The Peanuts Movie 2015, USA. Directed by Steve Martino. Written by Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz, and Cornelius Uliano. With the voices of Noah Schnapp, Alex Garfin, Bill Melendez, Kristen Chenoweth, and Trombone Shorty. When I watch a movie, there are two of me sitting in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs, stuff that explodes, monsters, axe-maniacs, and the occasional light saber, rarely stopping to deeply consider what he’s seeing. We call the kind of movies that guy likes POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s another fellow who tends to tag along with him, usually uninvited. This guy might like some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA. He tends to prefer foreign movies and has an eye for cinematography, thematic motifs, and character development. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. Here’s what happens when these guys start talking about the new theatrical release THE PEANUTS MOVIE. CINEMA: I still can’t believe you made me go see Charlie Brown and Snoopy. POPCORN: I still can’t believe you made me watch that crap about all those Italian people and the wooden shoes. CINEMA: You must be referring to THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS. About the four families working as sharecroppers in Lombardy, where the peasant boy ultimately breaks his wooden shoe on the long walk home from school, and his father – POPCORN: Dude, don’t relive it. That’s three hours I’m never getting back. CINEMA: I’ll admit, I’ve always been suspicious of well-intentioned movies about poor peasants. But when that man labors all night, cutting down the landowner’s tree and carving out those shoes so his son doesn’t have to go barefoot . . . POPCORN: Dude, over here. None of that, okay? No little dudes without shoes or girls who see Frankenstein. No evil douche-bags who can rewind the movie that they’re in. Not today, man. This one’s all about the movie I picked out. CINEMA: The Peanuts. POPCORN: Yeah, the damn Peanuts. So try to keep all your Italian this and French that to yourself, just this one time. This is a simple, nice little family movie and shit. Don’t want you trying to make it all complicated, like it’s really about war in the Middle East – CINEMA: But – POPCORN: – or racial segregation in the South, or – CINEMA: Can I say just one thing? POPCORN: Yeah, dude. CINEMA: There are no breasts in this movie. POPCORN: No shit. Dude, what are you talking about? CINEMA: I’m just saying that usually – and I don’t tend to generalize, but in your case it’s true – that, usually, there are certain elements present in the films that you enjoy. This includes a great number of explosions, or possibly knife wounds, and a propensity toward female characters with great heaving bosoms, typically clad in a dirty tank top. There are none of these things in this movie. POPCORN: Dude, man, that really hurts. It ain’t always about the boobs. CINEMA: Well, I know that, but – POPCORN: We used to read those Snoopy comics all the time when we were young. You remember, man? CINEMA: Um, yeah. POPCORN: The teacher going on about not being at the right reading level. Whole class would be in the library, picking out books for the book report. They’d all be looking at real books, but not you and me. We’d be over there in kiddie corner, yucking it up with Charlie Brown. CINEMA: I try not to think about it. POPCORN: I know, dude. But that was the both of us. Me AND you. So you been to college now, read THE SCARLET WITCH – CINEMA: THE SCARLET LETTER? POPCORN: – yeah, whatever, and LEO’S TOYSTORE – CINEMA: Leo’s . . . POPCORN: From the movie we just watched. See what I did there? CINEMA: Oh, yeah. POPCORN: Chuck wants to impress the little red-haired chick and asks what book he should get. Dude goes to the library and walks right past kiddie corner. The other kids are all like, no way, Chuck’s going to the adult section . . . and Chuck’s like, eat my dust, bitches. I’m gonna be a smart son-of-a-bitch now – CINEMA: But he’s looking for LEO’S TOYSTORE. POPCORN: Yeah, but they don’t know he’s just as dumb as ever. It’s like you. Learn a few big words, all of a sudden you’re a freakin’ genius. CINEMA: You’re just bitter because you haven’t been able to walk past the kiddie section yet. POPCORN: Whatever, dude. I could get me a theo-saurus too, then we’ll know all the same words. I’m just saying, that scene where he’s in the library made me think of sitting in the library, looking at the Peanuts when I shoulda been reading WITHERING HEIGHTS or something. CINEMA: So this film has nostalgic value for you? POPCORN: I don’t know about that, but it makes me think about when I was young. CINEMA: Uh-huh. POPCORN: It’s all here, man. You got Charlie Brown trying to fly a kite in a snowstorm. You got Snoopy finding that old typewriter, going on about the Red Baron. He’s trying to save that bitch Fifi and has to go into, like, Nazi territory. Linus still has the blanket. Marcie still has it bad for Peppermint Patty. CINEMA: Psychiatric help is still just five cents. POPCORN: Exactly, dude. We even get to hear that Christmastime-is-here stuff for a minute. CINEMA: All of that is just fine. POPCORN: But what? Too many kids were wearing shoes for you to like it? CINEMA: No, that’s not it. The filmmakers hit all the right points for nostalgia, while adding 3D and a catchy little tune from Meghan Trainor in an attempt to interest a newer audience. