One Of John Belushi’s Greatest Movies Needs Saving

By Brian Myers | Published

The tragic death of John Belushi in 1982 cut short a promising future of comedic roles that his fans were never able to see come to fruition. The Animal House and 1941 star rose from the ranks of Saturday Night Live and quickly became one of the industry’s greatest comedic actors before dying of a drug overdose at the age of 33. His final film, the 1981 comedy Neighbors, is a hidden gem that has become increasingly more difficult for fans to rediscover.

Suburban Hell

John Belushi’s Neighbors follows a mild-mannered man named Earl Keese, who lives in a peaceful suburban neighborhood with his wife Enid (Kathryn Walker) and daughter Elaine (Lauren-Marie Taylor). Keese’s quiet life is abruptly halted when a younger couple, Vic and Ramona Zeck, move into the house next door. Keese’s welcoming attitude quickly devolves into an indescribable level of frustration, and Vic and Ramona are loud, obnoxious, and unbelievably imposing.

Battle For The Neighborhood

A war between Keese and Vic erupts when a frustrated Keese steals Vic’s truck, meaning to hide it as a joke. But the bumbling Keese accidentally loses the vehicle in a nearby pond. The tension heats up when Vic retaliates and locks Keese inside his own basement, setting off a string of hilarious revenge plots that all go horribly wrong.

As the John Belushi film progresses, the situation between the warring neighbors comes to a fever pitch when one of the houses accidentally burns to the ground. The film takes an unexpected turn when Keese discovers that Vic and Ramona aren’t who they’ve portrayed themselves to be, forever altering Keese’s worldview.

Playing Against Type

Fans of John Belushi were surprised to see him cast in the role of Keese. Belushi, more known for playing chaotic characters, wound up playing the straight man for the first time, while his fellow Blues Brother, Dan Aykroyd, portrayed the ornery Vic. Neighbors wasn’t meant to have been cast in this way, but the two actors changed parts before filming began and forever changed the perception of the production.

The Amazing Pairing Of Aykroyd And Belushi

John Belushi plays the bland Keese quite well, however, and seeing Aykroyd play the wild man to his opposite was equally enjoyable. Neighbors follows a zany script with outrageous characters but has a storyline that ties together nicely in what viewers will be led to believe is a heartfelt ending. No spoilers here, but there’s a crazy twist before the film concludes that you won’t see coming that works to make Neighbors an even better overall movie.

Streaming On AppleTV


Though The Neighbors movie soundtrack release lacks them, several great songs played amid the chaos between Keese and Vic were unexpected surprises. Punk icons Dead Kennedys’ track “Holiday in Cambodia” and 60s legends The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” help to shade in the chaotic outlines of the film’s two featured combatants.

John Belushi’s final film cannot be streamed on any platform. But you’re able to watch the offbeat comedy Neighbors with a subscription to AppleTV.