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Beetlejuice is the best Tim Burton movie that doesn’t star Johnny Depp. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play the Maitlands, and they are living in wedded bliss, but then they die, and things aren’t so great anymore. They are stuck in purgatory for 125 years and must get used to being ghosts. A New Yorker family moves into their house and they must rely on a bio-exorcist named Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) to get rid of the Deetzes.

Beetlejuice is a classic film. Everyone has seen it at least once, and if they haven’t than they suck. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play an overly happy, extremely lovey-dovey couple. All they have are each other and a handcrafted scale model of their hometown. The first few scenes of the movie showcase their nearly perfect life. About eight minutes into the movie, they crash into a bridge and careen into the water. Not to ruin anything, but they die.

The movie explores the afterlife, but Death is portrayed as a bureaucracy, something you have to deal with, like going to the DMV.  The Maitlands receive a guidebook called the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. There is an afterlife waiting room with a receptionist and numerous dead employees. The afterlife reception waiting room is this movie’s Cantina scene. The Maitlands are assigned a caseworker, who offers them advice on dealing with the Deetzes, but her most important advice is to avoid soliciting help from Betelgeuse.

The Maitlands don’t like the Deetzes initially, but they gradually form a friendship with their daughter Lydia, played by Winona Ryder. She is a Goth chick and can see ghosts, because everyone knows that Goths see ghosts.

Michael Keaton plays Beetlejuice. He only has about seventeen minutes of screen time. He is not the main character; he is just the title character. There is a difference. Keaton is like Alan Rickman in this movie, he just does so much with so little. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis do a great job, but Keaton steals the movie. It wouldn’t have been as good with any other actor.

Tim Burton movies are very distinctive. CG advancements have cheapened his vision though. Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands are his two best movies, and they were made without much computer magic. Second-rate effects don’t cheapen a movie if it is made with heart. This movie proves that.

Death is scary. This movie makes it funny. If the afterlife is half as cool as it’s depicted in this movie, I can’t wait to bite the dust. I hope death is lip-syncing Harry Belafonte songs and fighting sand worms. I’m pretty good at both already.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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