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It may take two or three viewings to warm up to "Beetlejuice". It has a kooky, cockeyed sensibility and a rhythm that is by turns easy, lazy and frenetic. A charming couple in New England die and come back to their beloved home as ghosts, determined to rid the place of the horrendous new tenants. Possibly the most benign and engaging performance ever by Alec Baldwin; Geena Davis, Winona Ryder and Sylvia Sidney are also very appealing. The new couple from New York who take over the house (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara) aren't as well written or thought-out as the other characters and some of their bemused, dry-ice comic lines take a few seconds to reach you. Of course, there's Michael Keaton, wildly comic as Betelgeuse. I recall hearing comments back in 1988 that Keaton wasn't around enough to make the picture worthwhile, but that's only if you watch the film for the fast quips and sight-gags. Keaton is truly wonderful, but he's also bombastic, and I felt there was just enough of him to satisfy--it's really not his story anyway, it belongs to Baldwin and Davis; Betelgeuse is used as a horny, vulgar punchline. Director Tim Burton is very careful not to overload the movie with raunch; he is surprisingly careful in setting up this story, and he works magic within a dubious scenario: a comic fantasy about dead folks which ultimately celebrates life. ***1/2 from ****
Once again I'm not sure exactly how to start this comment other than to
praise Tim Burton, Beetlejuice is a movie that was based on his idea
and is still remembered to this very day. He picked a great leading
male, Michael Keaton as well as to pick a very strong cast that turned
into what could have been a total flop into a cult classic that will be
remembered for ages to come. Beetlejuice is a very strange movie that
explores life after death, turning into a ghost and having to accept
that you died, now move on. But what if there was one ghost who maybe
had too much fun and just wanted to rock the living world? That's what
Beetlejuice is about, the one zombie that you'd love to party with once
but then ignore at the next party he's invited too.
Barbara and Adam Maitland decide to spend their vacation decorating their idyllic New England country home. Upon returning from the trip to town, however, Barbara swerves to avoid a dog wandering the roadway. The couple's vehicle crashes through a covered bridge and plunges into the river below, killing Barbara and Adam. The couple soon returns home in spirit form and quickly come to the conclusion that they are dead. A book entitled Handbook for the Recently Deceased confirms the couple's suspicion that they are, in fact, dead. Barbara and Adam's peace is soon shattered when their house is sold and the new residents arrive from New York City. Charles Deetz, aspiring sculptor and Charles' second wife Delia, and Charles' goth daughter Lydia from his first marriage, move into the home. Juno, who informs Barbara and Adam that they must remain in the house for 125 years. If they want the Deetzes out, it is up to them to scare them away. Although the Maitlands remain invisible to Charles and Delia, their daughter Lydia can see Adam and Barbara and becomes their friend. Against the advice of Juno, the Maitlands contact the miscreant Betelgeuse, a freelance "bio-exorcist", to scare away the Deetzes, but they have their hands full now with this crazy psycho.
Beetlejuice is an awesome movie, it's one of the funniest movies you'll see. I will be honest, it's a strange humor as it's a dark comedy, but it's all good. Seriously Michael Keaton is such a great comedic actor, he was the perfect choice, he brought the right amount of cockiness and comedy to the role. Also Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin had great chemistry as well as the perfect Leave it to Beaver-esquire type of couple that has a hard time accepting their world as the afterlife. Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder were perfect as the Deetzes, quite disturbing and awkward. I highly recommend this movie if you get the chance to see it, it's a great comedy classic.
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!
You gotta figure that only Tim Burton could come up with this! An ultra-zany story of rural couple Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis), who accidentally get killed and witness a tasteless couple moving into their house, forcing them to hire "bio-exorcist" Beetle Juice (Michael Keaton), is truly something else. With a new joke almost every minute, the movie never gets dull. And how about that soundtrack? "Day-O" in the most morbid comedy ever? Yep, it's all here. Great support from Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones as the tasteless couple, Winona Ryder as their disaffected daughter Lydia, and Sylvia Sidney as afterlife counselor Juno, make this one of the coolest movies of 1988!
