Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
March 17, 2016 6:37 PM - Subscribe

When eccentric man-child Pee-Wee Herman gets his beloved bike stolen in broad daylight, he sets out across the U.S. on the adventure of his life.

NYTimes: THERE are two funny things in ''Pee-Wee's Big Adventure,'' which opens today at the National and other theaters. One is a waitress who explains why her boyfriend doesn't want to go to Paris. ''He flunked French in high school and now thinks everybody over there is out to make him look dumb.'' The other is a pretty, unstoppably gushy young woman named Tina (Jan Hooks) who acts as a tour guide at the Alamo in San Antonio.

Consequences of Sound: In a weird way, though, Pee-wee was the perfect hero for the ‘80s. He arrived at a time when commie-fearing politicians like Ronald Reagan were evoking America’s good-old days, and films like Back to the Future were playing on the nation’s collective longing for the simpler times of the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is set in the ‘80s, but Reubens’ iconic character is a throwback to another era — that supposedly wholesome time when people were decent to one another and kids didn’t even need to lock up their bikes.

Of course, that’s all bullshit, and the implications of those lies are right there in Pee-wee’s subversive persona. He’s a good-natured and charming until he’s not — and then he’s kind of a dick. Witness the kick he gets from taunting arch nemesis Francis in the beginning of the movie or the way he turns tyrannical when mobilizing his friends to help him find the missing bike.

Retracing the steps of 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure'

Large Marge

I know you are, but what am I?

I meant to do that


'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' in 9 minutes

Danny Elfman Soundtrack YouTube Playlist
posted by MoonOrb (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my gosh! I rewatched this movie last week for the first time in years and it struck me for the first time that this isn't...quite...a kids' movie. Even though I watched it constantly from age six onward.

Bonus: voice actor Elizabeth Daily (Chuckie from Rugrats) plays Dottie, who I had a massive crush on. ("Had.")
posted by duffell at 6:55 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by Chrysostom at 7:45 PM on March 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

When we rented it on VHS back in the day, that Large Marge scene was utterly trashed, presumably from all the freeze frames and rewinds.
posted by whuppy at 5:34 AM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I still want to live in Pee Wee's house.
posted by maxsparber at 8:14 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

How did I not realize that Tim Burton directed this?

I mean, of course he did. Just look at it!
posted by Naberius at 8:44 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

This movie is literally my favorite film of all time. It came out when I was 7 or 8 years old, but I never saw it in the theater, only when another kid brought it in to watch on movie day at school a year or so later, and it was an epochal event for me. I remember when my sister and I used to watch our taped-off-of-HBO recording more or less every day during summer break, and I still try to watch it at least once a year. It was my entry point into absurdist comedy, camp theory, the great classic film composers, and of course the work of Tim Burton and Paul Reubens. I may have to watch it again after seeing the new one, regardless of how it turned out.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2016

Tina: Yes, there are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I'm going to tell you about right now!

Simone: Do you have any dreams?
Pee-wee: Yeah. I'm all alone, I'm rolling a big doughnut, and this snake wearing a vest—
posted by infinitewindow at 12:38 PM on March 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I say we let him go...
posted by snofoam at 1:06 PM on March 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

The single funniest bit of this hilarious film comes right at the end of this clip, when he crashes the motorcycle through the sign. Watching that ragdoll fly out from behind the sign makes me guffaw ever. single. time.
posted by nushustu at 1:13 PM on March 18, 2016

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