My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

November 14, 2010

Hed’s Sunday Shout-Out.

I really need to keep a thought diary by my bed-last night I literally had about twelve ideas in my head for blogs this month. Today is the 14th, and I have written 14 blogs. Woo hoo! On track with my NaBloPoMo! So yesterday we were driving around and a top ten list popped into my head. Lists are fun! Today’s Shout-Out is:

Top Ten best Tim Burton movies.

Tim Burton is one of the best directors OF ALL TIME! But I do have to add a disclaimer: there are a few movies I have not seen of his (!!!), so this list is only my guideline! So far. Maybe I’ll have to revise it in six months when I’ve watched his entire filmography. (PS all facts are due to the wonder that is Wikipedia!)

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had to give this the lowest spot on my list due to the fact that the original (titled “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”) with Gene Wilder is one of my favourite movies, and sometimes you can’t mess with perfection (even Wilder opposed the remake). With Burton at the helm of the updated version, you get the same colourful whimsy as you did with the original, and the same creepy vibe the movie has-even with it being a “children’s movie” (and book, bless Roald Dahl for being eccentric). If you’ve never seen either movie you must live under a rock, and I recommend the 1971 version, or reading the book first (get some culture!).

9. Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Oh, glorious Johnny Depp. He has contributed to seven of Burton’s films, and never seems to disappoint in any of them. In the movie version of the musical, Depp plays Benjamin Barker, a skilled barber who is falsely imprisoned by an evil judge (I love you, Alan Rickman) that has the hots for Barker’s wife. The rest of the plot you will have to watch for yourself, because the story itself is interesting and really dark for a musical. My husband didn’t care for it at all, but I think the equation is perfect: sexy dark Johnny Depp, crazy ass Helena Bonham Carter, and GORGEOUS atmosphere-how can you go wrong?

I would so wear her outfit!

8. Mars Attacks! This movie is goofy and hilarious. It takes on the same wacky vibe as “Beetlejuice” (more on that movie in a bit), and is basically a parody of 1950’s sci-fi movies. It had some A-list stars in it as well (like Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Remington Stee-um, Pierce Brosnan). The whole movie is fun to watch, and I still crack up when I hear the song that ends up being the martians’ weakness:

Okay, not the actual song, but this version cracked me up!

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Okay, to some of you, putting “Nightmare” at number 7 is blasphemy. This movie is a cult classic, and can be considered as the staple of Burton’s work. I just find other movies of his to be better. Don’t shoot me! The movie is a stop-motion film (one of the first that was in wide release) about Halloween Town, a land filled with ghouls, goblins, and other scaries just doin’ their thang. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, gets bored of the same antics that happen every year, and while walking in the forest discovers a portal to Christmas Town, a land filled with, well, Christmas. He decides to go back to Halloween Town to tell everyone what he has found, and stages a coup to overtake Santa. It’s a pretty good film, and Jack Skellington’s voice is Danny-freakin'-Elfman, the God of all things musical in Tim Burton-land!

Yeah, this movie has a hard-core following.

6 and 5. Batman Returns and Batman. I’m sorry, but screw “The Dark Knight” and George Clooney and Robin and all the other crap that isn’t something that Tim Burton had a hand in. Burton butted heads with the big wigs over at Warner Brothers to make sure that Batman was his vision, and he succeeded-the movie was the first in film history to gross $100 million in its first ten days at the box office. Since he could be relied on to make a kick-ass film, Burton was granted complete control of “Batman Returns”. Both of these movies (in my opinion) really portray Batman as how I see him: an average Joe Moneybags-cum-vigilante in the dark, crime-ridden world as Gotham City. And Jack Nicholson kicks ass as The Joker-yeah, Heath Ledger did too, but Jack did it in a darkly comical Tim Burtonesque way!

4. Sleepy Hollow. I love this movie. Love it. It’s eerie. It’s a period piece. Christopher Walken is the Headless Horseman. That’s awesome all by itself. The story is about Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp, yet again) as a constable from New York City sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate some brutal murders that have been happening in the town-and all of the victims have been decapitated. The movie is dark and somewhat gory, what with the beheadings and all-and Crane uses some screwed up new techniques to examine the bodies that make you feel all creepy when watching it. And my favourite dress of all time is the one Christina Ricci wears at the end of the film:

3. Edward Scissorhands. This is Burton’s first movie with Johnny Depp, and it cemented him as an actual movie star, not just a teen idol. The movie is about an Avon lady who stumbles upon a lonely young “man” with scissors as hands. Yep. Anyway, she takes him into her household where he tries his damndest to fit in with the cookie cutter standards of suburbia.

At first he is embraced, then becomes a scapegoat after he is talked into breaking into a house by Jim, the boyfriend of Kim, the daughter of the Avon lady that he also happens to have a soft spot for. Let me get off topic a sec: Anthony Michael Hall as the mean jock, WTF? What happened to skinny Farmer Ted?

Okay, so…Edward and Kim fall in love, he has to leave town because the neighbourhood is out for his blood, and she never forgets him. It’s just a beautiful story. My nephew, who was probably seven at the time, watched it with my mom and couldn’t stop talking about the movie. I looked everywhere trying to find it to buy for him, but it was sold out everywhere. I decided to fuel his Tim burton fire and buy him the next movie instead.

