Fantasy, 116 Minutes, 1988
[My daughter recently discovered that all her Jewish friends go the movies on Christmas day. She came up with the idea of watching a movie for each night of Hanukkah. This is number three!]
Tim Burton [IMDB], Alec Baldwin [IMDB], Geena Davis [IMDB] and Michael Keaton [IMDB] in their absolute primes? A twisted ghost story mixing exorcism, afterlife bureaucracy and Saturnian sandworms? Winona Ryder [IMDB] as a hot goth chick before hot goth chicks got passé? (Yes, I realize she was only 16 but, hey, I was only 17…)
Yes! Yes, please!
This is the quintessential Burton movie. Dark, frenetic and so lovingly warped. The saccharine and the sour blended together. Classic Harry Belafonte songs dancing against the backdrop of Danny Elfman’s haunting, pounding theme. The gloriously distinctive, timeless practical effects. Every scene, almost every frame, is iconic.
Most importantly, this takes you back to a time when all of that was completely fresh. When people had never seen anything like this before. Before Tim Burton’s movies started to feel familiar and Elfman had scored… well, everything. Gloriously, even though you most likely can quote every line, “Beetlejuice” still feels fresh and new.