#10: The Nightmare Before Christmas — dir. Henry Selick
This pick felt like a cheat at first, because I said, “Oh, it’s a Tim Burton movie, but it won’t count as one because it was directed by Henry Selick!” And then I realized, no, the best Tim Burton movie is the one he didn’t direct himself. Someone else helmed the ship while he pointed and raved. And maybe that would help him now.
This is such a dark and brilliant and fascinating film. It gets lumped in with the Hot Topic obviousness, the dark little Emily the Strange kids, painting their faces black and whatnot. But there’s a reason they embrace this. Because it’s so well done. Like the best children’s entertainment, it’s got dark corners and sharp edges. They almost kill Santa Claus. They ruin Christmas because they want to make it their own holiday. It’s got a love story that isn’t forced.
Jack Skellington is an amazing hero. Because he blindly does what he thinks is right. Even though it ends up being wrong.
And the songs. Oh, my god the songs. Seriously, are you not singing at least one of them in your head? When we first got Porkchop, on walks, he’d snuffle every conceivable surface he could find, and I would sing, “Whats’s This? What’s THIS?!” to him.
And I love the fact that it’s technically a Disney film. They released it through Touchstone. But then when it became a megahit, they sort of hugged it. It’s the goth kid in the reunion photo. Only this one’s smiling, because she realizes how uncomfortable she’s making the rest of the family just by being there.