How many comic strips are left to love?

PeanutsTo begin with, I must confess that I read the comics every day in the local paper. No, not every cartoon, as nothing has been the same since Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” ended over a decade ago and Berkeley Breathed’s “Bloom County” finished in the distant past. I still miss the contributions of both Mr. Larson and Mr. Breathed.

On the other hand, I never overlook reading “Peanuts”, as the late Charles Schultz’s contributions to our mental health continues to resonate to this very day.  Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, Linus and their friends continue to have meaning, and there is no better way to begin the day than taking in this comic over a cup of coffee.

Although I recently bemoaned the fact that my grandchildren have aged into their teenage years where they are no longer available for animated films, I still couldn’t miss taking in the new Peanuts movie on a late fall afternoon.  While I was alone, there were several families with small children in the theater, and those kids were laughing uproariously throughout the film.

While I took the opportunity to approach the parents after the film to ask them if their children really liked the movie, I was reminded of an incident that occurred years ago when I wanted to go see the Disney film Pocahontas.  Though I have told this story before, humor me and let me repeat it.

I called a good friend who was divorced and had an 8yr old daughter, and I asked her if Alise had seen this movie.  When Ann said that she had not, she asked why I would need someone to go with me since I see most of my films alone.  I responded to her laughter, “Well if I go to see an animated film alone wearing a suit, everyone in the theater will think that I am a child molester!”

In any event, I agreed to meet them at the now closed Clearwater Cinema on the north side of Indianapolis on a Thursday afternoon. I got there before them, and I was rather shocked to see that a long line had formed outside the theater.  As I stood waiting, I saw Ann pull up with Alise in her Volvo, both of them laughing before her daughter left the car.

As Alise approached me, I yelled at Ann, “I’ll take her to get something to eat after the movie, but I will have her home by 8PM.”  The crowd turned and looked at me, but I thought nothing of it at the time.

As Alise approached me, she kept laughing uproariously as she bent over slapping her knees.  With the crowd now formed both in front and behind me, I simply asked her, “Alise, what were you and your mom laughing about?”  Alise responded in a loud voice, “My mom says you’re so funny!”  When I foolishly asked why, she yelled out, “She said you needed me to go see this movie with you or everybody here would think you’re a big child molester!”  In the process, she raised her arms in the air and loudly repeated her statement.

As she calmed down a bit, I leaned over to Alise and quietly said, “Listen you little shit, stop yelling this or I’m going to get arrested and we’re never going to see the movie.”  And for your information, at her wedding 14 years later, I told this story at the reception.

I tell that story because it secretly bothers me when I go to see a movie alone like Peanuts.  While I sit as far away from families as possible, I know that they silently suspect that I am some lecher who has filed his small bottled water with vodka and is simply in the theater to lure their children into some abominable act.  Nonetheless, the duty of a movie reviewer calls, and I simply have to take the risk of a possible arrest.

Which is a long way of getting to my review of Peanuts which is a pretty enjoyable film simply from an adult standpoint.  Charlie Brown is a young first grader with a low opinion of himself, and the film focuses on his attraction to the pretty red haired girl.  In the process, Lucy is on call for her psychiatric service where she charges $0.05 and Snoopy will do anything possible to help as long as he is able to fly through the skies on his doghouse and attack the Red Baron from World War 1.

In any event, try to hunt down this film, but make sure you take a child under 10 so that you are not taken into custody.