In the latest episode of The Substandard, we talked a bit more about Halloween—my expertly drafted mix of sugar and chocolate decisively CRUSHED Jonathan V. Last in the candy draft vote, it should be noted—and I ranted about Suburbicon and Hollywood's reliance on the wicked, evil, no good very bad suburbs as a setting and plot device. A bit more on that after the embed:
Look, as a child of the suburbs I thought that trashing the burbs was kind of cheeky and fun. But then I, like, grew up? And realized it was a weak trope that is all-too-often hackishly deployed? Anthony Lane, as is his wont, said it quicker and more effectively than I did in my review:
As a seasoned moviegoer, you know what to expect. Whenever your gaze is led down ranks of immaculate houses, from lawn to shining lawn, you brace yourself for a glimpse of the dark underbelly of middle-class America. (Anybody wishing to see the belly itself, or clinging to the now scandalous notion that some folks who dwelt in the belly led decent and untraumatized lives, will have to rely on a secret stash of sitcoms.)
It's just so … predictable. Unless you're going to do something interesting or amusing with the idea (like the Coens in A Serious Man or Raising Arizona) or something actually scary (like the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks or Poltergeist) just let it go, guys. We get it: Los Angeles and Hollywood are where you go to flee the soullessness of suburbia. Sure, you have to put up with some rapes and harassment and other CRAZY SHENANIGANS, but hey: It's totally worth it!
Anyway, Suburbicon is bad. Don't go see it.