Tag Archives: Short Films

Thankful for What We Have: A Review of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Poster for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Image shows Charlie Brown and Snoopy standing next to table with a turkey and pie on it.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a 1973 animated Thanksgiving film about Charlie Brown, the famous animated character from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, throwing an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner for all of his friends.

The other films in this holiday trilogy in it include A Charlie Brown Christmas from 1965 and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown from 1966.

They all work as standalone stories. There is no need to watch them in a specific order.

I decided to review A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving because it’s the least well known part of this trilogy. It wasn’t something I was aware of growing up even though I knew about and liked the other films.

This review won’t contain a list of characters for spoiler reasons. The run time was only 25 minutes for this film, so I don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to discussing the plot without giving away what happens in it.

My Review

The premise was one of the other reasons why I wanted to review this film. I can’t imagine throwing together a Thanksgiving dinner on the same day I discovered such a thing was expected of me. Ugh!

Charlie Brown (who is pictured in the film poster above) didn’t even have the advantage of knowing how to roast a turkey or make all of the traditional side dishes for this holiday. He was a child who was just beginning to learn to make simple dishes like toast and popcorn, so his predicament was even worse than I originally assumed it would be.

I was intrigued by what a Thanksgiving dinner cooked by a kid his age would be like and if he’d figure out how to get everything warm and on the table at the same time. Seeing what that process was like for him was a great deal of fun.

One of the other unexpected twists in this film had to do with what happens when Thanksgiving doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. That message is just as relevant now as it was nearly fifty years ago. Honestly, it’s even more relevant now in some ways than it was when it first came out!

I loved the way the filmmakers approached the concept of feeling disappointment about the holiday festivities you’d planned and how to handle that emotion.

There are so many more things I want to say about the expectation of having a “perfect” Thanksgiving…but they’ll quickly wander into spoiler territory if I’m not careful.

It was also interesting to note how the culture of Thanksgiving has evolved since 1973. The ways the characters talked about the first Thanksgiving and this holiday in general weren’t exactly the same as they’re often discussed these days, although they did remind me of how these topics were handled when I was a kid.

I wonder what kids today would think of this tale?

Do note that the preview I included below for this short film is an original one from 1973 and does include some spoilers.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is available on Apple TV.

Vintage Science Fiction Month: It’s a Bird

Vintage Science Fiction Blog Challenge badge. It shows a rocket ship against a red background. There is a bubble city in the background. Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are also interested in participating this month, let Little Red Reviewer know about your posts if you’d like them to be included in her official roundups. 

This week I’m going to be talking about “It’s A Bird,” a three-minute, stop-motion animation film from 1930 that featured Charley Bowers and a metal bird that was capable of turning metal scraps into something incredible.

Harold L. Muller was the director of this film. Click here to watch it or check out the embedded version below. It is safe for viewers of all ages.

Caution – Major Spoilers Below

Think about all of the hours of work that went into creating this film! Every single frame of it had to be painstakingly recorded and then stitched together. There weren’t any computers, much less CGI, to make that job easier.

I loved the world building of this film. Charley was just as surprised as the audience was by the existence of a metal bird who ate metal and turned all of those scraps into a beautiful, white egg.

The fact that the egg hatched into a brand new car made me laugh! I was expecting another metal bird to start running around. Honestly, the only thing better than that was the parent-bird’s response when Charley said that he wanted to take the bird and start making a whole factory’s worth of new cars for them to sell.

I might have done the same thing if I were in his shoes. When you find yourself in a surreal situation, why not take it to its logical conclusions?

This is something I would love to see a sequel for. Where are the other metal birds, if they still exist or ever existed? Where did this metal bird come from? At what point does a car evolve into a bird in this universe? Or does every mechanical creature spawn offspring that look nothing at all like itself?

What a fun story it was at any rate. I’m glad I had a chance to blog about it for Vintage Science Fiction month.

Hopping Through Life: A Review of Easter Bunny

Today’s post will be a quick review of the short film Easter Bunny in honour of the Easter holidays coming up this weekend. This film was created by Asa Lucander in 2012, and I enjoyed it so much I simply had to share it with all of you.

Feel free to watch it before reading my review if you’d like. It’s about two minutes long, and the plot follows a small, black rabbit who is bouncing and hopping through all sorts of different environments.

Easter Bunny from Asa Lucander on Vimeo.

One of the things that first stuck out to me about this short film is the fact that it has no dialogue. There is some bubbly background music, but anyone could understand the story just fine if they couldn’t or didn’t want to hear the music. I haven’t seen too many examples of short films like this, so it’s a treat every time I stumble across one.

I liked the fact that this storyline seemed to be created for kids and adults alike. Without giving away spoilers, there were certain things that happened during the course of the bunny’s journey that were definitely meant to make adults laugh while still being totally appropriate for even the youngest audience. It isn’t easy to appeal to such a wide audience range, but Mr. Lucander made it look effortless.

