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Pee-wee's Big Adventure

This cavalcade of inspired lunacy has got to be one of the greatest (and nuttiest) comedies of all time.

Paul Reubens plays the Pee-wee Herman man-child character from his long-running (and pure genius) Saturday morning television show, Pee-wee's Playhouse, who here embarks on a nationwide search for his beloved bicycle after it is stolen.

The episodic nature of the fantastical tale lends itself to director Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!), who made his feature directing debut here. Burton is at his best when presenting whimsical, quirky scenes naturalistically, and seems to struggle with actual narrative (see Planet of the Apes) - but he appeared to find a kindred spirit in Reubens.

The late, great Phil Hartman (voice of Troy McClure and others on The Simpsons, Captain Carl on Pee-wee's Playhouse) co-wrote the script with Reubens, and has a cameo as a reporter.

Sadly overshadowed by Reubens' later legal infractions, Pee-wee's Big Adventure remains a persistently watchable and brilliant flight of fancy. Watch it.