‘Neighbors’ – We’ve Seen This Movie Before, Right?
Neighbors not getting along with each other is a comedic concept we’ve seen many times before. The latest variation on this theme -- called, um, 'Neighbors' -- stars Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and opens today. But what if you don't want to deal with long lines and crowded theaters this weekend, or simply just want to watch something a little darker and weirder? Or how about another movie starring Rogen? Here are a few other choices.
Title sound familiar? Well, that’s because back in 1981, ‘Neighbors’ was a comedy starring the 'SNL' team of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, except it wasn’t anything near what audiences were expecting. A smaller, darker film where Belushi and Aykroyd play the opposite roles you’d expect, ‘Neighbors’ is a curiosity piece today because, like Jerry Lewis in ‘The King of Comedy,’ the idea was ahead of its time. While the film didn’t quite come together, and Belushi and Aykroyd could have used more seasoning before tackling something like this, it's definitely worth checking out.
Ever get the feeling the people who moved in next door to you aren’t quite right? Tom Hanks is a great choice to play an everyday suburbanite who's suspicious about the people next door, and when the head of the household is Bruce Dern, who can blame him? ‘The 'Burbs’ was directed by Joe Dante (‘Gremlins’), and it’s a cult favorite. Dante is a big fan of William Castle, the B-movie maven who gave us such classics as ‘The TIngler’ and ‘The House on Haunted Hill.’ And back in the '60s, ‘The 'Burbs’ could have been the kind of macabre comedy Castle would have directed himself.
OK, this may not be a battling-neighbors comedy -- it's more of a stoner bromance -- but it does have the twist of including action-movie violence and darker elements, which actually blend together fairly well with all the pot humor. James Franco plays one of the best potheads in cinema history, and like ‘Superbad,’ it takes a little while for ‘Pineapple Express’ to get going. But once it does, it’s pretty hilarious stuff.