Drink & Watch: Pee-wee's Big Holiday
It is an incredibly rare and challenging feat, especially in the midst of this current thirst for nostalgia-driven reboot resurrections of our childhood past, to recapture both the fun and feeling of something long gone. Not only did I watch Pee-wee's Playhouse religiously as a kid, I devoured Tim Burton's movie adaptation of the childlike protagonist who embarks on a national quest to find his missing bicycle. More than thirty years after that initial adventure, and a half-decade after Paul Reubens revived his Pee-wee character on Broadway, I finally sat down to watch the Judd Apatow-produced, Netflix-original Pee-wee's Big Holiday. Then I watched it again. Then I watched it for a third time. The more I continue to think about it, the longer I can hold on to the warm afterglow that has permeated my soul since screening the film. Pee-wee's return to cinematic form is simply incredible. The man is sixty-three years old and he looks younger than me, a guy who is literally half his age. He hasn't missed a beat, either.
In no way do I think new fans to the genre will be overly impressed with the result (although my young nephews ate it up). If you weren't a fan of Pee-wee before, there's no reason to believe you'll like the updated version. But that's because there isn't much of a difference! In many ways, Pee-wee's Big Holiday is simply an upgrade to his Big Adventure, albeit with fresh faces like Joe Manganiello (playing himself) who puts aside all of his manly machismo and shows a sensitive side that will often have you in complete stitches. It's a sign of how comfortable he is with his image and a true testament to his lack of ego. If you're a fan of the original film, then I have to think you're going to go ape shit for this one. There are great cameos throughout its entirety, plenty of classic Pee-wee encounters, and some serious laugh-out-loud moments that seem both new and familiar simultaneously.
As for what to pair with it? You can pair anything that makes you happy. I drank a bottle of Champagne the first time through to celebrate the occasion—a cold bottle of our 2009 Louise Brison that continues to impress the more I revisit it (much like the movie). The second time through I made cocktails—margaritas but with orgeat as the sweetener, which happened out of necessity, but is now a switch I might continue to make as a personal preference. This most recent time through I opened a few beers and kicked back with some family members. This is a party movie through and through. I've been riding a wave of nostalgia ever since, thinking about people and places from my past that I haven't thought about in years. I can't recommend this movie highly enough, both as a jolt of fresh creativity that I'm greatly in need of right now, as well as a welcome walk down memory lane. Few things age like fine wine anymore, but Paul Reubens is one of them.