When Hollywood Signs (another) Blockhead – The Peanuts Movie

They aren't even on beat
They aren’t even on beat

I heard the rumors, and hoped they were just that…a silence fell across the rumor mill as one by one, better rumors came out for better movies. Then, just moments ago, I see USA Today talking about the new Peanuts movie. To make things worse, a national publication uses the world “adorkable”.

To make matters worse, Paul Feig is producing.

It got me to thinking…why is Peanuts even a thing? Sure, the soundtrack to the gang was dope, who doesn’t love Jazz? I mean the music this time, not the wrestler or American Gladiator.

Seriously, we’ve seemingly been conditioned to love this odd group of kids. A rather boring bunch if I am being honest. Each child seems like they were provided a healthy dose of Ritalin, and this stems from a time before we over-medicated ourselves. Maybe kids were just really boring when the gang first started up.

This past Christmas I set the DVR to record the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, my kids could have cared less. I watched it again; I realized…it really isn’t good. Yeah, boo me, I’m talking about a national treasure…but, really.  I get the message, I get the meaning, but, it’s such a weird journey getting there.

Maybe try watering it Chuck
When was the last time you told it you loved it?

Charlie always seems like he is that kid who always needs to go talk to the counselor. Not the brightest crayon in the big box with the built-in sharpener.  I mean, all these years and dude is still falling for Lucy’s football okie-doke. Old girl messes with Chuck, then turns around and starts selling cul-de-sac psychiatric advice. Here’s a quarter, go find another nickel therapist and find out why you give Chuck such hell.

Don’t even get me started on the other group of latchkey kids (seriously, where are the parents?). One dude is just dirty as can be. Are Patty and Marcie a couple? Linus been carrying a blanket from birth until that first social security check arrived, and beyond.  Snoopy is really the only one with his shit together, and that said, he clearly suffers from multiple personality disorder. Where was Lucy on that diagnosis? One minute the dog is passed out on his house. The next, suddenly he’s a fighter ace, and then he inexplicably becomes Joe Kool.

I’m also to believe his doghouse is basically a TARDIS and just super roomy inside. Why is he just chilling with a little bird?

Look, I’m not saying I hate the gang, they’ve been around 65 years, so, they are obviously doing something right, and clearly there is a  generational gap…but, I just can’t figure out the longevity, the revival in commercials, and now they are coming to the big screen this fall.

I really hope in all the decision making they decide to keep the Jazz elements, but, I have a feeling there is some old guy in a conference room who insists that we need to somehow “make it jiggy” for the new generation. I eagerly await Franklin’s rap skills to be put on display, because I just don’t see how they don’t decide that’s a great idea out in Hollywood.

Franklin drops a SICK freestyle
Franklin drops a SICK freestyle

Seems like such an odd move in the year 2015, I just don’t see my kids begging to go see this one. The fresh roast is long gone from the Peanuts, not everything needs to be polished up and put out on display. They served their purpose, whatever that was…let them be. I mean, how sad is the state of affairs in the movie world where a studio got excited about one of the most boring comic strips and follow-on cartoons of all time.

I get it, I’m supposed to like them. Just, no one can seem to tell me why.

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  1. Why is “Peanuts” still a thing? Why is anything these days “still a thing”? The short answer: those who grew up with these “things” are now in a position to bring them back, to “make them better”, to tell the stories they’d come up with when they were younger, playing with the action figures or reading the comics and thinking of what THEY would do if THEY had creative control.

    And today, THEY HAVE THAT CONTROL. It’s why we have all these reboots of what was established thirty years ago.

    Personally, thanks to the miracle of VHS, “Peanuts” had its longevity. I’m sure my parents weren’t the only ones who recorded the “Charlie Brown Christmas” special from CBS during one of the earlier broadcasts; from then on out, it became a mainstay in the family household, for years to come. Mind, it is true that, as one grows older, the viewpoint of the world slants in a different direction (depending on your own personal experiences) and something like the “Peanuts” Christmas special feels too cookie-cutter, too simple, and almost too saccharine to stomach for too long.

    But then again: sometimes it is that simplicity that is needed. One doesn’t need to go all out, to have some kind of grand spectacle to show off “the true meaning of Christmas”; one simply needs to step outside of their own personal sanctuary, and do something for someone else. Charlie Brown did it for the tree, the gang did it for Charlie Brown.

