All-around film freak and local film critic Walter Chaw is the proprietor of FilmFreakCentral.net and the host of this month's Being Tim Burton film series at the Denver Public Library, which starts tonight with a free 6 p.m. screening of the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands and continues every Tuesday through November 9. Burton let his freak flag fly in his fourth feature, marking the beginning of his long partnership with Johnny Depp as a muse, and delivers a savage critique of both suburban "normalcy" and adulthood in general.
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"It might be going too far to call Burton a satirist," Chaw writes, in his Film Freak Central review of the film's 2005 15th anniversary DVD release. "It's my suspicion that his aim isn't to lampoon the excesses and hypocrisies of the Bourgeoisie, but rather to paint a symbolist picture, if you will, of what happens to a child when he sacrifices his childishness for adulthood."
Being Tim Burton is part of the library's Fresh City Life events series and the follow-up to its Alfred Hitchcock series this spring. Burton is featured this month partly because his films -- Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Sweeney Todd are also on the list -- make for deliciously frightful Halloween fare, but also presumably because he's one of the all-time greats. Can Tim Burton possibly follow Hitchcock? Chaw, for one, is convinced. Here's more from his review of Edward Scissorhands:
"At one point, as Edward is on the cusp of fame and fortune for his skill at crafting topiary hedges and creating uniquely horrible hairstyles (Burton unkindly equates the women of the film with their canine accessories), someone asks him why he'd want to be normal, since being normal would mean that he'd lose the fame and fortune he's destined to secure. It's the key to how Burton saw himself as the outsider, the iconoclast artist best served free of the pressures of dopey mass culture and crass commercialism."
Stick around for the post-film discussion with Chaw to sharpen your scissors.