Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: The Burbs (1989)

Directed by Joe Dante (“Gremlins”), The ‘Burbs was a slightly subversive look into the inhabitants of a cul-de-sac community, the fictional Hinkley Hills. A new family, the Klopeks has moved into the neighborhood. SURE –they are ‘strange’ by conventional (or any other standards but exactly what is going on behind closed doors and down in that basement is a mystery that Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) wants to uncover. Despite pleas appealing for reason and ‘neighborly-ness’ from his wife, Carol (Carrie Fisher), Ray and his buddies (Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommun) are not convinced. Conveniently, Carol and her son leave to visit her sister out of town, thus allowing Ray and company to pursue their quest to reveal their neighbors to be murderous psychopaths.

I know this will not work for everyone, but for me the slapstick nature of several of the scenes was enough to make this for fun (if slightly dark) family viewing.


  1. Sort of easing into the holiday season, eh? I’ve yet to see this one, and probably should, even with my allergy to the Little Spielbergs…

  2. Patti Abbott says:

    I remember this as one of the many lesser films Tom made before he hit it big with Philadelphia and Forest Gump. Fun though and Tom as a cutie pie.

  3. I do like Joe Dante’s work, esoecially as a kind of impish, darker version of the Spielberg vision he is often associated with throigh their carious collaborations. This is not my favourite – probably a bit too cartoony – but there is an undeniable edge to his work and there are some wonderfully daffy moments in this one.
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  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for highlight this Tom Hanks gem. This is one of my favourites of all time and one of Hanks’ most underrated. I love the cul de sac setting and Dante has never been better at capturing the sensibilities, with his darkly comic touch, of suburban life.
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  5. Such a fun film! Tom Hanks is awesome! And Corey Feldman is super cool too! Love it!
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