Pee-wee's Big Holiday

Pee-wee's Big Holiday

Film poster
Directed by John Lee
Produced by Judd Apatow
Paul Reubens
Written by Paul Reubens
Paul Rust
Starring Paul Reubens
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh[1]
Cinematography Tim Orr
Edited by Jeff Buchanan
Pee-wee Pictures
Apatow Productions
Distributed by Netflix
Release dates
  • March 17, 2016 (2016-03-17) (SXSW)
  • March 18, 2016 (2016-03-18) (Worldwide)
Running time
89 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English

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. The film was released on March 18, 2016, on Netflix.[3][4]


Pee-wee Herman, a resident of Fairville and a cook at Dan's Diner, meets and befriends actor Joe Manganiello, who convinces Pee-wee to go on the first vacation of his life to reach New York to celebrate Joe's birthday party. Upon leaving Fairville, Pee-wee unintentionally becomes involved with three women who have just robbed a bank: Pepper, Freckles, and Bella. After the women steal his vehicle, Pee-wee gets a car ride from Gordon, a traveling salesman who gives him a disguise kit.

Pee-wee spends the night at a farmhouse inhabited by Farmer Brown and his nine daughters, each of whom have a romantic interest in Pee-wee. The next day, 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. Pee-wee meets Penny King, an aviator with a flying car who offers to fly him to New York. When the flying car crashes, Pee-wee winds up in the wilderness where he meets Grizzy Bear Dan who shows Pee Wee the way out of the woods but ends up taking Pee Wee to his cave where Pee Wee runs away out of fear and then joins an Amish community, where he encounters the bank robbers.

That night when the women attempt to steal a horse buggy, Pee-wee convinces them to leave their money behind for the Amish citizens to purchase a replacement. Pee-wee and the women arrive in New York via horse buggy where the three women get arrested. Pee-wee falls down a well just before Joe's birthday party while Joe is feeling sad thinking that Pee Wee was not coming. When Joe hears on the news that Pee Wee fell down the well, Joe rescues Pee-wee while everyone in Fairville and everyone that Pee Wee met on his holiday (except Farmer Brown and his nine daughters and the Amish people) see Pee Wee on the news getting rescued by Joe. Joe and Pee Wee finally attend Joe's party and Pee Wee returns back to Fairville back to his job and after works meets with Joe.



Ever since Reubens started giving interviews again after his 2002 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. 1 2 "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. 1 2 Otterson, Joe (January 19, 2016). "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday' Gets Netflix Premiere Date". Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  5. 1 2 Bacle, Ariana (2015-03-16). "Joe Manganiello joins 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday'". Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  6. 1 2 Dave McNary (2015-04-19). "'Pee-wee's Big Holiday': Jessica Pohly Joins Cast of Netflix Movie". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  7. 1 2 "New York, New York! - My Log". Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  8. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 Robinson, Tasha (2006-07-26). "Paul Reubens". A.V. Club. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  11. 1 2 3 Keast, James (2007-12-01). "Questionnaire". Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  12. 1 2 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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