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(1988)

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8/10
Lots and lots and lots of fun
MartinHafer6 August 2008
This is a great movie to simply watch and enjoy--no need to think or analyze--just enjoy the silliness and cool factor of this nice film.

A young couple living in their dream house (Alec Baldwin and Gina Davis) are accidentally killed and thereafter live as ghosts in the home. Some time later, a family of freaks (Jeffery Jones, Catherine O'Hara) and their disaffected daughter (Winona Ryder) move in--much to the ghosts' chagrin. That's because instead of respecting the lovely home's charms, the parents want to turn it into a pseudo-intellectual freak house. However, Winona somehow is able to see and communicate with the ghosts--but her parents can't believe that they exist or that they're doing anything wrong with the house.

The dead couple try to scare away the family, but their attempts are really lame (and funny) and this only makes the weirdos want to stay even more! So, out of desperation, they seek out the most evil and obnoxious ghost, Beetle Juice (Michael Keaton) to help. The problem is that although Beetle Juice is able to scare anyone, he's also a total maniac and once let out, he's amazingly difficult to stop.

The film abounds with many things you'd expect to see in a Tim Burton directed film--weird special effects, an odd set design (after the weirdos transform the house), fun and a definite "cool factor". The actors do a fine job as well. Additionally, the script is smart and fun. While some might find this too dark a film for young kids, for older kids and adults, it's mighty entertaining and silly. Plus the music is just so darn infectious and fun!
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10/10
A landmark supernatural comedy as well as being a refreshingly flaky fantasy
TheLittleSongbird16 April 2010
Beetle Juice may be strange and oddball at first, but like several films I have seen over the years, it could well grow on you. Essentially it is a landmark supernatural comedy as well as being a refreshingly flaky fantasy crammed with wit and invention, that I think is one of Tim Burton's better films along with Batman, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands. It is also a marvellously imaginative view of the afterlife as a ghoulish extension of mundane earthbound problems. The visuals once again are absolutely wonderful, with dark cinematography, imaginative sets and zany special effects. The script are filled to the brim with one-liners that are funny and somewhat demonic, the score from Danny Elfman is fun and the direction is pretty much superb. And I loved how offbeat the performances were, with Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis suitably low key as the recently deceased couple who want to rid their new home of human pests. Speaking of those human pests, Catherine O' Hara proves herself fantastically pretentious as the artist whose creations come to life in one of the film's most memorable scenes, and Jeffrey Jones and Winona Ryder are also memorable but it is Michael Keaten as Bettelgeuse, the unstable freelance exorcist who steals the show who portrays the character as unique and completely and utterly insane. Overall, unique, imaginative and lots of fun. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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7/10
The dos and don'ts of haunting
bkoganbing21 October 2019
This is one rollicking movie about the afterlife. What I get from it is that it ain't a place of tranquility. At least that's the way it is for the recently deceased Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis.

This married couple drive off a bridge and drown though the fact they're dead isn't immediately apparent. When that fact is accepted some new folks buy the place. The new couple is Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara and their daughter Winona Ryder.

Ryder is a Goth kid who sees the ghosts and convnces the parents. Jones has big plans for the place that don't include spirits. He sends for deorator/exorcist Glenn Shadix. Baldwin and Davis send for wild and crazy spirit Beeteljuice.

Michael Keaton is our most unconventional ghost. He gives out with one ribald and insane film performance, a cross between Robin Williams and Steve Martin. Don't move don't blink or you will miss a crazy gesture or line. Keaton helps, but he always does things his way.

