Monday, July 12, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #78

78. Beetlejuice (1988)

Director Tim Burton knows how to create a world. His visuals always come from that dark place and yet somehow have splashes of color. This movie is no exception. The film tells the story of an ordinary couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) who die in a car accident. What follows is how the ghostly couple must deal with the yuppies who have moved into their charming country home and proceed to change everything about it. As ghosts, they believe they can scare the family away, but to no avail. They try to hire the title character, billed as "The Ghost with the Most", but he is a little much for their taste. Strange idea for a movie but it is Tim Burton and it is a comedy. And Burton fills the movie with his "stock company" of players like Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara (who steals the movie as the image-obsessed yuppie wife). Then, of course, there is Michael Keaton in the titular role. Keaton is thrilling, funny and all-over-the-place, which works for the character. And there is composer Danny Elfman's score. Elfman mixes his usual brand of chilling themes with the Harry Belafonte songs and proves he is master of his domain (insert Seinfeld joke here). One of the most hilarious scenes in the film is the dinner party where the guests (led by the amazing Ms. O'Hara) are forced to perform Belafonte's "Day-O." The movie was followed by a successful Saturday morning animated series, which was actually pretty good, but not as great as the original.

Next Post: #77

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