The 'Burbs (1989) Poster

(1989)

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10/10
Ducommun Delivers In One Of My All-Time Favorites
ccthemovieman-16 March 2006
Sometimes a bizarre comedy just hits the right notes with me and, despite none of my friends liking it, I love it. This is a premier example of such: one of my favorites in that category. The fact others don't share that opinion doesn't bother me, but I am glad to see reviewers on this site who appreciated this black, very underrated gem.

I always get a big kick out of this film, no matter how many times I see it.I credit a little-known actor for making this so entertaining to me: Rick Ducommun. I think he steals the show from well-known stars Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher and Corey Feldman.

Actually, I think this film is panned a lot because they didn't expect Hanks to be in something this goofy. Too bad, but I bet he had a lot fun making it, along with the rest of the cast.

Ducommun and Dern are the hilarious wackos who try to help straight-laced Hanks find out about the really-strange neighbors he has next door. Are these people some demented killers or just the figment of these nosy neighbors' imagination? Fisher is Hanks' always-complaining wife and Feldman is the teen across the street who watches all the lunacy from his porch, getting his getting nightly entertainment from these crazy adults.

Director Joe Dante, of "Gremlins" fame, does a good job entertaining us in here, too, and providing some fun camera-work. Dante also used music to great advantage, mostly for humor.

This is one of those "not for all tastes" films, so chances are you won't like it and think it's stupid. For a number of reasons, I love it.
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Yo Mr. Rumsfield!!!
billybrown4129 May 2001
Okay, I know Tom Hanks has done some greater than great work. Forest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, and The Green Mile are truly American classics. For some reason (maybe I AM a weirdo) this is my favorite movie of his. It has a simple plot, a light tone, shades of horror, and some GREAT one-liners that have stayed in my memory since I was nine years old. This is one of those movies that never gets old. I especially like Corey Feldman as Ricky Butler. He played the best burn-out I have ever seen and he truly is an underrated actor. Rick Duccoman is great as the obnoxious neighbor, Art and his laid back manner continues to bring a smile to my face. Bruce Dern is flat-out awesome as the war-crazed vet who has all the right gizmos for the job, but always fails miserably. Almost every line out of his mouth is memorable and his response when he steps in a pile of dog crap is a classic quote.

Obviously this is a satire on Suburban life and nosey neighbors, but I could care less about all that. This is a classic that ranks (in my mind) with the likes of "The Goonies" and "Smokey and the Bandit".

If, for some reason, you missed this one, PLEASE see it. You have no clue what you're missing.
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7/10
Satan is good. Satan is our pal.
Hey_Sweden27 March 2017
"The 'Burbs" is writer / co-producer / actor Dana Olsens' deliberately warped invention. The idea is to remove the picture perfect outer layer of average American suburban life and reveal what potential insanity could be bubbling underneath. In so doing, he also makes fun of suburbanites who seem to make it their business to know everybody elses' business.

Tom Hanks stars as Ray Peterson, your typical 'burb dweller, who ends up severely stressed out when his nutty neighbors - Bruce Dern as ex-military man Mark Rumsfield and the late comedian Rick Ducommun as nosey instigator Art Weingartner - spur him to action. They keep hearing weird noises, and seeing weird things, concerning the newcomers to the street, the Klopeks (Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, Courtney Gains), and wonder just what the hell is going on inside the Klopek house. To make matters more interesting, their elderly neighbor Walter Seznick (Gale Gordon) goes missing. Could the Klopeks be responsible for his disappearance?

Ray tries his best to be rational and skeptical, but finds himself drawn in more and more by his kooky comrades and the things he witnesses. Acting as a genuine voice of reason is his understandably frustrated wife Carol (Carrie Fisher).

The whole thing becomes rather over the top, but then a sense of anarchy to his stories has always been filmmaker Joe Dantes' ("Piranha" '78, "The Howling", "Gremlins") strong suit. Olsen and Dante have fun with the dark comedy aspect to this yarn, and there are some quite funny bits along the way. Viewing the whole circus from the sidelines is neighborhood teen Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), who tries to convince his peers that the goings on here are better than any movie they could watch. Among those who really get into the spirit of the material are production designer James Spencer and composer Jerry Goldsmith.

