Review: Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

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Sometime in the past couple of years, Netflix has become this all powerful deity of pop culture. A sneaky deity by lulling us into the comfort of staying home and watching movies without the discomfort of going to the theater. Once it plastered out rumps into sofa, it trained us for all night binges of shows. We are all guilty of binges (How I Met Your Mother is my shameless confession).  I have a blasphemous theory that Netflix has been siphoning energy off our of passive bodies to become this gigantic savior, powerful enough to create household names off of superheroes and resurrection of fan favorites. Even nostalgic ones. Especially nostalgic ones. What is it’s end goal? Who cares. They brought a new Pee-Wee Herman story to the screen and I am beyond delighted.

Pee-Wee Herman is a legit American cinematic treasure character. This impish, gray suit wearing, big laugh prankster is responsible for paving the way for many, many pop culture favorites like “Beetlejuice“, “Simpsons”, and “Batman. A keen observer (or a fellow fan) would have recognized the most denominator in these three along: TIM BURTON and DANNY ELFMAN. Yes. Pee-Wee Herman helped launched these legends with “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure“.

The man behind Pee-Wee Herman is Paul Reubens.  It is a long but entertaining history involving The Groundlings, Frankenweenie, and studio bikes. Through it all emerged legends, a classic television show, and an iconic character.  The overall success must have been completely astounding for Hollywood for Pee-Wee Herman is WEIRD. All non-apologetic caps. It is a strange balance of weird, comedy, silliness,and sincerity. Plus, that red bike. I want that red bike.

In a nutshell, I have hinted at the epic legendary status of Pee-Wee Herman. A character that was huge decades ago and then went quiet. How would such a character be appealing to a new generation?

Here is where I find that Netflix is oh so clever. Why appeal to a new audience? The main demographic of Netflix is the same demographic that grew up watching Pee-Wee movies and shows. A good portion of this demographic have children who they will drag onto the sofa. Voila. Instant ingredients to keep the legend going.  The butts are on the cushions but will it keep it there.

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday is a movie that everyone can enjoy. Nothing R-rated or violent. Pretty refreshing in these cinematic landscapes. Pee-Wee is well loved in his neighborhood. Every day is the same routine of escorting old ladies across town, grabbing breakfasts, and minding the diner. Everyone knows who he is and he is perfectly happy in his content little world. Well, nothing remains perfect for long. A cool (to the third power) kind of guy saunters up and begins Pee Wee on breaking his bubble. He’s off to an adventure outside of his little town of Fairville. A simply road trip in his trusty car. What can he possibly encounter? Well…..I can’t tell. Straight from the desk of Pee-Wee Herman: “It’s not Netflix and Spill”!

It has been a long time since Paul Reuben has donned the character of Pee-Wee Herman. Except for the slight hints of age, he still pretty much looks and acts the same. The energy is possibly a bit more subdued but the antics are still over the top. There is also an increased level of love-ability here. There was a touching scene where tears stung my eyes form the sincerity. Followed shortly by bursting into laughter.

If you (or your family) love weirdness, silly humor, beer barrel candy, fun, energy, friendship, and balloon…then yup. You will definitely enjoy it.  There are some definite nods to the previous movies but it is not necessary to watch them. Although, you really should. It’s awesome. Pee Wee’s Big Holiday plucked the nostalgic parts of Pee Wee and plunked it into a whole new modern setting. Yet it’s not modern or realistic. Wherever Pee-Wee goes, there is nothing realistic about it. Good.

Well. Except for Joe Manganiello (Tru Blood). Oh, he is real. He is real, real. He is really..hilarious. I do not possess the guts to watch Tru Blood so his acting was a complete revelation to me. Manganiello opposite of Reuben is absolutely sweet. Sweet to laugh and to look at.

There was a definite sense of refreshing happiness after watching this movie. There is so much, so  much horrible out there. Movies like these where it’s all right to laugh at silly things and celebrate being an individual is so important. Especially with a character that has spanned decades. How powerful is that message? A character who is confident, kind, adventurous, and weird is still able to bring happiness to fans.

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday will be airing on Netflix on March 18.  Enjoy!

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