"Pee-wee's Big Adventure"

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Because Pee-wee is essentially a child in a man's body, his hyper energy and mannerisms seem natural to a child.  He loves his awesome red bicycle, he has a house filled with super-cool gadgets, and he competes with the town bully.  When Pee-wee's bike gets stolen, that's pathos a child can relate to, so you're totally with him as he goes on a quest to find it.

The film is directed by Tim Burton, true, but for the first half of the movie, it's Tim Burton Lite--colorful and carnivalesque.  So when Large Marge appears, you're expecting another slightly off-kilter character with zany antics.  Then she starts telling her story: "On this very night... ten years ago... along this very stretch of road... in a dense fog just like this... I saw the worst accident I ever seen." 

At this point you are wide-eyed; the woman has your full attention.  There is going to be a ghost story in the middle of the Pee-wee movie?  That's unexpected, but ghost stories are always cool.  You might anticipate hearing that when the girl takes off the green ribbon from around her neck, her head falls off, or to learn that in the dark, dark box there was a ghost, or that the viper has come to vipe your vindows.

Marge continues with her horribly specific description: "There was this sound... like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building... And when they pulled the driver's body... from the twisted, burning wreck,... it looked like... this!!!"

And that's when you suddenly see the most terrifying claymation sequence this side of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  The dead driver was Large Marge!  The dead driver was Large Marge!  This is the part where Marge haunts your nightmares for a good two and a half years.

Lesson learned:
There is no basement at the Alamo.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure.  Dir. Tim Burton.  Perf. Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton.  Warner Bros., 1975.
Pee-wee's Big Adventure (Widescreen)
(See the scene on YouTube here.)

1 comment:

  1. That moment of the movie always equally terrified me and filled me with laughter.