Hanks is terrific, and much like the legendary Gene Wilder, proves to be a master at freaking out in a comedic way. But the whole cast is great, with Ducommun often going to town on the scenery. The cast is filled with familiar faces: Wendy Schaal, Dick Miller (Dantes' good luck charm for many years), Robert Picardo, Franklyn Ajaye, Rance Howard, Nicky Katt, Kevin Gage, Patrika Darbo. Olsen himself appears as a cop.

While the story is ultimately rather predictable, it does keep you watching, and amused - and may make you wonder what goes on behind your own neighbors' doors.

Seven out of 10.
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10/10
Cult favourite
Great cast with a one joke premise that works. Dante is the key ingredient here and he doesn't take the easy road. Hybrid genre films are tough and this film was met with negativity from the critics, the fans are the ones who gave life to this cult gem. Dark, weird and Dante, if you can't jump on the same page you'll miss a great film.
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7/10
One of the most underrated films of the 80's
mjukr30 September 2004
Commonly tossed aside as a predictable, poorly plotted film with few laughs, "The 'Burbs" has more to offer than most critics are willing to admit.

This film is not so much about the plot(which is admittedly thin and which the critics are too concerned with) as it is about the characters who become entangled within it. Included in this terrific cast are Tom Hanks, who plays the skeptical neighbor of the new family on the block (a bunch of oddballs who never leave the house); Rick Ducommun, who plays the gluttonous friend of Hanks, who is convinced that the new neighbors are brain sucking murderers; Bruce Dern, the ex-soldier who hasn't quite left his miilitary roots behind him; and last, but not least, Corey Feldman, who plays the dopey teenage neighbor who basically watches the events of the movie unfold from the comfort of his front porch. These characters are so well-acted and so downright wacky that you just have to believe there is a neighborhood somewhere with people like this. The chemistry between everyone of the characters is simply impressive, and much of the humor of the film can be found in the often ludicrous way the director portrays their interactions.

I urge anyone who has seen this film before to watch it again, this time paying little attention to the story and focusing on the superbly acted characters.
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7/10
Tom Hanks - The formative years.
Bing-1828 May 1999
This is a great example of what Tom Hanks was doing in his former career of a comedic actor, before he returned to serious acting.

The story follows three incredibly nosey suburbanites, spying on their new neighbours the Klopek's as they expect them to be murderers.

Winning performances all round, but especially from Hanks. He is well supported by the likes of Carrie Fisher, as his wife, and ex-army man Bruce Dern, with Henry Gibson giving his usual solid performance.

A greatly funny movie which leaves you wondering why Hanks ever turned his back on comedy.
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a hilarious movie
MichaelM2422 July 2001
The first time I saw THE 'BURBS, it was a special unannounced sneak preview following another film. Having heard nothing about this film and not even knowing of its existence until the film started, I was immediately worried I was about to see a horror film. Hey, I was only ten at the time, when I was still scared of horror movies. But what I ended up seeing was one of the most hilarious movies ever made, a movie that had the entire theater laughing all the way through. We later bought the video, and more recently the DVD, and over the years since it's release I've watched it countless times (the exact number probably somewhere in the 50s or so) and have never grown tired of it.

While managing to be both suspenseful and funny at the same time, the film also does a great job after capturing the day-to-day life of a small suburban street, with a variety of characters so simple and life-like, it seems like they could actually live on your own street. The grumpy old guy down the street, the teenager who likes to throw parties while his parents are gown, the guy next door who comes over all the time and mooches food, and the average Everyday Joe who experiences it all at his own pace. The cast is an excellent combination, with everybody working great together, particularly Bruce Dern as the Vietnam vet who always has the right tool for the job and Tom Hanks as the average guy who's curious about his strange new neighbors, but not enough to really want to bother finding out more about them. If you've never seen it, I suggest giving it a look. It really is quite funny and has many quotable lines.
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9/10
I Love This Movie
ReelCheese10 October 2006
Originality can go a long way in movieland, as THE 'BURBS so perfectly illustrates. Tom Hanks is Ray Peterson, an average schmuck not sure what to do with his at-home vacation. He soon finds his excitement when he and his paranoid neighbors convince themselves the weirdos on the block are responsible for the strange disappearance of the neighborhood's beloved old man. So they do what any of us would do... break into their home to find proof of the dastardly deed.