The makeup used for Keaton and all the other spirits won an Oscar for the film. Director Tim Burton is on top of his game with Beetlejuice.
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Great Performances and Vision But.....
Michael_Elliott5 October 2011
Beetlejuice (1988)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A newly deceased couple (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) are horrified to learn that a new family is about to move into their former home so they decide to scare them away. When that doesn't work the dead couple must call on a "bio-exorcist" (Michael Keaton) who has a few different tricks to play. BEETLEJUICE is a film loved by many but I'm not one of them. I remember going to see this film when it first came out and I remember being pretty disappointed in it. I finally decided to revisit the movie to see if it's grown on me any and it hasn't sadly. There's still plenty of stuff that I really enjoy here but in the end the film was just too cold for me. Among the stuff I do enjoy is the vision of Burton who really does a very good job at giving us a rather beautiful, deranged and surreal picture. I really loved the sets, the weird characters and of course the visions of what it's like to be dead. I'm really not sure if there was another director out there who could have done a better job because of purely a visual this film is a treat. Another major plus is the all-star cast even those who aren't given too much to do. I thought both Baldwin and Davis were very good early on as the happy-go-lucky couple but once they're dead I found the screenplay didn't use either of them all that well. Winona Ryder nearly steals the film as the strange teenager who isn't afraid of the ghost and instead turns out to be their friend. I really loved the Gothic style she brings to the role and I thought she was perfect at playing that laid back character. Catherine O'Hara. Jeffrey Jones, Dick Cavett and Sylvia Sidney are all good in their parts as well. Then, of course, there's Keaton who delivers a wonderful performance as the title character. The fast, maniac style that Keaton brings to the role is quite unforgettable and he really does a terrific job at coming off just like an animated cartoon character. I think Keaton really deserves a lot of credit because not too many actors could have played a part like this and it's doubtful many would have had the personality to shine through all the make-up and special effects. With all of that said you'd think I would be more warm to the film but I can't be. I think after a cute opening and set-up the only thing we get are gimmicks. There's not really much of a story. There's not really much to any of the characters. I'd also say that there aren't nearly enough funny moments. The entire film just strikes me as all style and very little substance.
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2/10
A stupid film
Leofwine_draca26 June 2016
Tim Burton's BEETLEJUICE is a film so over the top that it makes PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE look like a model of restraint. I'll freely admit that I hated this film from beginning to end because it's so stupidly portrayed, particularly on the part of the entire cast. Everyone in this film mugs or shouts their way through the over the top roles, and the result was that I was cringing from beginning to end. I have no choice but to blame Burton for not asking for greater restraint from the participants.

The surreal plot is pretty original and that's the best thing it has going for it, but the execution is rather diabolical. Things happen and exist for no seeming reason other than weirdness, like Beetlejuice living in the toy town or appearing on TV. I was trying to get my head around it all but I never ended up doing so. I was amused to read that Michael Keaton says this was his favourite role, as his character is so generic absolutely anybody could have played the part.

Sure, there are elements of interest here, including some cool stop motion effects and the usual quirky monster creations which prop up Burton films. But when the whole cast are so awful and the characters are so grating, it becomes a film impossible to enjoy. A wooden Alec Baldwin and an embarrassing Geena Davis (closer to EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY than THE FLY, unfortunately) are a case in point, although a youthful Winona Ryder is out of her depth as well.
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9/10
Tim Burton goes big time
SnoopyStyle18 October 2013
Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) are a young happy couple in lovely house. They die in a car accident and are left stranded to haunt their home. The annoying advant garde Deetzs (Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder) move in, and the Maitlands are helpless to scare them off. Finally they get a specialist Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) to excise the living from their house.

Tim Burton is a complete original, and this is the first tastes of his quirky visual sense. It's too obvious to say this is an original vision. Consider that it is so original that nobody really has done anything similar since other than maybe Burton himself.

