June 22, 2007 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 22, 2007 |

Goal: To get through the entire first item without mentioning the word: Masturbation. Go. As some of you may have heard, Paul Reubens — a television actor who many of you probably know best as Candice Bergen’s secretary in the final seasons of “Murphy Brown” — is bringing his character, Pee Wee Herman, back to the big screen. For the unfamiliar, Pee Wee Herman was a bow-tie wearing freakshow with slicked-back hair, a gray suit, pancake makeup, and bright-red lipstick, who used to magically appear on our television on Saturday mornings back in the ’80s and scare the holy-fucking bejesus out of out grandmothers, who were in a constant state of fear that Pee Wee would jump through the TV set and molest us all. He was a grown man who lived in a Playhouse populated with a number of sugary-cereal hallucinations, like a talking window, a chair with a mouth on its seat (who had a secret fondness for the taste of ass), a stuttering robot, a sea captain with a hard-on for the most beautiful woman in Puppet Land, a cowboy with a jheri-curl mullet, and perhaps most terrifying: A girl with pennies for eyes who appeared not only in “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” but Nickelodeon’s “Pinwheel,” and my very own nightmares. Among his many misadventures, Pee Wee liked to wear giant underpants on his head, talk to a dismembered human head in a box (what’s in the box? What’s in the box), flirt with Little Richard, and bring an old man over to play with the kiddies. But, you sure did get to learn a lot about the postal service.

And despite all of this, people of a certain age (25- 35?) have fond, nostalgic memories of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” which I think had less to do with the singing flowers, the talking dinosaur family, or the deranged puppets and more to do with the incredibly powerful subliminal messages running through the playhouse, which manipulated us into liking the show and then warned us, in no uncertain terms, never to tell our parents, clergymen, or teachers what was happening. And we were eager to oblige, because a man with as an unhealthy obsession with his bicycle as Pee Wee had put the fear of God in us all.

At any rate, Pee Wee is making a grand return to the big screen — and now he’s not just an adult, he’s a 55-year-old man about to put the suit back on and terrorized the hell out of a new generation of grandmothers who have been conditioned by “Dateline’s To Catch a Predator,” to believe that men of a certain age ought to keep away from children who aren’t their own. Paul Reubens, who left the “Playhouse” back in 1991 for unspecified reasons, has two scripts now in development. The first is said to involve a road trip that Pee Wee takes with his Playhouse Pals (if the bike’s a’ rocking, don’t come a’ knockin’) while the other is a darker film about how Pee Wee deals with fame and the trappings of Hollywood (I suspect I know how he releases his repressed sexual frustration … damn). In addition to reviving Pee Wee, Reubens is also set to appear in Todd Solondz’s (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse) new untitled film. There are no details on what role he will play, but — given Solondz’ penchant for truly messed up material — I suspect he’ll feature Pee Wee humping Chairry and laughing maniacally while Mr. Window looks on.

Goal: To get through this next bit without mentioning Scientology. Go. Elsewhere, the cast is coming together for Valkyrie, a thriller directed by Bryan Singer (Superman Returns, X-Men). The film stars Tom Cruise, whose character plots to assassinate Hitler during the height of World War II. The story is based upon actual events. And while I don’t like Tom Cruise anymore than the rest of you, you have to admit that the guy picks pretty decent scripts and works with the best directors in Hollywood. And he knows how to assemble a cast, too: Valkyrie already has attached to it Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Patrick Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, and Eddie freakin’ Izzard. With a script written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and a cast this phenomenal, it’s hard not to overlook Thomas Mapother IV’s presence, even if the weirdo nearly failed Operation III training (… double damn).

As for this weekend’s reviews, we’ll be bringing you Evan Almighty, the most expensive religious comedy of all time (the director, Tom Shadyac, has already started courting the religious demographic by citing Jesus as his biggest influence —though Shadyac’s work on Ace Venture and Patch Adams is powerful evidence to the contrary) ; 1408 starring John Cusack, based on a Stephen King short story; and a A Mighty Heart, which — out of respect for Daniel Pearl — we’ll refrain from mocking, at least until we see the final product. Early next week, we also hope to bring you reviews of The Golden Door and You Kill Me. So, stick around.

In the trailer watch, check out this trailer for He Was a Quiet Man. It actually looks somewhat promising (and bolstering for Christian Slater’s stalled career), but it pains me to see a balding, skeevy Happy Harry Hard-On. And for those of you who had a difficult time with the pairing of Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, this may leave you with a coronary.

Finally, the good folks over at Blogads (who are responsible for the pretty rectangle ads on our sidebars) are running a demographic survey. I hate to push it on you folks, but if you have a spare few minutes, I’d totally appreciate if you answered a few questions. You won’t get much in return, but I do promise to publish the results at some point in the near future, so you can get an idea for the rest of the readership’s taste in beer, television, and movie genres. We can also prove, once and for all, that you folks are statistically smarter than everyone else on these interwebs. To take the survey, click here (and feel free to bail anytime after the first page). And please forgive me — it’s an unfortunate, but necessary evil.


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The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Trade News | June 22, 2007 | Comments ()

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