Beetlejuice is up there with Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (and Big Adventure, also directed by Beetlejuice’s Tim Burton) for valorous service in keeping a child’s mind alive and properly serviced. The plot is undying—actually, it’s about undying—and the bright colors, loud noises, disgustingness in abundance and a nice message where the bad guys are a lot more fun than the good guys add up to an effective replacement for three semesters of public school. Alfred Bester and Rinse Dream never teamed up to make a movie about why the dead can’t stand the living—but this comes happily close. Frederic Wertham may have killed Educational Comics, but thanks to Beetlejuice—third time!—a kid can still grow up right.
Wed., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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