What She said:


In this season of ghouls and goblins, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit an old classic, Beetlejuice.  Released in 1988, when I was still just a wee one, the film is a staple for Tim Burton.  He went through this period where most of his movies hit the mark in a quirky, off beat, and yet still entertaining way.  Nowadays, we are not so fortunate. 

Most have seen Beetlejuice, but in case you haven’t, it’s the story of a couple who live in this big house.  They go to the store one day and whoops, die on the car ride home.  They wake up back at home and begin to realize that they’re now ghosts trapped in the house and trapped with the home’s new tenants.  Believe me, the Deetzes could not be more different than the original homeowners, the Maitlands.  The Maitlands are very traditional, wallpaper loving, boring 30-somethings.  The Deetzes are nutty, artistic-types from the city.  Lots of fun and hilarity ensues as the Maitlands try to get the Deetzes out of their house.  Only Lydia Deetz, the daughter, really understands the Maitlands.  Oh yeah, and there’s this dead fella called Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice) who is completely unpredictable and would like to single-handedly ruin everyone’s lives, or afterlives for that matter.


The movie features a wonderfully Tim Burton-esque cast of actors including Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Gina Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Jeffrey Jones.  Michael Keaton is particular is completely unrecognizable as Betelgeuse.  He also puts in a performance of a lifetime.  I really enjoy the uniqueness of this movie, and the representation of the various other-worlds that the dead have access to.  The film is surprisingly well written and creatively done.  Despite being filmed in the ‘80s, it also has really good make-up and pretty good special effects. 

I used to watch this movie a lot as a kid, which is funny in retrospect because a lot of the humor is very adult.  The costumes and characters make it feel like a kid’s film, and hey, there was even a Saturday morning cartoon based on the movie, but let’s face it, Betelgeuse is downright crude at times.  As an adult, this movie is up there as one of my favorites.  It’s a fresh take on the spooky, full of fun, and actually tells a decent story.  Plus, the Danny Elfman score is spot on.

Thumbs up.


What he said:


Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) a very vanilla – if now downright corny – couple. They’re not just your average American couple from the country, they could actually be the cover story in an issue of Good Housekeeping.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Truthfully, they are cornballs, but likeable ones. The reason I point it out though is because it’s an important part of how they interact with the people who move into their house after they die. Yes, they die about 10 minutes into the movie in a car accident.

Though initially in the dark about the whole thing, the Maitland’s world is turned upside down when they die and realize they seem to be trapped in their house forever. Things get worse when the Deetz’s move in. You know how I just described the Maitlands? Well the Deetz’s are the exact opposite. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is a former real estate agent who made a ton of money in the city, but became burnt out. He decides to move to the country to get some peace and quiet. His wife Delia (Catherine O’Hara) is an aspiring artist, wannabe socialite, and a total flake. This lady is a total nightmare. With the help of her interior designer Otho (Glenn Shadix), she begins to transform the home into her yuppie haven the second she walks in the door. Then there is their daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). She is a little strange and unusual, but is actually the one who identifies with the Maitlands the most.


When the Deetz’s first move in, the Maitlands try to scare them away, in an attempt to reclaim their home. When that doesn’t work, they turn to “bio-exorcist” extraordinaire, Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice (played by Michael Keaton) is a rude, obnoxious, and eager to do the job. They give him a shot, but they don’t care for his methods. They don’t want to see the Deetz’s killed and actually quite fond of Lydia. But when the Maitlands are in trouble because of a séance her parents and their friends are performing, Lydia turns to him for help. 

Beetlejuice is one of those movies that if you haven’t see or haven’t seen in a long time, it’s easy to kind just pass over or forget about it. But take my word for it, this is a very funny movie. It’s an awesome blend of comedy and one of Tim Burton’s wonderfully weird worlds. Michael Keaton is freaking hilarious. He’s a loud and obnoxious character, but if you pay attention to some the stuff he says, you’ll laugh your ass off. Winona Ryder was also excellent. It’s easy to see why she shot to fame in the 80s and early 90s. Catherine O’Hara and Glenn Shadix are wonderful together as two neurotic urbanites desperate to spice up this boring country town. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the dorky, but loveable couple, the Maitlands. They are so idealistic and naïve you can’t help but love them. If you are in the mood for something to help you get in the Halloween spirit, but also laugh, this is worth a watch.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on October 19, 2012.