbiage trying to somehow sell the bizarro story of a “Otto, a clean-cut kid”…

      Watching NEIGHBORS again, it holds up probably better now than its release. I think we’re more appreciative of its general strangeness, and at least a peek into the kind of work Belushi might have done had he lived. Akroyd just seems inspired here, and it’s probably my favorite performance by him. And it’s probably Belushi’s most sympathetic role. And Tim Kazurinsky steals his scenes. I just with the narrative was stronger. But a proper DVD release is a must. How can DOCTOR DETROIT be available but not this?

  11. Thanks for the thoughts, leah. It’s genuinely nice to know that someone gives a shit.

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