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The 'Burbs

By Jim Gay

Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) would like nothing better than to spend a quiet week's vacation in his suburban home, drinking beer and watching TV. But, spurred on by his two friends' spinning of boyish paranoid fantasies about their reclusive neighbors, the Klopeks, the usually down-to-earth Ray begins to suspect his idyllic neighborhood has been invaded by an evil force, to the point where he and his friends become psychotically nosey. You see where this is going, and you see it from a mile off. Only the general surface-thin plot is somewhat offset by director Joe Dante's fine sense of the absurd, and a host of engagingly played neighbor-types, namely Rick Ducommun as Ray's best friend who's always proposing bad ideas, and Bruce Dern as a sometimes wild-eyed ex-vet who'd love some action. Dante and crew seem to have a knack for keeping these broad characterizations light enough that you don't mind their superficiality. But the best jokes in this unprepossessing film come from composer Jerry Goldsmith's score; Bruce Dern's presence, for instance, is announced by the theme from Patton, and the boys' first approach to the Klopeks' for a meet-and-greet is buttressed by classic strains from Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns. Kudos to the Klopeks, for their evil ways are ably embodied by Henry Gibson, Courtney Gains, and Brother Theodore. In particular, any suburb that finds it's inhabited by the likes of Brother Theodore is in dire need of new zoning laws. But Carrie Fisher's role as Ray's amiably long-suffering wife is thankless, and she deserves better.

 

Share Your Memories!

Is The 'Burbs one of your favorite movies? What do you remember about it? Share your stories (or your reviews) with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"The Burbs, What can I say! I first watched this film when I was about 15 its was on telly and I taped since after that i'd watch it a least 3 times a week with my sister, our favorite bit was when art and ray are in the basement and arts jingle of 'i'm gonna kill everyone satan is good satan is our pal' always had me in stiches!!.

Now i'm 22 and still watch it a few times a week and everytime I watch it I still laugh out loud and that for me is what makes it a great film. . . . . . I will NEVER get bored of the Burbs!!"

--NICK69



 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Joe Dante

Stars: Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman

Released: February 17, 1989

Availability: DVD VHS


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