Those of you who know me know that I make a big deal every year over my birthday.
In the past, I’ve had scavenger hunts, recreated The World’s End, camped at the National Aquarium, gone on road trips, and other exciting things.
My mom started this tradition unwittingly. You see, there was something on my birthday that I was allowed to do that I wasn’t on any other day.
I was allowed to rent Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
You see, my mom HATED Pee-Wee. She thought he was dumb and hated his TV show. When Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure came out on VHS, I begged her to let me rent it. She said no. When I threw a fit she said:
You can rent it on your birthday!
My birthday is in September. This was November. I think she’d thought I’d forget about it.
Well, come September I finally got to see it and loved it. I rented it every year after for about 8 years.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is a tight, honest, and sweet comedy. There’s nothing edgy or hurtful about this movie. Every joke is timeless. I honestly wanted to write this using nothing but quotes from the film. I guarantee if you asked 100 fans of this movie what their favorite part is, you’d get 100 different answers.
(Mine is when Pee-Wee wakes up after fainting in Texas. A cowboy, trying to help him, asks if he remembers anything. Pee-Wee says “I remember…the Alamo” and everyone cheers. It is a perfect joke.)
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is my favorite of Tim Burton’s works. He was the perfect director for this. Things are slightly off in Pee-Wee’s world but it’s ok. It works. The Danny Elfman score is just the icing on the cake.
Sure, Pee-Wee Herman is the soul of this movie, but it would be careless to not mention all of the amazing supporting characters here. There’s Francis, Dottie, Large Marge, Simone, Jan Hooks as the Alamo tour guide, and lots more. They are all memorable, and they all make the movie. Also, I think Speck needs an honorable mention as one of the cutest on-screen dogs of all time.
Why is this movie so iconic? I mentioned its timelessness earlier. Nothing in this movie feels dated or stale. Even though this movie was made in the 80’s it doesn’t feel like it. The jokes aren’t cheap or referential. Big kudos go to Paul Reubens and Tim Burton for this.
It also needs to be said that this movie is never mean. Even Pee-Wee and Francis’s relationship isn’t nasty or hateful. It’s more of a jealous brother/little brother situation. All of the characters are treated with respect, which is kind of rare for a movie in the 80’s.
I love this movie more than most. I’m pretty sure I can quote most of it. It’s a classic and it needs to be seen. Even by my mom.
Hey, my birthday is coming up soon. If you want, you can come watch it with me!
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure screens Sunday AUGUST 23rd at 4:30pm at our local ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE. Click here for Tickets!