One of the questions flitting through my mind as I watched was why the bunny was called an Easter bunny since the beginning didn’t seem to have anything to do with that holiday at all. The answer to this question wasn’t immediately obvious, but I did like seeing what the filmmaker came up with to tie everything together.

Normally, I include constructive criticism in my reviews if there was something about the characters, dialogue, or plot that didn’t quite feel right to me. I believe in being absolutely honest in reviews while also treating the creator with the same kindness and empathy I always hope the reviewers of my work will have for me. There’s also something to be said for building up a reputation as a reviewer who doesn’t sugarcoat the things that didn’t work for you.

With that being said, Easter Bunny was perfect the way it was. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about it, and I will be recommending it to family and friends of all ages.  Two minutes was exactly the right amount of space to give to this plot, and I’m glad the creator didn’t try to shorten it down or stretch it out.

I don’t recall ever watching one of Mr. Lucander’s films before. Based on my experiences with this one, I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything else he’s created. He has a playful and creative storytelling technique that I enjoy quite a bit.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all of my followers.  If there’s another holiday at this time of the year that you celebrate, Happy _____ as well!

5 Funny Short Horror Films You Should Watch This Halloween

One of the things I love the most about Halloween is seeing all of the creative things storytellers do with common horror, science fiction, and fantasy tropes at this time of the year. There’s something about the Halloween season that seems to bring out the best in writers, filmmakers, and other creators.

The films in today’s post represent a wide range of subgenres, filming styles, and intended audiences. That was something I did intentionally to increase the chances that all of my visitors would find something that appealed to them. It was also a great deal of fun to find five films that wouldn’t normally be grouped together.

My other major criteria was to find examples of funny horror stories that had as little gore as possible. As I’ve mentioned here before, I don’t enjoy that sort of thing. I’d much rather be frightened by thoughts and feelings than seeing a monster tear someone apart.

I will be sharing mild spoilers about the amount of gore in each film, if any, so you can decide for yourselves which ones you’d like to see if this is also a concern for you.

Happy Halloween

Created byNikhilesh Kumar.

Run Time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds.

Gore Factor: None.

Why You Should Watch It:

It takes years for children to learn the many rules rules of operating in polite society well enough that they can blend in just about anywhere.

I think it’s amusing to observe the process of their minds learning why rules are created in the first place, when it’s okay to bend a rule, why some rules only apply in certain situations, and what happens when someone breaks rules (whether intentionally or unintentionally). The main character in this story is the sort of person who has memorized a specific rule but hasn’t yet figured out why it exists.

Honestly, I have a lot of empathy for that little guy. His predicament was funny, but it also made me wonder how frustrated he might have been getting with the whole process.

 

The Lonely Slasher: Short Halloween Film

Created byTheThreeLancers. Score by Sam Holmes.

Run Time: 5 minutes, 38 seconds.

Gore Factor: A few briefly bloody scenes. I looked away for a few seconds at one point as my tolerance for gore is pretty low these days.

Why You Should Watch It:

I appreciated this film’s take on why people do the things they do. In no way did it make excuses for The Lonely Slasher, but I did come to understand why his body count was so high. While I wouldn’t necessarily call him a protagonist, there were parts of him that I found relatable on a much smaller scale. I mean, who hasn’t occasionally put their foot in their mouth at the worst possible time or accidentally bumped into a stranger?

The Chebo

Created by:  Ryan McDuffie from Crypt TV

Run Time: 9 minutes, 18 seconds

Gore Factor: Two mildly violent scenes, but no real gore.

Why You Should Watch It:

Miscommunications sometimes happen in every long-term relationship. I was fascinated by how the creator took this concept, turned it into a literal member of the household, and then pushed his creativity to the limits to show what can happen when a couple aren’t on the same wavelength.

Boo – A Short Film About Halloween, Ghosts, and Poop 

Created by: Michael J. Goldberg

Run Time:  11 minutes, 52 seconds.

Gore Factor: None.

Why You Should Watch It:

Not every ghost is necessarily scary in the way you expect them to be. I loved the plot twists in this one after the house sitter first encountered the ghost and was thoroughly unimpressed with what she believed to be his or her costume and persona. It was the total opposite of how I thought the first scene would go, so I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

Also, I think I might have been the only kid in the world who liked receiving those little boxes of raisins. So I never would have haunted this house in the first place.

Welcome Back, Mr. Buzzcock

Created by: Liz Anderson from Crypt TV

Run Time: 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

Gore Factor: Minimal. The camera panned away just before every gory scene actually happened, but it was heavily foreshadowed and implied.

Why You Should Watch It:

There’s always room for more stories about the tensions that can exist between one generation and the next, especially when it makes its point as quietly as this one does. This is something I’d happily show to the next person I meet who starts complaining about how people from a particular generation act.

I also enjoyed the way the secondary characters behaved in this film. Without giving away too many spoilers, they were much more intelligent and aware of their surroundings than most characters are in this genre. I really love it when that happens!

Respond

What is your favourite humorous Halloween short film?