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The Curator of Schlock #123 by Jeff Shuster

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

(Adapted for the screen from the novel by William Golding)

I know I’m the Curator of Schlock, but I broke down after last week’s review of Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby. I’m not made of stone. If you prick me, I’ll bleed. I need a comfort movie this week and those always tend to be the movies from my childhood. And so we have 1977’s Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, from director Bill Melendez. This was a curious undertaking considering I hadn’t watched the movie since the early 80s. I do remember it making quite a few rounds on the family VCR, but as with many movies from childhood, the fear lingers that it’s not as good as you remember.

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

This movie is not as good as I remember. It’s even better.

This movie is rated G?

This movie was rated G back in 1977. No doubt if this movie was released today, it would be a strong PG-13. After all, the MPAA only allows two “Good griefs” per film and Charlie Brown gratuitously spouts them every chance he gets in this picture. 

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The Paramount logo is always a good sign.

 Growing up, the Paramount logo led in to such cinematic treats as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Raiders of the Lost ArkRace for Your Life, Charlie Brown is no exception. Whenever the United Artists logo would appear, I would run away in terror. That sound was worse than the Jaws theme! 

Snoopy is the reincarnation of “Captain America.”

 Come on! He’s driving the same motorcycle Peter Fonda drove in Easy Rider. Snoopy and Woodstock must be the reincarnations of Wyatt and Billy. I was half expecting some evil rednecks to blow them away to kingdom come. I guess George Hanson didn’t get reincarnated because lawyers don’t get second chances. My reincarnation theory might explain Snoopy’s obsession with the Red Baron. Hmmmmmmm…

The bullies in this movie are as bad can be.

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 Whether they’re making fun of Charlie Brown’s weird name, disrespecting his sister, siphoning air from the rafts of the Peanuts gang, or switching directional signs around that warn of DANGER BLASTING DO NOT ENTER, these bullies are the worst gang of deviants I’ve seen since the Hedden Gang from Straw Dogs. Even their pet cat is bad news! 

 Did I mention there’s a race?

The bullies keep creaming the Peanuts gang in competition after competition. They win by cheating all the while chanting, “We’re number one! We’re number one! We’re number one!” The last chance our heroes and heroines and canine have of beating the bullies is the rafting race. The girl’s group consists of Peppermint Patty, Lucy, Marcie, and Sally. They go down the river in yellow tube raft.

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The boy’s group consists of Charlie Brown, Linus, Franklin, Schroeder, and Schroeder’s piano. I like their raft best. It has a ceiling. Snoopy and Woodstock’s raft is an old tire with a large sail attached. The bullies have a fancy motor raft with radar and sonar. Who wins the race? You’ll have to watch to find out! I’d like to see a sequel to this movie from the makers of The Peanuts Movie, another rematch with the bullies and their cat, Brutus. That cat freaks me out!

 Five Things I Learned from Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

  1. Snoopy isn’t like any other dog and what is wrong with that?
  2. Don’t stick your tongue out at Sally. She may just punch your lights out!
  3. Ice cream and westerns go well together. 
  4. Secret ballots are a waste of time!
  5. Don’t answer the door if a bear is on the other side!

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Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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