Pee-wee's Big Holiday

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Pee-wee's Big Holiday
Pee-wee's Big Holiday poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byJohn Lee
Produced byJudd Apatow
Paul Reubens
Written byPaul Reubens
Paul Rust
StarringPaul Reubens
Joe Manganiello
Music byMark Mothersbaugh[1]
CinematographyTim Orr
Edited byJeff Buchanan
Pee-wee Pictures
Apatow Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • March 17, 2016 (2016-03-17) (SXSW)
  • March 18, 2016 (2016-03-18) (Worldwide)
Running time
89 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States

Pee-wee's Big Holiday is a 2016 American adventure comedy film directed by John Lee and written by Paul Reubens and Paul Rust. The film stars Reubens as Pee-wee Herman and Joe Manganiello as himself. The film was released on March 18, 2016, on Netflix.[3][4]


Pee-wee Herman is a resident of the small town of Fairville and works as a cook at Dan's Diner, where he is well liked by the locals and revered for his cooking. He meets and befriends actor Joe Manganiello, who convinces Pee-wee to leave Fairville for the first time in his life to travel to New York City and be a guest at Joe's birthday party.

Shortly after leaving Fairville, Pee-wee encounters three women being chased and, assuming they are innocent women in peril, offers them an escape in his Fiat 600. It turns out that the three women, Pepper, Freckles, and Bella (who coincidentally goes by the nickname "Pee-Wee"), are outlaws who have just robbed a bank, and that is the reason they were being chased. The women steal his Fiat. Pee-wee then gets a car ride from a travelling salesman named Gordon, who visits a creepy snake farm with Pee-Wee in tow, and gives him a disguise kit.

Pee-wee attempts to hitch-hike, but after having no luck, seeks refuge at a farmhouse owned by Farmer Brown, who offers to let Pee-wee spend the night. Farmer Brown introduces Pee-wee to his nine daughters, each of whom have a romantic interest in Pee-wee and spend the night flirting with him. The next morning, having heard his daughters talk endlessly about Pee-Wee, Farmer Brown insists that Pee-wee get married to one of his daughters. During the wedding ceremony, Pee-wee uses the disguise kit to flee the church. He then gets a ride in an RV driven by three African-American hairdressers who are en route to a hairdressing contest. Pee-Wee realizes he is still far from New York, but the hair stylists implore him not to give up.

Pee-wee then meets Penny King (possibly a reference to the character in the television show Sky King), an aviator with a flying car resembling Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who offers to fly him to New York. The flying car crashes in the wilderness where Pee-wee meets Grizzly Bear Daniels who promises to show Pee-wee the way out of the woods, but instead, takes him to his cave.

Pee-wee runs away from Grizzly's cave out of fear and after wandering lost for a time, comes upon an Amish community, where he entertains the locals by slowly letting the air out of a balloon, causing it to squeak loudly and shrilly.

Pee-wee discovers that the bank robbers are hiding among the Amish. That night when the women attempt to steal a horse buggy, Pee-wee convinces them to leave some of their money behind for the Amish citizens to purchase a replacement.

Pee-wee and the women arrive in New York where the three women are arrested for the robbery. Pee-wee falls down a well in Central Park just before Joe's birthday party. Joe believes that Pee-wee decided not to come to his party and cannot enjoy himself. Joe, in a state of melancholy turns on the TV to the local news. There is a story about a rescue attempt in progress to get Pee-wee out of the well. Joe rushes to the well and assists in rescuing Pee-wee. During the rescue, we see that the entire town of Fairville, Pepper, Freckles, and Bella (while in their prison cell), travelling salesman Gordon, the staff of the snake farm, the hairdressers, Penny King, and Grizzly Bear Daniel are watching the news broadcast (except for Farmer Brown and his daughters and the Amish people), that went national when Joe got involved. When Pee-wee asks Joe, "What about the party?", Joe responds, "Pee-wee, we are the party", and then shows Pee-Wee a miniature version of Fairville he created, reflecting one of Pee-Wee's models he saw earlier.

Pee-Wee returns to his job at Dan's Diner, where he shows the Fairville residents some of the items he acquired during his trip. Joe appears in Fairville to give Pee-Wee a ride on his motorcycle.



Ever since Reubens started giving interviews again after his 1991 arrest, he has talked about the two scripts he has written for future Pee-wee Herman films. Reubens once called his first script The Pee-wee Herman Story,[9] describing it as a black comedy. He has also referred to the script as "dark Pee-wee" or "adult Pee-wee",[10] with the plot involving Pee-wee becoming famous as a singer after making a hit single and moving to Hollywood, where "he does everything wrong and becomes a big jerk".[11] Reubens further explained the film has many "Valley of the Dolls moments".[12] Reubens thought this script would be the first one to start production, but in 2006 Reubens announced he was to start filming his second script in 2007.[10]

The second film, a family friendly adventure, is called Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Movie by Reubens,[13][14] and follows Pee-wee and his Playhouse friends on a road-trip adventure, meaning that they would leave the house for the first time and go out into "Puppetland". All of the original characters of the show, live-action and puppets, are included in Reubens' script. The story happens in a fantasy land that would be reminiscent of H.R. Pufnstuf and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.[15] In January 2009, Reubens told Gary Panter that the rejected first script of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (which they co-wrote) could have a movie deal very soon, and that it would be "90 minutes of incredible beauty".[16] In December 2009, while in character, Reubens said this film is "already done, the script is already fully written; it's ready to shoot." Most of the film will take place in Puppetland and claymation might be used.[17]

