GUEST CRITIC #13: The Peanuts Movie


As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me.  As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, sometimes a simple sentence or two from a friend says it all.  Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy.  Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering.  In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for quick-hit movie reviews.


On this breezy second weekend of November, my thirteenth "Guest Critic" movie review comes from a whole family of five.  I'd like to introduce you to the Stark family of Delavan, Wisconsin.  They are old friends of mine who used to live in the Chicago suburbs of Forest Park and Lansing before crossing the dreaded "Cheddar Curtain" border to the north.  Say hello to Nick and Jackie Stark.  These two college sweethearts are graduates of Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, also my wife's alma mater.  He was a music major and she was a nursing major before they became a CURF Cougar match made in heaven.  

If you think the idea of college sweethearts is adorable, Nick and Jackie are the patriarch and matriarch to three awesome kids, Alex (age 10), Maddie (age 7), and David (age 4).  They have raised these kids right, making sure to share their love of the Chicago Cubs, "Star Wars," good music, and, of course, Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip, TV show, and movies.  They even have a tradition of naming their family dogs after "Peanuts" characters.  The Starks were the perfect folks to step up and review "The Peanuts Movie," the long-awaited cinematic return of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, and the rest of the gang.  Here is their four-part review!


DAVID:  "I liked when Snoopy was playing baseball in the snow. I loved the part where Charlie Brown says 'She said hello!'  I liked the parts where Snoopy was flying around and ended up in the bathtub with Franklin." The little man wanted to give more examples and when asked what he didn't like he said, " Nope, I liked it all!"

MADDIE:  "I like when Snoopy rang the doorbell Charlie Brown pretended to be a tree andthen said "she said Hello!".  I thought it was nice when Charlie Brown helped out Sally and pretended to be a cow instead of doing his magic act.  I think the movie was fine just the way it was."

ALEX:  "I liked pretty much the whole thing!  I don't think Charlie Brown would have liked the school dance, but the chicken dance part was funny."  That's spoken like a true 5th grade boy if ever I've heard one!  He gave it 4 1/2 out of 5.  In closing, he offers "It didn't get a 5 because they saved the football part until the credits."  

NICK AND JACKIE:  "As parents who have been lifelong Peanuts fans, we both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It stayed very true to the spirit and personality of the original strips/specials and they put so many little touches and references in without making it awkward or heavy.  I appreciate that they didn't feel the need to update it (there was a scene where one of them was tangled up in a phone cord!) but let the same message of a kid who is insecure figuring out he's OK after all be the story.  Thanks for letting us share our two cents!"


Two cents?!  I think I got a whole dime there.  If they keep this up, I'll be out of job.  I'm telling you that's a cute family right there!  Wonderful work!  I give my thanks to the whole Stark Family: Alex, Maddie, David, Jackie, and Nick.  Let's keep this going.  Friends, if you see a movie that I don't see and want to be featured on my website (and get a fun fake biography written about you), hit up my website's Facebook page and you can be my next GUEST CRITIC!