This is one of Tim Burton's best films. His sophmore effort shows the story of a married couple (the Maitlands played with good degree by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who die accidentaly off a bridge and wind up the target for a upper-class family (including a young yet well played Winona Ryder) and a weird yet scary ghost (with the most) named Beetleguise (or Beetlejuice in a scene of laughs) played to immense complexity by Michael Keaton. Sure this plot may sound a little anti-climactic being mainly gags and not really a focused story, but so what? In a film where you see sandworms from saturn, shrimps that attach after calypso and a nut who has seen the exorcist 167 time (insert quote here), why bother with a plot. Great fun everytime I watch. Reccomendable to anyone. A
With ghosts and the dead, one would normally anticipate a horror movie
loaded with screams and gory figures. But in Beetlejuice, we see a new
dimension humour being experimented with.
Taking into the account that the movie was made in 1988 with limited special effects, Beetlejuice could be simply labelled as "creativity at its best".
Tim Burton is a pure visionary and with this movie you cannot help but appreciate the amount of creativity he has and his ability to translate it to screen.
Acting is top-rate from all fronts. One can't help but admire promising young Winona Ryder - a flower ready to bloom.
It would take a couple of viewings to be appreciate the movie in totality.
This movie always was: 1 - very popular; 2 - very different; 3 - very
entertaining; 4 - a very fast-moving hour-and-a-half of a film.
Several characters in here - mainly Michael Keaton's unique and sometimes- revolting title character "Beetlejuice"- are always fascinating to watch. With him - and the whole movie - you also get a lot of humor and scary special-effects..
It was odd to see Alec Baldwin in such a low-key role. In the '90s, he played very few of these type of guys. Davis looks and acts like...well, Davis, who has almost always played nice, cute people that viewers like. It took me four viewings before I finally appreciated Catharine O'Hara's comedic talents in this movie. Now, she's my favorite and someone I find absolutely hilarious as the messed-up wife/mother of a family who moves into a "haunted house" inhabited by Baldwin and Davis.
Keaton made himself a name as an actor with this whacked-out Robin Williams-type role, although he never really followed up with anything that was as popular as this film. Winona Rider is cute as the teenage daughter and we get other fun supporting roles from diverse people as talk show host Dick Cavett, singer Robert Goulet and actor Jeffrey Jones. All of them are good.
Tim Burton directed the film and so I wasn't surprised there were the typical occult themes with ghosts and the like, and no heaven or hell but some other strange existence being touted where dead people go....a ridiculous picture of the afterlife. However, I just chalk it up to someone just trying to make a fun, entertaining picture and on that, it succeeds.
Overall, a unique and entertaining film. It's different, to say the least!
Tim Burton's Beetlejuice is a great film. The director was given free reign to make his own film visually and it is great. The casting is good, but the standout is Michael Keaton. Keaton is absolutely hilarious in the title role. This movie is very funny and well done.
One of my favorite Tim Burton films ever, one of the movies I've loved since a time I can't remember. Where else could I possibly start other than with Michael Keaton. H embodies a distasteful, rude, and ultimately awesome character known as Betelegeuse. It's a role I highly doubt any other actor could play as well as Keaton did. He is an odd cross between anti-hero and villain, while still very far from just the general comic relief. Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are pretty good as the newly-dead couple, and Winona Ryder is always a treat. The rest of the cast is also awesome in their roles, not a weak spot in sight.
The cast is only the beginning of why this movie is so great. The production design is dark yet beautiful, each set so haunting. The makeup and good old stop motion are used with great effect, both adding to the horror-like atmosphere. During it all Burton breathes nicely done comedy into it all. Heightening all this is Danny Elfman's awesome score. And the black humor is superb, making it one of the most unusual yet original films out there.
I guarantee with this movie you will never get a funnier portrayal of what the afterlife must be like. Each time you watch, you only notice more and more little details. "Beetlejuice" is recognized as a genre-breaking one-of-a-kind film, and rightfully so.
Keaton steals the show as the title character in this off the wall comedy from director Burton. Baldwin and Davis are two new ghosts who try to scare new occupants of their home out, with the help of "bio exorcist" Keaton. Won a much deserved Oscar for its make up effects.
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