He has said that one of the two films opens in prison.[12] He has also said that using CGI for "updating" the puppets' looks could be an option, but it all depended on the budget the films would have.[10] Reubens once mentioned the possibility of doing one of the two as an animated film along the lines of The Polar Express, which uses performance capture technology, incorporating the movements of live actors into animated characters.[11] Reubens approached Pee-wee's Big Adventure director Tim Burton with one of the scripts and talked to Johnny Depp about the possibility of having him portray Pee-wee, but they both declined.[11]

In June 2010, it was announced that Paul Reubens was working with Judd Apatow on a new Pee-wee Herman feature film set up at Universal Studios, with Reubens and Paul Rust set to write the script.[18] In an October 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Reubens gave an update on the status of the film, saying: "It's been months and months of being right on the verge of being announced... I thought something was going to go public yesterday, actually, and that you'd be the first person I'd be talking about this with. But I'm thinking there will be something made public very soon. It's going to get made shortly after the new year. I wish I could tell you about it right now, because... I mean, it's amazing. It's going to be amazing. It think it first got leaked four years ago or so that the movie was going to be made, and ever since then it's just been stalling and stalling. So I'm really ready for this to happen. But I'm not kidding: It's very imminent."[19]

In a November 2014 interview with The A.V. Club, Reubens explained why the film took so long to be made, saying: "I think part of what happened with this project is it got leaked probably a year and a half or two years before we really wanted anyone to know about it. I was doing a Q&A somewhere, and I said I was writing a movie with a guy named Paul Rust, and the next day a journalist called my manager and said, 'Paul Rust is someone very associated with Judd Apatow, can you confirm Judd Apatow is involved in the project?' The whole thing got leaked and we had just started. We didn't have a script yet or anything, so the script took a year and—I don't really know the answer. I think two years of it was like premature information out there, and then the last two years it's just been very, very slow to get the right people involved, and we now have such an amazing company involved, and that's the really big announcement that hasn't been made yet."[20]

On February 24, 2015, Netflix announced the film would be titled Pee-wee's Big Holiday with Apatow and Reubens producing the film, John Lee directing, and Reubens and Paul Rust writing the screenplay.[21] On March 11, 2015, Tara Buck joined the cast of the film.[8] Principal photography began on March 16, 2015.[22] On April 8, 2015, Joe Manganiello joined the cast.[5] On April 19, 2015, Jessica Pohly was cast in the film.[6]


On December 22, 2014, it was announced that the film would premiere exclusively on Netflix.[23] In July 2015, Netflix announced the film would be released in March 2016.[24] The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 17, 2016.[25] The film was released on March 18, 2016, on Netflix.[4]


Pee-wee's Big Holiday received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 82% approval rating, based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The simple story is a little short on laughs, but there's plenty of sweet wackiness for Pee-wee Herman fans to enjoy."[2] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 63 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[26]


  1. ^ "Mark Mothersbaugh Scoring Netflix's 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday'". Film Music Reporter. Film Music Reporter. 12 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Pee-wee's Big Holiday". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Evers, Joris (August 30, 2015). "Why You'll See Some High Profile Movies Leave Netflix US Next Month". Netflix. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (January 19, 2016). "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday' Gets Netflix Premiere Date". Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bacle, Ariana (2015-03-16). "Joe Manganiello joins 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday'". Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  6. ^ a b Dave McNary (2015-04-19). "'Pee-wee's Big Holiday': Jessica Pohly Joins Cast of Netflix Movie". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  7. ^ a b "New York, New York! - My Log". Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  8. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (2015-03-11). "'True Blood's Tara Buck Cast In 'Pee-Wee's Big Holiday' Netflix Movie". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  9. ^ R.J. Crane. "The Pee Wee Herman Story - Articles - Vanity Fair". Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  10. ^ a b c Robinson, Tasha (2006-07-26). "Paul Reubens". A.V. Club. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  11. ^ a b c Keast, James (2007-12-01). "Questionnaire". Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  12. ^ a b Jessica Hundley. "Interview with Paul Reubens | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  13. ^ Peter Hartlaub (2007-01-24). "Pee-wee may be heading back to his Playhouse. But for now, he's happy to be Paul Reubens". Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  14. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. (2004-11-08). "Back to Pee-wee's Playhouse". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  15. ^ Horowitz, Josh (2007-12-11). "Pee-wee's Big Return? Paul Reubens Discusses Plans For Two Pee-wee Films". MTV. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  16. ^ Panter, Gary (2009-01-28). "Icons: Paul Reubens". Swindle. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  17. ^ mtv. "EXCLUSIVE: 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Movie' Is Incoming, And We've Got Story Details". Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  18. ^ Spangler, Todd (2010-06-30). "Apatow Developing Pee-wee Herman pic". Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  19. ^ Fear, David (2014-10-20). "Page 4 of Paul Reubens on Rescuing and Remastering 'Pee-wee's Playhouse'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  20. ^ Adams, Erik (2014-11-10). "Paul Reubens on the new Pee-wee Herman movie and being "the luckiest boy in the world"". Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  21. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2015-03-01). "'Pee-wee's Big Holiday' Movie Coming to Netflix". Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  22. ^ "DAY TWO FILMING 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - My Log". 2015-03-17. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  23. ^ Marianne Zumberge (2014-12-22). "Judd Apatow-Produced Pee-wee Herman Movie Heads to Netflix". Variety. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  24. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (July 7, 2015). "Netflix Dates First Feature Film Slate With Idris Elba, Cary Fukunaga, Adam Sandler, Harvey Weinstein, Paul Reubens & Judd Apatow". Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  25. ^ McNary, Dave (January 7, 2016). "SXSW to Premiere 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday,' Seth Rogen's 'Preacher'". Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  26. ^ "Pee-wee's Big Holiday". Metacritic. Retrieved April 12, 2016.

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