This week, I wanted to review a movie that tugs on my nostalgic heartstrings. A film that I have been watching since I was six years old. That film is Beetlejuice. I’ve talked about this movie with my friends on multiple occasions, and every time I do, I get so frustrated because none of them have seen it! It’s one of those things where a movie is so iconic and influential in your own life, that it just blows your mind that that same film doesn’t have the same effect on others. That’s what happens every time my friends tell me they haven’t seen Beetlejuice. Well, now, I’m finally going to make my case for why Beetlejuice is a movie that everyone needs to see.
Released in 1988, Beetlejuice was written by Michael McDowell and directed by the great Tim Burton. Now, I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Tim Burton fan, but some of his movies were ones that I grew up watching. I still think his Batman movies are superior to any of the more recent ones. Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, and Corpse Bride are also favorites. But, we’re here to talk about Beetlejuice. The film tells the story of Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin), a young couple who die in a car accident. Hijinks ensue after a new family, The Deetzes, moves into their house and they want them gone, so they hire a demon (Beetlejuice, played brilliantly by Michael Keaton) to get rid of them.
The cast of this movie is phenomenal. Even if one actor was replaced, it wouldn’t be the same movie. Especially Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. He makes this movie: everything from the voice, to the mannerisms, to the comedic timing. Everything with his performance is perfection. Winona Ryder plays Lydia Deetz, a goth teen who is also the only person who can see the Maitlands. Catherine O’Hara plays Delia Deetz, Lydia’s stepmother, a woman obsessed with art and appearances. O’Hara adds almost as much comedy to the film as Keaton, with her performance being completely over the top and hilarious.
This dark comedy is a perfect Halloween movie, which is confirmed by its inclusion in Freeform’s (formerly ABC Family) “13 Days of Halloween” block of programming. The characters’ looks are also iconic as well, and make for perfect Halloween costumes. I’ve actually dressed up as Beetlejuice twice in my life for Halloween, one of which actually won me a costume contest.
Beetlejuice is a film that was way too weird to ever work, but somehow it does. It actually works very well. Take it from someone who has watched this film over and over again, Beetlejuice is a film with the most about the ghost with the most.
Live people ignore the strange and unusual. This film itself is...strange and unusual.