Review: Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

Today was the day, and quite a build-up it was for the latest Pee-wee Herman film, and I was happy to finally be able to see it. I had been a fan since the Pee-wee’s Big Adventure days, leading on into the Pee-wee’s Playhouse era and beyond. Big Holiday had been in the works for a while, and came together with much of the help coming from Netflix who, in large part, made this all possible today for it’s debut.

What do I think? It took me a while to finally get it after watching the film late in the afternoon…but I liked it!!!!!

To be objective I looked at it from two perspectives— one being the PWH die-hard I am from the Reagan years, and also the realist of those of today who are a completely different audience (most of whom who may have not seen the earlier films). One thing, and the trailer made this clear, is that this is not a “holiday” (Christmas) film, despite the title. It’s holiday in the British sense, like a vacation. Some in the previous months, before the trailer hit, thought it was gonna be one of those movies.

If you were a huge fan of Big Adventure, but go to only compare this one to that… Big Holiday may disappoint you then. And that would totally be on you the viewer, and no one else. Because you’d set yourself up for total dismay. That should be clear right there as for example Big Top Pee-wee in ’88 was a different film than it’s predecessor and had it’s own flavor much like Big Holiday is having now. Apples and oranges; together it’s a great assortment!

Big Holiday stands on it’s own, and I believe very well so for this era of 2016. I first saw Big Adventure exactly around this very time, thirty years ago, in the Spring of ’86. It was a VHS rental from J.R. Video, back in Corona,  on a sunny Friday afternoon right after school. Even to this day when popping in the DVD, the excitement still builds when first hearing Danny Elfman’s overture play and the rainbowesque lettering appear.

Today I’m sure there was a six/seven year old who probably had the same experience when watching Big Holiday. It’s really an unforgettable feeling.

I truly liked what watched today; for reasons old and new. For those familiar with Big Adventure— you definitely caught the cast members who made appearances along with some of the subtle references. My personal favorite being the flying car sequence… and you’ll know why.

I think Big Holiday is geared towards today’s youth, and that is what makes it quite marketable and is how it should be. I honestly didn’t know many of the actors who appeared in it, especially Joe Manganiello, and I actually had to look him up. However I did immediately recognize the great character actor, Richard Riehle.

Casting was great, and the film tied in line with what it set out to do. A great job on the selection of filming locations… namely in and around the LA area. I also recognized what I believed to be Pasadena (unconfirmed) for Pee-wee’s neighborhood. The lake that Pee-wee falls into is actually Big Bear Lake.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is definitely worth a watch and I highly recommend. I understand that Paul Reubens held a premier yesterday in Texas at SXSW for the film. So far the majority of the reviews I have read have been quite favorable. Awesome news to hear!

So I say unto this— if this thing takes off and pops and does well… let’s talk about that Playhouse movie Reubens has been wanting to do.

I’m serious.

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