You can't go wrong with me if you spend most of your life making Charlie Brown movies and you're also the voice of Snoopy.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) -- Along with It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, this is one of the movies I have to watch every year. You've all seen it and I don't have to tell you why it's great.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) -- Another successful and wonderful holiday movie about Charlie Brown.
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) -- The first full-length theatrical motion picture about Charlie Brown, this is pretty definitive, covering all the elements and motifs that made each character in Peanuts so great. The movie takes its time, makes a dozen or so side-stops along the way for a set-piece or pretty song or animation, and has a great mood. The Charlie Brown of the comic is pretty depressed, of course, but in this movie he's really depressed. Suicidal almost. (Meanwhile, Linus shows all the signs of a druggy in withdrawal when losing his blanket.) These are all good things. This is, essentially, a movie for a adults, not children, even though kids can watch it without any problem and enjoy it. But the emotions, references, mood, pacing, and everything else is on the adult level (the adult from the late sixties, at least: it's not childish or zany enough for some modern adults).
Snoopy, Come Come (1972) -- The second theatrical Charlie Brown movie, this time focusing more on Snoopy than Charlie Brown and the other kids. I'm not sure I like the "resolution" of the story (that no dogs are allowed in Lila's apartments, so Snoopy leaves her in the dust without even saying goodbye, after crying with her for half the movie) or the replacement of Vince Guaraldi music with tunes by Sherman and Sherman, but it still retains a lot of the greatness of the other Schulz/Melendez shorts and features.
You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown (1972) -- A minor mention of The Great Pumpkin, and Linus running for class president. Decent-enough Peanuts.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) -- Directed with Phil Roman. Some interesting bits, but not on par with the more famous holiday specials.
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) -- Again, one I haven't seen since I was a kid, so I'll watch it again. This one is about them going to camp and doing rafting.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1979) -- Not a Snoopy film, of course, but one based on one of my favorite books. I haven't seen it in years, but I remember it being a fairly decent adaptation.
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back) (1980) -- Can we say "I need to see again"? On this one, they went to Europe. I think this one also had a depressing feel (I know they all sort of do, but some more than others).
It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984) -- This is the first Charlie Brown TV movie that I remember seeing the first time it aired (I was nine). I liked it a great deal then, but thinking back now it seems kind of suspect, being based on Flashdance and all... at any rate, I still remember two or three of the songs like I heard them yesterday.
This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Voyage of the Mayflower (1988) -- Educational stuff done by Peanuts, it seems a bit odd to see adults in their world (the pilgrims, Indians, etc.), but not too bad. Historically accurate enough for children. Entertaining at any rate, if not funny.
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992) -- The second Christmas special, a collection of little Christmas stories animated into one. It's not as "touching" as the first one, but it's actually a lot funnier, especially Sally trying to remember her line, "Hark!," for the Christmas play. (Trivia: this was the first direct-to-video Peanuts special, a promotional thing from Shell--though it eventually aired on TV.)
You're in the Superbowl, Charlie Brown (1994) -- This was some other kind of Shell promotion, and obviously a NFL one too, since the NFL logo was plastered everywhere in the movie. I haven't seen nearly all the Peanuts movies, but this is the worst one I've seen, since it was mostly a redundant football game with the same stupid joke made over and over. The good news is that it's out of print, so if I ever need money maybe I can sell it on EBay.
Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown (2003) -- Directed with Larry Leichliter. One made after Schulz's death. Those seem to lack a certain charm, but they're good for children's TV specials.
Copyright (c) Aug 2001 - Jan 2009 by Rusty Likes Movies