The great thing is that the story works as well. It's funny. It's cute. It's heart warming. I love the characters, and the actors are all great in their performances. Of course Michael Keaton goes crazy in this one. But Catherine O'Hara is also hilarious, and Winona Ryder is absolutely winning in this.
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6/10
Half Charming/Half Over the Top
Hitchcoc2 December 2016
From "Topper" to "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" to present day, we have had movies where ghosts occupy space with humans and even are in discourse with them (usually, only one of them). In this film, a couple of newlyweds purchase and old house and everything is fine until they are both killed in a car accident. In the afterlife, they continue to occupy the place, but, of course, the house is sold, and another couple moves in. This is disheartening as they now realize they are actually dead. We have a lot of potential here. They decide to drive the new owners out of the house, but they don't know what they can do, so they enlist an evil spirit, played by Michael Keaton, to do their dirty work. The problem is that he is totally uncontrollable and soon they are paying a bigger price than the new occupants. Of course, it's Tim Burton, so it's dark and oddly funny, but Keaton wears on one after a while, and the film slide into all sorts of gimmicky special effects. He is not the least likable, and that works against the charm of the story.
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6/10
A comedy classic for the modern ages.
mark.waltz7 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When a pale faced, mop-haired creature from beyond comes along to teach some recent dead about how to deal with the living while still roaming the planet as ghosts, trouble is about to brew. In the hands of novice director Tim Burton, one of the great comedy masterpieces came along to inspire others, yet has never been surpassed. Rising stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis portray the happily wed couple, having just moved into their new suburban home, yet killed in a freak accident. They are warned by their adviser Sylvia Sidney (think welfare worker for the dead) to totally ignore "Beetlejuice" and certainly never say his name three times, much like human beings were warned not to feed gremlin Gizmo after midnight.

Why are the unusually quiet Baldwin and Davis so desperate to scare the new residents (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara, along with Gothic daughter Winona Ryder) out of their house? That's because they are ghosts, and that is what ghosts do. The veteran 30's leading lady Sidney, smoking with the exhaust coming out of an obvious slit throat (which made me think that this was her aunt scared to death by the raven in "Damien: The Omen II"), delivers her lines with that raspy crankiness of an aging New York Executive Secretary and is hysterically funny. Michael Keaton too takes on this role with a great challenge, devouring it like the zag-nut bar he offered to the title character's desired fly lunch.

As the WASPY artist family who has taken over the home, Jones and O'Hara are the perfect befuddled couple who obviously can't stand each other, with Ryder perfectly droll as Jones' daughter from an earlier marriage. The comic gags come fast and furious, first with O'Hara suddenly breaking into "Day-O" as the ghosts of Baldwin and Davis take over her and the guests, then when "Beetlejuice" shows them how to do it at a second dinner party where the frights are heightened.

The potential genius for Tim Burton had already been seen in the sleeper hit "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and has continued on to this day. This is a director who obviously will one day be in the ranks of Hitchcock, Fellini, Vincent Minnelli and John Ford (among others) where just the mention of their name brings up visuals of great art within the world cinema. The only thing I can say about this movie is that unlike other Tim Burton movies, it hasn't aged as well, and often seems like a surrealistic experience which at times just became a bit perplexing to get through.
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7/10
Delightful Comedy
claudio_carvalho21 October 2006
In New England, the couple Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) is in love for each other and for their beautiful house. While driving back home from the town, they have a car accident, falling from a bridge into a river and dying, but becoming trapped afterlife in their home. When their house is sold to Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones), his wife Delia (Catherine O'Hara) decides to redecorate the place with new painting and furniture. Barbara and Adam unsuccessfully try to scare them, and they become connected to their Gothic daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), who is able to see them. However, they decide to hire the services of the "bio-exorcist" ghost Beetle Juice (Michael Keaton) but when they see how dangerous he is, they call-off his services. But Beetle Juice wants to get married to Lydia to definitely return to the world of the living.

The first feature of Tim Burton is a delightful comedy, where he introduces a calling card of his dark style with nice characters in a very funny story, great make–up and special effects and a stunning and hilarious performance of Michael Keaton. The annoying music of Danny Elfman is the only negative point of this highly recommended movie. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Fantasmas se Divertem" ("The Ghosts Have Fun")
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7/10
"Is death the problem and not the solution?"
classicsoncall16 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this film was a blast when I first saw it some twenty plus years ago. It didn't quite reach that same level as I watched it again tonight, but it didn't miss the mark by all that much. For me, it's Michael Keaton's interpretation of the title character that makes the picture. As the free lance bio-exorcist straight from (can I say it?) hell, he brings a manic quality to the character that just cracks me up even today. To this date, whenever I hear someone say 'It's showtime', it's Keaton's showtime I'm reminded of.

