The Twelve Flicks of Christmas

A ben’s TEN Holiday Series

Get the Scoop You Won’t Find Anywhere Else on 12 Christmas Movies Old and New
[See complete list of reviews]

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Directed by Bill Melendez
Rated G
Starring: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran and Sally Dryer

Review by Ben Koch

Conventional Synopsis:

“Christmas time is here” again and the angst-ridden boy-philosopher of the Peanuts universe, Charlie Brown, is burdened with an existential dilemma–despite carrying out all the outward rituals and traditions of the season, he is still depressed. His best friends and even his dear dog Snoopy seem to be completely swept away by the superficial trappings of Christmas. Just as his despair seems set to plunge he is asked to direct the annual Christmas play. Will this be just the impetus he needs to get to the core, the spiritual essence, of this larger-than-life holiday?

Beneath the Surface 

Charlie Brown’s rage against the Christmas machine has always represented that voice of conscience within all of us that has wondered and asked, just like the Grinch himself, what exactly would this holiday look like without the presents, lights, pagentry and commercial hoop-la. Even though his whining and self-pity does, frankly, represent an annoying character trait, the stand he makes against the blind rush of Christmas is truly heroic. He’s a non-conformist for all the right reasons. He’s that gifted child who insists his outer world is morally consistent with his inner world. When there is a disconnect, that must be resolved.

And so just like that child in the crowd who called a spade a spade and confronted the Emperor’s nakedness, Charlie Brown has pointed his finger at our billion dollar behemoth holiday and cried out: “It’s naked!” Wow, what new relevance has this little classic taken on in the age of the 99%? Brown could be the seed revolutionary for future Occupy Christmas movements across the world.

But is Christmas the naked commercial play Charlie Brown fears? What he discovers is that, in the end, under the most sincere circumstances, everything around him does have an unseen depth. Even though they may not always live up to his high moral standard, Christmas and his friends do have a heart of basic goodness that shines through their imperfect facades.

And just as a bonus, the grooving soundtrack that accompanies the story stands alone as its own holiday classic. Together, the story and music pack a lot of enjoyment and heart into 30 minutes. Well worth a fresh watch every year.

Ratings

Cocoa Factor = 9 out of 10
How good is this one for cozying up with a fire burning, a hot beverage of your choice, and your new Snuggy?

Magicality = 8 out of 10
How well does this one transport you back to the timeless wonderment beyond rationality when Christmas enveloped you in magic? AKA “The Santa Clause factor.”

A Date with Grandma and Aunt Bernice = 10 out of 10
How appropriate/awkward is this one to watch with relatives of all ages? Will hot kissing scenes or male rear nudity spoil the mood?

Tiny Tim’s Big Truths = 10 out of 10
From the mouths of babes come life’s most profound lessons. At the heart of this flick, how authentic, heartfelt and lasting is the message? Does it transcend Xmas clichés and ring bells?

Overall = 9 out of 10

About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of bensten.wordpress.com.

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