Happy Belated Birthday, Beetlejuice! It’s been 31 years since your release, and I just wanted to thank you for existing.
Directed by Tim Burton? Check. A gothy Winona Ryder? Check. Stop motion animation? Check. The “Banana Boat Song?” Check. This movie checks all the boxes for weird, wild, and wonderful. If you haven’t seen Beetlejuice yet, it’s about time you have. You’ve had 31 years to do it…
I just want to say thank you, Tim Burton. We, as movie-going Americans, love the dark and strange twists of a T.B. film. The entire vibe of this movie is completely his style. We love the way he makes our skin crawl with depressing color palettes, and even more depressing characters. So, thank you again, Tim Burton.
Winona Ryder, thank you for becoming Lydia Deetz. Almost every time you appeared onscreen, you strutted a different iteration of “I truly belong here at this funeral” kind of look. Your slick, pointy baby bangs that eat your forehead… Iconic. Your defeated, depressed, and dramatic delivery of lines will live on for generations to come. Thank you, Winona Ryder for your macabre performance because it truly spoke to my angsty teenage self.
To the puppeteers, sculptors, and animators, thank you for the beautifully grotesque stop motion characters. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the desert snake; it terrified me, yet I couldn’t look away from the second head within its mouth. Not only did you do a fantastic job of animating the full stop motion scenes, but also when the Maitlands contort their faces to scare their home invaders. That moment is forever burned into my brain. I. Appreciate. You.
Daylight come and me wan’ go home.”
Everyone knows the “Banana Boat Song,” and you most likely know it because of this movie. Who would have thought to stick a bumpy, bongo type song in the middle of a classic Tim Burton film? Whoever pitched that, thank you for your bravery because this movie and song are now connected forever to each other.
I love this movie. I love everything about it— I love the absurdity of Michael Keaton’s performance, I love the Deetz family drama, and I love the complex bureaucratic world that is the afterlife. I couldn’t imagine what kind of lame human being I would have turned out to be without this movie. Thank you, Beetlejuice. Happy Birthday!