Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Burbs

The 'burbs (1989) ****

Ray Peterson takes a week off of work to just relax. Although his wife keeps pestering to "go up to the lake", Ray is content to hang around the house and spend his time chatting with the neighbors - especially when there's so much to talk about! The house next door has new neighbors - 3 people, who they don't ever seem to see or hear from. Gossip turns into more gossip as occasional glimpses of the neighbors spawn endless speculation and innuendo. Is all the gossip just gossip? Is there truth behind it? What will happen next?

This movie is awesome! I would have given it five stars, but the three people I watched it with all insisted on three and a half. I thought we'd compromise on four. I first saw this movie at age 10 in the theaters. By the time I was 12 and dorky enough to write down my top ten list of favorite movies, this one had made it to number 7! With that kind of following, it's odd that I hadn't watched it in over fifteen years. Watching it again tonight, I realized how awesome it is.

In an earlier post, people talked about the difficulty of combining the horror/comedy genres. It is done perfectly here. There are a lot of creepy moments, classic images like lightning striking the victorian spires and hooded men digging in the rain. The musical flourishes, while over the top, do well in adding to the atmosphere. On the comedy side, Tom Hanks, fresh from "Joe vs. the Volcano" is still in that part of his career where he isn't taking himself too seriously, and Carrie Fisher IS still taking herself very seriously. Corey Feldman on the eve of his personal drug addiction issues adds a lot as teen who cheers on the paranoid neighbors.

Seriously, see this now. Even if you've seen it before. It has the horror movie cliches mixed well with some great comic relief moments - kind of like Gremlins (this movie was directed by the same guy).


JPX said...

Hmmmm, I saw this in the theater when it first came out but I don't recall any "horror" elements. Whirlygirl is always talking about this film, perhaps it's time for a revisit. Nice review!

whirlygirl said...

I so agree Terror and I probably would give it 5 stars.

It's true I have been trying to get JPX to watch this movie ever since he told me he didn't like it. I just can't fathom anyone not liking the Burbs. Who doesn’t like the Burbs? I’m probably the biggest fan of this movie. I’m cracking up right now thinking of some scenes from it.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I thought it was a romantic comedy!

Anonymous said...


Take this quote: "I've never seen that. I've never seen a man drive his garbage to the end of the street and beat the hell out of it - I've never seen that."

That has nothing to do with romance. Romantic comedies don't usually offer scenes where the main character is barbecued by a mob wearing shrouds while an other character runs around with a bloody milkshake mixer.

Whirlygirl said...

Oh Johhny sweatpants you are a trouble maker.