Recently I had this need to watch a batch of “break up” movies. I’m talking about films about break ups and how to cope on the most basic human levels with said break ups. I needed a guide map of sorts because I was at a loss.
Since I couldn’t think of any good ones, I ended up just grabbing a batch of films at random that I’ve been meaning to watch for awhile. I threw them all in a bag and picked one out at random. I had no idea what I was in for. What fate had in store for me was probably one of the best break up films I have ever seen.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is seemingly a film about man child Pee Wee Herman and his quest to find his stolen bike but you would be oh so wrong.
Pee Wee is lost in his own world of contentment. This world is bizarre to you or me but it shapes who he is. His Bike is his most coveted possession and its existence in Pee Wee’s life is what keeps him living the way he does without feeling embarrassment of the outside world. He can’t go anywhere without his bike, and it becomes a part of who he is or at least who he thinks he is. The only other person who can see what value the bike has is another man child, the neighbourhood bully Francis Buxton. Francis is a fat rich snobby guy who, with the help of his father’s bank account, gets whatever he wants and he wants what Pee Wee has. See Francis doesn’t want the bike per say, what he really wants is the happiness Pee Wee receives from it which is impossible. You can’t change who you are, and you can’t feel the same way for something as someone else does.In stealing Pee Wee’s bike he sees how hurt Pee Wee is and how at a loss he is to deal with it. Francis ends up throwing it away and never taking fault for it but fully understanding that he could never feel that way for the bike. In his loss Pee Wee abuses his friends, walks madly down rainy streets howling like mad, and sits still for hours. No one can comprehend his loss but him. Sure there’s other women vying for his attention but Pee Wee wants only one thing, and that’s more than just a new bike, or someone else’s company. He wants what he had and he can’t function at all without it. In his despair he turns to a fortune teller who leads him astray and tells him that his bike can be found in the basement of the Alamo.
This is what starts an epic quest across the country to reclaim what’s his. Which forces him outside his bizarre world and into the real one we all live in.
He meets a convict wrongfully charged and on the run. Pee Wee decides to help the man, but the friendship they share is short lived. The convict, like Pee Wee, is looking for something and he needs to be alone so he ditches Pee Wee in “the middle of nowhere”. In this dark and sad place Pee Wee meets Large Marge who, like Pee Wee, is lost. She tells a story of a terrible accident that she witnessed ten years prior on the very same road they are driving down. Pee Wee realises later on that large Marge died in the accident she spoke about ten years ago. Large Marge rides down the same strip of road in the middle of nowhere trying to understand the why of her accident but the years have made her bitter and angry and now she has nothing left in her heart for anyone else.
Pee wee next meets Simone, a friendly but sad waitress who watches the sunrise with Pee Wee. They talk about life and what their dreams are. Pee Wee wants what he had and she wants something new. Simone is in love with Pee Wee but Pee Wee’s heart is already given to another.
He runs into a biker gang who take Pee-Wee under their wing. This represents how bad his pain has really become, it has pushed Pee-Wee to running with bad groups of people and partying and drugs and emotionally unsatisfying sex. When Pee-Wee takes this route as far as he can he wakes up in a hospital. His fever dreams have only taunted him of his bike. He says goodbye to the party life and continues to search for the love of his life.
Sure, he does find the fucking thing. However, i feel that the ending where we see Pee-Wee watching a big budget version of his own story with all his friends proves to us that Pee-Wee has changed. The only story continuing on about the love of his red bike is this big budget movie with better looking people and new scenarios and even a new bike. This represents how people move on and change. Sure you loved that red bike and that love is yours to keep and it makes you crazy sometimes and act like a child. And maybe the only role you have in the next story of that bike is a badly acted cameo but you loved and you moved on and are happy and ready to share new things with new people.