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the movie. POPCORN: But . . . CINEMA: This is not Peanuts canon. POPCORN: Man, I’m gonna shoot some peanuts out of a cannon at you. What’re you talking about? CINEMA: Canon, the complete works of a particular artist, considered to be the officially accepted version of something, as envisioned by the person who created it – POPCORN: Dude, I know what canon means. I haven’t listened to you go on about STAR WARS all these years without knowing about the damn canon. <clears his throat and proceeds in a snobby Thurston Howell III voice> “While a thoroughly accomplished work, Alan Dean Foster’s SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE is not acceptable in the established STAR WARS universe because I’m smarter than everyone else and Luke Skywalker has a big boner for his twin sister.” CINEMA: Not my exact words . . . POPCORN: What, did you pick up on some freaky tension between Chuck and Sally or something? CINEMA: No. You are aware that Charles Schulz created the Peanuts, right? POPCORN: Dude. CINEMA: It started out as a comic strip called LIL’ FOLKS, then changed its name and debuted as PEANUTS on October 2, 1950. It ran all the way through the end of the 1990s, until Schulz got too ill to continue. POPCORN: Dude. CINEMA: Well, in all those years that the strip ran – POPCORN: And the TV specials. CINEMA: Yeah, more or less. Schulz didn’t entirely accept them as official, but I’ll let that go for the sake of argument. In all of these, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Franklin lived in a different neighborhood and attended a different school. These characters were essentially created in order for there to be another baseball team to beat the team that Charlie Brown was on. They simply took on a greater life than their creator had intended. But in this movie, all of these kids are in the same class together. POPCORN: Maybe their dads got better jobs and they all got outta the ‘hood. CINEMA: What about Linus and Lucy? She’s his big sister, approximately the same age as Charlie Brown, yet they all share a class together. POPCORN: Dude, Linus was always really smart. He had that blanket and sucked his thumb, but he was like Rain Man. They probably moved him up a grade. CINEMA: That’s fair, I suppose. However, I still have a problem with the little red-haired girl. POPCORN: You would. CINEMA: The basic premise of the film, the connective tissue between all of this rehashing of television and comic strip storylines, is Charlie Brown’s infatuation with this girl. She moves in across the street from him near the beginning of the movie, giving him the motivation for most of his actions: the talent show, then the dance, and, finally, the book report. But the original conceit behind Charlie Brown should prevent him from ever getting her. POPCORN: He’s gay. CINEMA: No, he’s not gay. But there was always an undercurrent of sadness in the PEANUTS story, especially where Charlie Brown was concerned. There was always an understanding – and you should appreciate this – that this kid was just never going to win, no matter what he did. Whether it was flying a kite, kicking a football, or getting the girl, he was probably always going to lose. But it was his never-ending determination that was an inspiration to us. POPCORN: Always going to be a loser, huh? CINEMA: More or less. Though, as Linus says when Charlie’s trying to fly his kite, “It’s the courage to continue that counts.” The filmmakers got that much right, even if their story ultimately fell short of the original PEANUTS. POPCORN: Snoopy’s in it, right? CINEMA: Yeah. POPCORN: And Charlie Brown? CINEMA: Uh, yeah. POPCORN: Then it’s the Peanuts, dude. Pretend it’s a high school crush and get over it. CINEMA: Okay . . . POPCORN: Dick-face. CINEMA: What . . . POPCORN: “And you should appreciate this.” Dude, you’re like Lucy when I’m trying to kick the football. CINEMA: Are you mad at me? POPCORN: CINEMA: You are mad at me. I’m sorry. POPCORN: CINEMA: Well, you won’t be able to stay mad at me when I tell you what happened to Charlie Brown. POPCORN: CINEMA: Do you want to know what happened to Charlie Brown? POPCORN: What? CINEMA: He lost his arms and legs in an auto accident. POPCORN: Dude, that’s – CINEMA: Now they call him Ground Chuck. POPCORN: Dude, get the hell away from me. CINEMA: Just kidding. He did eventually end up with the little red-haired girl, though, in one of the specials from the ’80s. POPCORN: He did? CINEMA: Yeah, it was later, in high school. Unfortunately, the Peanuts gang never learned about contraceptives, so it was called I’M STARTING TO SHOW, CHARLIE BROWN. POPCORN: No, dude, they took the class – CINEMA: They just didn’t know what the teacher was saying – CINEMA and POPCORN: Mwa-mwa-mwa, mwa-mwa, mwa-mwa-mwa. CINEMA: That sound was made by Trombone Shorty, by placing the rubber end of a plunger over the end of his instrument. It was suggested by Vince Guaraldi, who did all of that memorable music from the specials. POPCORN: Charles Schulz hated jazz. CINEMA: Really? POPCORN: Yeah, it’s true. I read that somewhere. CINEMA: You want to know something else? POPCORN: What? CINEMA: I always wanted to see Charlie Brown kick Lucy right in the face. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.