Jul 27, 2008

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is one of the first films I remember seeing. As a child, Pee-wee Herman was someone I could identify with because he acted like an exaggerated adult man-child. Most children would love to have an adult that they feel they could understand personally. Pee-Wee not only acts like a child, but lives in the ultimate child fancy home. And of course, in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, like any child fantasizes about, Pee-wee goes on a “big adventure.” On the way, Pee-wee has various surreal nightmares involving horrible and disgusting clowns.

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure director Tim Burton was also the first “auteur” I became acquainted with. I didn’t know what an “auteur” or a “director” was back then, but I knew some of my favorite movies were Beetlejuice, Batman, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and Edward Scissorhands. I also knew that I loved all the music in these film but didn’t know Danny Elfman composed it. Of course, films seem to be more magical when you don’t know people are consciously behind the production of them.

After just watching Pee-wee’s Big Adventure again (after who knows how many times in my life), I still love it. The film is one of few that can somewhat transplant me back to my childhood. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure exerts a real childlike sentiment that transcends the line between childhood and adulthood. One could say that Pee-wee actor Paul Reubens is a magician of sorts. His acting abilities and situational humor have much more put into them than just “talent.” Too bad Reubens got caught doing naughty things in an adult movie theater that people who have reached puberty do. That one public “performance” essentially caused the death of the undeniably lovable Pee-wee Herman.

Over years I had become a huge fan of Italian maestro and auteur Federico Fellini. I couldn’t help notice the “Felliniesque” nature of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Director Tim Burton obviously utilized Fellini’s obsession with the cinematic circus for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure flamboyant and “in your face” showman nature. Danny Elfman also found some influence in Federico Fellini composer Nina Rota. I found Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and it’s score to influenced by Fellini’s 8 ½. The difference between Tim Burton and Federico Fellini’s approach is that Burton was able to make his film accessible to all audiences. Also unlike Fellini, I don’t think Tim Burton likes clowns very much as the evil clowns of Pee-wee’s nightmares demonstrate.

Pee-wee goes on his “big adventure” to find the bike that a fat fellow man-child Francis has stolen from him. When Pee-wee and Francis childishly bicker it is reasonably cute. Even knowing that Pee-wee has a somewhat prudish childish attitude, he is still a lovable character. Pee-wee describes himself as “a loner, a rebel.” He also seems very comfortable while sporting drag in attempt to fool cops (which of course he does). Dottie, the girl that loves Pee-wee, he can’t seem to love back. Pee-wee’s “sexuality” is very questionable.

Not only was Pee-wee actor Paul Reubens arrested for public masturbation in 1991, but in 2001 Paul Reubens was arrested in 2002 for child pornography. Reuben denies that he was attempting to acquire pornography as he is a collector of “vintage erotica.” Paul Reubens public response to his child pornography arrest is as follows, “One thing I want to make very, very clear, I don't want anyone for one second to think that I am titillated by images of children. It's not me. You can say lots of things about me. And you might. The public may think I'm weird. They may think I'm crazy or anything that anyone wants to think about me. That's all fine. As long as one of the things you're not thinking about me is that I'm a Pedophile. Because that's not true.” I hope that Reuben is not a Pedophile because I think that it would hurt his character Pee-wee’s feelings.

-Ty E


Will Lewis said...

Although not as artistic as Burton's "Big Adventure," "Big Top Pee Wee" is quite interesting with the parallels to Fellini and the circus. The ending is even similar to that of 8 1/2, but again not as artistic.

Danny Elfman also scored this one as well, and listening to it reminds me of Nina Rota and a Fellini enviornment. Great review and keep up the good work.


Paul Reubens is a faggot, the dirty little queer bastard.