January 17 - PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (1985)

"There's a lotta things about me you don't know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand."
"I don't understand."
  Image credit: walter.trakt.us

Image credit: walter.trakt.us

Today's category is Classics. This is a purposefully vague category, intended to be versatile enough to encompass everything from CITIZEN KANE to my favorite movie in high school (DONNIE DARKO). PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE is a classic because I grew up in a family who constantly quoted "There's no basement in the Alamo!" and "I LIKE you, Dottie! LIKE!" at each other. I remember watching this movie with my family years ago and enjoying it fine, but I didn't realize how influential it was on my sense of humor until I watched it again for this challenge. Tim Burton goes to extraordinary and elaborate lengths for the dumbest of payoffs, which really makes this movie a collection of memorable excuses for punchlines and gags, loosely connected by the story of Pee-Wee's quest to find his bicycle.

The best part of PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE is that it doesn't bother with grounding any of its jokes or bits. Wouldn't it be funny if Pee-Wee befriended a biker gang and immediately crashed his motorcycle into a billboard? Yeah, sure, he'll wake up in the hospital but there aren't any doctors around and he's fine - he'll just get up and leave. There's no point in explaining the nonsense that's happening here, just roll with it and enjoy the expertly-crafted sequence of idiocy. PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE holds up, and it's a lot of fun.

 "Can't you remember anything?" "I remember... the Alamo."   Image credit: ytimg.com

"Can't you remember anything?" "I remember... the Alamo."

Image credit: ytimg.com

Tomorrow: the Fantastic.