McKay here. I wanted to bring up something controversial for this entry. That's right, I know it's been a long time coming but I think it needs to be said:
I was never too much of a fan of The Peanuts.
I know, this is something rather hard to ponder. But there were several things about it that I just couldn't get over as a youngster. First, they never made me laugh. Weird. I would always go out of my way to watch the numerous different movies that were shown on the Disney Channel. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, Snoopy Come Home. That one where the gang goes to France and the cartoons break the silent rule of not showing adults in their world.
And while I was entertained, I never laughed. It was meant to be a comedy but there was nothing funny about it. Don't get me wrong, I felt that there was some solid character development. I mean development enough for a six-year-old to observe.
Another thing that always bothered me was how terribly the others treat Charlie, with maybe the exception of Linus. Seriously, have you gone back to those comics? The cartoons? Poor Charlie Brown got a fricken rock at every Gee Dee house that they trick or treated at! Who deserves that?? He was constantly berated and called a blockhead for not catching on as fast as the others, only because the others tried to exclude him as best that could. And he was their scapegoat when their plans went wrong. Even when it wasn't.
Don't you dare get me started on Lucy. That hell beast played the worst mind games on poor Charlie. She would berate him one panel, get mad at him for not finding her pretty even though she was not clearly interested in him, and constantly lie that she would let him kick the damned football. We all know what would happen.
And she acted as his psychiatrist! What kind of mind playing monster would try to get inter her victims heads, pretend to help them in their best interest and even take their money, only to help be the source of all their constant failures???
No seriously, she is probably the worst character in all of American literature.
Speaking of which, there was always the constant source of failure. No matter how hard he tried, Charlie Brown was never going to truly win. I know that Charles Schulz' plan with Charlie was to make him the every man. Showing kids that when you are faced with failure, you pick yourself up and keep going. Tenacity is what leads to success.
I respect that and find the goal to be ahead of his time. But I don’t think the execution was the greatest when your main character is always, and I mean always feeling down upon himself because his so called friends are so mean to him, leading to a form of borderline depression.
So when I heard last year that the Peanuts Movie was coming out in November 2015, I was lukewarm to the idea. There was nothing about it that I found appealing and never even slated it into my calendar.
Its was an afternoon that I needed to give the Mrs. McKay free of children where I decided the movies were the best way to pass the time. It was a passing note that the movie was playing that afternoon and I figured it wouldn't hurt to bring the kids to introduce them to Charlie Brown and company. Hey, the afternoon wasn't about me. It was for the kids.
And as I watched this reintroduction of these ageless characters on screen, the exploits of Snoopy fighting the Red Baron to save his love Fifi, and good ol' Chuck try to work up the courage to talk to the little Red Haired Girl, something happened to me. I laughed. I was touched. I was completely engrossed in watching Charlie Brown pursue his dreams.
You see, this movie set out and fixed everything that was wrong with the Peanuts in the first place. Spoiler alert: It gave Charlie a chance to finally win. And when he didn't win, he was recognized for the pure heart and soul he had in his effort.
This is a healing movie. There was nothing better than watching Charlie chase the Little Red Haired Girl to say goodbye before she left for the summer, only to see him conquer all of his failings, his friends cheering him on.
And we finally get to see and hear the Little Red Haired Girl, telling Charlie how much she appreciated him for who he was. Finally, I felt good watching The Peanuts one more time. I thoroughly enjoyed my children, cheering at the end, knowing they felt just the way I did. And we all jammed to Megan Treanor's "Better When I'm Dancin" on the ride home, refreshed, and happy.
I still think Charlie should have gotten a kiss at the end. But then again, I didn't feel upset when Lucy once again pulled the football on him.
I figured he had already won. Let the baby have her bottle.