So many critics charged that Hanks tarnished his reputation with this effort. But for the umpteenth time, the critics were just being overly critical. THE 'BURBS is a hilarious, well-written and wonderfully creative piece of work. It's the kind of movie Joe Dante (GREMLINS, Matinée) does best. He takes a situation we can all basically relate to, turns it upside down and shakes the hell out of it like a snow globe.

An unnecessarily heavy-handed ending is all that stands between THE 'BURBS and a 10-star rating. All of a sudden a fun little ride is derailed by an angry outburst and contrived syringe battle. If Dante had it to do over again, he surely would have come up with something more suitable (and humorous).

Of course THE 'BURBS is not for all tastes, but if you like the pre-PHILADELPHIA Hanks and are in the mood for something completely different, you won't want to mi
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7/10
The burb's is a rarity...a black comedy I enjoyed.
Aaron13759 July 2009
I generally do not like the movie format and category of the black comedy. Usually, they become so dark that they cease to be funny or entertaining to me...a good example of this is "War of the Roses". There have been some that I enjoyed though and this is one of them. I usually like the ones that only really edge towards the dark side a bit and I would say this one does that. It kind of goes into horror at times, but still remains funny unlike another black horror/comedy "Parents" with Randy Quaid. This film features a new family moving into a very old and not so attractive house. These newcomers are under immediate scrutiny and suspicion as they move in the middle of the night, do not do anything to really fix up the place, and are generally strange looking when some of the people in the neighborhood pay them a visit. Tom Hanks character is not really suspicious at first till his crazy neighbor and a paranoid one convince there is something up with the new family in the burbs. You get many funny scenes as these guys try to find proof that the new family is as strange as they look and are in fact up to something as the poodle a man who lives in the neighborhood shows up dirty and the neighbor ends up missing. The movie plays out rather good and is funny for the most part, at times it becomes a bit to dark as most black comedies tend to do. The cast is very funny and I think this is like the only movie I have seen Carrie Fisher in besides the Star Wars trilogy. Bruce Dern to me steals the show in terms of comedy followed by the neighbor who deduces the bone is human. Not sure of his name or any other movies he has done prior to or since this one. Even Corey Feldman does a rather good job. So all in all this is a nice trip to the burbs.
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10/10
The critics can go to HELL
MrMovieReviewer13 December 2019
Yes while it's not an Oscar Winner by any means this is absoloutley a fun little about a group of busy bodies Who believe the creepy family in the creepy old house killed an old man from the street and set out to prove it With funny results
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7/10
A Fun Romp Through Suburbia
Krog__19 August 2004
Wanna' sit down and watch a movie that doesn't take itself seriously and stars Tom Hanks? Here ya' go!

The basic plot to this not-quite-funny comedy is that a group of suburbanites think that a family of creepy new neighbors are actually sick killers who offed another neighbor. They go through all sorts of adventures and situations, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery that, it seems, only exists within their minds.

Who cares if the ending is cliche? Well, I do, but not in a movie like this where there is no underlying meaning or message and is just in existence to have a little bit of fun. Which is, by the way, what you'll have: a little bit of fun.
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7/10
Light dark comedy
mrtimlarabee31 March 2008
The 'burbs is a fun diversion from the usual neighborhood comedies. Joe Dante has a way of combining dark humor and outright horror and make it convincing to a mass audience (see 'Gremlins.') That this film has a lot of dark elements and remains just a light romp at the end is a feat unto itself. All credit goes to Hanks' good natured comedic performance and Dante's fun with the material.

