Entertainment Roundup

Entertainment Roundup

Entertainment Roundup

Tim Burton attends the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 10, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.

Tim Burton is a unique filmmaker known for his surreal gothic fantasy films. Burton was born on August 25, 1958, in Burbank, California. His mother, Jean, owned a cat-themed gift shop, while his father, William, was a former minor league baseball player who then worked for the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department. When Burton was a teenager, he would make short films in his backyard using crude stop-motion animation techniques or shooting on 8 mm film without sound. His oldest known film is a horror animation called The Island of Doctor Agor in 1971. He was heavily influenced by the works of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl and continued his passion for artwork and watching movies while in high school. After graduating, Burton studied character animation at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Santa Clarita. While a student there, Burton made the shorts Stalk of the Celery Monster and King and Octopus in 1979.

Tim Burton’s Big Break

Stalk of the Celery Monster attracted the attention of Walt Disney Productions, which offered Burton an animator’s apprenticeship at its animation division. He worked as an animator, storyboard artist, graphic designer, art director, and concept artist on The Fox and the Hound (1981), Tron (1982), and The Black Cauldron (1985), but his concept art never made it into the finished films. He made his first short with Disney in 1982, titled Vincent. In 1988, Burton directed Beetlejuice, starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the titular character.

Impressed by achieving success with a low budget, he was offered a big-budget film with 1989’s Batman. In the ’90s, Burton came out with Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow. He has often worked with actors Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton, Johnny Depp, Lisa Marie, and Helena Bonham Carter. Burton has also worked with composer Danny Elfman, who scored all but three of Burton’s films.

Take a look at our picks of Burton’s best films below.

  • 7. Big Eyes

    This 2014 biographical crime drama was a change of pace for Burton, though he maintains his surrealist aesthetics. Starring the great Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams, the film follows Adams’ artist Margaret Keane and her second husband, Walter Keane (Waltz), who took credit for her phenomenally popular paintings of people with big eyes in the 1950s and 1960s. The film is thought-provoking, making one wonder why Margaret didn’t stop her husband from taking credit for her work and making her isolate herself from her daughter.

  • 6. Frankenweenie

    Though this 2012 animated film isn’t as good as Burton’s more popular The Nightmare Before Christmas, it is a solid watch. The film is in black and white and stars Winona Ryder, Martin Short, and Catherine O’Hara as voice actors. It’s rated PG, but it is a horror fantasy parody of the 1931 film Frankenstein. Set in the 60s, the film follows a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) who uses the power of electricity to resurrect his beloved dog, Sparky. However, his classmates discover what he has done and reanimate their own deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in absolute mayhem.

  • 5. Corpse Bride

    In this 2005 stop-motion musical, Johnny Depp stars as Victor Van Dort, a timid but good-natured young man who is engaged to Victoria Everglot for social and financial reasons. However, while rehearsing his wedding vows in the forest, Victor trips and places Victoria’s wedding ring on an upturned root. This root turns out to be the skeletal finger of a naive, dead girl named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter). She proclaims herself as Victor’s new wife and takes him away to the Land of the Dead, leaving Victor caught in the middle of two brides.

  • 4. Edward Scissorhands

    Burton’s childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank, California, inspired Edward Scissorhands. The filmmaker felt isolated and unable to communicate with others and maintain friendships as a teenager. His idea of the scissor blades for hands comes from a drawing he made as a teen of a thin, solemn man. In preparation for the role, Depp watched many Charlie Chaplin films to study creating sympathy without dialogue.

  • 3. Beetlejuice

    This 1988 comedy horror is a classic that is meant to be re-watched yearly around Halloween. Michael Keaton went above and beyond for the titular role, and we are bold enough to say that it is more iconic than him playing Batman. The film made us love the featured soundtrack of the late Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora).” Halloween costumes would forever be inspired by Beetlejuice, Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder), and Adam and Barbara’s ghoulish faces.

  • 2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon of Fleet Street

    Frequent collaborator Johnny Depp stars as the demon barber in this 2007 gory musical. This is one of the best musical films of all time, and it mixes in a healthy dose of horror. Sweeney Todd is a serial killer who seeks revenge on Judge Turpin (the late Alan Rickman) who wrongfully convicted and exiled him to steal his beloved wife, Lucy. As his madness takes over him, he murders his customers and, with the help of Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), she processes their corpses into human meat pies.

  • 1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

    As one of the best animated films of all time, this has long been argued if it is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. Jack Skellington is the main protagonist and beloved pumpkin king of Halloweentown. The ever-curious skeleton always has his ghost dog, Zero by his side. One day, he stumbles upon “Christmas Town” in the woods and schemes to take over their holiday because he’s bored of the same old routine. For a musical, this film has the catchiest song, “This Is Halloween,” which is a must for your Halloween playlist. 30 years later, The Nightmare Before Christmas maintains its cult following, as deserved.

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