100 REASONS WHY the 'burbs IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE

Joe Dante's The 'burbs is a movie that just doesn't get talked about enough. Which is weird, because the founders of The Pink Smoke are ready to stake their reputations on the assertion that it's the best movie ever made. It's at least vastly undervalued: Dante himself even stated in a recent interview that the film's famous smash zoom makes him wince. But it's so perfect! In fact, there are no less than 100 perfect things about The 'burbs. We actually came up with something like 473, but for the sake of servicing the arbitrary "list number," to initiate October's month-long dedication to writing about horror movies, here are 100 great moments from the greatest movie of all time... (incidentally, they're in order so feel free to follow along with the film!)

 

The organ and chime-heavy Jerry Goldsmith score.

The seamless opening shot from space into the Universal globe down to the neighborhood.

The sudden gust of wind that stops instantly as soon as Ray Peterson's foot retreats from the dead grass of the Klopek's property.

Ray impotently tossing his coffee at the paperboy after getting hit by the newspaper.

Paint spilling over the speaker on the porch of Ricky Butler's parents' house.

The proper introduction of Rumsfield: exiting the house in vest and dogtags, putting on the shades and raising the American flag with the utmost reverence.

Ray's unprovoked comendeering of his son's coffee cup: "Is this sweet enough?"

"Is that Slavic?"

Vince the dog gives away Art's brilliant camoflague as he tries to assassinate the crow.

"A hideous...raging...inferno!" *sniff!* *sniff!*

Breakfast is ribs, a pineapple and syrup ("What do you think they're eatin' over there?")

Art absent-mindedly takes a handful of dog food, winces slightly and keeps chewing.

"Oh, Ricky Butler says!"

Greatest food-related transition in film history: "Digging..." into Art and Dave biting into their food at the same time.

Bonnie's gardening outfit - no tan lines!

"That kid next door's a meatball."

"You gonna build somethin' with those?" A distracted Art responds to Ray's new tools like Corey Feldman responding to the mogwai reproducing.

"What is it?" "It's my neighbor." The first look at Hans.

The beautiful tracking shot following Hans as he looks across the entire neighborhood.

"We shouldn't stare like this..." Bonnie is the only character to consciously announce the movie's major theme until the finale.

Zooming in on the dog's eyes.

Art's foot going through the floorboard, and Ray's equally brilliant aside "I'm not gonna pay for that!"

669 becomes 666.

Ray's initial reaction to the bees: "Hey..."

Bruce Dern's incredible pratfall with the hose.

"That was great! You know, same thing happened to me last week. I was over there - it wasn't bees though, it was a foaming squirrel."

"In Southeast Asia, we call this kind of thing...bad karma."

The curtain ominously closing on the top floor of the Klopek house...

Name-dropping The Sentinel.

Name-dropping Spud Webb.

The story of Skip, the soda jerk who snapped ("The guy's 40 years old, he's wearin' a paper hat and makin' cherry cokes, it's a cinch he's not running for governor, right?")

Ray eats Freakies.

The car - no headlights! - emerges from the garage and moves slowly forward to the end of the driveway.

The lightning rages as Hans beats the hell out the garbage bag with a stick.

"I've never seen that. I've never seen anybody drive their garbage down to the street then bang the hell out of it with a stick. I...I've never seen that."

Personally? I'd say Ricky's date was a smashing success.

Three hooded figures digging in the yard in the rain.

Dammit, Robert Piccardo - Wednesday is league night! Dick Miller is not interested in attending a seminar on paraphysical healing!

Look very closely...Piccardo appears to be wearing a button that says "McCarthy."

Art calls them "garbies."

Ray's incredible double take when Dave tells him Art's throwing garbage into the street.

Dick Miller: "I hate cul-de-sacs: there's only one way out and the people are weird."

The continuity of the garbage, left on the street throughout the rest of the film.

Art dismisses Ray's sensible idea to call the police when they can't find Walter.

Greatest food-related transition in film history #2: "Walter left this house...in a big hurry..." into the gag of Ricky opening the door and breaking the plate of cookies.

"Mutilations. Mutilations!" and "Ray? You're chanting."

"Where are you going??" "To the bathroom. Relax!" (Has Carrie Fisher ever been better?)

Double Tobe Hooper tribute: watching a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 cuts to snow on the TV screen in the middle of the night panning over to the bed a'la Poltergeist.

The giant chainsaw that cuts through the wall, severing the Peterson family portrait in half.

The adorable little ax going into Queenie's head.

Art dressed as Skip looks genuinely scary.

A disappointed Art kicks the ground when Carol won't let Ray come out.

The eschew swing on the Klopek's porch.

"I'm only trying to take a nap!"

The way Tom Hanks crushes the beer cans.

Art mindlessly tosses the femur bone for the dog to fetch.

"It's a bone." "It's a femur." "It's a femur bone."

THE SMASH ZOOM!!!

Candy bar wrapper? Napkin? Crumbled-up credit card receit? No - it's Art's note.

Ray eats the screen door and crushes more beer cans.

Rumsfield handling brownie-carrying duty as militarily as anything else he does.

Rumsfield goes through the same weak area of the porch floorboard as Art. "There go the goddamn brownies!"

"Here ya go sonny - something for the ol' sweet tooth!"

"Came with the frame."

The proper introduction of Brother Theodore's Uncle Reuben.

Uncle Reuben keeping a close eye on Ray.

Ray looks at Carol when offered a sardine and pretzel - she nods encouragingly.

"Got somebody tied up in the ol' cellar, ey Reub?"

The sound of the cuckoo clock in the background following Bonnie's trivial comment.

"How unfortunate for the KNAPPS!"

The ol' giant-shadow-turns-out-to-be-Henry-Gibson gag.

Ray's reaction to the "blood" on his hand.

The cluster of candles in the middle of the Klopek dining table. "I thought they would be romantic...for the ladies."

Rumsfield and Dr. Klopek fighting over the right way to hang the painting.

Ray drops the coffee in response to Rumsfield bringing up Walter's disappearance.

Bonnie jumping in and out of Reuben's arms.

"You keep a horse in the basement?!"

Carol calling Art "tuna neck."

"You've had those in your trousers all day??"

The Klopek's car reflected in Rumsfield's window...

...and Ricky's shades.

Art's golfing outfit.

Rumsfield's battle gear.

Art's black fingernails after being electrocuted.

The Art-shaped hole in the tool shed.

Ray's membership card breaks instantly in the door when he tries to unlock it ("That's a shit store anyway.")

Rumsfield's stake-out food: animal crackers and coffee.

"A thermostat on a home furnace, is that supposed to go to 5,000 degrees?"

Nicky Katz, as lame-o Steve Kuntz, drops his chips and soda to clap for Rumsfield's amazing pratfall off the roof 

The Klopek house destroyed in a hideous raging inferno.

Uncle Reuben looks really sad to see his house going up in flames.

The trail of smoke following Ray as he exits the burning house.

"Oh yeah, I thank my lucky stars!"

"It's not them - it's us!" The greatest climatic monologue of all time.

The running start Ray gets on his way to strangle Art.

"Take me to the hospital, I'm sick!" Ray helps himself into the ambulance.

"I...I fooled the others?"

"I figured a man's furnace is his own business."

The shadow of the syringe across Werner Klopek's face.

The pizza dude saves the day!

Hans' Wilfred scream as the ambulance crashes into Art's house.

Pinocchio isn't going anywhere...even though Rumsfield slips chasing after him.

Ray entrusts the neighborhood to Ricky. He loves this street!

 

 

home    about   contact us    featured writings    years in review    film productions

All rights reserved The Pink Smoke   2011