Having some fun with movies about death
I've been thinking a lot about death and the great beyond lately. Thankfully, I'm stuck in the 80s, a decade that is home to at least five classic movies on the subject: Night Shift, Better Off Dead, Beetle Juice, Always and The Big Chill.
But if you had to pick just one movie to cheer you up, which would it be?
NIGHT SHIFT (1982)
Stars: Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, Shelly Long.
Pros: Takes place in a morgue, but involves hookers. I'm cheered up already.
Cons: Shelly Long is one of the hookers? My vital signs are fading.
Line to remember: "Hello, this is Chuck to remind Bill to SHUT UP!" (podcast)
BETTER OFF DEAD (1985)
Stars: John Cusack, Diane Franklin
Pros: A comedy about suicide? Only Cusack could pull this off.
Cons: Not to be grim, but no one actually dies. Though clearly, we'd all like to strangle Ricky's mom to death.
Line to remember: "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that." (podcast)
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman.
Pros: Moments of unexpected comic genius between the three stars.
Cons: Director Steven Spielberg never likes to cheer people up.
Line to remember: "Boy, what a jerk I turned out to be. Dead! And now I'm sitting in the woods, getting my hair cut."
THE BIG CHILL (1983):
Stars: Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Tilly, Glenn Close
Pros: Two things any classic movie needs -- a great soundtrack and Jeff Goldblum.
Cons: A movie that sums up everyone we hate about the yuppie generation.
Line to remember: "Amazing tradition. They throw a great party for you on the one day they know you can't come."
BEETLE JUICE (1988):
Stars: Michael Keaton, Alex Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder
Pros: Perhaps the only comedy produced where the dead people outnumber the living ones.
Cons: Tim Burton makes Spielberg seem about as dark as Jiminy Cricket.
Line to remember: "Open this door you dead people or we'll bust it down and drag you out by the ropes you hanged yourselves with!"
MY VERDICT: I'm going with Night Shift. Only one dead character, Franklin the Pimp, and a soundtrack featuring Quarterflash and the Rolling Stones. Plus, I get to say "Loooove Brokers!" all night long.