Screening introduced by AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director Greta Gerwig
Paul Reubens made the leap from cabaret theater to major studio movie with his iconic Pee-wee Herman character in this inventive 1985 comedy, along with Pee-wee’s toys, gadgets and colorful friends. The theft of his treasured bike sets Pee-wee on a cross-country quest, ending on the Warner Bros. studio lot. Co-scripted by Reubens, his fellow Groundlings alum Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol, the zany adventure was the feature directorial debut of Tim Burton, then just 26 years old, marking the beginning of his idiosyncratic career. Reubens’ performance, blending child-like antics, slapstick comedy and knowing sarcasm, drew comparisons to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in reviews.