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

A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.

NYTimes: Pee-wee, after a delightful signature opening full of Rube Goldberg-like devices, has his bland but blissful life disrupted when the three other members of his musical group, the Renegades, tell him they’re dismantling the band. Just when he’s at his lowest point, who walks into the diner where he works but the actor Joe Manganiello, playing himself.

It’s a fortunate encounter, both for Pee-wee and for viewers: The two pair charmingly. Mr. Manganiello (“True Blood”) is a big star, but Pee-wee, whose sheltered existence has been confined almost exclusively to the tiny town of Fairville, doesn’t recognize him, which only endears him to Mr. Manganiello more.

The Verge: I’m not sure if this was an intentional strategy, but if streaming television taught us that audiences are happy to stay couch-locked for hours when it comes to long-form narrative, then perhaps the lesson of something like Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is that self-contained movie experiences can get away with being a little more loose. They can offer up drive-by viewing that doesn’t penalize you for watching in the background, even if that same movie would drag when seen in a theater where nothing exists but the movie itself.

posted by MoonOrb (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Literally just finished. Credits are rolling in another tab as I type. So, where to begin?

This movie was a weird mess, and that sums up most of what I liked, and didn't.

I feel like Pee-wee Herman stories are somewhat genre-defying, and that frustrates some people, because it messes with their ability to contextualize/compartmentalize the movie. I think Reubens knows this, and he doesn't make movies to be analyzed, he makes movies to be experienced. At a certain point you have to give up trying to slap labels on the thing, because it's just too damn weird. That said, even among Pee-wee Herman stories, this one stands apart. If I were a professional movie reviewer, I wouldn't have any idea how to give this movie a star rating; I didn't always enjoy Pee-wee's Big Holiday, but I was never bored by it. I was fascinated the entire time: "What the hell am I watching?" (I don't know if that magic would remain if I attempted a rewatch; unlike Pee-wee's Big Adventure, which is fun and fairly well-constructed, this movie was kind of a mess.)

One thing I really liked about Pee-wee's Big Holiday: the heart of this movie was a loving friendship between two adult men who are both at least a little weird. The movie never attempts to "no homo" the friendship or apologize for it; for all the absurdity of the story, the deep feelings of friendship between these two is played entirely in earnest and it isn't laughed off or explained away.

One thing I didn't like? The hallucinatory scene in the well with the Queen of England. Jesus Christ, Reubens.
posted by duffell at 6:18 AM on March 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Watched it last night. I liked it. I don't really remember half the gags the next day, but there was nothing there that was too terrible. Pee Wee hardly looked digitally retouched at all.
posted by Catblack at 7:22 AM on March 19, 2016

The soundtrack by Mark Mothersbaugh really invokes Danny Elfman's for Big Adventure. Also, I loved the whole Penny King sequence, such a great cameo. "Au revoir, Pee Wee!"
posted by Catblack at 7:41 AM on March 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would pay good money for a service that would provide me with a new 15-second slow-motion Spanish-language Pee Wee and Joe party fantasy sequence every day.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:59 AM on March 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Alamo Drafthouse is showing it in my city, so I saw it in a theater this afternoon. Don't know how much that may have affected my opinion, but I thought it was great. Laughed out loud several times and I'm mostly a laughing on the inside kind of guy. Exceeded my expectations and felt just like a Pee Wee Herman movie should feel.
posted by ericthegardener at 3:25 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

One thing I didn't like? The hallucinatory scene in the well with the Queen of England. Jesus Christ, Reubens.

But that was the best part! A "Large Marge" moment for the 21st century!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:47 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I want a fake bag of groceries in the worst way.
posted by ian1977 at 7:58 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had some twinges of trepidation going in -- Big Adventure is pure magic, and one of my favorite films of all time -- and I ended up totally charmed and delighted by it. Yeah, it was a mess, but it was a warm and joyful mess and it far exceeded my expectations. I think my favorite thing was Diane Salinger as a bonkers nod to Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn ("Au revoir, Pee-wee!!!") who ends up in a hot tub with Grizzly Bear Daniels! I was like... now my heart is full!

