25 reasons why we still love Beetlejuice

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Screenshot of official Beetlejuice trailer via warnerbros.com.

2. Geena Davis as Barbara Maitland

Geena Davis is perfect in Beetlejuice as Barbara Maitland, the sweet young woman at home in a small Connecticut town. She’s nice to her meddling relative Jane, she buys her husband little gifts. She even goes with him on errands to the hardware store. Like her husband Adam, Barbara wants simple things in life: a peaceful home, good marriage, and children. Her last words are “There’s no place like—” And home is where they end up, where they always wanted to be.

But even when she’s dead, Barbara plays the part of the good wife, frustrated that she can’t clean their house because the vacuum is out in the garage (and, you know, sandworms).

After they realize they’re ghosts and the Deetzes move in, Barbara’s home life is threatened. As she and Adam seek to scare the New Yorkers, they’re faced with even more threats to their traditional values and dreams. Beetlejuice, with his rampant sexual aggression, is a danger to their marriage.

The last straw, however, is when Beetlejuice traps Lydia into marriage at the end. Barbara has been unable to have a child, and through the film she begins to see Lydia almost like a daughter. “Adam, I want to be with Lydia,” she tells her husband. She even calls her a “little girl,” even though Lydia is far from little. (Ryder was around 17 when the film came out.) With this maternal fire, Barbara is the one to deliver the final blow to Beetlejuice at the end of the movie, somehow domesticating a sandworm enough to ride it into the home to swallow the bio-exorcist whole.