Take it away, Adrian Ryan:

The genre-busting 1985 film Pee-wee's Big Adventure is my first, second, 136th, 27th, and ninth favorite thing in the history of all things. This has been widely and publicly acknowledged. (Please refer to my extensive published works, available in fine dumpsters everywhere.) It not only introduced the world to the triumvirate of Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Paul Reubens, it introduced this strange and alienated little weirdo to himself.

PICTURE IT! Me: a mere child, tortured and prepubescent, in the wastes of Butte, Montana—pale, hyperactive, and skinny as a nail, weird inside and out. I was dressed, as always, in a relentlessly starched, mercilessly white button-up cotton shirt with gray (or dark gray, occasionally) JC Penney slacks, and (drumroll, please, Danny Elfman!) a slim red clip-on bow tie—my precious, indispensable tie. It was an accessory I cherished more than oxygen or food. I had a wonderful collection of plastic dinosaur models, too, and T-Rex and Bronto would often accompany me to lunch. Sitting at that lunch counter, my aesthetic and personal resemblance to Pee-wee Herman was so obvious that it bordered on the grotesque. The problem was, he didn't really exist quite yet. Not that I knew of.

I was all of 9 years old (roughly the same age as that little girl from Poltergeist who stopped pooping and exploded) when I began wearing my little red bow tie—booty inherited from my late and allegedly gay uncle Russell, a grade-school art teacher. He was allegedly the gayest dude ever. (I inherited the dinosaur set from him, too, by the way.) Even at that tender age, I was a loner, a rebel, and I entertained neither heroes nor idols. I barely understood what those words meant. That is, until he came along...

Read the whole thing in this week's film lead.