Some will say this is a macabre story, but it's got a strange balance of wit and humor. My favorite scene is the Da-yo sequence, seemingly coming out of nowhere with no connection to the events of the story, but it captures just the right tone to make the film enjoyable. Other little quirks like the 'Handbook for the Recently Deceased' and the 'Lost Souls Room' are curiously amusing as well. Probably the best gag in the picture was that cool tribute to Vincent Price's 1959 flick "The Fly", in that scene with the Zagnut Bar and the fly crying 'Help me, help me'. You just have to see that earlier picture to get it.

With Alec Baldwin's recent conflicted real life history, I can't say that I'm any kind of fan of his, but he does a fair enough job here. Geena Davis is always pleasing to see, and I recall this early film appearance of Winona Ryder with some fondness. The coolest casting surprise in the movie was Sylvia Sidney as the after-life spiritual guide. Hey, she worked with some of the best in her career - Bogart, Cagney, Raft and Hitchcock - and you can't get any better than that.

If you're an old time movie or TV fan, you've probably seen an episode or two of 'Topper'. Well "Beetlejuice" is like 'Topper' on steroids, but without the St. Bernard. You know, that would have been a good idea, so if anyone's thinking of a remake, that would be a good starting point.
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9/10
Tim Burton's Career When It Was About Peaked
gavin694211 November 2007
The Maitlands (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are a happy young couple in a big house, redecorating to their hearts' content while another relative insists that they sell. After a minor car accident, both of them drown and the house is sold... but unfortunately the couple still "lives" on inside the home alongside the annoying new family. How can they scare the newcomers away?

I watched this film on Halloween 2007 for two reasons -- first, because you need to watch scary movies on Halloween (although I think this is really more of a comedy). But second, because Robert Goulet had passed on a few days before, and I felt it would only be right and proper to honor the man who had made such an impression in my life after seeing him sing live in 2002.

As far as I know, this film marks the first Tim Burton and Michael Keaton collaboration, before they both went on to make the two best Batman films in history (at least until Chris Nolan came around). We also have Jeffrey Jones, another regular and the music by Danny Elfman from Oingo Boingo. Winona Ryder (from Burton's "Edward Scissorhands") is here, and this is by far her greatest role. Maybe her only truly great role, in fact, as this is the way I like to remember her... not so much as Spock's mother.

Tim Burton was perfect to direct this film, giving him a range of weird and grotesque things to work with, weird clay stuff and wild architecture. It's like the peak of his career because it's as strange as "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and as dark as any of his films... all of which were perfect until he picked "Planet of the Apes" and his career died a brutal death (with the post-Apes exception of "Big Fish" and perhaps "Big Eyes").

That is what you get here, though: comedy and the macabre, mixed together... a world where suicide victims get to spend the afterlife as civil servants... and your death wound stays visible forever. (Drowning seems to have been a good choice to avoid looking awful.) Michael Keaton at his dirtiest (think "Night Shift" and not "Mr. Mom"). Oh, and Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song"... you need that.

So, should you see it? The real question is why haven't you already? Any horror fan will appreciate this, as will any Tim Burton fan. The feel of this film is fun and fresh even two decades later. There is a special edition 20th anniversary DVD, which also offers a few episodes of the cartoon for some reason. It isn't great... maybe next time?
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10/10
Now this is life after death!
lee_eisenberg20 September 2005
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!
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9/10
Beetlejuice
jboothmillard10 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) directs some good actors in a great and humorous horror comedy. Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) are newlyweds. They live in a big house on a hill outside a town. One day they drive home after collecting something and die from falling off a bridge in their car and drowning. Somehow they came back, and then they discovered that they were dead. Now that they are dead their house has been bought by a new family. Delia (Catherine O'Hara) and Charles (Jeffrey Jones) with their daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). Adam and Barbara are trying everything to get the family out of their house. Then they find a doorway to the dead world, it's here where they get advice from Juno (Sylvia Sidney). But they don't take her advice, they decide to let out a "bio exorcist" called Beetlegeuse/juice (Michael Keaton). When he is let out of his grave he causes all sorts of trouble for the newlyweds and the family. It won the Oscar for Best Makeup, and it was nominated the BAFTAs Best Make Up Artist and Best Special Effects. It was number 41 on The 100 Greatest Family Films (it's a 15!), and it was number 88 on 100 Years, 100 Laughs. Very good!
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Unique Characters & Story, To Say The Least
ccthemovieman-124 June 2006
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!
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6/10
Cute
rmax3048235 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A house-owning couple (Baldwin and Davis) in New England are killed in an auto accident, but show up as fully fleshed ghosts confined to their old house. A new couple, the sculptress manqué O'Hara and the real estate flipper Jones, buy the house, reshape its classic lines with egregious appurtenances, and throw out the old furniture and fill the house with post-modern junk -- and O'Hara's monstrous sculptures.

