The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a. Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
Adam and Barbara are a normal couple...who happen to be dead. They have given their precious time to decorate their house and make it their own, but unfortunately a family is moving in, and not quietly. Adam and Barbara try to scare them out, but end up becoming the main attraction to the money making family. They call upon Beetlejuice to help, but Beetlejuice has more in mind than just helping. Written by
Burton's true masterpiece, and one of the ten best 80s movies.
Watching this one more time on TV yesterday reminded me of the first time I saw it all those years ago at the movies when Tim Burton was just the guy who had directed that funny Pee-wee Herman movie. Walking into 'Beetlejuice' then, without knowing anything about it, was an amazing experience. Along with 'Blade Runner', 'Blue Velvet', 'Videodrome', 'Brazil', 'Paris, Texas', 'The Terminator' and 'Repo Man' it was one of the most astonishing and memorable movies of the 1980s, an era dominated by Hollywood dreck like 'Flashdance', 'Top Gun', and 'Footloose'. The whole Bruckheimer/Simpson/Spielberg/Hughes zeitgeist that dumbed down popular movies as never before. Movies like 'Beetlejuice' were a glimmer of hope in a truly awful period.
The big question is - how does it stand up today? The answer is better than ever! In fact I would argue that 'Beetlejuice' is Tim Burton's most successful and least compromised film. Everything about it is perfect. A great cast lead by the very appealing and likable Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the newly dead Maitlands, a star turn by Michael Keaton as the gonzo "bio-exorcist" title character, and strong support from Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, and especially Winona Ryder (a performance that really put her on the map), as the new occupants of the Maitlands house. 'Beetlejuice' juggles gruesome, trippy and genuinely witty sequences, and ends up becoming one of the freshest and surreal movies to find a mainstream audience since the heyday of 60s/70s "head" movies. Forget Burton's more recent hit and miss big budget efforts, and try this for the real deal, Luis Bunuel meets Tex Avery meets George Romero, and then some! 'Beetlejuice' is a blast!
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