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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Neighbors [Blu-ray]

 

(John G. Avildsen, 1981)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:08

Disc Size: Single-layered

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 1st, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• none

Description: No one knows what evil lurks with the folks next door in this black comedy. Earl Keese (John Belushi) is a middle-aged suburbanite whose life is dull and uneventful, and that's just the way he likes it, though his wife, Enid (Kathryn Walker), isn't quite so happy. Earl soon learns that a new couple has just moved into the house next door, loudly leisure-suited Vic (Dan Aykroyd) and sexy Ramona (Cathy Moriarty). Earl is at once thrilled and terrified when Ramona unexpectedly attempts to seduce him, and he is quite puzzled when Vic and Ramona stop by for dinner the following evening and Ramona angrily accuses Earl of trying to take advantage of her. After an argument, Vic offers to make peace by buying dinner from a take-out restaurant. When Earl spies Vic cooking the meal in his kitchen a few minutes later, he realizes that his new neighbors are playing some sort of game with him, though he's not sure what or why. Neighbors marked the third and final screen pairing of Saturday Night Live stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd; Belushi died of a drug overdose three months after the film's release.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

 

 

The Film:

Earl Keese (John Belushi, Animal House) is a slightly overweight, fairly average guy who is approaching middle age. He leads a reasonably comfortable life with his family in their suburban home. . . until the house next door is bought by a truly odd couple, Vic (Dan Aykroyd, Ghostbusters) and Ramona (Cathy Moriarty, Raging Bull), who quickly proceed to drive Earl crazy. Vic's lunatic behavior has Earl running in circles while Ramona's coarse seductiveness leaves him panting. In short, Earl's tranquil life is suddenly turned upside down. If it's laughs you want, these are the neighbors to look in on. John G. Avildsen (The Karate Kid, 1984, For Keeps?) directs a dream comedy cast (including SNL regular Tim Kazurinsky) from a screenplay by the one and only Larry Gelbart (Tootsie, The Wrong Box).

 

Thomas Berger's darkly funny novel ''Neighbors'' certainly wasn't tailor-made for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, but casting them in the film version was a good idea. Mr. Belushi makes a stolid and suspicious Earl Keese, a man whose life becomes a shambles when the wrong people move next door. And Mr. Aykroyd is a suitably menacing choice for Vic (called Harry in the novel), the brassy new neighbor who, for no reason that is ever explained, does everything in his power to drive Earl wild.

Vic's first move is to extort $32 and the car keys from Earl, saying he is on his way to buy an Italian dinner for four - and Earl is worried even before he discovers that Vic has merely driven next door, opened a can of spaghetti sauce and heated it up while listening to the Doors. Meanwhile, Ramona (Cathy Moriarty), the vamp who may or may not be Vic's wife, is threatening to break up Earl's marriage to the amusingly sardonic Enid (Kathryn Walker), who probably wouldn't miss him anyhow. And Enid is laughing much too warmly at Vic's pleasantries, as when he eyes her lewdly and remarks: ''Finders keepers, Earl. After all, I know what goes on here in the suburbs - that's why we moved here.'' This is even before Vic has set eyes on the Keeses' very nubile and changeable young daughter, Elaine.

Excerpt from theNYTimes located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Sony's Blu-ray is advertised as "...manufactured on demand using BD-R recordable media." It is. The disc has a purple backing and for me, was only good to play, three times.  I know I am quite alone, but Neighbors is one of those 'Holy Grail' comedies that I've always wanted to re-watch after seeing a very wayward, indecipherable effort 35-years ago. I loved Belushi's straightest performance as Earle, Aykroyd's compulsive liar Vic,  Moriarty's oversexed, flirtatious, character Ramona, the humming hydro-lines, the strange car... actually the entire eccentric stream of the film fascinated me when I was young. This single-layered Blu-ray has a decent 1080P image - sharper than SD, some depth etc. - but the product itself is a dud. In fact I couldn't even run my software to get a bitrate on the disc's technical numbers as it was already kaput.  This Blu-ray image is not the failing of this purchase - the weak media is.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track sounding clean if unremarkable. There are some effects in the film - notably the hum of the hydro-wires and the variation on the Twilight Zone theme. You will also hear brief music of The Doors ' Hello, I Love You and the The Bee Gees Stayin' Alive. The score is by Bill Conti (The Right Stuff, Rocky, Harry and Tonto, For Your Eyes Only) and is reasonably supported. There are optional English subtitles on the region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Nothing - not even a menu.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
We've already voiced our displeasure at Sony's Blu-ray of The Bitter Tea of General Yen - for similar reasons - non-resilient BD-R media, no extras, exorbitant price. This film is not looked at as favorably as b y this reviewer, but even if I loved it more how could we recommend at this price? Steer clear. Sony has distinguished themselves as the worst of all Blu-ray production companies. 

Gary Tooze

September 30th, 2017

 




 

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