First of all, if you’re actually reading this, I salute you, as some people might have skipped it just because of the subject in question. And that makes me unhappy, because Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a great movie. I can remember always enjoying Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and damned if I’m going to shun something just because of indecent exposure. But that aside, let’s get to the review.
Like I said, I really loved Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and just like with the Goonies, I watch it every time it’s on TV. It’s just one of those great adventure-type movies that never really gets old. All those funny one-liners and 80’s slang is infinitely entertaining. Plus, it stars Pee-wee Herman, possibly one of the greatest victims of extreme quirkiness ever.
I guess a film review wouldn’t be very complete without a bit of a plot synopsis, so here we go. As our movie starts, we get Pee-wee doing his morning routine; eating a breakfast of Mr. T cereal, watering the lawn, and going for a ride on his bike. We’re also introduced to the yang to Pee-wee’s yin, (at least, I think that’s the term. In any case, Pee-wee’s sworn enemy,) Francis. This fat freak is more or less the main villain of the flick, so feel free to hate him as soon as you see him. After failing to be convinced to sell his bike to Francis, Pee-Wee goes on his way.
He gets to the mall, stops by a magic shop to pick up some supplies and then heads to the bike store to get his custom bike horn. Dotty, Pee-wee’s friend and a worker at the bike shop, stops Pee-wee for a chat, and tries to convince him to take her on a date. But like me, Pee-wee just can’t confine himself to one woman, so he (rather ungraciously) declines and leaves, only to find that his bike has been stolen! Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but Pee-wee’s bike is clearly the alpha male of bikes.
In a state of mixed panic and anger, Pee-wee rushes to accuse Francis, and opens our first scene of horror. Now Francis just happens to be having a bath when Pee-wee arrives, and that is a very, very bad thing for our eyes. While he is wearing a bathing suit, his form is much less than appealing, and we have to watch it blubber around for far too long. Though the scene does have some comedy value, it’s almost disturbing in its own little way.
Since Francis didn’t have the bike, Pee-wee realizes that he’s gonna have to seek some help, so he calls a meeting of all his friends. When they prove to be no help, he winds up at a fortune teller’s place, and she tells him that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo. This sparks the beginning of Pee-wee’s big adventure, and my, is it a big adventure.
The movie is full of everything, and doesn’t cut any corners. There is plenty of hilarity, and a lot of action to boot. Pee-wee meets a wide variety of people, including an escaped convict (he cut the tag off a mattress!), a ghostly truck driver, a wannabe-French waitress, her insanely jealous boyfriend, a hobo, and plenty of other outrageous characters. The fun never ends in this movie, but there is one scene that is really farking scary.
When Pee-wee is walking down the highway in the dark, he gets picked up by a suspicious trucker. She calls herself Large Marge, and tells Pee-wee the story of a horrible trucking accident. The mood at this point has gone far from child’s comedy and gotten downright creepy. And then to top it all off, Large Marge scares the living crap out of Pee-wee and me, by turning into this horrible claymation monster. Sure, it doesn’t sound scary in words, but the first time I saw it I had nightmares for all too long, and every time I’ve seen it afterwards I left the room until I was sure the scene was over.
Okay, maybe I’m making a much bigger deal of this than I should have, and maybe it’s not all that scary, but it was damn horrendous when my age was still a single digit. Come to think of it, this movie is a whole year older than me! I never realized that until now. Odd… But anyway, RoG at I-Mockery thinks is pretty damn freaky too, and people respect him more than me, so… so yeah!
But back to the rest of the movie, as far as I can remember, it’s a far cry from the show, mostly because Pee-wee spends almost no time in his house. It’s quite sad, I can’t remember even a guest appearance by Chairy. And what is the secret word? We may never know… While Pee-wee’s dog Speck was in the movie, he only got a little bit of on-screen time. But to be completely honest, all I can really remember of Pee-wee’s Playhouse is the little parody thing they did on Family Guy.
At least we still saw a lot of Pee-wee. That’s why anyone would watch the movie. Honestly, who could not want to be like him? He’s quite literally a grown man living the life of a child! Think about it for a moment, and if you can think of a better way to live life than acting like a kid, having no job (but still mysteriously getting income), eating Mr T cereal, and having the bike that everyone else wants, you’ve got one Hell of a problem.
I should also mention that there are quite a few special guest appearances. My personal favourite was Twisted Sister, but also on the list are big stars like James Brolin and Godzilla. Actually… I think there was only one other, but if you wanna know for sure, just look it up or watch the movie and read the Special Guest Stars list in the credits.
Now as for memorable scenes, the best one is easily the bar dance, where Pee-wee is caught by a biker gang and is given one last request. He uses it to pop a coin into the jukebox, grab a pair or dance shoes, and then rocks out to “Tequila”. His dance wins the collective affection of the gang, and they send him out on his way on a motorcycle, only to have him crash into a signboard, resulting in absolute hilarity.
Another scene you’ll more than likely take notice of, is when Pee-wee is chaining up his bike outside the mall. The producers obviously missed a little something, as Pee-wee pulls a very long chain out of a compartment that obviously couldn’t hold it, and when they zoom in on the box, you can see the chain being fed into the bottom of it. Sure, it’s unintentional funny, but it’s one of the parts I remember best.
So in the end, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is one Helluva movie. Unless you still harbour some kind of grudge against Paul Rubens, I can’t see a way that anyone could not enjoy this movie. It quite literally has a little something for everybody, and it’s a lot of fun. I’d buy it, but I just don’t do that kind of thing. You on the other hand, I advise you to at least try to catch it next time it’s on TV, cause it’s definitely worth your time. Especially if you can’t sleep and want something to do. A+
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