The Re-Visit: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

On May 3, 2013 by Jim Law

Pee Wee Herman is somewhat of a pop culture enigma to me. What the hell was going on in my life when I was eleven that turned me into such a snob towards the delightful rosy-red cheeks of Paul Reubens and his eccentric alter-ego? After thinking about this very subject for the past 17 hours (straight!) I’ve come up with a couple valid possibilities.

1. The Evil Dead Factor – My early to mid-eighties were dominated by the macabre. More than one cheesy sleepover was tainted by my bootleg copies of DAWN OF THE DEAD and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. It was serious too, you were either with me or you could go fuck your face. I was very judgmental. I hated your face.
2. Being Canadian in the 80s – I’m pretty sure every single Canadian household only got five channels until 2004. Pee Wee Herman wasn’t on any of them. I don’t remember ever, and I mean NEVER EVER, seeing a single second of ‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse’ on television.repeewee

Now, all this useless back-story aside, I saw the movie. I know this because three things had burned themselves into the part of my brain I store movie knowledge (It impresses my wife’s family. Nobody else).

1. The Mr.T cereal (GIMMIEDAT!).
2. The dance scene. This is because my dad was (is?) a biker and I distinctly remember convincing myself that he would have murdered Pee Wee had he been in that bar. Not sure why some of my childhood fantasies involved my father brutally murdering people. I’ll look into it. Bullshit, you look into it.
3. Godzilla fighting Ghidorah. A quality cameo that felt like it was filmed just for me. After thinking about it for years though, it probably wasn’t. Probably.

Alright, it’s time to watch the movie. Wait here, I’ll be right back. Pre re-visit rating: 5/10

There was an immediate dread that set in less than three minutes into this film. There’s Pee Wee bouncing around his house all silly-like, playing with his silly toys, preparing a silly breakfast. When will it be too much? At what point will I be overwhelmed with all the silliness and mentally check out? Thankfully, this never happens. It’s not too long after the opening sequence that we get to see Pee Wee’s one dimension start to branch off into a full-fledged movie character. It would have been so easy to bore us with randomness here. So easy to ram cheap and childish jokes down our throat for an hour and a half. They don’t. Everybody wins.repeewee3

It’s not hard to imagine the splash Tim Burton made in Hollywood after this film. Producing a coherent film around Pee Wee Herman seems like a pretty daunting task for a first time director. Burton handles it perfectly while managing to carve out his own unique style of film-making.

It’s not a perfect film. I feel like there were a lot of opportunities missed with the various supporting characters Pee Wee meets throught his adventure. Large Marge and the fat kid from TEEN WOLF aside, none of them seem to have a lasting effect. And the film as a whole is essentially one long Bugs Bunny cartoon. I wouldn’t consider this an entirely negative aspect however.

Re-visit Rating – 7.5/10

There you have it, the first of, hopefully, many Re-Visits for the new site. If you have any films you think need a fresh look let me know below.

Things I Learned During This Re-Visit

  • Morgan Fairchild, in her prime, had no boobs and the worst hair ever.
  • Phil Hartman co-wrote the film and has a cameo? That’s fantastic.
  • Kevin Smith must really love the final chase scene in this movie. See: The final chase scene in JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.
  • It’s possible to write an entire article about Pee Wee Herman and not reference jerking off. This doesn’t count. Shut up.

3 Responses to “The Re-Visit: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”

  • Jason Howington

    This is one if my all time favorite movies, growing up. It seams whenever I’m under the weather, pee-wee’s big adventure was and still is a go to movie for me. There are a good handful of films I consider to be comfort films to me. Pee wee is one of them. Funny thing Roadhouse is another “under the weather” go to comfort movie for me too, so I’m looking forward to that commentary!

  • Mac136287

    Seems like I have to search this out again for a revisit.

  • TL;DR here for LARGE MARGE.

    Nah Im kidding, I totally read like half of it. DO MORE OF THESE. THEY AMUSE ME.