A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – While I’ve seen the Christmas and Halloween Peanuts specials at least fairly recently, it had been a while since I watched the Thanksgiving one. I guess you could say this one isn’t QUITE as cynical, as it doesn’t seem that everyone in town is against Charlie Brown like they are in those other two. He does screw something up, but Marcie convinces Peppermint Patty that it was really her fault in the first place. I believe this was the second of these specials to include Peppermint Patty and Marcie, often seen in popular culture as a lesbian couple. Canonically, however, Patty has a perpetual crush on Charlie Brown, which he doesn’t return. Still, since she and Marcie genuinely like him, they don’t just continually attack him like some of the other kids (particularly Violet, who wasn’t in this one). Lucy still injures him with her football trick, however. While of course we never see adults in these cartoons, and only hear them as trumpet sounds, I think the Peanuts universe is a throwback to a time when parents didn’t feel the need to supervise their kids all that closely. Presumably the Brown parents were driving the station wagon at the end, but they weren’t around to help Charlie Brown prepare his pre-dinner. I have to wonder why they had so many toasters, but Snoopy probably had some in his doghouse. He was, after all, hoarding a turkey in there, but made no attempt to share it with his human friends. But then, he’s kind of a smart-ass. If Charlie Brown or Linus had specifically asked him, “Hey, Snoopy, do you have a turkey?”, maybe he would have shared.
There was some consternation from very early on about Woodstock being a cannibal for eating turkey, but is that really any more so than humans eating other mammals?
Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Neither Beth nor I had seen this one all the way through, and it seemed appropriate to watch it on Thanksgiving. As Beth pointed out, it really switches from a goofy personality-clash road movie to a tearjerker at the end. I think the moral is that you should never travel.
C.H.U.D. – Okay, this one isn’t a Thanksgiving film, unless your traditional holiday meal includes homeless New Yorkers, but we’ve had it out from Netflix for some time. And some people would probably say it’s a turkey, but I thought it wasn’t bad for what it was. As with a lot of these corny monster movies, there’s a heavy environmental theme, in this case toxic waste dumped in the sewers leading to deadly mutations. The authorities then propose pumping gas down there to kill the monsters, which would just make things worse. How many low-budget horror films need to be made before people take responsibility for the environment? Daniel Stern appears as a guy who runs a soup kitchen. This movie was referenced at least twice on The Simpsons, once when Homer encountered C.H.U.D.s, Morlocks, and Mole People in the sewers of Springfield. Mind you, he was with Otto at the time, so this might have just been the result of a contact high.