The ghosts want to get rid of the new owners but can't seem to scare them, so they hire a rogue bio-exorcists named Beetlejuice (Keaton). Everything goes crazy.

Well, that's the story, insofar as anyone can make out a story. It begins promisingly enough, diverting and funny, but the plot line gets lost and it turns into a special effects extravaganza.

I wonder if, in 1988, computer-generated graphics were a polished device because they seem a little clumsy here sometimes -- as when Baldwin runs around holding his head in his hand.

The characters are all well done though. Sylvia Sidney as Baldwin's and Davis' "case worker" is a hoot. She plays it like an irritable New York Jew who inhales her cigarette smoke and exhales it through the fissure in her throat. Michael Keaton, my co-star in the superb artistic and commercial hit, "The Squeeze", brings a vulgar kind of life to every scene he's in. The guy and the character are really animated. His head spins like a dredl, he turns into a dragon, and he does a television commercial advertising his skills, and it's a peerless parody of Cal Worthington and his auto dealership. Calvin Cooledge Worthington may be a more familiar name to those living in Southern California. You couldn't get away from him anymore than you could get away from a television set.

That brief jibe is only one of several that are funny. "Hell" turns out to be a garish, purple waiting room with revolting Musak and people who took a ticket and are waiting their turn, only the office is now serving Number Three and your ticket is in the millions. At an apt moment the music turns into the shrieking violins of "Psycho," though that's no longer very original.

Alas, the story does wind up derailed, the eviction of the new tenants discarded, and what follows makes little sense. The incidents seem like an excuse for excess and aren't linked together by any sort of human logic.

But when it rings the bell, it sparkles for a moment. Daughter Winona Ryder can't wake her mother up because "she's sleeping with Prince Valium."
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9/10
Dead funny
Tweekums13 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When Adam and Barbara Maitland crash their car into the river they don't know how they got back home at first; then they realise they did not survive the crash! Being dead is rather confusing even when you have the handbook. They soon figure out they can't leave the house and that doesn't seem too bad until the house is sold to the Deetz family. The Maitlands take an instant disliking to Delia Deetz in particular as she sets about deciding what alterations she must have done to make the house habitable. They attempt to scare her and her husband but they can't see them. The only person who can see them is their daughter Lydia Deetz. She tells her parents about the ghosts but obviously they don't believe her... until they put on a show during the middle of a dinner party; far from scaring them off though they think having a haunted house might be an opportunity! The Maitlands seek help, first from their afterlife case worker Juno then from Bio-Exorcist Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetle Juice). He seems more of a danger to them than the Deetz family though!

