Monkey-Wild About “Peanuts”

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Yesterday the Peanuts Movie came to the dollar movie theater in Carrollton.  And my two kids at home and me went to it.  I invited my wife, but with the righteous indignation of a Jehovah’s Witness unshakable in her beliefs, she said, “Why would I want to go to a Christmas movie?”  She associated it not with the beloved comic strip in the newspapers, but with the old Christmas special.  And she would not be talked into it.  It is a matter of faith, after all.  Celebrating Christmas, naturally, loses you the chance to live happily ever after on a paradise Earth… after Jehovah God smites all the wicked people and all the deluded people who never worshiped him properly using his proper name, and also that rude postman my wife doesn’t particularly like.  Of course, it is not a Christmas movie.  The only Christmas part it has in it is a brief Christmas carol from the old TV special that Snoopy ruins.  So God didn’t punish us for enjoying this movie… at least, not yet.

We unrepentantly enjoyed the movie.  I enjoyed it as a culmination of more than 50 years of reading and laughing at Charles
Schulz’s satire of the uncertainties of childhood as they affect the whole of our adult lives.  My kids loved it because it is an excellent cartoon that is filled with hilarious moments that trace directly back to the comic strip.

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The central story is about Charlie Brown’s self doubts mixed with his never-ending crush on the little red-haired girl.  In his own hesitant, hide-behind-the-bushes style, Charlie pursues her and plans how he might win her heart.  In the comics, it never worked out.  He always failed.  He was always the lovable loser, and the red-haired girl never noticed.

I was inspired to write a poem about it because I could so deeply identify with his crisis of confidence.  Here is that sappy poem;

Little Red-Haired Girl

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

 

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The main story is paralleled in Snoopy’s Red Baron fantasies as the movie goes along.  The lady-dog-pilot, Fifi, is kidnapped by the Red Baron.  Snoopy, the dashing, daring WWI pilot sets out in his Sopwith Camel dog house to rescue her.  And after being foiled several times… he succeeds!  And not long after, Charlie Brown himself succeeds.  The little red-haired girl actually chooses Charlie Brown to be her summer pen pal project buddy.  I should probably be outraged because in the comic strip she never knew he was even alive… But I loved the happy ending.  Charlie Brown deserves it.  I deserve it.  I believe even Charles Shulz would be charmed by it if he were still alive to see it.

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I apologize if I spoiled the movie for you, but it is something you should already know anyway if you ever read and loved the comic strip.  It is not the surprises that make this movie work.  It is the being true to a time-honored comic-strip and the bringing of it so completely and so beautifully to life.  And my wife looked again at the movie trailers and decided she had been wrong about it being a Christmas movie.  Maybe we are not doomed after all.

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Filed under humor, movie review, religion, Uncategorized

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