Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ask Me a Question: Beetlejuice

*Warning, for some reason I cursed a lot during this post*

Summer officially began on Thursday, 6.20 which means, among other things, that outdoor movie screenings are in full swing.  Cinespia's screenings at Hollywood Forever have long been the dominant force but has since grown too large for it's own good.  Basically, it's not about the movies anymore; it's about finding parking, waiting in line, having a crappy spot in the grass, people smoking tobacco (regular and wacky), drunken stumbling, phone checking, fighting the horde to get out...i.e. a huge fucking hassle.

Trust me, I attended their Jurassic Park event for 4th of July last year.  At the time I thought it was fun and all of the above grievances were just part of attending events in Los Angeles.  But a few weeks later I attended a screening of 80's/eternity classic, Back to the Future, part of the inaugural Oscars Outdoors venture into social events put on by The Academy.  After that, I basically said, "fuck Hollywood Forever", there isn't a movie they could show that I would endure the hipster, scene bullshit again for.

Am I being harsh?  To each their own but free parking, no smoking, great seating, food trucks, BYOB, giant Oscar statues to pose with and the lack of drunk/high idiots on their phones for $5.00 is to me, the deal of a fucking century.

This year's line up is a curious mix of old and new, quirky tales of youth, unabashed classics and a few I've plain never heard of.  Titles like: National Lampoon's Vacation, Peter Pan, Groundhog Day, Clueless, King Kong, POINT BREAK (playing at least 3 times this summer), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and tonight's feature, Tim Burton's 1988 effort, Beetlejuice.

As magic hour faded away, our announcer for the evening welcomed us with a letter from co-star Catherine O'Hara (Home Alone, KEVIN!) who was out of the country but wanted us to know how much she appreciated being invited to the event.  She had nothing but fond memories of the production and met her future husband, production designer Bo Welch, on set.

Half a dozen guests were trotted out, I can't recall all of their names but they were lead by co-writer/producer Larry Wilson.  The other guests were involved in designing the film, creating it's non-CGI effects, physical production and sound editing.  They all seemed happy to remember the film, working with Tim Burton, taking over a small town to shoot the movie, coming up with practical gags and working in a pre-computer era.

I hadn't seen this movie in years or maybe never in it's entirety.  Basically, a nice couple dies in an accident, travel to the great beyond and enlist the help of an obnoxious, "bio-exorcist" in an effort to rid their home of a horrible yuppie couple that moves in.  Michael Keaton steals the show as the "ghost with the most" who helps the deceased couple but really just wants to escape from the after life.

Like all Tim Burton work, there are great visuals on display, creepy Gothic yet cartoonish supporting characters and a great cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller's principal!), Catherine O'Hara and Glenn Shadix (who would wear a kimono onscreen again in Demolition Man (Stallone VS Snipes alert!)).

I'm not sure who saw this and thought, man, these guys should do Batman!  And Beetlejuice should play him!  But hey, it worked out.

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