This film is a lot of fun in the slightly dark way one would expect from a Tom Burton film. Michael Keaton puts in a delightfully over the top performance in the title role; having seen this I'm surprised that Burton didn't cast him as The Joker in his 'Batman' film! Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are good as the Maitlands although playing ordinary people (how just happen to be dead) they get less opportunities to show what they can do. Winona Ryder is great as Lydia; one of her earliest roles and probably the one that got her noticed by the film going public. Other notable performances come from Catherine O'Hara and Jeffery Jones as Delia and Charles Deetz and Glenn Shadix who plays Delia's strange decorator/guru Otho. The film is full of great special effects; no CGI here; just great make-up, stop go animation and puppetry. Burton's regular collaborator Danny Elfman's music fits the film perfectly. The film is definitely a comedy but there are some scary moments and a little bit of swearing that means it might not be suitable for younger children... the film may be rated '15' here in the UK but I suspect if it gets re-certificated one day it will be lowered to '12' given that it is much tamer than many '12' rated films.
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7/10
Funny and amusing horror comedy in which a pair of ghosts hire a peculiar exorcist
ma-cortes6 June 2012
A surreal , grotesque farce with continual surprises about an ultra-nice couple (Alec Baldwin , Geena Davis) of recently deceased ghosts who contract the services of a "bio-exorcist" called Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton, the title character is named for a bright red star in the constellation of Orion, Betelgeusein) in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house , and they contract him to rid of all trespassers for a price . The fantastique exorcist only be contacted when his name is correctly pronounced three consecutive times . Among those who feel the need to hire are a couple of newly-dead who are confined to a living hell in their own home which is being invaded by obnoxious new inhabitants , a family of post-modern art-lovers , formed by a marriage (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara who was a replacement for an ill Anjelica Huston as Delia, on the set she met her future husband, production designer Bo Welch who created the inventive set design) and their rare daughter named Lydia (Winona Ryder ; though also auditioned for the role Juliette Lewis , Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Connelly all turned down the same role) . But the things go wrong when the maniacal BeetleJuice works his own magic .

Bemusing film plenty of humor , easy fun , cheesy scenes , special effects galore and strange situations . Michael Keaton steals the show as the repulsive and raucous Bio-exorcist , he spent only two weeks filming his part in the film , which lasts 17.5 minutes out of the 92-minute running time . The highlights of the film are the unforgettable Calypso scenes that result to be priceless images . The original script was a horror film , and featured Beetlejuice as a winged, reptilian demon who transformed into a small Middle Eastern man , subsequent script rewrites turned the film into a comedy and toned down Beetlejuice's character into the ghost of an wise cracking con-artist rather than a demon. Winona Ryder is astounding as the Gothic adolescent with a death complex and majoring in weirdness , while Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones are amusing as the yuppie marriage . The picture packs eye-popping and colorful cinematography by Thomas Ackerman . Lively and amusing musical score by Danny Elffman , Tim Burton's usual .

Not surprisingly, the movie's impressive box-office success created plans for a sequel: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. A script was commissioned and Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder both signed on to reprise their respective roles, but Tim Burton lost interest in the project and went on to direct Batman and Batman Returns instead. As late as 1996, Warner Bros. was still trying to get the original sequel concept into production but a finished film has yet to materialize.

The motion picture was well realized by Tim Burton , giving a quirky vision of the afterlife and showing his usual weird touches . This unstructured but habitually delightful live action cartoon will appeal to Tim Burton fans . The supernatural comedy was a huge and surprising box-office hit, which in turn led to Burton being entrusted with the reins on the hugely expensive Batman (1989). Although his least personal film, it was one of the most successful movies of all time, and gave him unprecedented power in Hollywood considering the originality and adventurousness of his work thus far. ¨Edward Scissorhands¨ (1990), another hit, saw him at the peak of his creative powers and established a fruitful working relationship with actor Johnny Depp. ¨Batman returns¨ (1992) was a far darker and quirkier film than the original, a reflection of how much creative freedom Burton had won . And although Ed Wood (1994), his loving tribute to the life and work of the legendary Worst Director of All Time, Edward D. Wood Jr., was a box-office disaster, it garnered some of the best reviews of Burton's career .
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4/10
This film's popularity perplexes me.
BA_Harrison22 December 2013
When their attempts to scare away the obnoxious new owners of their home prove less than successful, recently deceased couple Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) turn to outrageous 'bio-exorcist' Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) for help.