Was there ever any other actor put forth for the Joe Manganiello part? Because I can't imagine it. He was just so delightful. There was a great quote in this article that hits on why I loved his performance so much: “I thought of it through the lens of a 10-year-old. What’s a biker to a 10-year-old? What’s James Bond to a 10-year-old? What is friendship to a 10-year-old?” The dream sequences and earnest silliness ("I'm in the shower / I'm getting clean / Happy birthday, Joe! / blerrerererererrrr!") won me over completely.
posted by kittyb at 7:59 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

So Tim Burton has zilch to do with this movie but there was at least two Tim burton references...the tiny model Fairville and the weird snake/sandworm sculpture outside of Snake Town
posted by ian1977 at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2016

It wasn't the beautiful magic of PeeWee's Big Adventure, but it also wasn't the creepy offness of Big Top PeeWee.

I loved Joe and his delight with everything, from the chocolate milkshake to the magical miniature world (there's a miniature in miniature!). I loved the amazingly ridiculous people PeeWee ran into, from Clay & Jimmy at the Snake Farm (and did you notice that Jimmy was played by Lynne Marie Stewart?) to the Amish to adorable Bella/Pee-Wee with her engraved switchblade.

I suppose my complaint would be that when it tried to recreate the magic of PeeWee's Big Adventure, it tried too hard. The Breakfast Machine was a mostly practical things that could theoretically work, while the Fairville journey was filled with the impossible. Instead of winning the Tour de France, it's PeeWee hanging out with an alien. And instead of a giant dinosaur or clowns in a nightmare, it's the Queen with a Snapchat filter (which, yes, is fucking terrifying, thank you).

I love that it exists, and I love its ridiculousness, but I am a little disappointed, I admit.

And not just because there wasn't an entire scene in Nana's Yarn Barn.

Or more Scuba Cops.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:49 AM on March 20, 2016

I thought this was a gas. A lesser revisiting of the types of gags and vibes from his first film, but still a delight. About 7x better than Big Top Pee Wee anyway.

Co-written and with a cameo by Paul Rust from Love.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:45 AM on March 20, 2016

Oh man, I'd be way into Paul Reubens producing Scuba Cop: The Animated Series.
posted by duffell at 11:40 AM on March 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I showed my niece and nephews Big Adventure over the summer and they were instantly obsessed. They are 4, 7 and 8. A few weeks ago the 4-year-old asked me "What's happening with that funny guy - the one with the bike?"

I watched the new movie today to see if it would be appropriate to show them, and except for the male strippers I think it might be ok. I definitely thought it was funny and Joe Manganiello is my new favorite person on earth.
posted by elvissa at 2:45 PM on March 20, 2016

I thought that balloon squeaking gag was far funnier than a balloon squeaking gag has any right to be. I've been giggling about it all day.
posted by treepour at 5:06 PM on March 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

This was ridiculous, and amazing. I loved it.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:12 PM on March 22, 2016

treepour: "I thought that balloon squeaking gag was far funnier than a balloon squeaking gag has any right to be. I've been giggling about it all day."

So we just watched this last night, and that scene destroyed me. I had to pause the movie afterwards to discuss it with my family. "We just watched a man blow up a large balloon and then all the air out of it gradually - the whole process, in real time - and it might be one of the funniest things I've seen in months. That... does not make any sense, and yet here we are." I am a big Pee Wee fan, and I had heard good things about the movie going in (noted Pee Wee aficionado Jesse Thorn was delighted by it), but it exceeded all my expectations. I think we are coming to a point in TV and film where the creators of a sequel/reboot/relaunch are beginning to understand that capturing the feel of the original thing is so much more important than trying to modernize/update/expand the concept, and they are working so much better than they ever did before. Rust and Reubens really did that here.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:53 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Months later, I am still giggling about the extended "Pee-Wee can't pronounce 'Manganiello' correctly" gag. I can't decide my favorite part. Is it how infinitely patient Joe Manganiello is with Pee-Wee? Is it the fact that "Manganiello" isn't hard to pronounce? Is it the fact that Pee-Wee is obviously barely trying to say it right? Is it the fact that it goes on for like 2 minutes and then is just dropped? I don't know, but it kills me.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:13 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

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