Dante paints a portrait of the neighborhood at the very beginning. Hanks plays Ray, probably the most normal among the neighbors. Art is like a big kid and the first one to suspect the neighbors of foul play. Bruce Dern plays a war vet where Ricky Butler, played by Corey Feldman is the loud teenager. All is well in suburbia until clues pop up that might reveal the new neighbors, the Klopeks, as murderers.

With any other talent behind the film, this could have been a very dark comedy. But instead of playing up the horror, Dante has fun with it, playing up the comedy talents of his performers (notably Hanks and Dern, who take turns chewing scenery). Dante also has fun with visuals, notably in a hilarious dream sequence that Ray has.

Everything comes together to make this film work, including a great score by Jerry Goldsmith, that is part suburban comedy and part horror, complete with organs culled from a funeral march. This film is far from perfect, but it's fun diversional comedy and reminds of the great comic actor that Tom Hanks once was before becoming Oscar's golden boy.
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7/10
When there's something wrong in the neighborhood, don't call these guys
bkoganbing13 October 2019
The 'Burbs has Tom Hanks looking to spend a quiet weekend at home with his family with wife Carrie Fisher and son Cory Danziger. But a strange new family has moved into the house next door and he spends his week trying to figure out what their story is.

Meet the Klopeks who have all the characteristics of a Charles Addams creation. When one of their neighbors, elderly Gale Gordon goes missing without an explanation imaginations run wild.

At least the imaginations of neighbors Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommon are stirred and they get Hanks involved. Dern has a real flair for comedy with his creation of this man who loves all things military. Ducommon is a man with a big imagination and no clue.

With the title I thought this would be a general satire on suburban living. It isn't but that's all right. It's a very funny film with a nice twist for an ending.

I also have to say Corey Feldman has one of his best roles though if the creators of The 'Burbs are giving some commentary on 80s American youth. He's kind of a Greek chorus of comment himself on the stupid goings on of the adults.

Very funny stuff, catch it if you can.
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8/10
I want to tell everyone. Joe Dante is good. Joe Dante is our pal.
cricketbat23 October 2019
The 'Burbs is almost impossible to dislike. This movie is a unique blend of horror, comedy, and mundane realism. Each character in the neighborhood ensemble brings something to the table. The story keeps you guessing right up until the end and, even if you've seen it a dozen times, it's still a fun ride. *chanting* I want to tell everyone. Joe Dante is good. Joe Dante is our pal.
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8/10
A deliciously black comedy...
mastac-117 August 2004
The world of black comedies has seen few truly classic entries in the past few years. It's a very specific sub genre of comedy that is extremely hard to do well as films like Very Bad Things frequently signify. Too many of Hollywood's more recent offerings feature truly tasteless gags that poke fun at subjects that should simply be left well enough alone. Well I have to say that Hollywood could learn a thing or two from its own past in this department. I recently rediscovered a childhood favourite of mine, The Burbs, and I have to admit that age has not in the least bit dulled the film's razor sharp wit and acid tongued dialogue

Tom Hanks plays Ray Peterson, an overstressed suburbanite who's decided to spend his vacation lounging around the house in a vain effort to relax. Of course he finds his efforts hindered by the constant presence of his somewhat excitable neighbors Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun) and Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) who suspect the new family in the neighbourhood, the Klopeks, of being mass murderers. Together these three decide to look into the suspicious nature of their new neighbors and just what exactly it is they get up to at night, the time when the otherwise reclusive Klopeks seem to be at their most active.

The premise is basically the set up for another of Joe Dante's (who directed both Gremlins and its remake in all but name, Small Soldiers) bedlam filled romps through suburbs in which he casts a sideways glance at all things American dream.

Quite frankly, my nostalgia for this movie makes it hard to find fault with it. Hanks is as funny as ever, playing it relatively straight compared to his other performances of the period and bringing a lovely shade of deep seated unease to an otherwise grounded character. Bruce Dern fills his role wonderfully, as the military obsessed Rumsfield, a character surprisingly reminiscent of survivalist Burt Gummer from the Tremors movies in both his nature and ability to steal scenes. The only weak link in the leading trio is Ducommun, which is a shame as it is really Art that drives the story more than any other character in the movie. Sure, Art has to be slightly obnoxious and a little irritating but Ducommun overplays these aspects so much that I began to find it painful to watch him as the end of the movie approached. It's hardly a surprise when Hanks tries to kill him. I can't help but feel that perhaps the late John Candy would have fit the role slightly better, bringing some more human and likable qualities to the character.