They played Harry Belafonte's 'Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)' at my work's Xmas 'do' this year, which made me realise that it's been a whopping 25 years since I last saw Beetlejuice (as well as making me painfully aware that dancing the conga when sober isn't anywhere near as much fun as it is while plastered—next year, I drink!). Sadly, a quarter of a century later, the film isn't anywhere near as much fun as I remembered it to be…

There are plenty of creative ideas and director Tim Burton's morbid style is much in evidence, but the film as a whole proves to be far less than the sum of its parts—a series of quirky, macabre, but not very funny gags with little in the way of a decent story to tie it all together. Keaton is also rather irritating as the 'ghost with the most'; thankfully he gets precious little screen-time (despite the film being named after his character), but Winona Ryder, an actress that I simply cannot abide, is sadly present throughout.
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8/10
Has a crazy rhythm all its own
moonspinner5528 September 2002
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 ****
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7/10
It's showtime...
paul_haakonsen19 October 2019
The 1988 movie "Beetlejuice" is a classic Tim Burton movie in every sense of that meaning. Not sure what I mean, well if you don't, what hole have you been living in, as Burton is very characteristic in his movie creation.

If you haven't already seen the 1988 movie "Beetlejuice", then you should definitely take the time to do so, because this is a whacky, goofy and hilarious movie from beginning to end. You have your classic Burtonesque designs in sets, scenery, costumes and creatures, and the dialogue is just to die for. You also have the typical Burton stop-motion-animation as well. And it also helps that the movie has a very entertaining storyline and an impressive cast.

To portray the various oddball characters in the movie are the likes of Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Glenn Shadix and not to mention Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton as Beetlegeuse himself. I have always liked Keaton in this particular role, because the character is so whacky and Keaton portrays Beetlegeuse with perfection.

"Beetlejuice" is a movie that you can watch more than once, and I think I am on my fourth viewing of it so far. The movie doesn't get old.

I am rating this classic a solid seven out of ten stars.
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7/10
ghosts against ghosts
dbdumonteil19 November 2006
In 1988, prior to the inordinate success of "Batman" (1989) which would line his pockets, Tim Burton bequeathed this work which is from his own words: "a comical version of "the Exorcist" told from two dead people's point of view". I have never been a fan of William Friedkin's masquerade marred by extravagant, ludicrous special effects.

There are also special effects in "Beetle Juice" and they constituted the main attraction for many viewers when the film was released. But unlike Friedkin's enticing work they're much better tapped to serve as complements for the needs of the story but also to depict the beyond after death for Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin. On this point, one recognizes with pleasure Burton's trademark. The filmmaker had visibly pleasure to recreate a quirky vision of hell enhanced by extravagant scenery with rather loud colors and populated with funny monsters. This hellish universe has the look of a public services office.

Another positive thing about "Beetle Juice" is that it never really falls into the excessive or the very grim and genteel humor is also an asset for the film. The story has genuine looks in its beginning but takes a derivative direction as the film advances and certain characters verge on the space of cardboard characters. But the actors seemed to be well aware of this problem and perhaps that's why they offer subdued, enjoyable performances. But the prize for the best actor arguably goes to Michael Keaton as the grouchy, dangerous Beetle Juice, absolutely unrecognizable under his make-up.

"Beetle Juice" hasn't got really its place among Burton's seminal works like "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), "Ed Wood" (1994) or "Big Fish" (2003) but if the filmmaker's set of themes and stylish job is your cup of tea, why not give it a chance?
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7/10
Tim Burton ghost story
blanche-227 October 2009
There's nothing new about ghost stories, or even married couples who are ghosts, but there's only one Tim Burton. Here, in 1988's "Beetle Juice," he puts his own zany, delightful spin on a ghost story, complete with ghosts who try scaring people with sheets over their heads.

Adam and Barbara (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) die when their car goes over a cliff, and, returning to their house, they soon realize they didn't survive the crash. One hint was no reflections in the mirror. They find a handbook for the recently deceased. They also find a family, the Deetzes, moving into their house (Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, and the goth-foreshadowing Winona Ryder). Adam and Barbara want the people out of their house, and when they meet their counselor from the other side (Sylvia Sidney), they learn they have to stay in the house for 125 years. They realize that they have to scare the Deetzes away. Though they have been warned against contacting the zombie Betelguese (Michael Keaton), they need help, so they call upon him. If he can't help them get rid of the Deetzes, no one can.

