New Viewing Context: Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

*Very minor spoilers follow; things that are apparent in the first few minutes of viewing.*

My wife and I watched Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday the night it was made available and all in all, I enjoyed it. Although I was kind of apprehensive about watching it at first, because rewatching the TV series made me realize I didn’t like it all that much and Large Marge scarred me for life. Let me tell you though, I am glad I watched this one.

Viewers get to see Pee-Wee’s hometown and the people that inhabit it. There is a lot more to it than we have been lead to believe – at least from what I remember. Also, Pee-Wee is the coolest guy in town, which is strange because he is also, the oddest. If any normal person saw him creeping around their real-life neighborhood, they would avoid eye contact and quicken their pace.

So, where is this new viewing context? Well, I came up with it early on in the movie and for that reason, I think it made the movie beautiful. I had a thought that somewhere, in a hospital bed or on the side of the road, Pee-Wee, is lying in a coma or something. Perhaps he is an elderly man with Alzheimer’s and hyperkinesia. Some sort of trauma has caused the brain to lock off a chunk of time. A fantasy land that Pee-Wee can be a total weirdo and at the same time, be the most popular guy in town. A place that seems like it should exist just off of Route 66 during its heyday.

This was made concrete as Pee-Wee makes no reference to any of his previous movies or the tv show. Not that anyone specifically asks, but he doesn’t remember them at all. That made me think about the TV show in this context as well and it all just made sense. That pretty much sealed it for me. This strange land that is our own and yet is most assuredly not. While the time frame seems to be contemporary, there are too many instances where it is clearly not.

In general, it is a menagerie of scenes and settings. As if, a brain is exploding and replaying random events all at the same time. People from bygone eras appear and intermingle. All the while, Pee-Wee has a difficult time controlling his face and bursts of sound that resemble laughter.

While this context does seem a little sad, the movie is so happy it somewhat cancels it out. Trust me, this makes for a sublime movie viewing. Besides, if you’ve read this far, it may be a little difficult not to recall while watching Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.


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