At times however, The Burbs can feel a little uneasy in its pacing and sense of humour. Scenes like the screaming at the bone, although funny, seem out of place in what is otherwise a movie with a very dry sense of humour. Meanwhile the Klopeks are unveiled as characters perhaps a little too late in the story for the audience to truly develop any kind of opinions about them.

Despite some small problems however, The Burbs remains an extremely funny movie with some terrific dialogue and almost universally good performances from its cast. I defy anyone not to laugh at Rumsfield's fall from the roof of his house or every man Ray's furious rant at the movie's close. For fans of black comedies, The Burbs is a perfect antidote to the current glut of obnoxious Hollywood gross out comedies and the Farrelly Brothers increasingly desperate to offend pieces.
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10/10
under-rated comedy
migosh18 October 1998
Ray has the neighbours from hell. They never leave the house, their front lawn is gone, they make strange noises and dig in their backyards on stormy nights.

This movie is definitely one of my all time favorite comedies. Besides being funny it is also a mystery. The Burbs is totally under-rated and is one of those movies where you pick up somthing new every time you watch it.
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10/10
Funny
bevo-1367830 March 2020
I like the bit where he blew up the neighbours house
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10/10
Most fun movie to watch ever
Timmy-G31 July 2019
Best 80s movie hands down! To bad that dont make movies like this anymore! Every line is an absolute classic!
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7/10
Funny movie.
Kdosda_Hegen11 April 2020
This movie may be dated, but this old fart still has something going. It's based on those truly 80s jokes, it's pretty good.
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10/10
The story of my Edison, N.J. childhood
nvrevnwithsteven27 December 2018
Growing up on a cul-de-sac with 11 houses you identified with this movie, the paranoia of slightly different new neighbors, longtime residents on the street who grow odd bonds, that 1 annoying dog (for my family it was an unfriendly neighbor's German Shepherd who was equally unfriendly and nearly bit my other neighbor's kid's a$$ off, i remember loving when WPIX ('NY's movie station') played this almost every Saturday afternoon in the 90's because when you relate to it, it's all the funnier. It had 1 star, one older name, one faded name, no gigantic names beyond what Hanks became at that point, but you didn't need it because of how memorable it became from Corey Feldman (who made every film better that he did from Gremlins up to this), to the trio of male neighbors, and as they realize the paranoia is legitimate, it just gets better. This and The Money Pit were Hanks comedic best.
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8/10
fun and funny movie
SnoopyStyle13 April 2015
Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is staying home for a week of vacation. There are strange things going on next door at the Klopeks who moved in last month. His friend Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun) has wild theories about them. Along with military vet Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) and Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), they try to convince him of the worst. Mark's wife Bonnie (Wendy Schaal) finds neighbor Walter Seznick's dog Queenie running loose. Walter is nowhere to be found. Ray's wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) insists on the best and drag the Rumsfields to visit the creepy Klopeks.

This is such a fun premise of nosy neighbors in the suburbs. Tom Hanks is a great everyman and he has a lot of fun. The guys are basically full grown boys and the Klopeks are the creepy neighborhood bogeymen. It's not suppose to be scary. It's a bit wacky. It's just a fun time.
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10/10
A movie you can relate to
ffprick12 December 2004
'The 'Burbs' is a great movie and I would recommend it to anyone. Tom Hanks does a great job at playing the role of an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. Every time I watch this movie, I can really feel like I am actually there. We all have weird neighbors and can relate to what Hanks is going through. It has also been a fantasy for many of us to try and find out exactly what our neighbors are up to, but we never have the guts to do it. Movies are made so that we can escape reality for a couple of hours and feel like we are doing things that we would most likely never get to do. This movie does it better than any other movie I have seen.