Bizarre, crazy film with all kinds of colorful effects and Harry Belafonte music. My mother was a great fan of Belafonte and saw him in concert; we had every one of those recordings. It was great fun hearing them again in some hilarious situations! Strangely, the actual Betelgeuse character is a small role, but Keaton is so bombastic and wild, it's enough. He's excellent. The focus of the story is on Baldwin and Davis, who are attractive and very believable as a married couple. Sylvia Sidney, Dick Cavett, and Robert Goulet have small roles, and they're all great. This was a breakout film for Winona Ryder, the only Deetz who can see the ghosts. She does a standout job, and Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones are appropriately "out there" as Mr. and Mrs. Deetz.

Few people have Tim Burton's sensibility or imagination. Sometimes I'm not sure if that's a bad thing, but there's no doubt that he's never boring. In anyone else's hands, this would have been an amusing movie. In Burton's hands, it's highly unusual.
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10/10
AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER, EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT! (that's not just a quote)
Quinoa198427 September 2000
This is one of Tim Burton's best films. His sophomore effort shows the story of a married couple (the Maitlands played with good degree by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who die accidentally 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 every time I watch. Reccomendable to anyone.
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9/10
Dead…. And LOVING it!
Coventry14 July 2006
God knows many have tried, yet only ridiculously few filmmakers succeeded in bringing horror-comedies that are actually funny AND genuinely macabre at the same time! And yet, since the beginning of his career already, Tim Burton manages to pull this off seemly without the slightest bit of effort. "Beetle Juice" in particular is the most spirited horror-comedy I ever saw and possibly even one of the best comedies of the entire 80's decade! It's an incredibly energetic movie, and you gladly allow the characters and situations to go immensely over-the-top. I don't know how he does it or what his secret is, but in a Tim Burton movie, there are equal amounts of devotion going out to the comedy aspects and the make-up effects! By the rather gruesome make-up art, you certainly can't derive that "Beetle Juice" is also a light-headed comedy! The portrayal of the "afterlife" is pretty eerie and notably the séance-sequence is quite frightening. Despite originally intended to be much more horrific, "Beetle Juice" is definitely creepy at times. It often looks like an obscure comic book story that came to life! The happily married Maitlands – Alex Baldwin and Geena Davis - both pass away in a car accident but have to remain ghost-residents in their own house for another 125 years. This wouldn't be such a problem, if it weren't for the new owners, an eccentric New York family with the intention of giving the old-fashioned nest an avant-garde makeover. In order to scare them away, they might require the help of the too-much-too-handle bio exorcist Betelgeuse. This immediately turns out to be a bad idea, as Betelgeuse is an unscrupulous, boisterous and totally deranged lunatic. This crazy flick terrifically stood the test of time and still benefits from its great music and excellent acting performances. All the players are great, but obviously Michael Keaton will be remembered most for his sensational role as Betelgeuse. He swears, transforms into snake-like monsters, dances atop graves, visits miniature brothels and fires off some of the most comical one-liners in the history of cinema, including: "Go ahead, make my Millennium" and "I'm the ghost with the most, babe". Thanks to him, you worry a lot less about having to die one day
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Peewee's Spookhouse
tedg10 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I revisited this film for a specific project. IMDB comment-writing has given me an excuse to resee and think about what films were important (or good in some way) and why. Now after almost two years, I'm developing a list of filmmakers and a few actors worth following. Should Tim Burton be on the list?

Tim has at least one rare quality of an effective filmmaker: he has the ability to shape some critical mass of the elements of his work to adhere to a coherent vision. A Burton film is pretty recognizable. But have any of his films struck me in a particularly strong way? Have any been life-altering (some by others have) or even remembered particularly fondly? The strongest candidate was this one. It is also of passing interest for Geena and Winona history.

There are only two things in this film to recommend it: Keaton's slapstick performance. But his three or four frenetic appearances alone are not enough to justify sitting front of the screen. The other element is remarkable: Efman's score. Our old Boingo man I think has literally helped Burton define himself, so the sonic texture here is more than perfect.

Burton does not go on my list of greats. But I think I'll start a list of film score composers.

A remark on the architecture. I have a special interest in how films handle space, and a part of that is the architecture. What Otho supposedly did to the outside of the house is pretty good actually, very apt for the notion of the film itself: what you see is some distance removed from reality.
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