Although this documentary wouldn't look out of place as an episode of Sundance's Iconoclast series, this look at Wayne White, the warped mind behind the look of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE, has so much heart that I'm not mad about seeing it in a theater. A simultaneous celebration of individualism and family, the film looks at the lifelong journey of a singular artist who is forever in pursuit of his own voice. From his distinctive Southern roots to his boho NYC existence to his accidentally falling into puppeteering, Wayne White is the best kind of outcast - a man who takes "found art" to new levels, who finds beauty in sticks, cardboard, and assorted junk. He finds joy in the simplest things, and like a true artist, he is forever in discovery mode. The father in a family of artists, we experience the loveliness of a wife who is strong support yet is on her own artistic adventure. His two children, also artists, help complete the perfect colony. You can't help but root for this thrilling team.
The film is oddball, almost impressionistic - much like its subject. It becomes deeply moving, however, when he journeys back to his hometown to start a project with a lifelong friend who experienced a much-different artistic life. They work on a project together which almost feels like the statement of their lives. They engage an entire school's art department to build a larger-than-life puppet and prance it around town. To see the looks on the eyes of the children as they gape at this creation is to truly know how much art can mean to people in their lives. It is pure magic and so is this film.