Monday, December 12, 2011

A Boy Named Charlie Brown - Part One

Wow, this one brings me back. I used to watch this all the time as a kid. While I love the heck out of this movie, it''s...I'll come out and say it. It's not the greatest movie in the world. It's far from that. It's a nice film, it has some fantastic (and random) sequences, but it's a flawed film, much like Charlie Brown is a flawed person. And in a way, it's fitting.

But I might as well get to the recap and explain myself a little better.

The film opens with a cute little jingle (the "Champion Charlie Brown" song to be exact), and fades to Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy gazing at the clouds. In a scene taken directly from the comic strip, Lucy muses about all the things that one can see in the clouds. Linus describes grand, historical images that he sees.

Charlie Brown: Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsey, but I changed my mind.

That moment does a good job of summing up Charlie Brown--he's a well-meaning kid who just tries too darn hard. With that, we cut to the opening credits, accompanied by some great music by Vince Guaraldi (who wrote the film's fantastic score).

We are then presented with the gravelly-voiced Rod McKuen, singing the film's title song. It's a pleasant little song about how there's a little Charlie Brown inside of all of us. Charlie Brown sits inside, making a kite. He's satisfied with it and goes outside...

Until that happens.

Despite the setback, the kid just doesn't give up. He sits right back down and starts over. The film's done a good job of getting us on his side already.

Finally finished, Charlie Brown returns to the park, armed with his completed kite. But waiting for him is one of my favorite characters...THE KITE-EATING TREE!

"Would you like some candy, little boy?"

Undeterred, Charlie Brown continues through the park and tries to fly his kite.

Things get tense.

In the end, he just can't seem to do it. Delivering his lines in the classic Peanuts way (meaning he says everything as if he's reading off a cue card--which the voice actor very well might be), he leaves the crumpled kite with Lucy and demands that she take it away.

Lucy deposits the remains of the kite on a sleeping Snoopy.  A gust of wind picks the kite up and lo and behold...

Snoopy can fly the kite better in his sleep.

I don't know if they didn't remember to put the background in or what.

The next morning, Charlie Brown is out and about, heading off to the baseball field.  He is dismayed to find that the pitcher's mound is covered in dandelions, and the girls don't want him to cut them down. He looks kind of cute standing there.

Snoopy, meanwhile, is setting up a record player.  Okay, normal so far but then...

What the...?

What's happening?!

It's so patriotic, it hurts!

Dear lord!

Is that technically an adult?!

I feel proud to be an American all of a sudden!

The madness is suddenly over.  The others look on in voiceless confusion.

There's not much to say on the game.  It's essentially a montage of old Peanuts strips about how incompetent Charlie Brown's team is.  Of course, we have the classic "Charlie Brown is hit by a baseball and all of his clothes come off" bit.  Oh, and some bubble gum explodes in Frieda's face for some reason.

In the end, they lose, of course.

Take special note of those purple birds.  This is pre-Woodstock era here.

"Well, we lost the first game of the season again.  I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does.  We always seem to lose the first game of the season and the last game of the season...AND ALL THOSE STUPID GAMES IN-BETWEEN!"

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