The Burbs


The two garbagemen are played by Robert Picardo and Dick Miller, both of whom also appeared in "Explorers", another Joe Dante film. In fact Dick Miller always appears in Dante's movies and is one of his "lucky charms".

-Thanks to Christine Gieseke

More Trivia from The Burbs
Ray Peterson (Hanks) is stressed. He's working hard, he's looking to take some time out, and his wife Carol (Fisher) doesn't understand that all he wants to do with his week off is to sit around the house in his pyjamas and read the paper. Ray should know that this isn't going to happen.

For you see, Ray lives in the most bizarre area of the US heartland - the 'Burbs'.

His neighbour across the street is Mark Rumsfield (Dern) whose morning ritual is to traipse out onto his front lawn with his wife, he in combats, she in a fluffy pink gown, and raise the US flag with full military deference.

At the end of the street is Walter Seznick, who wears toupees so obvious that you think they might be related to his pet poodle (whose own daily ritual involves taking a dump on the Rumsfield lawn). Next door is Art, who drinks beer, polishes the RV, and watches *everyone*...

Along a little is Ricky Butler (Feldman) who is obviously far too young to own his own house, but has wild parties whilst his folks are away. Then there is the empty house next door - a kind of Amityville, Addams Family place. Only it's not empty any more...

The new people are the Klopeks, and they never go in and they never come out, except by car, and then they always drive straight into the garage and close the door. They just dig the back yard, run the huge furnace in the basement, and empty loads and loads of trash. Then one day, Walter Seznick goes missing, and the finger points to the Klopeks.

This obviously can't continue, so Ray, Art, Rumsfield, and Ricky plot to find out more. They go through the trash, they break in the house whilst the Klopeks are out, they spy on them through binoculars from the Rumsfields roof, and finally their wives provide them with the best plan yet - getting together, baking some stuff and going to visit.

When they get there, they are shown in and introduced to the family, headed by Dr Werner Klopek (Gibson). They are a bunch of wierd eastern europeans, and nothing there can allay their suspicions.

So next time the Klopeks go out, Ray and Art break in and go down to the basement to check out the furnace. Whilst there, they manage to blow up the house. With the police, the fire department, and finally the Klopeks outside, will they get the truth?


Joe Dante has always been one of those directors that had a keen eye for the normality of US suburbia, and the potential comedy there. This movie shows what you can achieve with a pretty simple idea.

It's all about a few people, a small cul-de-sac street, and a heap of fairly normal neurotic reactions. Tom Hanks plays Tom Hanks, but that's good, because just like in Big, Splash, and Joe Vs The Volcano, that's what he's best at. Bruce Dern is fantastic as the war veteran who still maybe believes the battle is not yet won. All of the supporting cast are good, but the best thing about the movie is it's simplicity. There's no deep, meaningful dialogue, there are no great plot revelations, there's very little to think too hard about. It's just a fun movie. Enjoy!

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Simple, entertaining fun about the paranoia in a quiet suburban street.

Weaknesses? It will dissapoint those people for whom watching a movie has to be an 'experience'.

Our rating: 9.2 out of 10

Review Written by Paul Shrimpton:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Paul Shrimpton
The Burbs