Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Burbs

I paid good money to see The Burbs in the theater. When it was over, I wanted my money back. And my time.

The Burbs came out the year after Big. It was THE NEXT TOM HANKS MOVIE (I think Punchline was the next movie production-wise, but it got held back. I saw it at a preview sometime after The Burbs. At least this is how I remember it 2 decades later.) Anyway, anticipation ran high for The Burbs due to the charm of both Hanks and the movie Big. Plus it had Carrie Fisher in it, always a boon to big Star Wars nerds like me.

(By the way, does anyone else recall in 1988-89ish when Starlog printed a story titled something like "Is Star Wars Fandom Dead?")

Anyway, expectations were high. But The Burbs fell flat. Labored and unfunny, I remember little about the film except that i was bitterly disappointed.

I knew nothing about the Varese Sarabande Soundtrack Club (original incarnation) until after it died, so the initial release of the soundtrack completely passed me by. I eventually heard the End Titles on the Varese 25th Anniversary set and it didn't really strike me as anything extraordinary. It has a pleasant enough tune, with a goofy Patton pastiche and then the "hilarious" whistle stuff at the very end. in short, it didn't make me want to fork over the big bucks for the out of print club cd.

Then the expanded edition came out.The Burbs: Deluxe Edition

I ordered it, caught in a wave of Jerry-mania. My expectations were again high. Here was music that fetched a high dollar on the resale market, so it had to be good, right?

Lesson learned. Sometimes a CD is scarce for a good reason.

This score left me flat, just like the movie, It's Jerry in his mickey-mousing comedy mode, which is hardly Jerry at his best. Goldsmith and comedy generally never went well together. And this movie, which strove to be both weird and funny, didn't even benefit from a fabled "Jerry scored the ideal movie in his head rather than the crappy movie in reality" boost. It's just as labored and unfunny as the film it accompanied. Really, the End Titles neatly sums up the entire score. Everything you'd ever really want from The Burbs is contained in that suite.

So if you're one of those just now getting into Jerry and kicking yourself for missing the now sold-out deluxe edition, don't worry. You're not missing anything. It's just another bottle cap in my collection and one I rarely dig out.

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