2. Beetlejuice. There is not one thing wrong with this movie. It is a freaking comedy masterpiece. This has to be one of the first movies that had this sort of odd premise, because I can’t think of any movie before it that was more eclectic in its nature, except maybe an art house film. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are the Maitlands, a boring townie couple who die in a car crash. Afterward, they walk into their house as if nothing had happened until they realize there are some really weird things going on-like when they try and leave their house a sandworm tries to eat them. They are ghosts, and they don’t know the first thing about being ghosts. Enter the Deetzes, a family from the big city, to turn their house and world upside down by redecorating it and all in all being truly obnoxious. The parents don’t know the Maitlands are in the house-up in the attic-but their goth daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder!) does. The Maitlands stumble upon a “Bio-exorcist” named Betelguise (Michael Keaton), who specializes in scaring away the living. Madness and hilarity ensue. Who can forget “Day-O”? My favourite part of the movie is when the Maitlands ask Beetlejuice about his qualifications:

1. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I pretty much can recite this movie by heart. Who didn’t want to live in Pee-Wee’s house and live Pee-Wee’s life after watching this? The movie is simple: Someone steals Pee-Wee’s bike and he goes on an adventure to find it. Every scene is golden. The Mr. T cereal? “I know you are but what am I”? The basement interrogation scene? The alamo? Simone? “I’m a loner. A rebel”? Large Marge? The hobo on the train? The dinosaurs? The chase scene with Twisted Sister? The “Tequila” dance? (You KNOW you dance like Pee-Wee when you hear the song!) This is Tim Burton’s first feature-length film and it’s also his first collaboration with Danny Elfman.  You just have to watch it. You have to! Get some kids, pop popcorn and buy some Milk Duds and watch it. Maybe take a few shots first to get into the silly spirit. I’ll end this list with a great scene. Until tomorrow!


  1. Big Fish is lovely and a visual treat and Alice in Wonderland is completely over the top. We don't buy many movies but if Johnny Depp or Tim Burton are involved we run right out and aquire them! Torin couldn't handle Mars Attacks when he was little, the Martian's speaking voice creeped him out and of course, I used it to torture him....

  2. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.. what a perfect combination.

    I am a huge fan of Beetlejuice, it is just brilliant. I also agree that the original charlie and the chocolate factory is the best.

    I'm going away next week for a short break, so I aim to buy a postcard to send to you when Im away =)

  3. We have a few great movies in common. Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Pee-Wee will always appear on our screen when viewing in our area. I have also seen Sleepy Hollow which I enjoyed and I did enjoy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I viewed it with an open mind and surprisingly it followed the original pretty well yet had a different touch to it. Bruce refuses to watch it. Period! Gene Wilder is is #1 choice. Great post Hed.

  4. Glad to see Alice in Wonderland isn’t on this list. But Sweeny Todd on number nine? I would have put it first!

    Both Burton’s and Chris Nolan’s version of Batman are fantastic. Jack’s joker manages to be scary and funny, Heath’s is just plain terrifying. The differences between the two movies are actually quite huge, Burton taking a more subtle tone while Nolan’s has a tendency to overanalyze everything (I love that though, it makes you feel smart). One thing that really annoys me about the new Batman is the constant cuts between day and night after only a scene or two in each. You could make a drinking game out of it and try to guess how many days have gone by since the movie’s starting point.

    Sleepy Hollow is a bit underrated, pretty much anything with Walken in is worth a watch.

    Since Ed Wood isn’t on the list, I’ll just assume you haven’t seen it. :P

    I hated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 1970s film is a classic. Remaking it is like trying to remake Wizard of Oz or Casablanca, and I’m convinced the way things are going we’ll see those in the next five years too.

  5. Okay Big Fish, Alice, Ed Wood and Corpse Bride I have not seen-yet!

    Rox-I can't believe the voices creeped him out worse than the song their heads were blown off to!

    Erica-new postcard? Yay!

    Barb-Thanks :) You seriously can't go wrong with Tim Burton, I'm telling ya!

    Drake-Holy crap you put a lot of thought into it! Thanks! I was bummed out at the ending of Sweeny Todd-I dunno, I expected more. No. The Dark Knight drives me crazy! That person's dead! But not really. Wait, the Joker doesn't know he's still alive. Wait, yes he does. And oh, he's dead. Until he's not really dead. That goes on through the ENTIRE MOVIE!!!

    You know the thing that honestly bothered me the most about Charlie? They got one Oompa Loompa and CGI'ed it to make hundreds. I need little people!

  6. Corpse Bride was meh.

    Dark Knight is typical of Nolan’s labyrinth style, if you didn’t like it then you probably won’t enjoy his other works either, which is a shame since Memento is brilliant.

  7. Love, love, love Tim Burton! He's a wonder and I'm so glad he exists. No one else makes magic out of film like he does. My love for Tim Burton is only rivaled by my love for the Coen Brothers, but they're SO different.

    Edward Scissorhands would be my number one. Forgot that Batman was Tim Burton - the first one was definitely the best of the whole bunch! Will be interested to know what you think of Alice. I liked it, but think he has better films. And Sweeney Todd was a serious disappointment to me, but I'm a theatre geek and had the incredible Patty Lupone stage version in my head, which is very different.

  8. I've watched all of those except the Mars one. And he did PeeWee?!

    I had no idea.