Tonight Only, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure Hits the Big Screen

Filed in Arts & Entertainment, Local Events by on August 22, 2009 2 Comments

pee wee

All summer, the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline has been providing a sort of extended movie supplement to the popular VH1 program, “I Love the 80s.” Each month, the theater has presented a special midnight showing of a classic movie from that inexplicable decade of vibrant kitsch and impish irony.

Tonight—or tomorrow morning, depending on your point of view and your stubborn insistence on arguing about it—the theatre will continue its series by bringing an over the top faux epic by Tim Burton, a movie far wackier than even his other works, back to the big screen. Deliriously madcap, endlessly quotable, and packed start to finish with enough blithe wit to knock out Oscar Wilde, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure will return for this special, one night only event.

Written by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee) and the hilarious Phil Hartman (Troy McClure), it is the heartwarming tale of a hyperactive boy with a pituitary problem and his undying love for a heavily accessorized, ruby red bike. When someone absconds with his cherished set of wheels, Pee-wee embarks on a grand quest from coast to coast to recover his bike and bring it back home. Along the way, he is tested time and again by a charlatan psychic, a hideous, truck driving phantom, and a vicious biker gang with a soft spot for nerdy dancing and the song “Tequila.” His journey leads him deep through the heart of Texas—though he only remembers the Alamo—and, in an epic finale, on a wild escape ride from the Warner Bros. film studio. Special guest appearances are made by a mattress slicing jailbreaker and Twisted Sister.

For all its simple one liners and stupid quips (“I know you are, but what am I?”) the film remains a cult classic, especially with the resurgent popularity of overt irony permeating all aspects of pop culture. Yet the movie is more than just a rollicking adventure of bizarre events for the simple novelty of the bizarre. The humor is largely, despite its frequently immature tone, smart and sharp and, most importantly, extremely funny. Rueben’s high-pitched delivery and flamboyant gesticulations only add to the humor, leaving no moment mundane.

The Coolidge has shown and continues to show midnight movies throughout the year, but this summer the theater has partnered with local designer Johnny Cupcakes and given him free reign to screen some of his favorite childhood movies. Mr. Cupcakes has then produced limited edition T-shirts inspired by each film to be sold and autographed for the many zealous fans who prefer waiting in line to getting a good seat. I, being perpetually shunned for my wardrobe inspired primarily by the lifestyles of, it would seem, drifters and street urchins, skip the merchandise line, thinking gleefully to myself all the while that my thriftiness and repulsion to high priced fashion will one day bring me happiness and good fortune, or something like those.

The midnight movies are always a blast; how often do you get to hear a room full of (possibly drunk) people actually interact with a film, clapping and cheering and hurling their own jokes back at the screen? That alone makes the experience of the Coolidge midnights far more enjoyable than just watching a pirated copy at home on a tiny computer screen (admit it, you were thinking of just finding it online.)

For those who have never seen this movie, there is no excuse not to go tonight. It’s the weekend, and, no matter how important you claim the stuff you must do tomorrow is, its importance is heartily trumped by the importance of seeing this film and thus rounding out your pop culturing. And if you have seen it before, you know why you won’t want to miss it in glorious, full screen format. Pee-wee is the lunatic kid in all—well, some of us, at least—who we love to see triumph again and again over a mountain of ludicrous hardships.

So you go, Pee-wee, go save your bike, and never, ever let someone take it from you again.

Movie begins at midnight, obviously, at 290 Harvard St. in Brookline (the one with the giant theatre lights out front.) For more information on the screening, check out

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  1. One of the best classics ever made. You think it is time for a remake on this one?
    .-= Boston Knucklehead´s last blog ..12 Ingredients for a Successful BBQ =-.

  2. Alex says:

    Holy $@#%. You have no idea how much I love this movie. I was actually wondering if you, yourself a rebel with a bike, had love for it. AND YOU DO.

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