1989's The 'burbs is a cult classic. Tom Hanks leads the cast in the Joe Dante-directed black comedy. However, Bruce Dern often steals every scene he's in as the Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Mark Rumsfield. A video collecting most of Rumsfield's best scenes was compiled a while back and it's worth revisiting to enjoy the subtle art of Dern's line delivery and the over the top physical comedy. From, "Smells like they're cooking a god damn cat over there," to Rumsfield falling off the roof, they're all here in one convenient video compilation.
Bruce Dern enjoyed working on The 'Burbs and has praised director Joe Dante many times over the years. "I liked The 'Burbs. I love Joe Dante. When I got my star on Hollywood Boulevard, Joe Dante's the guy that introduced me," says Dern. While the black comedy does have some darkness in it, Rumsfield is the one to ramp up the humor nine times out of ten. Dern notes, "Movies shouldn't be a grim dance. They should be fun! And that was a lot of fun."
Even delivering a line as simple as, "There go the god damn brownies," is comedic gold when delivered by Bruce Dern in The 'Burbs. He and Corey Feldman, who stars as Ricky Butler, have a great on-screen chemistry too. While Dern loves Joe Dante, he also had a great time working with Tom Hanks and could tell he was going to be a huge star from early on. Dern explains.
"... Tom [Hanks] I didn't know before then. Tom was an actor on the verge. As a matter of fact, I remember one day I was off and I went to see Big, because it'd just opened that day. Afterwards, I called him. In fact, I called him off the set! And when he came to the phone, I said, 'I just want to tell you: I just saw Big, and you are going to be a huge movie star.' And he said, 'Really? Why do you say that?' I said, 'Because you're funny and you're likable, and audiences will embrace you no matter what you do.' And luckily I was right. The only big credit he had before that was Bosom Buddies, the TV show."
In a movie with Tom Hanks and Bruce Dern leading the way, the late Carrie Fisher also gets her humor across too. The 'Burbs turned 30 last year and it still holds up really well, thanks to the excellent performances from Fisher, Hanks, Dern, Rick Ducommun, Wendy Shaal, and Brother Theodore. With that being said, the movie was not a hit with critics when it was originally released, though it did well at the box office, making $49.1 million globally.
Since its release in 1989, The 'Burbs has become a cult classic with people often quoting the lines from Bruce Dern's Lieutenant Mark Rumsfield. A quick look through the comments section of the video compilation reveals this as many point out some more obscure lines and scenes that could have easily made it into the compilation. You can check out the aforementioned Rumsfield compilation below, thanks to the Closed Casket YouTube channel.