    As far as the “relevance” of “Peanuts” goes… while the strip series was established during the height of wartime in the country. “Peanuts”, like many cartoons, have that underlying – and sometimes not-so-underlying – social commentary. The most obvious examples of said social commentary are the characters of Snoopy and of Lucy.

    Though it was possibly said in irony, for someone who dresses as a Ghostbuster and portrays different characters and scenarios on a six-second application, making a comment about Snoopy’s “multiple personality DISORDER” sounds very uneven. It’s like the pot calling the birds in the bush an overused cliche. And just like the charity work is done as the buster of ghosts, and there’s an entertainment factor to the Vine posts, Snoopy’s changing of characters – from the sleeping dog on the doghouse to fighter pilot and/or to Joe Cool – had/has a purpose, as well. He went from being a normal dog to the fighter of the Red Baron; from normal dog to the laid-back Joe Cool – this, to emphasize the idea of sameness. You had the “soldier vs. hippie” struggle back in those days, and Charles Schultz was emphatically stating that one was doing for the other, and vice verse; we were already at war with SOMEONE ELSE – why participate in a war with OURSELVES???

    And, you know: the use of a dog simply helps get that message across clearer, if you’re paying attention. If Schultz were to present a human with those same characteristics, we would think they were mentally unstable, automatically dismiss them, and not get the point of the message. With a cartoon dog, it creeps in with the cuteness factor – and then it’s got you.

    As for Lucy, the arrow went in the right direction at the start of her description in this, and then went completely off-course.

    Lucy is the epitome of the type of person who non-stop causes problems in your life, then proceeds to set up proverbial shop, and dutifully asks you “What’s wrong? Why you mad, bruh?”

    Charlie Brown encapsulates the grand majority of people who fall for the ploys of the Lucys of the world; the grand majority of people who are, in some way, in an abusive relationship – whether it be romantic, professional, or any other kind of adjective that fits in this place. Charlie Brown also, and especially with his relationship to Lucy, personifies the core ideal that, with each passing situation, people grow and evolve into something different than they were previously. No, I’m not talking a person goes from Charmander to Charmeleon or any silly way to take “evolve” the wrong way; I’m talking a person goes from ignorant of something in one situation, to being able to walk into a similar situation with a little more knowledge.

    When it comes to the “football gag”, Charlie Brown goes in with the hope that Lucy has changed her ways. Granted, for the sake of the joke, she doesn’t, but from Charlie Brown’s side of things, he gives her a chance. She fails, but in her failure is Charlie Brown’s success. He has forgiven her for the previous instance(s) and gives her another chance. Not to say that this doesn’t cause any kind of psychological harm to Charlie Brown… as he then goes to see a “psychiatrist”.

    The fact that said “psychiatrist” is Lucy is also very telling: giving that idea of putting an irrational trust in those who abuse you. “If they didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt as much, would it?” is a question that seems to come up a lot; and, hey, if the person who hurts you presents him-/herself as wanting to talk things out, to help “mend” things, they can’t be SO bad, right? And let’s not forget that, since they’ve developed a routine, Lucy needs Charlie Brown, as much as he needs her, in this instance. Lucy’s confident that Charlie Brown will go for the kick, and while she might have some kind of personal, internal conflict going on, she NEEDS this… and she moves the ball at the right time. It’s what keeps her days going. (I would make a “Batman/Joker” parallel, but… neh.)

    Mind, all these words – and the words presented above – have been committed to not only a movie about cartoon characters, but they have been committed to a movie about cartoon characters THAT HASN’T YET TO BE RELEASED. While I, too, am curious as to the changes to be made, to make the characters and their adventures seem more “modern”, I’m left with one truly reasonable thought: If I see the trailer, and I like it enough, I’ll see it; if it doesn’t interest me, I’ll move on to something that does.

    And, if anything, it’ll spark that little bit of nostalgia I have for the gang and their beagle. Which, at the end of the day, is part of the reason why this stuff is making a comeback.

    • See…I was with you until you tried to go personal.
      You’re really trying to compare a guy who dresses up as a Ghostbuster and gives back to the community with no delusion of actually being a Ghostbuster…with a 65 year old cartoon dog?
      Bye Felicia

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