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Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Top 10 Cult Films

Paul Reubens in Pee-wee's Big Adventure

"I know you are, but what am I?" is the mantra of man-child Pee-wee Herman, whose surreal world — brought to life magnificently by director Tim Burton — collides horribly with the real one when his beloved bicycle is stolen. This film introduced the world to Paul Reubens' alter ego, who soon segued successfully to the small screen in "Pee-wee's Playhouse." In this unique comedy, the selfish know-it-all in the ill-fitting grey suit and red bow tie leaves his cartoonish comfort zone on a cross-country quest for his property, encountering biker gangs, ghosts, escaped convicts, jealous boyfriends and other retro road trip characters presented in bizarre new ways. The chase scene through the Warner Brothers backlot is as frenetic and bold as Mel Brooks' version in "Blazing Saddles," while the movie-within-a-movie ending is hysterical. Despite the failure of follow-up flick "Big Top Pee-wee," a few scandals and the passage of more than a quarter-century, Reuben's most famous character was brought back to life in 2016 with the release of "Pee-wee's Big Holiday."

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