The Wayback Machine: Joe Dante’s ‘The ‘Burbs’

17 Sep

Ah, Comedy-era Tom Hanks.

Seriously, Tom Hanks. Why the Hate On Comedy? It's not like it hasn't needed you. God, how it's needed you.

Quite honestly, I got a little burnt out on Dramatic Tom Hanks–I can name the ones I’ve seen on one hand, probably–I realized while watching The Burbs, Joe Dante’s 1989 comedy, that I liked League of Their Own and Forest Gump, and figured Hanks would get back to comedies.

I’m still waiting.

Often considered the heir to Jimmy Stewart’s Everyman throne, it’s fitting that Hanks stars in a film about a bored man conflating the importance of his neighbors’ activities; Stewart’s version of this was Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window,’ and I’m not really saying the two are comperable outside of ‘they are kind of similiar thematically and they both contain carbon-based life.’

I won’t lie, I love The ‘Burbs, but I was surprised how low it scored on Rotten Tomatoes. I suppose it might be considered a nostalgia piece, and except for one very interesting idea:

That reminiscing on the glorious good old days is a total crock.

Sound familiar? That’s because similiar territory was covered in the Coens’ existential masterpiece, No Country for Old Men, and is the cornerstone of current academic thought on history.

There’s a moment in the Burbs where we hear the story of Skip, a suburbanite who for all intents and purposes is happy with his soda fountain job, white picket fence and 1.8 children or whatever the percentage is. But then we find out the horrible truth–Skip wasted his family with an ice pick one fine summer day, and the story has become the kind of small-town lore they don’t include in the Chamber of Commerce literature. It’s the kind of thing ALL small towns have–violence, scandal, and intrigue are nothing new in the course of human events, and every small town has some kind of American Gothic weirdness going on that gets whitewashed when people talk about the Good Old Days out on the porch.

Skeletons in the closet, toys in the attic, ants at a picnic–however you qualify it, something is rotten in the state of Surburbia.

From Suburbia come delicious, free-range humans, delivered overnight to your local supermarket.

Hanks and his team of misfits –Rick Ducommen and Bruce Dern, with Corey Feldman checking in now and then with an ‘Awesome!’, ‘lame!’, or other 80’s era teenspeak– become more and more obsessed with the notion that all is not well next door. When they cross the line, Walter Fielding (Hanks) is an unwilling participant, but quickly takes up leadership of the group when evidence surfaces suggesting the Klopeks might be up to something unsavory.

I could easily see The Burbs being remade, if it were handled properly. IT might be fun to mix up the setting a little–set it in a little town in England and the Hanks/Ducommon duo could be reimagined with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, of Hot Fuzz/Shawn of the Dead fame.

‘The Burbs is a fun, tightly-directed and performed comedy almost anyone can hang out and enjoy.It occasionally wanders into ‘zany’ territory, but strong comedic performances from Hanks–especially his breakdown at the end–help ground it and keep it from straying into wacky land.

The Burbs is available on Instant Watch.

Advertisements

... but what do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Struggle

YouTube Channel

indiescifi451.wordpress.com/

science fiction movies, reviewed and dissected ruthlessly. full autopsy.

One Working Mommy

Follow me for reflections on motherhood through the eyes of one working mommy.

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

AfroSapiophile

Intelligent Black Thought.

Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a hard working writer.

Janet Carr @

This Bug's Life

I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog

Behind the scenes of John E. Brito's animated and live action (short) films & comics

Josep Goded

Seeking Truth

Stuff White People Like

This blog is devoted to stuff that white people like

Dark Matters

For Well-Rounded Blerds and POC Nerds

Examining the Odd

literature, visual art, music and film

My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball

Recipes from Cook's Illustated, Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen

The Entertainment Patrol (and general musings)

My musings about everything from entertainment to life!

Writer's Haven

Words from heart

Lovecraft eZine

Weird Fiction, Cosmic horror, and the Cthulhu Mythos

breaktimestories

Musings, Short stories, Inspiration.

BROTHA WOLF

Howling For Justice!

MyCreativeRamblings.org

ā€œI used to want to be an astronaut, but astronauts don't even go to the moon anymore.ā€

BecomeBetty.com

Food, drinks, style, and humor

BaileyBee

The Hive

Carmilita's Handmade Jewelry

handmade bead jewelry

Mark My World

Hacking life while enjoying everything in between

Really Awful Movies

Horror Movies, Science Fiction, Exploitation, Action, Genre Films.

yaskhan

Poetry, free verse, haiku, senryu, photography, books, art, philosophy , nature.

TheWarner

Your Source for Honest Commentary and Reviews

Rob Powell Writes

Let's see where this goes, starting with some short stories and flash fiction.

Opinionated Woman

Opinionated women of the world, unite!

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

What's Your Chic?

Your Chic. Your Style.

Meditating Millennial

A Millennial's Journey Into Meditation and Mindfulness

SparkleWithUc

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go!

word and silence

poetry & prose by Tim Miller

Blog of the Dragon

Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire news, theories, and other nerdy goodness

LOWLIFE MAGAZINE

"Find what you love and let it kill you." ā€“ Charles Bukowski

tekehdddddddddddddddddddddddddddd.wordpress.com/

Mostly about poetry, madness and darkness

Londongrad

Erotica City of London Russia Confessions

The Gymternet

The ultimate gymnastics news. For the ultimate gym nerd.

witchlike

Exploring wise-craft and weirdness

%d bloggers like this: