Beetlejuice (1988)

Standard

By Scott Ross

Tim Burton’s best movie. Working from a black-tinged comic screenplay by Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren (and his own, highly original, character designs) Burton crafted something uncategorizable — a horror spoof that’s both hilarious and creepy. In the title role, Michael Keaton gives a performance of such outrageous vitality and comic brilliance it’snon-pariel — like seeing Groucho Marx for the very first time. A very likable Geena Davis and a surprisingly endearing Alec Baldwin are the newly departed owners of a rustic New England house taken over by a pretentious “artist” (the sublime Catherine O’Hara), her lackadaisical husband (the deliriously blasé Jeffrey Jones) and their disturbed teenage daughter (Wynona Ryder). The great Sylvia Sidney has a recurrent cameo that’s really just a sick visual joke, but it’s so perfect you may gasp with shock and pleasure. Danny Elfman composed the utterly distinctive score, and Harry Belafonte’s recording of “Day-O” is given an invigorating comedic workout.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s