GOOD

Close Encounters: The Top 10 Films About Neighbors


As long as there has been cinema, there have been portrayals of neighbors on the silver screen. From the amicable to the creepy to the celestial to the delightful. There are countless other worthwhile films out there on the subject, but if you've only got time for ten, get your popcorn popping, find a cozy chair, and watch the following. For the intrepid among you, invite a neighbor over and binge on all of them.

[youtube]


1. Rear Window, 1954
Alfred Hitchcock's masterwork is easily the finest film about neighbors ever composed. Homebound after an accident leaves him with a broken leg, photographer L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart), spends his days and nights observing the routines of his neighbors. When the wife of one of his across-the-alley neighbors goes missing, Jefferies fears a murderer may be afoot. Not only is the film about the relationship that grows between a group of strangers who happen to live near one another, it features a fine manifesto on the concept of neighboring. After her dog is murdered, a woman described in the screenplay only as "siffleuse," calls out to the alley: "You don't know the meaning of the word 'neighbor.' Neighbors like each other—speak to each other—care if anybody lives or dies." Or at least they should, though they rarely do in Hitchcock films.
[youtube]\n
2. Drive, 2011
When Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benicio (Kaden Leos), move into the apartment down the hall from the nameless protagonist (Ryan Gosling) in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, neither anticipates the tumultuous trajectory their relationship is on. Part thriller, part love story, the film hinges on the importance of looking out for those that live closest to us. From the moment he helps Irene carry groceries home, everything the driver (Gosling) does is out of neighborly kindness. He even works to protect Standard (Oscar Isaac), Irene's husband and an impediment between him and his would-be lover. Why? There's no other explanation than it's the right thing to do (or it sure seems like it until things take a turn).
[youtube]\n
3. In the Realms of the Unreal, 2004
There are some people whose lives would go unnoticed if not for the kindness and attentiveness of neighbors. Henry Darger is one such fellow. He was a Chicago janitor who kept to himself, and it was only after his death that his neighbors discovered his secret masterwork, a 15,000 plus page manuscript titled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, as well as hundreds of paintings illustrating this literary universe he constructed over the course of his lifetime. Jessica Yu's 2004 documentary is both a reconstruction of his art and a remembrance of an unknown artist by the only people who were known to be close to him: those who lived in his building.
[youtube]\n
4. Rosemary's Baby, 1968
Even the worst neighbor experience you could imagine can't be half as bad as what happens to Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) in Roman Polanski's classic horror film. After moving into the capacious Bramford apartment building with husband Guy (John Cassavettes), new neighbors Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) immediately take an interest in the young couple. Their generosity, it turns out, comes at a steep price. Around every turn Rosemary is told that propriety requires her to accept kindness from neighbors; she really should have looked that gift horse in the mouth, though.
[youtube]\n
5. Trouble the Water, 2008
Perhaps the most sobering film on this list, Carl Deal and Tia Lessin's documentary is comprised of footage shot before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, as experienced by Kimberly Rivers Roberts. Unable to leave the city, Roberts waits out the devastating storm, video camera in tow. She takes in neighbors during the storm, one of whom, Larry Simms, even ventures out into the flood floating on a punching bag, hoping to grab those who have lost their homes as they drift by. The true heroism of neighbors is on display throughout Trouble the Water.
[youtube]\n
6. Boyz N The Hood, 1991
Released the summer before the Los Angeles riots, John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood follows the coming-of-age of Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Desi Arnez Hines II) in South Central. Bright but unbridled at the age of ten, Tre's mother (Angela Bassett) sends him to live with his father, Furious (Laurence Fishburne). He watches as his friends and neighbors change during the neighborhood's most tumultuous era. Some turn to gang violence while others try to move out. In the face of tragedy, Tre comes together with his neighbors, even those that stoke the violence that shatters his youth.
[youtube]\n
7. The Apartment, 1960
Though somewhat outshone by some of his more enduring classics (Some Like it Hot and Sunset Boulevard), Billy Wilder's The Apartment is a towering achievement. In it, lower-rung insurance man C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends out his posh Manhattan bachelor pad to higher-ups in hopes of a promotion, but things get complicated when the apple of his eye, elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), turns up at his place, an apparent paramour of one of his bosses. One of the more memorable characters in the film is Baxter's neighbor, the crotchety but amiable Dr. Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen). Thinking Baxter is a dangerous Casanova (what with all the heavy petting he hears through the walls), Dreyfuss invokes a little Yiddish that hangs over the rest of the film: "Why don't you grow up, Baxter? Be a mensch! You know what that means?… A mensch – a human being!" Wisdom from a neighbor that proves difficult to heed.
[youtube]\n
8. Explorers, 1985
Joe Dante's Explorers, which came out a year after his more widely beloved (and more terrifying) Gremlins, is truly one of the great sci-fi films. It deals in wonder, not peril, when following the inter-stellar adventures of three middle-schoolers. When Ben (Ethan Hawke) dreams up a circuit board, his brainiac best friend Wolfgang (River Phoenix) builds it. Along with new pal Darren (Jason Presson), the boys discover the computerized concoction is capable of sending a vessel safely into space. Once they make it across the galaxy, though, they find out their neighbors in the stars weren't exactly what they were expecting, a sort of humbling reminder that folks, even extra-terrestrials, always have a way of surprising you.
[youtube]\n
9. Edward Scissorhands, 1990
Tim Burton's Pinocchio/Frankenstein tale is about the impact an outsider has on a community obsessed with outward appearances. When Edward (Johnny Depp), an unfinished experiment of a mad inventor (Vincent Price), comes down from atop his mountain home at the end of the cul-de-sac, he is at first welcomed warmly by the banal suburbanites below. Everyone on the block boasts physical proof of their friendship to Edward (a topiary bush, a haircut, a coifed canine, and so on). But when his novelty wears off, the pitchforks come out, sending him back from whence he came, though not before he makes a few lasting relationships. A parable for treating one another with respect (and an indictment of suburban mores), it's a film about neighbors that should be revisited regularly.
[youtube]\n
10. Neighbors, 1981
Coming out just a year after their comedy classic, The Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi (in his final role) trade places, with Belushi trying on the role of straight man. When new neighbors move in next door, Belushi's cranky Earl Keese immediately begins surveilling them from the windows, worried their dog will be a nuisance. That's the least of his problems… Aykroyd's Vic and wife Ramona (Cathy Moriarty) turn out to be neighbors from hell. But what's Earl to do? Even when Vic's antics devolve into a dangerous game, he still has to be a good neighbor, right? This comedy of errors has disastrous results, all because Earl keeps getting duped into thinking that just because Vic lives next door means he has to be nice to him (doesn't he?).

\n
Hang out with your neighbors on the last Saturday of April (a day we're calling "Neighborday"). Click here to say you'll Do It, and here to download GOOD's Neighborday Toolkit and a bunch of other fun stuff.

\n
Articles
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
Business