I think I can say with confidence that this time of year can be very stressful.
With all this stress, I think that the College of Arts and Letters Film Series made a very wise choice to screen "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" as the last film of the semester. A very full audience packed the house last night at Cline Library. We weren't there for a political, thoughtful, enlightening or educational movie.
We were there to laugh, gol-danggit!!
It was easy to laugh. The character of Pee-Wee had simple goals and simple needs. His wasn't a complicated, emotional character. He had a quest--he needed to find his beloved bike. (I can totally identify with this. It's the worst feeling in the world to have your bike stolen.) He had an enemy--the one-dimensional rich kid brat, Francis. He was never alone, even in his loneliest moments, and never at a loss for words, especially funny one-liners.
Best of all, he had a fireman's pole in his house.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure also had some of my favorite movie tropes: A breakfast-making machine line, a CLASSIC movie set chase scene, and, my favorite, a dance designed to be so absolutely funky and cool that the hero inexplicably wins over his worst enemies. (In Pee-Wee's case, it's a barful of bikers. In Napoleon Dynamite's case, it's an auditorium full of high-schoolers. In The Revenge of the Nerds, it's about beating the Alpha Betas.) Warner Bros. even turns Pee-wee's life in a full-length film.
People, this was pure comedy entertainment. We were all just there to laugh at stuff again and lighten up. It was pure movie pleasure, childish and immature, and all of a sudden the busy schedules and stressful classes didn't seem to matter so much.
Maybe you can't live on laughter alone, but it sure makes the rest of your life that much easier.