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We’ve all been there. The apartment is great. The landlord is great. There’s a gym inside the building. The neighborhood is walkable. Everything is perfect, except for the people who live next door. You hope. You pray they’ll see fit to move out, but after months and months of silently begging, you have to pick a lane. Either you can suck it up and deal with it or raise the white flag and move.
It’s a predicament Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are facing this weekend in the hysterical new film neighbors, and it’s one more than a few other movie characters have faced in the past. So, in celebration of the new film, let’s take a look back at some movie characters we would never, even want to live next door to.
It probably goes without saying, but the following article contains spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the particular movie being talked about, just skip to the next page because we will be talking about it in-depth.
Mitch Murphy From Home AloneFor a significant portion of Home Alone’s runtime, Kevin is worried about his neighbor. He’s convinced Old Man Marley is gonna come by and clock him in the face with a shovel. Blame Buzz’s outlandish story about murder. Blame actor Richard Blossom’s intense beard. Blame whoever you want, but the truth is Old Man Marley is not even the real annoying neighbor on the block. In fact, he wields that shovel for good like William H Macy. No, the real annoying neighbor in this equation is actually that little shit Mitch Murphy.
It’s not that I’m opposed to curious little kids. Curiosity can be a sign of early intelligence. When I have children, I want them to ask me about anything that pops into their heads, but Mitch doesn’t even bother waiting for the answers to his obnoxious questions. He just word vomits them all out in a row like he’s in the middle of a Virginia Woolf novel. Do these vans get good gas mileage? Does it have automatic transmission? Does it have four wheel drive? I don’t know, Mitch. And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t tell you and your thick Chicago accent.
The Bumpuses From A Christmas StoryIt would be one thing if the Bumpuses were content to keep to themselves, trashing up their own yard and acting like confused hillbillies. Then, they could be written off as mere annoyances or in a positive light, the neighborhood eccentrics. Unfortunately, their army of flea-infested dogs is simply too disruptive to be ignored. Like an invasive species, they set their gazes on a habitat and quickly cause as much damage as possible.
There’s no defense, really, at least not until The Old Man gets around to fixing the hole in the fence. Until then, there’s easy access into the Parker yard and apparently on Christmas morning, easy access into the Parker home. That’s right. These little bastards, on account of their lazy and indifferent owners, have no problem sneaking into another house and eating up the holiday turkey like the vicious, uncouth animals they are. At that point, all that’s left to do is stick your head out the window and shout "Sons of bitches!" Damn those, Bumpuses. Damn them straight back to the boonies.
Beverly Sutphin From Serial MomMost of the people on this list are supporting characters in movies. There’s just something about spending an extended period of time with the leads that allows us to justify their actions, or at least look on them less harshly, but in the case of Beverly Sutphin, the extra exposure only makes her look worse. It’s not that she’s taken lives, or even that she’s straight-up hateful. Good neighbors can be either of those things, under the right circumstances. The problem is she’s hateful and murderous in the most trivial and biased ways, and we can’t all be walking on eggshells the rest of our lives. Like if she exclusively hated people who don’t recycle, we could make sure to recycle, but this impulsive wrath is a big no-no.
Besides, it’s not exactly like her kids are giant winners or her husband is the life of the party. She’s the only one with a personality worth remembering, and it just so happens to be because she’s murderous. So, there’s just no point in trying to wait her out. The downside is too great. There are no pros whatsoever, beyond the outside chance she happens to take care of a different neighbor you don’t like either.
L.B. Jefferies From Rear WindowBut wait! Surely Thorwald must be the bad neighbor, right? He murdered his wife. He assaulted Grace Kelly. He snapped a dog’s neck. Yes, he did all of those things, but in a weird way, they all stem from that initial crime. He murdered his wife, which doesn’t make him a bad neighbor so much as a bad husband. Then, he offed the dog to protect his little ruse and then he assaulted Lisa after she broke into his apartment. Those are all extensions of the same original murder.
Meanwhile, Jeff Jefferies has been spying on every single person possible with his damn binoculars like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t mind him---just the neighborhood creep passing the time by peeping into windows and giving everyone he sees boring 1950s nicknames. You know what the worst part about this is too? He probably feels like he’s the hero here and was totally justified acting like a sex predator for months.
Colonel Frank Fitts From American BeautyYou can’t hate on gay people anymore. You just can’t do it. Even if you secretly harbor those feelings inside of you, the world has changed and no one is going to be tolerant of that bigotry. So, that’s strike number one. Strike number two would be he emotionally terrorizes his own family so aggressively and thoroughly that it rubs off on the entire neighborhood. Strike number three, of course, would be his own repressed homosexuality that occasionally manifests itself into extremely awkward and impulsive man kisses. And strike number four, clearly the biggest strike, would be his willingness to straight up murder people.
Plus, and this is a severely underrated quality, Colonel Frank Fitts just isn’t very nice. He’s always got a bitter look on his face and is busy muttering about how fast the world is going to hell. He’s the type of guy who knocks down your mood a few notches every single time you see him, which might work for some obscure family member you don’t see very often but definitely not for a neighbor.