Most of the other people that I have talked to have agreed with me that 'The 'Burbs' is one of the most underrated comedies ever made. I don't believe that it was unsuccessful, but it definitely doesn't get the credit it deserves. If you want to see a movie that you can relate to, then watch this.
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8/10
A Clever Black Comedy - Silly, But Funny...
MovieAddict20162 February 2003
Tom Hanks is Ray Peterson, your average, suburbanite, middle-class businessman. Carrie Fisher is his wife Carol, Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommun play Mark Rumsfield and Arthur 'Art' Louis Weingardner respectively, and Corey Feldman, the little kid from "Gremlins" plays Richard Butler, the teen-next-door.

After a strange family moves into a large house down the street, Peterson becomes suspicious of their activities and begins to snoop around his new neighbors' home, only to find out that they may be psychopathic killers!

Granted, the plot is nothing great, but the characters are most interesting, and they have good chemistry. Watching these 'burbanites slowly progress toward insanity is quite entertaining. Too many people focus on the bad qualities of this film and do not recognize its redeeming qualities.

Good actors, good jokes, and a clever atmosphere all help me forget the dumb plot.

Joe Dante directs and the film co-stars Henry Gibson.

3/5 stars -

John Ulmer
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8/10
When all your neighbors are crazy
michaeltong-2918019 October 2018
The 'Burbs is a really fun series of escalating high-jinks on a solid foundation of engaging characters and a quirky mystery. It's full of great set-ups, subversion, and pay-offs that should make anyone with a pulse laugh out loud.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's time.
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10/10
My favorite movie of all time!
Zoopansick31 October 2002
The Burbs' is without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. Not to say that it is the best movie of all time, but rather my favorite. I am often skeptical when someone says that their favorite movie of all time is something like the painfully overrated Shawshank Redemption, or a true classic like Citizen Kane, The Godfather, or even contemporary best picture winners like A Beautiful Mind or Forrest Gump. I think that while some (and I do stress SOME) or these movies have more accomplished casts, a better plot, and in some cases revolutionary filmmaking, they aren't really people's favorites. They aren't movies like the Burbs' which one can watch time and time again and continue to laugh or think of past times watching the movie. They aren't movies that one is likely to watch every two months or so, or sit down and watch them at 3:00 AM if they happen to be on. The movies that people watch at 3:00 AM are movies like The Burbs'. These movies are funny, hold sentimental value to the watcher, and are easy to watch over and over again.

Now onto precisely why I like The Burbs' soooo much. First and foremost it is a funny movie. The characters, especially Bruce Dern's are all quirky and deliver some good lines. For example when Bruce says, "There go the god damn brownies!" after he part of the Klopeks porch collapses, it makes me laugh...hard. It's in his delivery. Like I previously mentioned sentimentality also plays a big role. I have fond memories watching this throughout my childhood and now into college. I lived in the suburbs all my lives and find some of the characters though somewhat cookie cutter images, to be accurate. I really like the Corey Feldman character, and every time I go outside to do yard work, or paint the house (like he does), I pan the block and hear that song in my head (I don't know the name, but the heavy metal one he puts on that goes "I am your war machine...."). Tom Hanks is great in this movie also and some of the stuff he says like "I believe a man's furnace is his own business.", is priceless. My friend Justin and I like to fill our conversations with Burbs lines. He particularly likes the lines offered by the grizzled uncle Reuben; even his harsh "No." is a favorite.

No, this movie isn't going to win alot of awards or be held in high regard in most circles, but it should be. Just the way the characters interact with each other is funny. The Burbs has a certain charm about it that allows me to keep watching it over and over. It doesn't rely on gags that may make the viewer howl with laughter the first time they see it but fade with future viewings. Instead it relies on funny lines delivered Hanks' funniest outing. For God's sake this is a Corey Feldman movie that is good! While some of you are bound to disagree that this movie is very funny, I kind of like it that way. I like that the Burbs is kind of developing a cult following (not a really big one, but big enough that I run into people that really like it). I like that this movie has it's own little audience. It's proof enough to me that movies like The Burbs will live on in the minds of millions as people's favorites of all time. I know it will live on for me.
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